Measuring competence in legal education: a view from the bridge

Cath Sylvester

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In response to the Legal Education Training Review (LETR) the professional bodies have revisited the competencies required for legal practice. The SRA has prepared a draft competency statement for day one solicitors which focuses on the “key activities required for effective performance as a solicitor”. The impact of this more comprehensive competency statement on legal education is not yet clear, but one option is that it opens up a route to qualification where competency is achieved in the workplace or other non-academic settings and assessed outside the educational establishments. This article considers how to assess competency in legal education in both educational and work based settings. It charts the development of an outcomes orthodoxy in legal education in England and Wales and in other jurisdictions and draws on research in medical education to identify key principles in the design of an assessment methodology for professional education. The article takes a broad “view from the bridge” and reviews a range of assessment methods already in use in legal education and in other professions such as accountancy, medicine and conservator restorers. It argues that a move to a complex competency orientated training system will require a different approach to both the method of assessment and its programming.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalThe Law Teacher
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2015


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