updated on 26 November 2018
The Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) is a division of The Law Society of England and Wales. The role of the JLD is to support, promote and represent its members from LPC students up to five years qualified across England and Wales, and ensure any development of the profession is in the best interests of those members. This includes organising forums for our members in London and the regions, as well as responding to consultations and lobbying for positive changes to the profession.
The JLD also represents members at international events in order to forge strong links with other international bar associations.
The good news is that you are automatically a member once you begin your LPC right through until the point you are 5 years qualified. As a member, you are invited to attend the events we run throughout the year. The key events you might be interested in are as follows:
LPC Forum, 09 February 2019, Liverpool – this is open to LPC students and graduates seeking a training contract.
JLD Forum, 2 March 2019, Southampton – this is primarily aimed at NQs and trainees
SAVE THE DATE for the annual conference and ball, 06 April 2019, London.
Both forums will also be repeated in London in September and October next year.
Information about these events, including how to sign up, will be released shortly.
The executive committee (EC) is an elected body of 12/13 individuals which also includes three representatives who sit on The Law Society Council. The EC meet on weekends throughout the year to discuss the issues affecting junior lawyers and what we are doing to ensure our member's interests are represented/protected. We also respond to a lot of consultations put out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and government bodies to put forward the junior lawyer voice. We lobby for positive change, providing guidance and policy documents on key issues affecting the profession and advocating for equality, diversity, access to justice and much more.
If you're interested in joining the EC, elections open around September each year with the new committee starting in November. This year's committee have therefore just started and the committee members this year are as follows:
Amy Clowrey, chair;
Charlotte Parkinson, vice chair;
Nicola Wilding; and
Leah Caprani (student representative).
In addition, the EC has three council member seats:
Laura Uberoi; and
You can find out more about us here.
The JLD engages with its members through social media, blog posts, e-newsletters/emails, articles and specific events such as the free one-day forums. There is also a larger national committee (NC) which meets four times per year. This is made up of one representative from each local JLD throughout England and Wales. The NC meetings ensure the opinions that the EC put forward are truly representative of our members' interests.
The JLD will continue to focus upon all matters that affect junior lawyers and the profession as a whole. The JLD’s focus is therefore wide-ranging.
The biggest focuses for this year are access to justice, mental health and wellbeing, and access to the profession (predominantly the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)). The next two years will be key for the development of training and education of solicitors in England and Wales. We want to ensure the introduction of this new qualification route is credible, fair and future proof. The JLD will also continue to raise awareness and educate our members of the impact and development of LegalTech.
The JLD is also supportive of the initiatives of individual committee members. For example, EC member James Kitching is passionate about LegalTech and will drive this forward on behalf of the JLD this year, while council member Kayleigh Leonie has worked tirelessly over a number of years to raise the importance of resilience and wellbeing in the legal profession.
I am the new chair and I am closely supported by the vice chair, Charlotte Parkinson – we are both 100% committed to the role and the profession. I’m at the five-years PQE end of membership working in legal aid, while Charlotte has just completed her training contract and is an NQ at an international commercial law firm. Together we will offer a strong voice for junior lawyers and ensure the right issues are considered to develop and future proof our profession.
Adele Edwin-Lamerton is the immediate past chair of the JLD (2017/18). Here are her insights from the past 12 months:
“The JLD worked to protect the position of members at the point of their entrance to the profession by working with the Law Society to issue guidance on the amount of notice trainees should be given about NQ roles at the end of their training contract. The recommendations are that firms should let trainees know when they can expect to hear their decision at least 12 weeks in advance of their admission date and that the decision itself should be communicated at least eight weeks ahead of their admission date.
“We also re-ran our survey on resilience and wellbeing and achieved a greatly increased response rate, allowing us to understand the experiences of our membership. We also published our employer guidance setting out how resilience and wellbeing can be supported in the workplace. These initiatives were the product of the hard work of JLD Council member Kayleigh Leonie.
“We had the honour of being addressed by Baroness Hale at our annual conference held in April of this year.
“I had the great privilege of judging the junior lawyer categories for the Law Society’s Excellence Awards and the LawWorks pro bono award. I am both humbled and inspired by the contribution made by our members to the solicitor profession.
“We influenced the SRA on behalf of our members by responding to their Looking to the future phase two consultation. We persuaded the SRA to retain the qualified to supervise rule and tighten up the definition to ensure that it means what people actually think it means. We also persuaded them to retain the binding status of character and suitability checks.”
If the JLD is something that you would like to be involved with – whether it be attending our events, getting involved with your local committee (or even setting one up!) or standing for a seat on the 2019/20 committee – do not hesitate to get in touch. You can find out more via our website.
Amy Clowrey is the chair of the Junior Lawyers Division and a practising solicitor in the legal aid sector.