Pleased to have made it to saturday! Even by our current standards its been a big week for the LETR research team. I don’t normally bore folk with the details, but I thought today I’d give you an insight into the scale and scope of what we are doing.
Monday saw the launch of our online questionnaire. Its a complex instrument, with lots of different pathways (‘pipes’ in the jargon) for different groups of respondents, and has been under development for a while. As usual everyone on the team has had a hand in developing and testing this, but its particularly thanks to Simon Thomson and Avrom Sherr that its out there. If you haven’t responded yet, the link is on the LETR website; we really do want to hear from as broad a range of people as possible – including consumers of legal services, as well as the usual suspects.
We have also started our research work this week with the approved regulators – although the BSB, SRA, and IPS are funding and (in a sense) overseeing what we do, they, and the other approved regulators, are also part of what we are researching – they have data on the profession, they have views on what’s working and not working and their own perspectives on the role of education and training as a regulatory tool. This is all grist to our mill.
We have also had a number of important events and meetings. On Monday I spoke at a briefing event at Herbert Smiths on LETR and legal apprenticeships for the Legal Education and Training Group (with excellent presentations from Charles Welsh from Skills for Justice and Jenny Pelling of ITS). Yesterday Jane Ching, Simon T and I met with senior representatives from the Inns of Court at a meeting we had arranged at the Inner Temple. There were moments when being cross-examined by three senior members of the judiciary, the Treasurers and/or Under Treasurers of most of the Inns and a bevy of senior QCs did feel like being hit by a very skillfully and courteously directed bus! Nevertheless it was, I think, an extremely valuable meeting for all of us, and a re-match is being planned. Our particular thanks to Fiona Fulton and Anthony Dursi for organising this, and setting up a focus group of junior barristers to follow on from the meeting. And then, of course, on Thursday, there was the Nottingham Law School legal education debate, which marked the launch of Nottingham’s new Centre for Legal Education – led by Becky Huxley-Binns and our own Jane Ching. The morning saw a lively debate, chaired by Baroness Ruth Deech, and attended by a good mix of practitioners, students and academics. The debate itseld has been blogged by Paul Maharg, but it was also well attended by the twitterati, who provided a really lively real-time counterpoint to the live event, generating over 500 tweets over the course of the day (BILETA have produced some great stats on this – here). As Michael Thomson
(@ekbusinesslaw) observed, “a great example of knowledge sharing & learning from other law tutors”. In the afternoon Jane, Paul and I delivered another briefing on LETR, and got participants to engage with us on a range of questions raised by the Review.
A particular mention in LETR dispatches has to go to Jane Ching this week – Jane was out every day on LETR business – CILEx on Monday, research focus group in London on Tuesday, IPReg (with Avrom) on Wednesday, NLS debate on Thursday and back in London at Inner Temple yesterday – a definite star turn, particularly when you recognise that we all still have a large part of our usual day jobs to do as well!
As for next week – rather less travelling and more reflection, consolidation of this week’s work, and preparation for next set of visits to the regulators, more focus groups and, particularly for Natalie Byrom and me, the development of our work with the unregulated sector….