The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2022

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HANDB 2022 The Tra & Pupill


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Launching a career in law requires high-quality information.

The LawCareers.Net website and Handbook are comprehensive, independent and authoritative resources. They provide information, advice, news and features, and offer the only comprehensive list of graduate opportunities in law, including over 5,000 training contracts and 390 pupillages.


Paul Philip Chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

Derek Sweeting QC Chair of the Bar Council

Welcome to The LawCareers.Net Handbook.

The Bar offers one of the most rewarding, varied and stimulating careers there is.

Wherever your career in law takes you, it’s key that all those entering the solicitor profession have reached the high standards that everyone expects. After a decade of preparation, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), a single rigorous assessment for all aspiring solicitors, is now a reality. What does this mean for you? You need a qualification that’s equivalent to a degree, to meet our character and suitability requirements, to undertake two years qualifying work experience and, of course, to pass the assessments themselves. SQE gives you real choice about your training. For example, you might choose a solicitor apprenticeship, or a law degree and then get that important work experience, or perhaps you’re a paralegal and see SQE as a great opportunity to become a solicitor. Our Career in Law Facebook or Instagram accounts can help you to decide. And if you’ve already started your training journey, you will likely still have a choice to qualify either through the Legal Practice Course or SQE.

Barristers are advocates and specialist legal advisors who play an extremely important role in helping individuals and institutions understand, exercise and defend their legal rights. The Bar’s reputation is recognised and respected around the world. Choosing a career as a barrister involves hard work, dedication, commitment and effort, but it is a profession which offers real fulfilment – combining intellectual challenge, persuasion and the opportunity to help people who need specialist advice or who would otherwise be unable to put their case across.

Pupillage (training) provides aspiring barristers with the practical skills and

experience needed to become a barrister. The pupillage application process is highly competitive, but we are doing all that we can to attract and encourage the best candidates from the widest possible pool of talent. This Handbook will help you with your application for pupillage and guide you through the various stages. It contains a comprehensive account of the training required for a career at the Bar, as well as information on the many different areas in which barristers practise. Good luck to all of you who are applying for pupillage. I hope you will enjoy a career in this wonderful profession, as I have.

I wish you all the best in your training.





How to use this book Solicitor versus barrister

Key competencies



Commercial awareness Application technique Interview technique

10 13 14 21 24 26 52 57 60 63


Career timetable The legal scene

35 38 42 44

Getting the best careers advice Diversity in the legal profession

Scotland and Northern Ireland

Alternative careers

Choosing where to apply

Work experience


Free Representation Unit

Vacation scheme insider reports

Postgraduate training

88 93 97

Financing the vocational courses

Course directory

105  The Law Society and the Junior Lawyers Division 107 The Solicitors Regulation Authority 110 The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives 113 Becoming a solicitor 116 Career timetable: solicitors 174 How to use the training contract regional indexes and directory 175 Training contract regional indexes 243 Training contract directory

119 Types of law firm 121 Solicitor practice areas

388 The Bar Council 391 The Bar Standards Board 393 The Young Barristers’ Committee 396 Becoming a barrister 398 Career timetable: barristers

400 Types of chambers 403 Bar practice areas

450 How to use the pupillage index and directory 451 Pupillage index 463 Pupillage directory

514 Glossary 520 Useful addresses



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Becoming a lawyer

How to use this book


Solicitor versus barrister

10 13 14 21 24 26 29

Career timetable The legal scene

Getting the best careers advice Diversity in the legal profession

Choosing where to apply

Key competencies

Commercial awareness Application technique Interview technique


35 38 42 44

Scotland and Northern Ireland

Alternative careers



Delivering your future in law

Our newsletter, LCN Weekly, is packed with news, profiles, opinion and advice about becoming a lawyer.

How to use this book

• Which postgraduate courses will you have to take? • Which bodies regulate and represent lawyers? • Why are vacation schemes/placements and mini-pupillages so important? Stage 2: Getting up to speed Once you have clearly establishedwhat needs to bedone, youmustmaintain an upward learning curveby regularly immersing yourself in the legal world andbehaving, in effect, like a ‘mini lawyer’. You should read informationprovidedspecifically for aspiring lawyers such as LawCareers.Net’s newsletter, LCNWeekly, but also keepupwith theprofessional legal press (eg, The Lawyer and LegalWeek ), the national and international business press (eg, the Financial Time and The Economist ) and specialist websites such as Indoing so, youwill begin to recognise the key news, themes anddebates within theprofession, see how thedifferent parts of the lawrelate toeachother and identify leading figures andorganisations. Check out ‘The legal scene’ in The Handbook as a jumping-off point; your goal is tobe sufficientlywell informed that you couldhold your own in a conversation among lawyers andengage in topics such as: • What are the major developments in the legal profession over the past year? • Have there been any major law firmmergers recently? • What are employers doing to improve diversity within the profession? • How will solicitors qualify through the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam? • How have legal aid cuts affected access to justice? • What issues are likely to impact the industry over the coming years? Stage 3: Analyse yourself Your investigations into the basics of the law and ongoing contact with the profession should already have given you a good idea of the attributes that employers are looking for. The exact skill set may vary, but you

The LawCareers.Net Handbook ( The Handbook ) is designed to be your companion and adviser throughout your journey to becoming a solicitor or barrister. It is important that you use it correctly to get the maximum benefit. You are embarking on a learning process: learning what lawyers do and the different types of law that they practise; learning about the different types of organisation involved in law; learning how to become a lawyer; and – possibly most importantly – learning about yourself, what you have to offer the profession and how to sell your skills and personality to employers. We advise you to divide your research and planning into stages. If you complete each stage in order, you should have the knowledge and understanding required to make an impact when it comes to recruitment and selection. You should also remember that you must continually top up your expertise – it’s much easier to learn steadily and gradually than try to cram in everything at the last minute. Stage 1: The basics A solid base of knowledge is important. Without this, your appreciation of your choices and opportunities will be severely diminished. The ‘Becoming a lawyer’ section of The Handbook introduces you to the core challenges ahead of you, while the ‘Solicitors’ and ‘Barristers’ sections explore the two main branches of the profession in more detail. Once you have done this preparatory reading, you should be able to answer the following questions with confidence: • What are the differences between a solicitor and a barrister? • What are the other types of lawyer? • What are the different types of law firm and who do they serve? • What are thedifferent typesof practicearea? • How is a set of chambers organised? • What is the timetable for becoming a solicitor/barrister?


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How to use this book

• What are their main work areas? • Who are their clients? • How do they make money? • What is their ethos? • Who are their competitors? • Where have they come from and where are they going (ie, history versus ambition)? What now? The rest of The Handbook expands on many of these themes. The sooner you start using it in earnest – understanding the challenge ahead, making a plan and acting on it – the better your chances. Most candidates who are unsuccessful fail because they have not followed the rules of the game. Take the necessary steps to give yourself the best chance of success. As ever, we wish you all the very best with your legal career and hope that The Handbook can help you along the way.

can rest assured that you will be expected to be intelligent and able to communicate well, show determination, possess close attention to detail and operate well as part of a team. You need to review your experiences to pull out as many examples of these skills as possible and work out how to present them in the best possible light – employers like to see examples of go-getting, passionate, motivated people doing something constructive and interesting with their time. Read ‘Application technique’ and ‘Interview technique’ for more advice, and use LawCareers.Net’s MyLCN tool to build up your record of achievements and activities. Things to consider are as follows: • Can you give a dozen detailed examples of activities you have participated in that demonstrate skills relevant to working in the legal profession? • Can you explain articulately why you want to be a lawyer? • What are the weaknesses in your CV that you hope employers won’t spot and what are you doing to address them? • What is your USP?

Stage 4: Narrowing the field We areonly nowgetting to the stageof differentiatingbetween employers. The

Handbook offers comprehensive listings ofmore than800 firms andnearly 200chambers offering training contracts or pupillages. You can’t apply to themall, so youmust refine your search – read ‘Types of law firm’, ‘Types of chambers’ and ‘Choosingwhere to apply’ as a start. Use the indexingpages to identify firms/chambers by size, practice areas and location. Ideally, you shouldbe able to identify amarket sector you are interested in (eg, leading commercial firms inNorthWest England) andwork out which firms/chambers fall into this classification. Their directory entries in The Handbook are your springboard for further research. You then need to look at organisations’ ownwebsites, explore legal press archives anddo someGoogle-based digging. Key questions to research are:



Remember that youdon’t need to read thisbookcover tocover togetmaximumbenefit from it – it all dependsonwhat pathyouchoose, either beforeyouopen The Handbook or as you read it. This diagram illustrates thebasicprocessof using The Handbook , from initial research toapplying for a job–althoughdon’t forget that any specific informationyouneed that isnot coveredby thechapters mentionedelsewhere in thediagram is likely tobe in themorespecialist chaptersof thebook. The colour scheme is thesameas thecolours used toseparateeachsectionof The Handbook .

First steps Learn about the legal profession and identify the career you want:

• Solicitor versus barrister (p10) • Alternative careers (p44) • The legal scene (p14) • Becoming a solicitor (p113) • The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (p110) • Becoming a barrister (p396)

Research Findoutmoreabout thequalificationsandworkexperienceyou will need for your chosenprofession, and learnabout different careersavailablewithin it:

• Career timetable (p13) • Work experience (whole section) • Postgraduate training (whole section) • Solicitor practice areas (p121) • Types of law firm (p119)

• Bar practice areas (p403) • Types of chambers (p400)

Launching your career Use The Handbook for details of how to apply for the right training contract or pupillage for you:

• Choosing where to apply (p26) • Application technique (p35) • Interview technique (p38)

• Getting the best careers advice (p21) • Trainingcontract directory (wholesection) • Pupillage directory (whole section)


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Solicitor versus barrister

Sports Participating in sport implies drive, teamwork and communication skills, which are ideal for both solicitors and barristers. Acting/performing These are highly relevant skills for both branches of the profession. Whether you are a solicitor or barrister, you will be in the business of persuading people and conveying information and ideas. However, the courtroom side of a barrister’s work is a direct application of these attributes, so the Bar may value them slightly higher. Commercial/business knowledge Whatever you do in the law, you will at some level be involved in running a business – be it as part of a firm or as a self-employed person in sole practice or at the Bar. Further, you will often be working to assist the businesses of others. Firms of solicitors provide not only legal advice, but are also employed as business advisers with an eye on overall strategy. Barristers are more typically ‘hired hands’ for advocacy or for preparing highly specific legal opinions, but those at the commercial Bar must still appreciate and prioritise the business interests of their clients when preparing to advocate on their behalf. Legal work experience At trainee or pupil level, nobody expects you to know the law inside out. What they do expect is for you to have a relatively sophisticated grasp of the profession, its activities and its rhythms, as a way of showing that you have thought sensibly about why you want to become a lawyer. One of the best ways of doing this is to find a law (or law- related) environment in which you can learn what it’s all about. Eloquence Aswesawabove, theability tocommunicate is the fundamental tool of the trade. Thebetter you areat communicating, thebetter a lawyer youwill

One of the most fundamental questions you must address when considering a career in the law is whether to become a solicitor or a barrister. To put it simply, a barrister appears in court, while a solicitor works in a law firm. However, the differences are much more complex than that. Some say that it comes down to whether you are an individualist (barrister) or a team player (solicitor). While it is true that a barrister is almost always self-employed and bound to other barristers only by convenience, and a solicitor may be just one worker in a law firm of thousands of people, in reality the situation is not so black and white. Barristers are often involved in teamwork and some solicitors may spend many hours on their own drafting documents.

Here’s a general guide to some factors that may help you to decide.

Academic performance Fantastic academic results are the ideal underpinnings of every legal career. You will generally find a close correlation between the best academic scores and the best (or at least the best-paying) jobs in the legal profession. This may be slightly more important for the Bar, as it is smaller and consequently even more selective. The Bar is also rather more weighted towards the traditional universities, to which the Oxbridge-heavy tenant lists at many chambers attest (although the Bar is working to address this bias). Positions of responsibility Havingbeen theheadprefect or leader of a youth group is an impressiveachievementwhichever strandyouchoose. However, positionsof responsibility areoftenconcernedwithkeeping hierarchies inorder and thus couldbedescribed asmanagement training. For this reason, they maybemorehighly valuedby firmsof solicitors whowill haveclear and rigidstructures for their employees.



be. Again, the fact that abarristermust regularly standupand talk incourtmeans that thisskill is more important at theBar but it isstill akeypart of practisingasasolicitor. Sociability The lawisasociableprofession inwhichyou canexpect tomeet largenumbersof people fromallwalksof life. Crucially, youmust beable toget onwithyour clientsandother lawyers withwhomyouwork. The legal community is intimateandsometimesclose-knit; it helps to beable toget onand interactwellwithothers. Yes, thereare legendarycurmudgeons floating around (particularlyat theBar), but don’t think it’s advisable tobecomeoneof them. Self-reliance You’ll need a fair amount of self-reliance and self-belief whatever you do in law. Solicitors generally have a more definite career structure, but after a certain point it becomes dog eat dog at many firms. As a barrister, though, you are literally on your own: it’s your career and you’ve got to make it happen, make the most of it and deal with the quiet times. If you’re somebody who craves structure and order, then think again. Intellectual curiosity In reality, the area of law in which you end up will be the greatest driver of the intellectual content of your work. However, if you want to be a serious analyst and provider of opinions on heavyweight points of law, then the Bar may be for you. Finances Quite clearly, it is right and proper that a career in the lawshould be available to all. That said, the relevant course fees (especially at postgraduate

level) mean that it is not uncommon for individuals to end upwith debts of well over £45,000. Before you rack up this kind of bill, be realistic about your job prospects. And don’t forget that upcoming changes to theway solicitors and barristers qualifywill affect the costs of pursuing this career. There’smore on this in the ‘Postgraduate training’ section. Enthusiasm for dressing up Do you like wearing gowns and wigs? Do you feel that panto should be staged all year round? The Bar values tradition above virtually any other calling and the recognisable outfits reflect this. Solicitors’ dress is, by contrast, dull, dull, dull (even on Fridays).

Commitment to social justice There remain many commendable

organisations and individuals in the legal profession who work tirelessly to overturn injustice and ensure that right prevails. Many will be involved in something socially useful (ie, pro bono ). If changing the world and helping people’s lives is at the core of your desire to become a lawyer, you will probably want to consider the barrister route and do some thorough research into areas such as human rights and criminal law. Further reading Solicitors – Barristers – In these sections you can read about the day-to-day life and work of solicitors and barristers at various firms and chambers.

Reality check: Thedecision as towhich strand suits youbest rests on a number of factors concerning your abilities, temperament and – darewe say it – financial circumstances. Choosewisely.


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Solicitor versus barrister

This table illustrates some of the differences between the two branches of the profession, including as they relate to demographics, working environments, career progression and salary.

Solicitors As of April 2021, there were 151,885 practising solicitors. The total number of solicitors on the roll was 208,366. Women make up 49% of all solicitors and partners in law firms. But there are many more men than women at partner level – on average, a large firm has 65-70%male partners and only 30-35%women. People from ethnic minority backgrounds make up 21% of all solicitors. Mostly employed in private law firms, so receive a regular monthly salary. Work mainly with individuals, companies and barristers. Office-based. Engage more in ongoing advisory and one-to-one client work. Aspire to become a partner (ie, part ownership of firm and entitlement to a percentage of its profits). While there is no longer aminimumannual trainee salary, the averageUK salary for a first-year trainee is around £27,500, whileCity firms pay considerablymore – anywhere from £32,000 upwards.

Barristers In 2020, there were 17,078 practising barristers, Of those, 13,502 were self- employed. Around 38% of all practising barristers are women (ie, 6,499 women compared to 10,426 men). People from ethnic minority backgrounds make up 13.9% of all practising barristers (ie, 2,384). Mostly self-employed, so receive irregular (but often substantial) fees. Work mainly with solicitors and other barristers. Chambers and court-based. Engage more in one-off advocacy (ie, court cases). Aspire to become Queen’s Counsel (QC) (ie, a top barrister, normally instructed in very serious and complex cases). The Bar Standards Board requires that all pupils be paid no less than £18,960 per annum in London and £16,601 outside of London. Many earn much more – upwards of £60,000 in some cases.



Career timetable

There are many different types of lawyer and paths into the legal profession. Use the diagram below to plot out your route into law.



A level

Intermediate apprenticeship

Non-law degree

Law degree


Paralegal apprenticeship

Solicitor apprenticeship

Law conversion (optional)

CILEX Level 3 Certificate

CILEX Level 3 Diploma


Bar course

CILEX Level 6

Chartered legal executive apprenticeship

2 years’ QWE / training contract


3 years’ qualifying employment

CILEX Fast Track


Chartered legal executive



Further reading For more on the solicitors’ career timetable, see p116. For more on the barristers’ career timetable, see p398. For more on the chartered legal executive timetable, see p110. For more on legal apprenticeships, pick up a copy of The Law Apprenticeships Guide 2022 . Change ahead: the Solicitors Qualifying Examination Anyone who starts an undergraduate degree after Autumn 2021 will have to take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), a new two-stage assessment that must be passed to qualify as a solicitor, in addition to two years’ qualifying work experience. The SQE replaces the LPC and also means that a law degree or GDL are no longer compulsory – although in reality you will need either an LLB, law conversion or other preparation course to be able to pass the new exams. For more information, read the ‘SRA chapter’ and go to the SQE Hub on LawCareers.Net.


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The legal scene

and insolvency, insurance, employment, life sciences and sports. As aspiring lawyers, you should identify the ways in which your preferred practice area has been affected by the pandemic, as well as the impact on businesses, clients, the legal profession and how lawyers work. Here is some food for thought to help get you started: • As governments across the globe implemented lockdowns to limit the spread of covid-19, businesses (where possible) were forced to transition to remote working, which resulted in an influx of cybercrime, including financial scams in the form of phishing emails, pension liberation scams and investment and Ponzi scams. Why did cybercrime increase, what impact did this have on businesses and what can businesses do to protect themselves from cyber-attacks going forward? • Consumer habits have been adapting for many years, with customers increasingly shopping online. However, as many businesses had to close their doors during lockdowns, the UK high street became a ghost town. As well as the immediate financial burden on the retail sector, firms have been exploring the wider impact that covid-19 had on commercial lease terms and how businesses can better prepare for the future. • Meanwhile, the rail industry is also adapting to the newworld. With the daily train commute suddenly replaced with rolling out of bed for many, rail use ultimately fell last year. As restrictions ease in the UK, the future of office work remains uncertain with some businesses encouraging employees back into the office, others taking a hybrid approach and some continuing to work remotely for the foreseeable. One change to UK rail came into place on 21 June 2021, which enabled UK railway passengers to purchase flexible season tickets, with additional pay-as-you-go options. The

This chapter examines the key issues facing the UK legal profession of which future lawyers should be aware, as well as headline- grabbing cases and mergers. Lawyers interact with companies, national and local government, institutions and individuals in almost every area of life, so it is no surprise that wider economic and political issues affecting their clients often have a knock-on effect on their work. Of these, six key issues are pressurising the sector and driving profession-wide change in various ways. They can be divided into: • external factors – covid-19, technology, access to legal aid and Brexit; and • internal issues – diversity and inclusion in the profession, and changes to training for solicitors and barristers. Covid-19 At the start of the pandemic, the Coronavirus Act 2020 was published, giving the government powers to implement emergency measures to deal with covid-19, including national lockdowns. The restrictions imposed were subsequently challenged in Dolan and others v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care . Dolan and others submitted “that the regulations imposed sweeping restrictions on civil liberties which were unprecedented and unlawful on three grounds”, arguing that the restrictions were an infringement on basic human rights. However, permission to bring a judicial reviewwas denied. As a result of government restrictions, the impact on the UK economy was severe, with GDP plummeting by nearly 10% – the worst fall since 1948 when records began. Much like other sectors, the legal profession felt the wrath of the pandemic, but it also remained broadly stable – turnover for the UK legal sector surged to record heights, reaching £4.06 billion in March 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Practice areas that saw an influx in work as a result of the pandemic include restructuring



cheaper servicesenabledby technologyasa wayofmitigating thewidespread lackof access to legal adviceandwants tosupport, “greater adoptionof innovationand technology in the legal sector”.Meanwhile, theLegal ServicesBoard (LSB) isdue touse itspowers tocoordinate technological innovation in thesector to increase and improveaccess to legal services. The roleof traineesolicitors isalreadybeing adapted toembrace technology. Junior solicitors and traineeshave traditionallydraftedsimple contractsand revieweddocuments, but this type ofwork isbecoming increasinglyautomated.Now, traineesaremore likely tomanagetheprocessof referringthe initial document reviewtoa thirdparty thatdoes theworkat a lowercost, undertaking asecondary reviewof thedocument later. It is likely that traineeswill be interactingwithAI in the future.Management skillsandanunderstanding of technology–andhowto resolve technical problems–arenowincreasingly important skills to showcase inbothan interviewandtrainingcontract. That said, theLSBhasurged that regulators pushing for changeshouldalsobeawareof the risks involved, which includeensuringprogression doesnot isolateor leavebehind thosewith low digital capabilityor literacy, andbalancing the ethical and regulatorychallengesof technologies suchasAI against their advantages. Access to justice Access to justice is anongoingconcern following years of financial cuts. Thepast yearwas no different – in fact, thecoronavirus pandemic introducedadditional disruption. As nationwide lockdownswere implemented, courts had to quickly adapt tohearings takingplace remotely, or insteadbeingpostponed. Delays tohearings meant that thealreadyoverwhelmingbacklogof caseswas exacerbatedandcontinues to remain an issueasweemerge fromrestrictions. According to theLegal NeedsSurvey, it is estimated that 3.6millionpeoplea year in EnglandandWales “fail tohave their legal needs

modernisation of the railway is part of plans outlined in the long-awaitedWilliams- Shapps review. But what else will the rail industry need to do to adapt? Tech and innovation Advances inAI andautomationcreatenew revolutionarypossibilities (andchallenges) for the legal profession. In light of thecoronavirus pandemic, it’sessential toconsider howlawfirms responded to thesechallenges. Theneed toadopt and implement technologyacross thesector as theprofession transitioned to remoteworkingand identifiedalternativemeans todeliver services remotelybecamecritical. A survey published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in July 2021, looked at the changes that firmsmade in the past 12months, which included 56%of survey respondents improving or increasing use of existing technology, 50%changingways to deliver services and 35% introducing new technology. Adopting remote-working technology during this periodwas “straightforward for large law firmswhose enterprise systemswere in the cloud,” according to the SRA’s report. However, the real challenge for lawyers is to develop new, tech-basedways of delivering legal services as technology drives newways of doing the same tasks. For current and future users of legal technology, the three toppurposes are to “improve servicequality”, “improve efficiency of workflows” and “allowstaff towork more flexibly”, according to theSRAsurvey. Solicitors, barristers and legal executiveswill still be needed, but clients in pursuit of cheaper, faster services are likely to sacrifice the human touch altogether formany basic legal functions in favour of an automatedoffering. TheSRAsaid: “Our findings reveal that thepast year has seen a step change in the adoption of legal technology and innovation inpart as a result of covid-19.”

Oneof thebiggest barriers toaccessing legal advice iscosts. TheSRAhaspointed to the


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The legal scene

person.” It is now for thegovernment todecide whether itwill act topreserveaccess to justice and theconcept of equalitybefore the law, or whether itwill continue to leave the justice system “on thebrinkof collapse”. Brexit As of 1 January 2021, several changes came into effect impacting solicitors in England and Wales with clients in the EU. According to the Law Society, they are “now subject to 31 different regulatory regimes, one for reach jurisdiction”. With freedom of movement terminated in the EU, new rules have been introduced to control how solicitors can cross the border to each EU member state, EEA countries and Switzerland. Those interested in working in the law should be engaged with Brexit and its impact over the months and years ahead. This will involve analysing its ongoing effect on the business and legal worlds, and more specifically understanding the aspects that could affect your shortlisted firms and their clients. Diversity in the profession Looking inwards, the legal profession isstill nowherenear asdiverseor asaccessibleas it shouldbe, although important progresshasbeen (and isbeing)made insomeareas. Ethnicity Of solicitors andpartners inEngland andWales, around21%and22%, respectively, are froman ethnicminority background, according to the SRA’s latest statistics. At firmswith 50ormore partners, only 8%are froman ethnicminority background. Meanwhile, at theBar just under 14%of practising barristers andonly 9%of QueensCounsel (QC) are fromethnicminority backgrounds, according to theBar Standards Board (BSB), with ethnicminority candidates making uponly 23%of pupils.

met in resolvingadispute”.Whilecovid-19has worsened theexistingproblem, at theheart of the access to justice issue is funding. Inearly2020 thegovernment proposed to inject anextra£32 to£50million intocriminal legal aid funding, but theLawSociety stated that thiswouldnot be enough toalleviate thecurrent threat to “the very existenceof criminal defencepractitioners”. TheLawSociety reporteddata fromHer Majesty’sCourt andTribunal Service (HMCTS) that indicates thebacklogof cases incriminal courts increasedby27%from446,460 to 568,678at theendof July2020, and those in family courts rose20%to65,429. TheHouse of Lords constitutioncommitteealso found that theall-timehigh in thecurrent backlogof crown court cases is likely tohaveadisproportionate impact onchildrenandyoungpeople fromethnic minoritybackgrounds. In the last quarter of 2020, 18%of cases hadbeenoutstanding formore thana year – up6%on2019, according todata fromtheMinistryof Justice. In response to the backlog, 10Nightingalecourtswereopened, with government plans tobuild 14newNightingale courts recently revealed to tackleoutstanding court cases causedby thepandemic. Meanwhile, inDecember 2020 itwas revealed that university studentswere set toplay an important role inproviding free legal aidas law schools forecast a rise indemand for probono support, followingunmet needand theongoing impact of legal aidcuts. Several student-run advicecentres haveopened inaneffort to fill thegap, with those involvedbeingpraised for their efforts. Despite legal technologydevelopment, there are still issues that remain tobe resolved. In its Lawunder lockdown report, theLawSociety of EnglandandWales said: “Governmentmust maintainaccess to legal adviceandcourts during emergencies, socitizens areable tochallenge exceptional measures. Butmany havebeen unable toaccess legal advice, despiteefforts to set up technology to replaceprohibited visits in

Research by theBSB relating to students enrolledon theBPTC (the old vocational stage



monitoringofwork allocationaspart of its equality anddiversity rules handbook.

of training for theBar) from2011/12 to2019/20, shows that 77%of white candidateswith a first-class degree and an ‘outstanding’ BPTC grade securedpupillage, comparedwith65%of candidates froman ethnicminority background with the same grades. In addition, aBar Council report published inMay 2021 highlighted that on averageBlackwomen barristers earn around£19,000 less per annum than their whitemale counterparts, andBlack male barrister salaries aremore than £15,000 less than the averagewhite junior barrister. Despite petitions calling formandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting, theUK’sCommission onRace andEthnicDisparities has still notmade this a legal requirement. Gender Womenmakeup just over half of practising solicitors, but only27%of partners inprivate practice.Meanwhile, Office forNational Statistics data indicates thatwomensolicitors, including part-timeand full-timeemployees, earn4.5% less thanmenandwomen in full-timesolicitor rolesearn7%less. Thegender paygap reporting enforcementwas suspended in2020asa result of thepandemic. According to theBSB, asof December 2020 womenmadeup just under 40%of theBar, with thenumber ofwomenQCs increasing year onyear, from16.2%to 16.8%. At pupillage level, the figurewas equal. Inabid to improve gender diversity at theBar, last year four leading commercial sets –BrickCourt, EssexCourt, FountainCourt andOneEssexCourt –partnered to recruitmorewomen to theBar.

Disability Thenumber of peopleworking in law firmswho reportedadisability is only4%– this figuredrops to3%when looking solely at lawyers in law firms, which, according to theSRA, has increased onlyby0.5%since2017. Of other staff working in law firms, just 4%havedeclaredadisability and in firmswith six toninepartners, 5%of lawyers reportedadisability. TheSRA’s data also considers seniority and reports that only3%of partners reportedadisability, compared to4% of solicitors. Improving inclusivity andaccessibility for disabled lawyers is crucial, and thepast year has proven that agileworkingpractices couldbea stepping stone toamoreaccessibleprofession. According toaLawSociety surveyof 100disabled lawyers conducted late last year, 70%of those surveyed said theywouldprefer towork remotely in the long termdue to themany healthandwellbeing benefits it offers. However, respondents also warned that “one sizedoes not fit all” and “it shouldnot beassumed that all disabled employeeswouldprefer towork fromhome”. Meanwhile, at theBar, theBSB reporteda4.5% increase from2019 to2020of pupilswitha declareddisability. These figures demonstrate just howmuchmorework theprofessionmust do toensure that law firms andchambers are inclusiveandaccessible for disabledcandidates. Sexual orientation and gender identity Just 3% of lawyers identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual – a figure that has remained unchanged since 2014. This figure drops in firms with one partner, while at larger firms with 10 and 50-plus partners, the figure is slightly higher. The SRA also highlighted that 2% of solicitors, 1% of partners and 2% of other staff, reported that they had a different gender identity to the one that was assigned to them at birth. In total there are

Another gendered issue is unequal work allocation, withmalebarristers treated

preferentially in theassignment of newcases by clerks. TheBarCouncil report reinforced this issue, indicating that Blackwomenbarristers are offered less rewardingwork thanothers. The BSBhasproduced tools toassist chambers in the


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instead of the Bar Professional Training Course. Discover more about the changes in the ‘Postgraduate training’, ‘SRA’ and ‘Bar Standards Board’ chapters. Mergers In 2020, UK law firmmergers dropped to a nine-year low, with only 107mergers completed (a fall of 25% from2019), as consolidator firms took a more “cautious” approach to mergers in light of the pandemic, according to Hazlewoods. As the UK’s economy recovers, this figure is anticipated to improve in 2021. Some notable mergers include: • Argentinian law firmRattagan Macchiavello Arocena and Dentons, to formDentons RattaganMacchiavello Arocena and become the largest global law firm in Argentina; • Knights, which bought two regional firms – Shulmans and ASB Law – for approximately £20.1 million and £8.5 million, respectively; and • a £40 million merger between Southampton-based UK Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins, which will see the combined firm – Moore Barlow – specialise in several practice areas, including private client and personal injury. Legal developments – talking points Covid-19 vaccines and intellectual property In October 2020, South Africa and India proposed a temporary waiver to IP protections for covid-19 vaccines, which has since been opposed by the governments of the UK, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the EU. More recently, in an open academic statement, more than 120 academics have set out evidence to support the waiver and called on the governments of the countries to “drop their opposition” to the proposed TRIPs (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waiver at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and instead support it.

around 6,000 LGBTQ+ solicitors practising in England and Wales. The SRA supported the InterLaw Diversity Forum in creating a LGBTQ+ Factsheet, which outlines key findings from the 2021 report, including research that demonstrates the negative experiences of LGBTQ+ employees as a result of their sexual orientation; bullying and harassment towards lesbian, gay, bi, trans and non-binary people is evident. According to the SRA, “LGBTQ+ lawyers who are not ‘out’ in the workplace are more likely to leave their job and many are still not comfortable with bringing their full selves to work”. Meanwhile, despite a low response rate, recent BSB data indicates that of those providing information more than 14% of pupils, 7% of non-QC barristers and 5% of QCs identified as either a bisexual, gay man, lesbian or other. Looking forward It is clear that there remains a lack of diversity within the industry across the various diversity strands, including the ones mentioned above, as well as socio-economic background, religion and belief, caring responsibilities, neurodiversity and age. This lack is a fundamental issue that must be addressed if the profession aims to attract the best talent and offer the best services. Head to LCN’s Diversity Hub for regular updates to keep you in the know regarding what law firms, chambers and legal education providers are doing to remove existing barriers and work towards a more diverse and inclusive profession. Changes to solicitor and barrister training Whether you aim to become a solicitor or barrister, your route to qualifying is changing. For aspiring solicitors, the Legal Practice Course will gradually be replaced with the new two-part Solicitors Qualifying Exam in September 2021, while budding barristers can now take new, cheaper Bar courses



Major cases Here is a very small sample of the many important and fascinating cases heard in UK courts in 2020-21. ShamimaBegum The Supreme Court ruled that Shamima Begum – who left the UK in 2015 to join the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) – will not be permitted to return to the UK to fight her citizenship case in person. After being stripped of her British Citizenship in 2019, Begum appealed against the court’s decision fromSyria and hoped to return to the UK to appear before the court. In July 2020, the Court of Appeal argued that Begum should be permitted to enter the UK, after concluding that she was unable to have a “fair and effective appeal” against the decision because she was being held in a Syrian refugee camp, and thus unable to communicate with her lawyers. In February 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that Begumwill not be allowed to return to the UK to appeal her case. ‘Wagatha Christie’ A celebrity libel case involving Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy hit the headlines in 2019-20, after Rooney alleged that leaked details from her private Instagram account came from “Rebekah Vardy’s account”. In November 2020, the High Court ruled that Rooney’s bombshell social media post had libelled Vardy and ordered her to pay £23,000 toward Vardy’s legal costs. However, in the latest round of the court case, Vardy has been ordered to pay £10,500 towards Rooney’s legal costs, with the High Court battle set to resume in September 2021. Uber drivers confirmed as ‘workers’ The Supreme Court ruled that Uber drivers are ‘workers’, following an ongoing dispute initiated by two former Uber drivers in 2016. In response to the ruling, the ride-hailing giant has confirmed that its 70,000 UK

The open letter describes the waiver as a “necessary and proportionate legal measure towards the clearing of existing intellectual property barriers to scaling up of production of covid-19 health technologies in a direct, consistent and effective fashion”. Waiving the IP rules relating to the covid-19 vaccine would increase the manufacturing and distribution of covid-19 vaccines to low-income countries. Modern slavery Eliminating modern slavery from the supply chain continues to be a key issue for the construction industry. In April 2020, the Home Office published guidance on reporting modern slavery during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance highlights how covid- 19 might give rise to new slavery risks, with the pandemic making more workers vulnerable to exploitative practices such as not paying statutory sick pay, late cancellations of orders, late payment for supplies and inadequate or no grievance procedures. Brexit trade deals A trade deal between the UK and EU came into force on 1 January 2021, enabling businesses on both sides to continue trading without the imposition of tariffs or quotas, but with the introduction of some border checks. However, the deal was not as comprehensive as many businesses had hoped, with important areas of the UK economy, such as the financial sector, still facing uncertainty. Since then, the UK and Australia have agreed a free trade deal. While details of the final agreement are yet to be published, some UK-based farmers are concerned it will result in cheap imports undercutting their products; the UK government has confirmed that protections for farmers will be incorporated into the deal. The UK signed trade deals with Japan in October 2020, as well as with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Several rollover deals were also negotiated prior to 31 December 2020.


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drivers will receive the National Living Wage, holiday pay and pensions. Aspiring lawyers should keep their eyes on the ongoing global impact this ruling will have on the rest of the gig economy. Heathrow expansion not unlawful on climate grounds A Court of Appeal decision, which had found that the government’s approval of a proposed third runway at Heathrow airport was unlawful because it failed to consider the Paris Agreement, was overturned by the UK Supreme Court. The airport can now apply for planning permission for its proposed expansion, which will still be carefully considered in light of the UK government’s pledges to cut emissions, including its commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Cases to watch in 2022 And, finally, here are some cases to watch out for in the coming year: • Oatly sues Glebe Farm over alleged trademark infringement. Both company’s products contain the word ‘oat’ in it, come in a milk-style carton with a blue finish and carry a teacup illustration. • Nike European Operations Netherlands & Converse Netherlands v Commission (State Aid) – Nike has allegedly been paying less tax than its competitors, which is a breach of EU state aid rules. • Ray-Ban is considering suing GrandVision for allegedly violating the terms of their €7 billion proposed acquisition agreement.



Getting the best careers advice

practical help and advice on applications and interviews; and opportunities to meet recruiters. If you are away from campus, you can usually get advice from your careers service by email, telephone or Skype. Use the extensive information available to you – it’s never too early to plan your legal career.” Puneet Tahim of diversity organisation Rare Recruitment advises playing to your university’s strengths: “If a university has a particularly active student law society that manages the recruitment events calendar and has an up-to-date website with information about firms and deadlines, you should become a member. Alternatively, you might attend a university where the careers service manages the events and have all of that information readily available.” Meanwhile, Andrew Pearson, a barrister at 7 King’s Bench Walk, advises trying to get help from those already in the legal profession: “Contacts are perhaps the most difficult, but the most useful people to talk to. When you’ve worked out the basics, ask your careers service whether they can put you in touch with someone who works in a field which interests you. The better the careers service, the more likely they are to be able to do so. This person will be able to give you very useful, focused advice. Make the most of it by working out what you want to know and by following up any help that you get with an appreciative email or note. That way they’ll be keen to help you again, or even to put you in touch with other people who might be able to give you advice or assistance.” A significant number of students come to the legal profession as career changers. In the first instance, they should contact their local university and see whether they can get careers advice under the mutual aid scheme. Most universities are happy to provide any graduate with a period of assistance – in some cases, up to three years. They may find the

Competition for work experience, training contracts and pupillages is high, as are the costs and time demands of studying for legal qualifications, so it is important to have access to good careers advice. It’s never too early to seek careers advice. You really do need it from the very beginning to be in the know about careers fairs, open days, campus presentations and crucial work placement scheme/mini-pupillage deadlines.

Available help Use every resource on offer at your

university/college careers service to make yourself as informed as possible. Careers service resources include: • details of law fairs with visiting firms of solicitors and postgraduate course providers, and law firm open days; • a programme of campus visits by firms; • workshops on applications/CVs and interview technique; • names of people in the profession who are willing to talk to you (eg, former students who are now practising law); • up-to-date files on employers; • information leaflets and brochures; • recruitment literature for firms and prospectuses for postgraduate courses; and • copies of the trade press and The LawCareers.Net Handbook to keep you abreast of the legal scene. Your adviser should also be able to give you some individual help with improving your CV, written applications and interview technique (eg, assisting with mock interviews). Careers advisers may also be able to help organise work experience. Claire Leslie, skills and careers adviser at The University of Law, says: “Your careers service should offer you the following: one-to-one advice to help you decide the direction you should take and when things need to be done;


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