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Archive for July, 2009

Good time to be a lawyer?

There is a certain irony  that the  Bar Standard Board could be forced to abandon plans to introduce a compulsory aptitude test designed to reduce the number of people taking the Bar Vocational Course  after The Office of Fair Trading ‘dubbed it’ anti-competitive earlier this week. (The Lawyer)

Far be it from me, a blogger who spends a lot of his time with his wine supplier, to suggest that the OFT may actually have got this wrong. But…  I think the Bar Standards Board have got it right by introducing an aptitude test to give students a realistic idea in advance of spending a great deal of money as to whether they have a realistic prospect of making a decent career at the Bar.  There are far too many people chasing too few tenancies.  This is unlikely to improve in the current climate and may well not improve at all given that we are unlikely to return to the heady days of the past fifteen or so years bull run. While law schools will solemnly give students warnings about the difficulties they face, it is a bit like asking turkeys what their plans for the Christmas holidays are to leave entry to a Bar exam course to the law schools.  I would make the same point about LPC providers. 7000 LPC students taking less than 6000 training contracts is not an ideal situation for students in the bottom 1000.

By the same token – full marks to The Law Society for taking a pragmatic approach to the current difficulties by launching  a campaign warning students to think twice about embarking on a career in law (The Lawyer).

That said – the law has always been a competitive profession and if a student believes that he or she  possesses the qualities (the aptitude test will assist here) and knowing the risks, they are prepared to take the risk – the profession will benefit from that attitude and we should be wary of warning students off.  The public and private interest is best served by maintaining standards of excellence – and we do not want to see diversity or risk issues bring in a culture where no-one loses and there are no prizes.  Equality of opportunity to compete for the best education to allow competition for the best opportunities should be our goal – not some artifical construct where people are weeded out to cap numbers and control real markets.

Frankly – an idea few will like,  is to make the examinations for law a lot more difficult. That would weed out those who have little prospect of  a career in law and raise standards in universities… Oh… and get rid of this ludicrous idea where everyone should get an Upper Second or a First.  Degree inflation is a farce…..  I’ll get my coat.

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29th July: News up on Insite Law

29th July: News up on Insite Law

Check out the new law news feeds, the news from the profession and ICLR law report feeds – also archived on a searchable new blog.

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Lawcast 152: Lord Falconer on assisted dying and the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Today I am talking to Lord Falconer, a former Lord Chancellor, about two important and interesting themes – assisted dying and his amendment to the Suicide Act defeated in the Lords recently and secondly his thoughts on the reasoning behind establishing a new Supreme Court and the direct it may, in time, take.

Lord Falconer became Lord Chancellor In 2003, with the remit of abolishing the office. His reform included the creation, for the first time, of a Supreme Court for the UK, the creation of a commission to appoint judges, making a full-time independent judge the Head of the Judiciary for England and Wales, and introducing an elected Speaker for the House of Lords.

Listen to the podcast

Podcast version for iTunes

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28 July: News, law reports, blogs updated on Insite Law

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I do like a bit of irony… and in the wake of my podcast with Dan Hull of Whataboutclients? only last Saturday where Dan put forward his very strong views that bloggers and those who comment on blogs should identify themselves and not hide behind a cloak of anonymity – there is a certain delicious irony and schadenfreude (for anonymous bloggers?) in finding, only a day later,  that our best known blog commenter, the lovely LawMinx,  awarded Dan one of her LawMinx blog awards. (I got one as well – and while I usually like to give awards to myself I was very pleased to receive it.)

The news today that Avon and Somerset Police force is issuing its female officers with head coverings to be used in places of worship to improve relations with Muslim communities (Independent) prompted, I’m afraid, rather dark thoughts about all forms of religion, about the stated purpose of Jihadists to not rest until the whole world knuckled under to Islam and even darker thoughts about moving to France where they have an extremely sensible attitude to SECULARISM.  I have been reading the work of Christopher Hitchens but I shall resist the temptation to write a peroration on the theme of atheism and the ills religion has caused the world in the last 2000 years.

So… I had a glass of Rioja and came up with the perfectly reasonable thought that if various communities, muslim, ethnic, Northern, Souther, Scots, Irish,  lagerlouts, clubbers etc etc etc, wanted better relations with the Police then it might be an idea for some of those community elders or parents of those who commit offences to tell their offspring to commit less crimes and show a bit of respect for the community and country we live in .  It was at this point that I went into the bedroom, opened the cupboard and was relieved to see that a Blazer and cravats had not appeared, as if by magic,  and that I had not joined a golf club.

Back later….

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Insite Law – major upgrade

I have almost completed the structural upgrade to Insite Law. Each weekday morning, and once over the weekend, Insite Law will be updated with editorial, Editor’s pick and all the important latest legal news from The Times, Telegraph, Independent,  Guardian, Ministry of Justice, Bar Council and The Law Society. the Law reports will also be updated daily.

The ICLR does not have an RSS feed – so I have created a website specifically for ICLR / WLR summaries and these will link to each summary as they are published by the ICLR.

Law Reports: I have collated RSS feeds from all the major free law reports and summaries covering cases from The House of Lords, Court of Appeal (Civil and Criminal) and all divisions of the High Court. These may be found here

I have created two new websites to serve up daily legal news and news from the Bar Council and The Law Society.

There are also news feeds from the Law Society Gazette and Legal Week on the Insite Law news page.

This – hopefully, will make it fairly easy for you to keep abreast of developments in news, law reports and the blogs in one easy stop.

Law books: And you can even buy the latest law books stocked by Wildy & Sons who sponsor Insite Law.  There is a new RSS feed to take you direct to their website.

All these resources are accessible through the Insite Law Homepage

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The Times: Dinghy sailors and canoeists to be subject to shipping laws

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