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Law for dummies?

Law firms must ensure their methods of trainee selection keep the UK as the leader of legal expertise

28 August 2015

News has come from across the Atlantic that the academic standard of lawyers entering the profession is dropping. At least that appeared to be the case last year, when the pass rate for many bar exams was lowered by up to 15 per cent. As trainee recruitment comes to an end for another year, my experiences of UK law student talent are far from those of our American cousins.

Around 50,000 students take the bar exam in the US each year. The exam is created by a team of volunteer academics, lawyers, and judges and is a two-day test, taking into account written answers as well as multiple choice questions. Unlike the system here, these two days can make or break a legal career at the end of a three-year, US$120,000 course. Although re-sits may be taken, at a cost of upwards of $800, second-attempts are not acceptable to some law firms.

Suggestions have been made that the bar exam itself was to blame for ...

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