Aims of the study

1.7     This report is intended to assist the regulators in developing legal services education and training policy and practice by:

a)     assessing the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the existing systems of legal education and training across the regulated and unregulated sectors in England and Wales;

b)     identifying the skills, knowledge and attributes required by a range of legal service providers currently and in the future;

c)     assessing the potential to move to sector-wide outcomes for legal services education and training;

d)     assessing the potential extension of regulation of legal services education and training for the currently unregulated sector;

e)     making recommendations as to whether and, if so, how, the system of legal services education and training in England and Wales may be made more responsive to emerging needs;

f)     including suggestions and alternative models to assure that the system will support the delivery of:

  1. high quality, competitive and ethical legal services;
  2. flexible education and training options, responsive to the need for different career pathways, and capable of promoting diversity.

1.8     To achieve this, the research has focused primarily on the context, content, and systems and structures of legal services education and training:

  • The context – the report describes the current legal services and related regulatory environment, and identifies drivers for change that have the potential to shape workforce demand and development, including:
    • the impact of innovation in the development of new business models and approaches to delivery, and of new technologies in delivering both legal services and education and training;
    • trends within the international legal services market;
    • competition and movements in the intersections between regulated and unregulated legal services providers;
    • relevant changes to regulation, notably moves towards more outcomes-focused and/or principles-based regulation.
  • Content – the report sets out to identify and assess perceived gaps in the development of knowledge, skills and attributes in legal services education and training. These gaps are identified primarily by triangulating data from the available literature; qualitative and quantitative information generated by the LETR research among legal service providers (including employers); regulatory and representative bodies; trainees, students and teachers, and studies of client and consumer perceptions/needs.
  • Systems and structures – the primary focus has been on those aspects that are perceived positively to shape legal services education and training in England and Wales, or create barriers or adverse impacts in respect of:
    • the setting and maintenance of standards;
    • workforce supply and access to education and training;
    • progression within and transfer between regulated pathways;
    • the diversity of the regulated sector.