• LSRA research examines how to remove barriers to entering legal profession and to increase diversity
  • LSRA to report to Minister for Justice with recommendations
  • Survey follows LSRA’s proposals on training and education reform

The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) is undertaking a comprehensive survey of trainee and early career solicitors and barristers, as well as law undergraduates.

The LSRA is carrying out the online anonymised survey following a request from the Minister for Justice for the Authority to “consider the economic and other barriers faced by young barristers and solicitors and to make recommendations”.

The first of its kind LSRA survey is being conducted with independent research company Behaviour & Attitudes (B&A). It is being distributed via email on a phased basis during October with the assistance of the Law Society of Ireland, the Bar of Ireland and the Honorable Society of King’s Inns. The survey will issue to student barristers, trainee solicitors and practising barristers and solicitors who are in their first seven years of practice. Law undergraduates are also being surveyed with the assistance of the law departments of a total of 15 universities, colleges and Institutes of Technology around the country.

The survey fieldwork will inform the LSRA’s forthcoming report to the Minister for Justice. This Minister asked the LSRA to examine:

  • The remuneration of trainee barristers and solicitors;
  • The other costs associated with joining each profession;
  • The information available to prospective trainee barristers and solicitors on available masters and solicitors firms;
  • The information available on the terms and conditions available, and how they are selected;
  • Any other barriers faced by young barristers and solicitors, including the ability to take maternity leave.

In making her request to the LSRA at the time, Minister Helen McEntee stated that this research was part of her plan to increase diversity across the justice sector including the legal professions. The LSRA has been asked to pay particular attention to equity of access and entry into the legal professions and the objective of achieving greater diversity within the professions, and to make recommendations for change.

In conducting this exercise, the Authority has been asked to engage appropriately with all relevant stakeholders, in particular with university law students, those students currently in the King’s Inns and the Law Society, and newly qualified members of both professions, as well as more long standing members of both professions and their representative bodies. In addition to the survey, the LSRA has invited written submissions as part of this ongoing research project.

The LSRA’s survey follows a previous statutory report by the Authority to the Minister on the education and training of legal professionals. The November 2020 report, Setting Standards: Legal Practitioner Education and Training, recommended reforms to, for the first time, define the competence and standards required to practise as a solicitor or barrister. It also recommended the establishment of a statutory framework to accredit existing providers of legal practitioner education and training as well as, for the first time, allowing new providers to be accredited to provide professional training for solicitors and barristers.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The Legal Services Regulatory Authority was established in 2016 under the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. The Authority regulates the provision of legal services by legal practitioners and ensures the maintenance and improvement of standards in the provision of such services in the State. The LSRA is independent in the performance of its functions.

Further details of the LSRA survey are available here.

Setting Standards: Legal Practitioner Education and Training is available here.

Download this press release as a PDF here.