I was recently contacted by the Law Society Gazette to discuss information which has come to the attention of the Junior Lawyers Division regarding the exploitation of students, trainees and newly qualified lawyers. I provided some general comment which made the front page lead story. It can be viewed online here: http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/trainee-solicitors-039exploitated039-afer-qualification.story
The story has been picked up by a number of other legal sites including solictr.com (http://www.solicitr.com/2010/02/12/trainee-solicitors-exploited-after-qualification-whats-new/ ).
The JLD have been aware of the increasing number of LPC places year on year and the rising cost of legal education. Sadly, exploitation of junior lawyers seems to be an inevitability unless the Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority do something to limit the number of applicants to the profession each year. It is difficult to criticise law firms who are faced with multiple daily requests for work experience, training contracts and speculative job applications.
Unfortunately the ultimate result will be that the legal profession once again becomes the reserve of the wealthy. Regardless of commitment, skill and passion, those with the contacts, the elite education and the background will once again dominate legal services. Let’s hope the governing bodies come to their senses and do what they can to avoid what at the moment seems like an inevitable conclusion.