The Risks of Pursuing a Legal Career

Unless you have been living under a rock in recent times, it will come as no surprise to you that there are definite risks and challenges for those who decide to pursue a legal career.

These have reached such a level that the Law Society’s education and training committee has introduced an information campaign to try and address the gap between the numbers of training contracts being offered by law firms each year and the number of people graduating from the LPC.

Figures from the Solicitors Regulation Authority make for difficult reading for anyone seeking a training contract in the current climate.  The figures indicate that 9101 students started the LPC in 2009.  In the same year the number of training contracts being offered by firms dropped by 32% to 4320 from 6321 in 2008.

The Law Society is currently considering what action it might be able to take to ease this situation.  One idea being floated is that they provide support or incentives to encourage law firms to provide more training contracts.  Additionally, they are considering whether they might be able to introduce ways to qualify without having to undertake a training contract.

My view is that the more information out there highlighting the risks of pursuing a legal career can only be a good thing.  However, I think this information needs to be clear and perhaps broken down more so as to address where the greater risk lies.  For example, I do not see a huge amount of risk in doing a law degree as this is a very valuable qualification to have even if its owner doesn’t go on to pursue a legal career.

The risk, as I see it, is more associated around the LPC which can be expensive and is fairly limited to training students solely for legal practice.  If finding a way into legal practice then proves hard, there will be many who become victim of this risk.

Perhaps it is time to re-visit the notion of students having to have secured a training contract before they are permitted to do the LPC.  I know this has its critics but surely we need to start a fresh debate on this given there are less than half the number of training contracts available at the moment than there are candidates looking for them.

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