It is a mistaken belief that legaleducation is solely for lawyers and those in law-related professions, it is alsorelevant and necessary for other fields such as accountancy, engineering, management,health and safety, bureaucracy and the like.
It is also necessary, at a certainlevel, for citizens to engage with the State, the market and other citizens.Continued Legal Education refers to thetraining received by professionals after they enter into practice in theirrespective jurisdiction. It includes seminars, lectures, conferences etcenabling the professionals to critically examine, discuss and reason overvarious legislations and judgments. It also provides an ideal opportunity fornetworking where both young and experienced practitioners are participating atthe same level which proves to be highly beneficial to the younger generationof lawyers. Moreover, it let the practicing lawyers to contend with theconstant changing nature of law. This evolution makes it crucial for lawyers tostay up-to-date with these changes so that they can assist the courts and putforward with their clients appropriately.
It further imparts, among lawyers,ethical concerns surrounding their practice.In Pakistan, however, legal education isfacing a number of crises because of educational system, delay in legalproceedings, disregard to the rule of law, corruption, violence etc. One of the issues is that thefive percent seats are being reserved for sons/daughters of Advocates foradmission in law colleges and universities that should not be promoted by theelected representatives of the legal profession, a profession that is supposedto act as an embankment against discrimination and as the custodians of therule of law.Moreover, in Pakistan, there are two existingroutes to acquire this professional qualification: five years BA-LLB and threeyears LLB (external program of Uol). Both have their own selling points alongwith few draw-backs.For instance, concerning BA-LLB, it focuses onrote learning, scoring marks and cascading facts rather than emphasizing onlogic and reasoning behind rules and policies hence destroying creativity andlacking in inculcate these invaluable skills. This current system does nottrain students for the work of identifying, distinguishing and challengingprecedents that revolves in and outside the courtroom.
Pakistani classrooms aredevoid of meaningful discussions to evaluate thelegal system in a rational and systematic way. Ironically, the admissionpolicy in local law schools is at a minimum and the passing rate is at amaximum. Another problem is the shortage of quality local textbooks on law withmany failing to adequately comment on and analyze the legal principles andrules. On the other hand, although LLBdegree of UoL instills critical thinking, it does not give any exposure toPakistani laws and procedures.
However, one of the few schools have recently startedproviding extra courses including Law Clinic course that introduce students toreal-life legal issues that are common in the society and Legal skills coursethat provide students with a solid foundation in Pakistani laws, procedures andlegal skills. Nonetheless, it is one of the most expensive degrees in Pakistan.Therefore, by improving thequality of legal scholarship offered in the local LLB programs, producing goodquality legal research, attracting the best students to law programs and lawgraduates equipped with the requisite skills, Pakistani society in general andthe legal profession in particular can be exhilarated. This profession requiresa fundamental revamp of the current attitude of the Bar Councils to legaleducation with greater emphasis on the framework of legal academics with therequired teaching and research expertise along with changes in curriculumdesign. Bar councils will need to take active steps for improvement of rewardto fresh law graduates and career development so that they can guarantee themthe adequate income.