Proposals to centralise the assessment of would-be solicitors in England and Wales are highly likely to increase the number, and broaden the range, of training providers in the market, according to a report published by the Bridge Group.
The report, based on 18 individual and group, semi-structured interviews (25 participants in total) with a representative range of employers and training providers, also found that Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) proposals to introduce a centralised assessment process would likely trigger the rise of new models of training, including new forms of online provision.
Commissioned by the SRA, the independent report concludes that, by broadening the range of training options for would-be solicitors, the proposals should enable students to “chart more flexible pathways” to qualification, thus supporting diversity in the legal profession.
By stimulating competition in the legal education training market, the SRA’s proposals may also put downward pressure on prices, thus reducing the impact of cost as a barrier to qualification, write the report’s authors.
The Bridge Group is a charitable policy association researching and promoting diversity in education and the professions in the United Kingdom.