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More solicitors needed for judicial posts

2 October 2009

The Judicial Appointments Commission is hoping to attract solicitors’ interest for 193 deputy district judge positions and 40 recorder vacancies.

The selection process for the DDJs jobs, paid £468 per day, opened on 1 October and will run until 22 October. Recruitment for the recorders, paid £583 a day, should start on 8 October.

The JAC has generally been encouraging more solicitors to apply but research it had carried out by the British Market Research Bureau still shows that a large number of solicitors feel they do not have the backing from the firm.

According to the research, only one in ten solicitors is “very likely” to apply, compared with three in ten for barristers.

The aspiration gap, the research found, was the main difference between barristers and solicitors, with 80 per cent of barristers saying they would get support from their chambers compared with only 45 per cent of solicitors who said they would probably receive help from their firms.

There was also a perception, particularly with solicitors in firms with more than 26 partners, that becoming a judge was a move one would make towards the end of your career.

This, though, was a false impression that the JAC is keen to dispel, insisting that full-time judicial posts require a probationary period where lawyers have been sitting part time to get the necessary experience.

Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, made the point earlier this year, saying that solicitors who considered becoming full-time judges should gain part-time experience first.

He also said that they should be supported by their professional partners if they wanted to apply for judicial positions.

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