This report is part of a longitudinal cohort study of Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) students at a sample of universities in England and Wales funded by the Higher Education Academy. This interim report has been produced ahead of the full report of the first year of the study in order to contribute to the debate arising from the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) Report which was published on 25 June 2013. This interim report compares the first year data of the Cohort study with the results of an earlier study conducted for the UK Centre for Legal Education (UKCLE).
The report produced for the UKCLE in 2011 was entitled ‘Career expectations of students on Qualifying Law Degrees in England and Wales’ and reported on the reasons students choose to study a QLD what their career intentions are when they enrol on the QLD whether those reasons change while they are studying and what the factors and influences are which affect these decisions. For the purposes of this interim report that project will be called the ‘UKCLE study’. The aim of the UKCLE study was to provide a ‘snapshot’ of student intentions and perceptions by reporting the results with only minimal analysis and without requiring a literature review. With the UKCLE closing at the end of July 2011 the Higher Education Academy published the report in April 2012. The report can be dowloaded from the link on the right.
Following publication of that report the HEA funded the continuance of the research (referred to as the ‘Cohort study’ in this report) of Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) students at a sample of universities in England and Wales who commenced their law studies in the academic year 2012-2013. The Cohort study aims to track student intentions and the factors that influence those intentions over the three years of their law degree rather than just providing a snapshot at a given point in time.
At the time the UKCLE commissioned the initial study it believed the study would make a significant contribution to the national debate as well as adding to the research that would inform the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) by the SRA BSB and ILEX Professional Standards which had been taking place over the past three years. These beliefs have proven to be well founded: the UKCLE study was used by the LETR Research Team and has been cited in the final LETR report as to the findings of student intentions. With publication of the LETR report a comparison of the data from both studies will hopefully be of assistance to the regulators in planning their programmes of reform as well as of benefit to law schools regulators of the legal profession employers of law graduates and those involved in providing careers support to law students at both school and university levels.