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International symposium makes 'major contribution' to LETR review

A well-attended symposium, which provided a platform to debate some of the key issues emerging from the wide-ranging Legal Education and Training Review (LETR), has made a "major contribution" to the review, says research team lead, Professor Julian Webb.

More than 100 regulators, education and training providers, legal services practitioners and commentators attended the two-day event in Manchester, which was held to allow stakeholders to comment on matters addressed by the Review and to help shape the direction of travel.

The symposium attracted an international audience and respected eminent speakers, including New South Wales Legal Services Commissioner Steve Mark, and Professor Wesley Pue, an expert in comparative legal professions from the University of British Columbia in Canada. Other speakers included author and independent adviser Professor Richard Susskind and Professor Julia Black, from the London School of Economics.

A broad range of parallel sessions provided an opportunity to discuss key issues such as how to shape future training programmes to support new business structures, workplace learning and discussion about ‘new' legal professions such as paralegals.

The event was co-hosted by Dame Janet Gaymer and Sir Mark Potter, co-chairs of the review's consultation steering panel.

Professor Julian Webb said: "By bringing together regulators, practitioners, students and educators for two days of focused, facilitated, discussion on the future of legal services education and training, the LETR Symposium has made a major contribution to the Review.

"The symposium has undoubtedly assisted the research team in clarifying a number of issues as we progress our next Discussion Paper, which is due to be published within the next month. In this we plan to develop in more detail the ways in which education and training may be used as a regulatory tool for assuring competence."

The LETR Review is the most fundamental review of legal education and training for a generation. It is being taken forward by the three main regulators of legal services in England and Wales: the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and ILEX Professional Standards (IPS).

The research team is due to deliver its final recommendations in late December 2012. It will then be up to the three regulators individually to take forward the proposals  

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