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Would standardised solicitors test reduce negligence claims?

When someone seeks the assistance of a solicitor to resolve a legal matter, there is no question that most seek the most qualified solicitor available. But just how is that determined? If the Solicitors Regulation Authority moves ahead with a plan, that may become easier. The organisation is looking into the creation an assessment that to practice, all solicitors would have to pass.

Currently, in addition to word of mouth the schools solicitors attended may be taken into account. This approach could be misleading for multiple reasons however, including the fact that the exams at the universities vary widely. This makes it difficult to compare one institution to another. In addition, because the legal practice course is expensive, it can be hard for those who do not have funds, or a training contract with a large firm, to cover the costs.

According to the regulator’s Director of Education and Training, it is possible the lack of a standardised assessment could have an impact on consumers as well. Annually, negligence claims filed against law firms result in 10 percent of firms paying damages. Requiring that everyone have a certain level of knowledge could possibly reduce this number.

Requiring the passage of an assessment before being allowed to practice is not a new idea. Other nations such as the United States already have a test in place. In addition, at one point in the UK, there actually was an exam in place. The Law Society Finals were discontinued in 1993.

Whether the plan will succeed remains to be seen. We will provide updates on the matter as they become available.

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Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) SRA number 48369