The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

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Foreword

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

Amanda Pinto QC Chair of the Bar

It is no surprise that I recommend my job to people because the Bar offers one of the most rewarding, varied and stimulating careers there is. 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 .

It gives me great pleasure to once again welcome you to The LawCareers.Net Handbook. The reputation of our legal profession is one of the best in the world, and we want to continue playing our part in making sure all would-be solicitors have reached the high standards expected of them before entering the profession. We plan to introduce the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) in September 2021. This will make sure that, regardless of the training route potential solicitors choose, everyone has developed their skills and expertise to a consistent, high standard. What does this mean for you? It opens up the ways you choose qualify – where you gain your skills and knowledge is up to you based on your circumstances. If you have yet to map out your training, go to our Career in Law Facebook page, it should prove useful. And if you’ve already made your decision, our transition arrangements make sure everyone is catered for.

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

experience needed to become a barrister. The pupillage application process is very 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 to help you decide to which area of practice you may be most suited. 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.

However you choose to qualify as a lawyer, I wish you all the best in your training.

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THE LAWCAREERS.NET HANDBOOK

Becoming a lawyer

Work experience

Postgraduate training

Solicitors

Training contract directory

Barristers

Pupillage directory

Useful information

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5

How to use this book Solicitor v barrister Career timetable

Key competencies

7

28 30 34 39 44 46 52

Commercial awareness Application technique Interview technique

10 13 14 19 23 25 56 62 65 67

The legal scene

Getting the best careers advice Diversity in the profession

Scotland and Northern Ireland

Alternative careers

Choosing where to apply

Where did it all go wrong?

55

Work experience

LawWorks

Free Representation Unit

Vacation scheme insider reports 102 Firms that offer work placement schemes 106 Chambers that offer mini-pupillages

109

110 Postgraduate training 115 Financing the vocational courses 119 Course directory

127

129  The Law Society and the Junior Lawyers Division 131 The Solicitors Regulation Authority 133 The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives 136 Becoming a solicitor 138 Solicitor career timetable 196 How to use the training contract regional indexes and directory 197 Training contract regional indexes 267 Training contract directory

141 Types of law firm 143 Solicitor practice areas

195

423

424 The Bar Council 427 The Bar Standards Board 429 The Young Barristers’ Committee 432 Becoming a barrister 434 Barrister career timetable 436 Clerks 438 Types of chambers

441 Bar practice areas

485

486 How to use the pupillage index and directory 487 Pupillage index 499 Pupillage directory

549

550 Glossary 556 Useful addresses

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Managing director

Sinead Dineen Bethany Wren Beth Hawling Josh Richman Olivia Partridge

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Becoming a lawyer

How to use this book Solicitor v barrister

7

10 13 14 19

Career timetable The legal scene

Getting the best careers advice Diversity in the profession

23 25 28 30 34 39 44 46 52

Choosing where to apply

Key competencies

Commercial awareness Application technique Interview technique

Scotland and Northern Ireland

Alternative careers

Where did it all go wrong?

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THE LAWCAREERS.NET HANDBOOK

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 be done, youmust maintain an upward learning curve by regularly immersing yourself in the legal world and behaving, in effect, like a ‘mini lawyer’. You should read information provided specifically for aspiring lawyers such as LawCareers.Net’s newsletter, LCNWeekly, but also keep upwith the professional legal press (eg, The Lawyer and Legal Week ), the national and international business press (eg, the FT and The Economist ) and specialist websites such as LegalFutures.com. In doing so, youwill begin to recognise the key news, themes and debateswithin the profession, see how the different parts of the law relate to each other and identify leading figures and organisations. Check out “The legal scene” in the handbook as a jumping-off point; your goal is to be sufficiently well informed that you could hold your own in a conversation among lawyers and engage in topics such as: • What are the major developments in the legal profession over the last 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 (SQE)? • How have legal aid cuts impacted 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

The LawCareers.Net Handbook (LCNH) 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 one 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 need to 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

press archives and do some Google-based digging. Key questions to research are: • 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 v ambition)? What now? The rest of LCNH 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 LCNH can help you along the way.

for. The exact skill set may vary, but you 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 functionality 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 are only now getting to the stage of differentiating between employers. LCNH offers comprehensive listings of over 800 firms and nearly 200 chambers offering training contracts or pupillages. You can’t apply to them all, so you must refine your search – read “Types of law firm”, “Types of chambers” and “Choosing where to apply” as a start. Use the indexing pages to identify firms/chambers by size, practice areas and location. Ideally, you should be able to identify a market sector you are interested in (eg, leading commercial firms in North West England) and work out which firms/chambers fall into this classification. Their directory entries in LCNH are your springboard for further research. You then need to look at organisations’ own websites, explore legal

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Remember that youdon’t need to read thisbookcover tocover togetmaximumbenefit from it – it all dependsonwhat pathyouchoose, either beforeyouopenLCNHor as you read it. Thisdiagram illustrates thebasicprocessof usingLCNH, from initial research toapplying for a job–althoughdon’t forget that any specific informationyouneed that isnot coveredby thechaptersmentionedelsewhere in thediagram is likely tobe in themorespecialist chaptersof thebook. Thecolour scheme is thesame as thecolours used toseparateeachsectionof LCNH.

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

• Solicitor v barrister (p10) • Alternative careers (p46) • The legal scene (p14) • Becoming a solicitor (p136) • The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (p133) • Becoming a barrister (p432)

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 (p143)

• Types of law firm (p141) • Bar practice areas (p441) • Types of chambers (p438)

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

• Choosing where to apply (p25) • Application technique (p34) • Interview technique (p39)

• Getting the best careers advice (p19) • Trainingcontract directory (wholesection) • Pupillage directory (whole section)

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Solicitor v 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 huge 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 less 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 which 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.

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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 calling and the recognisable outfits reflect this. Solicitors’ dress is, by contrast, dull, dull, dull (even on Fridays).

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-knitted; it helps tobeable 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

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 – www.lawcareers.net/solicitors Barristers – www.lawcareers.net/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 career suits youbest rests on a number of factors concerning your abilities, temperament and – darewe say it – financial circumstances. Choosewisely.

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Solicitor v 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 June 2020, there were 149,621 practising solicitors. The total number of solicitors on the roll was 202,265.

Barristers As of 2019, 80% of barristers (ie, 13,434) were self-employed (not including those in dual practice, registered European lawyers or second six pupils). There were a total of 16,982 practising barristers. Around 37% of all practising barristers are women (ie, 6,389 women compared to 10,465 men). Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals make up 13% of all practising barristers (ie, 2,289). 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 £18,866 per annum in London and £16,322 outside of London. Many earn much more – upwards of £60,000 in some cases.

Women make up just over 50% of the profession. However, many fewer women than men are currently at partner level – an average split in private practice is 67%male partners compared to 33% female. Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals make up 21% of all solicitors. Mostly employed in private law firms, so receive 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 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 £35,000 upwards.

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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.

START HERE

GCSE

A level

Intermediate apprenticeship

Paralegal apprenticeship

CILEx Level 3 Certificate

Non-law degree

Law degree

Solicitor apprenticeship

Law conversion

CILEx Level 3 Diploma

CILEx Level 6

Chartered legal executive apprenticeship

Bar course

LPC

CILEx Fast Track

3 years’ qualifying employment

Pupillage Training contract

Solicitor

Chartered legal executive

Barrister

Paralegal

Equivalent means cross-qualification

Further reading For more on the solicitors’ career timetable, see p138. For more on the barristers’ career timetable, see p434. For more on the chartered legal executive timetable, see p133. For more on legal apprenticeships, pick up a copy of The Law Apprenticeships Guide 2021 . Change ahead: the Solicitors Qualifying Examination Anyone who starts an undergraduate degree after Autumn 2021 will have to take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination, a new two-stage assessment, plus two years’ qualifying work experience. The SQE replaces the LPC and means that a law degree or GDL are no longer compulsory – although you will probably need either a LLB or law conversion to have a chance of passing the SQE. For more information, read the “SRA chapter” on p131 and go to LawCareers.Net.

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The legal scene

paralegalson fixed-termcontracts insteadof moreexpensivesolicitors.

This chapter examines the key issues facing the UK legal profession in 2019-20 of which future lawyers should be aware, as well as the cases and mergers that have made the headlines. “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change,” a clear-sighted aristocrat observes in Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard , in what is a simple summation of a vastly complex issue that seems apt for today’s legal profession. In dozens of distinct specialisms, 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 impact on their work (find out more in “Solicitors’ practice areas” and “Barristers’ practice areas”). Of these, five key issues are pressurising the whole sector and driving profession-wide change in various ways. They can be divided into: • external factors – technology, the near- collapse of legal aid and Brexit; and • internal issues – equality and diversity in the profession, and changes to the way solicitors and barristers are trained. Tech and innovation Inhis influential book Tomorrow’sLawyersand TheFutureof theProfession s, leading legal thinkerRichardSusskindobserveshowduring the “technological revolution” that swept the manufacturing industryover 20yearsago, manufacturers turned toexternal providers to assembleproductsandpartsat a lower cost using technology. Asadvances inartificial intelligence (AI) andautomationcreate revolutionarynew possibilities (andchallenges) for the legal profession, this trendhas repeated itself.Many firmshaveoutsourceddocument reviewand legal research tasks, plusnon fee-earningpartsof the businesssuchasHRand recruitment. Firms feel pressure tocut costsasclientsdemandevermore competitive feesandaddedvalue, whichhasalso resulted in thewidespreadpracticeof employing

The real challenge for lawyers is todevelopnew, tech-basedways of delivering legal services as technology drives newways of doing the same tasks. Solicitors, barristers and legal executives will still beneeded, but clients inpursuit of cheaper, faster services are likely to sacrifice thehuman touch altogether formany basic legal functions in favour of an automatedoffering. The demand for change fromthepublic is certainly there – in a survey by theSolicitorsRegulation Authority (SRA) released in June2019, 58%of respondents felt that the legal system is “not set up for ordinary people.” Thebiggest barrier toaccessing legal advicewas costs, with68% saying that theywouldnot be able toaccess help because they can’t afford it. TheSRAhas pointed to thecheaper services enabledby technology as away ofmitigating thewidespread lack of access to legal advice. The roleof traineesolicitors is alreadybeing adapted toembrace technology. Junior solicitors and traineeshave traditionallydraftedsimple contracts and revieweddocuments, but this type ofwork isbecoming increasingly automated. Now, trainees aremore likely tomanage the processof referring the initial document review toa thirdparty that does thework at a lower cost, undertakinga secondary reviewof thedocument later.Management skills andanunderstanding of technology –andhowto resolve technical problems –are increasingly important skills. Access to justice This year theUnitedNations (UN) sent its special rapporteur onpoverty andhuman rights, Philip Alston, ona fact-finding tour of theUK. His final reportwas anexcoriatingcritiqueof theausterity policies pursuedby successivegovernments over thepast nine years, which theUNwere told have resulted in “the systematic immiseration ofmillions acrossGreat Britain”. Emphasiswas given to the legal aidcuts introducedby theLegal Aid, SentencingandPunishment ofOffenders

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plenty of work to do in all kinds of areas – from immigration to commercial law and much else besides. In fact, Brexit has already generated a lot of demand for lawyers. Meanwhile, some international City practices would feel little impact in any Brexit scenario because their clients are largely based outside both the UK and the EU. However, for many lawyers, the impact could be much more serious. At the time of this book going to print, the UK is weeks away from leaving the European Union on 31 October, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted must happen with or without a trade agreement being reached with the remaining 27 EU member states. If the UK exits without a deal, UK lawyers will no longer have the automatic right to represent clients in the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg and will instead have to try to secure audience rights through other means. There are various ways around the issue that may involve residency rights, citizenship and even taking exams, but no common solution. “A hard Brexit thanks to Boris Johnson means that those British lawyers without a workable and robust solution will lose their legal professional privilege and audience rights,” Trevor Soames, a competition lawyer at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan told Bloomberg in July. “Those working from London without a credible Brussels presence will lose out as I doubt international, non-UK, clients will go to London-based lawyers for Brussels-related work.” Brexit is an issue that many of us follow daily and are simultaneously completely sick of, so we’ll keep this section relatively brief, but clearly, those interested in working in the law should be engaged with the subject over the months and years ahead. Diversity in the profession Looking inwards, the legal profession isstill nowherenear asdiverseor asaccessible to the rangeof people that it shouldbe, especially the

Act 2012, which removed financial support for thoseunable toafford legal advice inmost cases involvinghousing, welfare, medical negligence, employment, debt and immigration. Inother words, as the report states, “access to thecourts for lower-incomegroups has beendramatically rolledback.” The conclusion of Alston’s report is shocking: “The number of civil legal aid cases declined by a staggering 82%between 2010–2011 and 2017–2018. As a result, many poor people are unable to effectively claimand enforce their rights, have lost access to critical support, and some have even reportedly lost custody of their children. Lack of access to legal aid also exacerbates extreme poverty, since justiciable problems that could have been resolvedwith legal representation go unaddressed.” In employment law, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has warned that legal aid cuts are allowing employers to get away with discrimination. Alongside removing employment tribunal claims from the scope of funding, legal aid applicants must go through a mandatory telephone gateway, which rejects tens of thousands of cases on the basis of a single phone call. Figures reported by the LawGazette show that from 2013-2018, over 33,000 calls alleging discrimination were made to the gateway service, but only 1,600 received face-to-face legal advice. Proving financial eligibility is onerous, an issue worsened by the fact that many legal aid applicants are employed on zero-hour contracts, which make finances more complicated. “Challenging such complex issues as discrimination should never be a ‘David vs Goliath’ battle,” said the commission’s chair, David Isaac. “The system is failing if individuals are left to fight cases themselves at an employment tribunal or in court.” Brexit Whatever the results of Brexit, the good news for lawyers is that there will always be

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The legal scene

What should focus minds are the gender pay gaps at firms across the profession, but particularly at the largest and wealthiest firms. An analysis by The Times shows that women working at the 10 largest firms are being paid 43% less on average than their male colleagues. The national median average wage gap is 9.6%. BAME representation at the Bar Just under 13%of practisingbarristers in2018 were fromBAMEbackgrounds, according to the Bar StandardsBoard (BSB), with the figure rising to 16%amongpupil barristers. On the surface, itmight seemthat inaccessibility at theBar is a smaller problemthan it ismadeout tobe, as at the last Census in2011, 14%of theUKpopulation wasBAME– roughly in linewithpupillage figures. But adeeper look at BPTCgraduate andpupillage figures reveals adifferent picture. BPTCstudent andblogger, BlessingMukosha Park, toldLawCareers.Net in June: “I havehad a lot of rejections inmyquest for pupillageand have lost count of thenumber of times that I’ve been told ‘don’tworry, it’s anumbers game’ in the feedback I’ve received, butwhen you look at the statistics, that explanationbecomesmuch harder toprocess. According to theBSB, of the 1,351 peoplecalled to theBar in2017-18, 741were fromBAMEbackgrounds and586 werewhite. Compare this to thenumberswho startedpupillage in the sameperiod, which show therewere just 71 BAME first-sixpupils to390 whitepupils. These figures further reinforce the extremely unfortunateperceptionof theBar as anelitist institution that favours aparticular social andeconomicbackground.” Research by the BSB shows that last year, 84% of white candidates with a first-class degree and an ‘outstanding’ BPTC grade secured pupillage, compared with 71% of BAME candidates with the same grades. Among those with a 2:1, 44% of white candidates gained pupillage compared with just 23% of BAME candidates. And among those with a 2:2, 26% of white candidates

Bar, although important progresshasbeen (and is being)made insomeareas.

BAME representation in the solicitors’ profession Some 21%of solicitors inEngland andWales have aBAMEbackground, according to the SolicitorsRegulationAuthority’s (SRA) latest statistics, with little variation according to seniority – 20%of partners in law firms are alsoBAME. However, there are differences in representation at senior levelswhen looking at firms by size. The largest firms (50ormore partners) have the lowest proportion of BAME partners – only 8%. This contrastswith small single-partner firms, 34%of which are run by a solicitor fromaBAMEbackground. The overall proportion of BAME partners in law firms has remained the same since 2014, which reinforces the perception among critics and equality advocates that the elite end of the solicitors’ profession still has a lot to do to show that it is serious about equal representation. Gender equality in the solicitors’ profession According to theLawSociety, womenhavemade upmore than60%of entrants into the solicitors’ profession since 1990.Womenmakeup just over half of practisingsolicitors, but only27% of partners inprivatepractice. Clearly, lawfirms need todomore topromoteand retainwomen to reverse the trend–highlynoticeablewithin some organisations –ofwomen leavingpracticeafter havingchildren. Flexible and agile working, mentoring and networking are vital aspects of that process and many law firms are increasingly adopting all three. Another measure that the profession is attempting involves specific gender targets, which the Women in Law pledge, launched by the Law Society, Bar Council and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, demands of firms that sign up. Of course, with the pledge only voluntary, its effectiveness remains to be seen.

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the stock market by multinational firm DWF. The Manchester-headquartered firm was also involved in two overseas tie-ups, merging with Korosidis Lawyers to expand its offering in Australia, as well as K&L Gates Jamka, establishing the firm’s first office in Poland. In the UK market, Penningtons Manches merged with shipping specialist Thomas Cooper. The combination has been influenced by Brexit; by bringing two sets of international offices under one umbrella, the £91 million-valued Penningtons Manches Cooper is well placed to serve a global client base and maintain access to Europe. Other mergers may also have had Brexit in mind, such as Fieldfisher with Dublin- based McDowell Purcell and Ince Gordon Dadds with Gibraltar-based Rampart Corporate Advisors. Legal developments – talking points Drones New laws on the use of drones come into effect from November 2019, in response to the shutdown of Heathrow Airport during a peak time in the winter holidays in 2018 after an unknown person repeatedly flew a drone into the airport’s airspace. The new laws will make it illegal to fly a drone weighing more than 250g without first registering with the Civil Aviation Authority and passing online safety tests.

were still able to secure pupillage in contrast to 8% of BAME candidates.

Gender equality at the Bar The barriers facing women at the Bar – and some of the solutions to those barriers – are similar to those faced by women solicitors. According to a report by Suzanne McKie QC, a former barrister, and Ruth Whittaker, senior paralegal at specialist discrimination firm Farore Law, there is a “macho culture that can pervade chambers,” while “fewer women tend to move from call to practice and have a higher attrition rate once in practice (with the proportion of women falling as seniority increases).” Aserious issueat somechambers isunequal workallocation, withmalebarristers treated preferentially in theassignment of newcases byclerks. TheBSBhasproduced tools toassist chambers in theirmonitoringofworkallocationas part of itsequalityanddiversity ruleshandbook. Someare takingamoreproactiveapproach, such asmagiccircle firmFreshfields, which recently launched itsnetworkingscheme for solicitorsof all genders toconnectwithwomenbarristers, with theaimof increasing instructionsandclient recommendations towomenadvocates. Changes to solicitor and barrister training Whether you aim to become a solicitor or barrister, training is set to change over the next couple of years. For aspiring solicitors, the LPCwill be replaced with the new two- part Solicitors Qualifying Exam in September 2021, while budding barristers will be able to take new, cheaper Bar courses instead of the BPTC fromSeptember 2020, including a new programme being provided by the Inns of Court College of Advocacy. (Find out more about the changes in the “Postgraduate training”, “SRA” and “Bar Standards Board” chapters.) Mergers There have been 12 mergers in the solicitors’ profession in 2019, as well as a major float on

Supermarket equal pay claims The battle being fought by women

supermarket employees to secure equal pay with their male colleagues is creating shockwaves in employment law. Law firm Leigh Day is representing tens of thousands of store-based workers at the ‘big four’ supermarkets – Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda – as they fight in the courts to be paid equally to their warehouse-based colleagues. Women make up most store staff, while men make up the majority of warehouse workers. The

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The legal scene

New precedent set for vulnerable renters Birmingham City Council was ordered by the Supreme Court to change its decision to declare a single mother of four “intentionally homeless” because she could not afford to pay her rent. The unanimous ruling in June 2019 creates an important precedent which expands the housing responsibilities of local authorities. The judgment also highlights how the Legal Aid Agency repeatedly refused to support the woman’s appeal even though she was in immediate danger of being evicted onto the street.

supermarkets have tried to block the claims, in some cases on trivial technicalities, but have so far failed. The battle continues and if they eventually lose, supermarkets could find themselves liable for billions of pounds’ worth of claims from unfairly paid employees. Anonymity for sex offence suspects? Singer Sir Cliff Richard and others are calling for a “re-balancing of the legal system” to ban the media from reporting the names of people accused of sex offences before they are charged. The BBC filmed a police raid of Richard’s home on suspicion of sexual assault, but he was never arrested and successfully sued the corporation for breach of privacy. However, MP and barrister Harriet Harman has pointed out that the law already bans police from naming crime suspects “save in exceptional circumstances where there is a legitimate policing purpose to do so.” Harman argues that the focus should be on ensuring that the police adhere to the existing guidelines, which officers clearly failed to do when investigating Richard. Major cases Here is a minuscule sample of the many important and fascinating cases heard in UK courts in 2019. UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia InJune2019campaignerswona legal challenge to thegovernment’sdecision tocontinueselling weapons toSaudi Arabia, which isengaged in the civil war inYemen. TheCourt of Appeal ruled the continuationof arms sales, includingTyphoon jets andprecision-guidedbombs, tobeunlawful, although judges said that licences shouldbe reviewedbut not immediately suspended. The ruling isablowto theUKarms industry, whichsells 40%of itsexports toSaudi Arabia. According to theUN, Saudi Arabiahasbeen involved in serioushuman rights violationsduring its conduct of thewar, including thedeliberate targetingof Yemeni civilians.

Free speech campaigners welcome libel ruling

It might seem strange to see free speech advocates celebrating two newspapers losing a libel appeal in the Supreme Court, but that is exactly what happened earlier this year when French aerospace engineer Bruno Lachaux won his case against the Independent and the Evening Standard , both owned by oligarch Evgeny Lebedev. The newspapers had libelled Lachaux while reporting on his lengthy divorce battle with ex-wife Afsana Lachaux. The case was a major test of libel laws in England and Wales, and although Lachaux won damages, free speech campaigners welcomed the outcome because it established that claimants must now prove “serious harm” to their reputations to bring a successful libel case.

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Getting the best careers advice

advisers may also be able to help organise work experience.

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 in order to be in the know about careers fairs, open days, campus presentations and crucial work placement scheme/mini- pupillage deadlines. All the careers advisers that LawCareers.Net speaks to are incredibly committed people with the best interests of the students at heart; but some students do not use them as effectively as they could – make the most of the valuable services available to you at university, college or law school.

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; 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.”

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

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Getting the best careers advice

your careers service comes in. We can help and guide you right from the beginning – don’t think that you can only go and see an adviser if you already know what you want to do! Obviously, we’re also there to help at the next stage of actually applying: targeting, CVs/ forms and interview technique.” Dick’s top tips are as follows: “Not only make sure that your writing is clear and grammatically correct in your application, but also provide actual evidence for your statements, be yourself at interview and be honest at all times.” Got what it takes? A careers adviser should give you honest and constructive feedback. One London barrister agrees on its importance: “Students should think about whether they stand a realistic chance of obtaining pupillage and forging a career at the Bar. If not, they should seriously consider whether it is worth undertaking a Bar course, with its attendant costs.” To secure a training contract or pupillage you must have the following qualities and skills: • Academic ability – the job is intellectually rigorous and demands clear and lucid analysis, and the ability to learn and process and large amounts of information. Most top-paying employers require at least a 2.1 degree and excellent A-level grades. • Interpersonal skills – it is vital that you can interact with colleagues and clients alike to engender confidence, form lasting relationships and clearly explain complex situations. • Communication skills (written and verbal) – lawyers spend much of their time talking to clients and drafting documents. The use of clear and succinct language is appreciated by all. • Personal responsibility and integrity – be true to yourself and ensure your conduct is always professional and ethical. But academic ability and great communication skills are not enough on their own – you also need to show that you are commercially

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 careers service particularly useful in terms of obtaining tailored advice on ways to present previous experience to the greatest effect. Access valuable information and advice on a wide range of legal recruitment and study issues on LawCareers.Net. Head to ‘TheOracle’ section of the site - as its name suggests, this is home to lots of advice and wisdom.

Common advice Dates and deadlines

Stay clued-up about on-campus events and application deadlines. Laura Newton, a barrister at Brick Court Chambers , says: “Use your university/law school website as a first port of call. You will be able to stay on top of events and deadlines by setting up a Twitter account and following accounts such as LawCareers.Net, Pupillage & How to Get It, your career advice centres and the sets or firms you are interested in.” Puneet says: “It’s pretty simple these days to keep on top of deadlines and events, as most firms will heavily publicise these on their own websites as well as on the university careers websites.” Don’t rush Dick Lidwell, freelance careers adviser and former careers adviser at the University of Oxford , advises against panicking if you are still uncertain as to which legal path to take: “If you’re not sure whether it’s a barrister or solicitor you want to be, don’t rush into it. Take the time to explore; you can always come into the system a bit later. There’s no point applying until you know, and this is where

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