Monday, 9 April 2012

Reading writing and 'rithmatic

I am just back from the Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference in Oxford. The main theme of the conference was the Legal Education and Training review. During the conference a panel of legal employers were lamenting the parlorous state of the communication skills of Law graduates – and they get the best of the crop! 

Even after three years of a law degree and postgraduate professional training, law graduates still cannot write proper English. The infamous grocers' apostrophe was mentioned along with a lack of awareness of the appropriate writing style for different types of written communication. A solicitor mentioned new recruits who believe that legal drafting is a ‘higher form of academia’ and write briefs and letters to clients as if they were writing academic essays.

None of the potential employers blamed the universities they were all conscious that the rot starts much earlier in schools. My employer certainly offers Legal Academic Writing Skills to all our students but it is only compulsory in the first year: after that it is voluntary. Guess who doesn’t turn up? The ones who need it most.

And that is despite us handing our their coursework feedback in those sessions to try and encourage (coerce) them to attend.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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