Law students still have confidence in the sector despite the recession, according to a survey by The College of Law. 15/10/2012
The annual survey of its students, in conjunction with The Times newspaper, revealed that more than 60% said the uncertainty in the economy had no impact on their decision to apply to law school with 14% even saying that it made them more likely to study law. However, 82% believe that the legal profession is socially exclusive.
The three most popular reasons for wanting to enter the legal profession were 'interesting and varied work', 'an interest in the law' and 'intellectual challenge'.
The survey was sent to all students on the College's Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), Legal Practice Course (LPC) and Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). It also went to students on its new two-year LL.B undergraduate law degree, which launched this year. The survey asked for their views on career aspirations, student debt, higher education changes and tuition fees, changes to the legal profession, politics and the economy.
More than 1,900 students responded, with three quarters feeling that higher tuition fees will deter the best talent from less affluent or non-traditional backgrounds from applying to university. However, 70% of graduates would still have opted to study a degree if tuition fees had been at £9,000 when they went to university.
Student's salary expectations on qualifying have increased. Aspiring solicitors now expect to earn an average of £37,600 compared with £37,200 in 2011. Would-be barristers' expected salary has increased slightly from £33,300 last year to £33,400.
The students were also asked for their thoughts on the ideas being discussed by the ongoing Legal Education and Training Review (LETR). Two thirds said they would still prefer to study for a degree even if students did not need to go to university to become a lawyer and could start work immediately after leaving school. Some 85% of undergraduates and 54% of postgraduates believe that the majority of law degrees are too academic and should include more vocational training.
Professor Nigel Savage, chief executive of The College of Law, said, 'I find it heartening that the students show such confidence in their future legal careers despite being realistic about the ongoing challenges faced by the UK economy. We should feel good that they want to join the legal services sector for the right reasons and I hope that our leaders shaping policy in the higher education and legal education sectors will listen to what they are saying.'
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