We were delighted to be one of the headline sponsors of LegalEdCon 2021. The event took place virtually on the morning of Wednesday 19 May and the afternoon of Thursday 20 May. This year’s focus was the future of legal education and training after the pandemic. Topics included how remote learning and working can be blended with a gradual shift towards in-person interaction. Universities and law firms also shared details on how they have coped with the challenges of the last year.
On Wednesday, ULaw hosted the talk ‘Beyond the SQE: Developing the next generation of lawyers’. The discussion focused on hybrid working, diversity and inclusion, and the shape of legal training in the future. The panel featured:
Peter Arnold, Early Talent Development Manager at CMS
Maria Kell, Professional Support Lawyer at the BBC
Morette Jackson, Director of Business Development at ULaw
Patrick Johnson, Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at ULaw
ULaw’s Patrick said, “If we look at the law society, and look at their data and what they’re saying, the legal profession is quite diverse at the moment. Actually, we’re finding that males are underrepresented and females are over-represented when we’re looking at the working population. There’s a bigger challenge around disability and also thinking about social mobility and socio-economical background. I’ve seen this in other organisations as well as professions; on the surface and the face of it, things look quite diverse. We’re moving in a good direction but once you dig deeper and look at the details then it’s not as diverse as it would appear on the surface.
“I would say when I started out looking at diversity inclusion work and working within this space over 20 years ago, there was me knocking on doors and trying to get people to listen to me, to think about it. Now I feel it’s the other way around with me hiding under my table because there are so many people knocking on doors wanting to engage.”
As well as this, ULaw Associate Dean for Bloomsbury Sarah Corbett featured on a panel focused on the future of bar training after the pandemic.
On Thursday, Dean of our Leeds campus, Matt Tomlinson was on the panel ‘How law courses are proving their value’. Other speakers included:
Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham University Law School
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare
Christopher O'Connor, Head of Segment Marketing at LexisNexis
Paul McConnell, Director of Careers and Employability at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham
Chris Nichols, Director of Policy and Regulation at the Legal Services Board
Matt Tomlinson discussed our partnerships with other institutions that allow increased accessibility to our courses.
“It’s clear that every institution is looking to define its own value in the new era of SQE and how they’re achieving this is differing from one institution to the next. Law programmes have consistently increased in popularity in recent years and the market for prospective students is bigger than it ever has been. Within this market we have unique profiles of students and they identify value in different ways with their law degree. What law schools have done here is that they’ve built and developed around the profiles of students they’re wanting to attract, and they’ve invested a lot of time and resources in doing that. Over the past 10 years when we look back, we see a real diversification of the types of LLB programmes available to students. Universities have defined the value of those programmes in different ways. Traditional universities are focused on delivering academically focused programmes, often with this renowned specialism in a certain area of law. Other universities are using this as an opportunity to introduce more practical based LLBs. Speaking from ULaw, we’ve enjoyed huge success in that arena.”
Virtual networking booths were available after all the sessions to allow people to discuss the topics further.
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