Briefing and Discussion Papers

The following papers were either intially produced for the Consultation Steering Panel or published directly, to demonstrate progress, guide discussion of and seek input on key concepts and issues for the Review.

LETR Discussion Papers are intended to identify trends and questions and to explore issues for the Review in a way that encourages response and debate. Three key discussion papers* for the progress of the Review have been published in March, April and August 2012.

LETR Briefing Papers are designed to provide information on important issues or concepts within the remit of the Review and to offer insight into the research work as it progresses.


Links to papers (by category):



Discussion Paper 02/2012 Key issues II: Developing the detail

Abstract:  This paper is the last of the four LETR Discussion Papers to be published as part of the research phase of the Review. It sets out to (a) identify short-term future trends in the delivery of legal services and consider their implications for legal education and training (LET); (b) summarise responses to Discussion Paper 01/2012, relate them to findings emerging from the research team’s fieldwork and identify key issues for the Review; (c) offer some initial indications of solutions under consideration, and to highlight important aspects of the relatively high-level, structural work the research team is undertaking on the frameworks, standards and tools for regulating LET, and (d) seek further information, evidence and views from stakeholders on a range of specific questions raised by the research team’s work to date, and on the future direction of LET.

Deadline for responses: 23 October 2012.

To download a Word document containing the full set of questions for discussion, click Response to LETR Discussion Paper 02/2012.

 Discussion Paper 02/2011 Equality, diversity and social mobility

Abstract:  this paper offers a general map of the sector in terms of its demographic composition, drawing primarily on the literature reviewed as part of Phase 1 of LETR. It explores the ways in which existing education and training practices might constitute initial and continuing barriers to access, and are hence a potential constraint on diversity and social mobility,  and identifies a range of questions to which we would welcome responses from stakeholders and other interested parties. Deadline for responses: 2 July 2012.

To download a Word document containing the full set of questions for discussion, click Response to LETR Discussion Paper 02.

Discussion-Paper-012012 Key Issues (1): Call for evidence

Abstract: this paper provides a brief description of the context for the Review, focussing particularly on the current regulatory framework, and discusses emerging issues from the work undertaken to date. The paper then describes some of the key strengths and weaknesses of the current system, and seeks to establish a relatively high-level consensus on what needs to change. While comments on any aspect of this paper are welcome, the following are topics on which the research team would be particularly interested in receiving views, analysis and evidence: The extent to which the overarching structure of LET is or is not ‘fit for purpose’; any weaknesses that exist in respect of the existing stages in LET, and the extent to which there is willingness to consider radical change in the LET system; and the extent to which the objectives and assumptions of the Legal Services Act (LSA) and the moves to Outcomes Focussed Regulation may be creating new or additional problems for the regulation of LET. Deadline for responses: 10 May 2012.



Briefing Paper 4/2012  Symposium Briefing Paper

Abstract: This paper summarises the presentations and key themes arising from the discussions that took place in the panel sessions at the LETR Symposium in July 2012. It also presents a summary of the responses given by delegates when discussing three alternative scenarios for the future regulation of legal education and training in England and Wales. These responses constituted part of the evidence base that informed  the second discussion paper produced by the research team: Discussion Paper 02/2012: Key Issues II- Developing the Detail.

Briefing Paper 3/2012 Provocations and Perspectives by Professor Richard Susskind OBE

Abstract: In this paper LETR Consultant Richard Susskind explores a range of issues and challenges facing the Review. He predicts that the next 30 years are  likely to offer “immeasurably greater upheaval” in the legal services market. In this context the Review is a critical opportunity to invent the future. In so doing we need to focus on three things: what is changing, what the purposes of education and training should be, and the considerable impact of IT on the delivery of both legal services and legal education and training. The paper goes on to highlight, among other things, the following needs:

  • to develop a new generation of ‘hybrid professionals’
  • to create opprtunities for students to study current and future trends in legal services, and to develop new skills, such as risk and project management
  • to address key training problems for the profession as clients become less willing to subsidise training, and traditional trainee work becomes less available as a consequence of outsourcing, etc.
  • to develop tools and cultures that support just-in-time rather than just-in case learning
  • to ensure that all law students have the opportunity to develop a ‘thick understanding’ of law, its theory, history, structure and impact on society
  • to reduce the missed opportunities for research, collaboration and training that arise from existing gaps between academics and practitioners
  • to create a formal structure that will facilitate the systematic appraisal of the education and training system and training needs every three to five years

Briefing Paper 2/2012  Future workforce demand in the Legal Services sector

Abstract: This report, produced by Professor Rob Wilson of Warwick Institute of Employment Research (IER), examines the changing pattern of legal employment through employment projections for the Legal Services sector in England and Wales. The projections are based primarily on official statistics. The paper  is divided into two parts: a summary report which highlights the main quantitative findings from this study and speculates on their implications for the future of legal services education and training, and a fuller technical report which sets out a baseline of quantitative information about the changing workforce over the decade to 2020, and identifies some gaps in and limits of existing data on the legal services workforce.

Briefing Paper 1/2012 Knowledge, skills and attitudes required for practice at present

Abstract: this paper draws on previous studies and on current standards and competence this paper draws on previous studies and on current standards and competence frameworks used by a cross-section of regulators, professional bodies and employers in the field to identify a range of knowledge, skills and attitudes for paralegal practice, and for professional practice at point of qualification and post-qualification. The results are presented as a set of broad taxonomies for each of these ”levels” (broadly defined). This initial evaluation also identifies a range of generic skills, knowledge, behaviours and attitudes that may be missing from the existing frameworks and regulatory structure.


Briefing Paper 01/2011 Competence

Abstract: Current legal education and training models in England and Wales rely only  in part on loose competence frameworks. Although a revised competence system or outcomes statements will not be a direct output of the LETR research, it is important to understand the basic strengths and weaknesses of competence-based models in evaluating possible ways forward for the regulation of legal education and training. This briefing paper thus provides a guide to the notion of competence and the way it is used in competence-based systems of learning.  It outlines the key issues concerning competence and the use of competencies, and cautions against the assumption that competence-based approaches are largely accepted and unproblematic.