New measures to increase access to law jobs for the disadvantaged

The Law Society has said it will make a number of changes following Peart report

Measures to increase access to the law profession for trainees from poorer socio-economic backgrounds have been announced by the Law Society.

The organisation launched the Peart Commission Report on Wednesday, which was developed by an expert group chaired by Mr Justice Michael Peart of the Court of Appeal.

The report contains 30 recommendations setting out “a vision for the future of solicitor training” under the themes of “access, innovation, [and] streamlining”.

Publishing the report, the Law Society said more funding will be made available for its access programme, which pays fees and maintenance for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Almost 100 solicitors have qualified through the programme to date.


A part-time training course will also be provided for those wishing to qualify as solicitors in the future. This will enable people working full-time or who have childcare or other commitments to train as a solicitor.

The Law Society’s current use of digital educational technology will be “further developed”and modern skills and abilities will be integrated into the training course.

A new centre for teaching, development and innovation will be created, bringing together learning and development, technology, psychological services and innovation for trainee solicitors.

And a current two-part “sandwich course”, known as PPC1 and PPC2, will be changed into a more streamlined, single course.

More knowledgeable

Law Society director general Ken Murphy said clients were more knowledgeable than ever before and that the industry would have to change with the times.

“Training solicitors to meet any and all challenges they will face in their careers is some of the most important work the Law Society does,” he said. “The Law Society’s education model is deeply rooted in the public interest and focussed on the future.

“Today’s client is more knowledgeable and tech-savvy than ever before. The Law Society’s vision is to train 21st-century solicitors who will meet and exceed the exacting requirements of their clients and their firms.”

Mr Murphy added that implementing the Peart commission recommendations will have “several benefits”.

“It will further increase access to the profession for trainees across diverse educational, professional and socio-economic backgrounds and ensure the Law Society maintains its prominent position as an innovative professional legal educator globally,” he said.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter