AllAboutLaw Blog - the LPC and BPTC under Covid-19, the Windrush scandal and more

This week’s edition of the AllAboutLaw blog looks at the response of the legal industry to the spread of the Coronavirus, the projected development of the UK legal market, and the response to the publication of the Windrush scandal.

  • Last updated Mar 26, 2020 12:51:00 PM
  • Tuula Petersen
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How the legal industry is coping with Covid-19

The one thing on everyone’s mind at the moment is, unsurprisingly, Covid-19. This is particularly true in the legal profession, where concerns about the growing role of AI and government cuts are left on the back burner.

Last week, the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett, announced alongside ministers the postponement of trials listed to last more than three days. Lawyers were quick to react, stating that even trials lasting less than three days pose a significant risk due to the small and confined spaces in courtrooms.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening, the Supreme Court has proceeded to switch all hearings and judgements to video conferencing, while in the US, the court has banned members of the public to attend any hearings.

After some pressure from a number of bodies including the JLD, the SRA has reinstated the cancelled LPC exams, but online. While law firms have imposed home working measures, law students have also had to adapt to these new circumstances, with the University of Law and City University law school offering online lectures. Exams for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) have also been postponed. 

While it is difficult to say with certainty what the next few weeks will hold, it is clear the legal industry is proactively looking to adapt to the changing situation and provide as much reassurance as possible given the circumstances.

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“There is no systemic risk from bankruptcies in airlines or hotel chains. [With] the airline industry, we should only be concerned, … with respect to their employees and their contractors, not their shareholders or their planes, or their management. There is overcapacity in this industry”

Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, responding to the impact and measures to be taken in light of the coronavirus on the aviation industry.

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Firm News

The list of law firms postponing their spring vacation schemes grows, with Norton Rose Fulbright, Addleshaw Goddard, Mishcon the Reya and HFW following suit.

Greenberg has continued its London expansion with the hire of a partner litigation duo from Baker McKenzie.

Mishcon de Reya changes its leadership structure, appointing the firm’s former managing partner, Kevin Gold, as executive chairperson

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Insights on the UK legal market

A report published by Research and Markets on the UK legal sector found the industry was valued at an estimated £37 billion in 2019, an increase of 4.6% from the following year. In addition, its revenue is forecast to grow over the next two years in similar increments, by 4.9%. The largest contributing segment of the legal sector is for business and commercial affairs accounting for 46% of the total UK market revenue.  

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With more time on our hands as a result of isolation, it might be a good time to start looking into training contract applications. Visit our jobs page to see all the latest openings.

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Windrush report published

Last week, an investigation into the Home Office’s handling of the Windrush scandal found “institutional failures to understand racism”. The scandal relates to the wrongful deportation of British citizens as a result of the government body’s “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race”, as condemned by Priti Patel the home secretary. The publication of the report has led to a call by 16 pressure groups for an assessment of the Home Office’s immigration policies to determine whether they are discriminatory.

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Recommended reading

Why extensive social distancing is the best option for controlling the Coronavirus outbreak.

Lawyers working from home are recommended to turn off their Alexa devices due to concerns of risking the confidentiality of phone calls with their clients. 

An employee known for advancing self-driving car technology has pleaded guilty to taking sensitive documents from Google before joining Uber.

In an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Iran has temporarily released 85,000 prisoners with 10,000 more to receive pardons.

Katy Perry won an appeal case after being accused of plagiarism for her song Dark Horse.

A new bill has been put forward in the UK to limit the time available to bring prosecutions against soldiers and veterans who have served abroad to five years.

Human rights groups have expressed concern over free speech in Morocco, as the country sentences an activist for criticising the judiciary.

The coronavirus may have impacted your legal career plans, however, this article offers tips and advice during these uncertain times.

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