Shouldn't then law school be abolished altogether? After all, no other legal system in the world requires 3 years of postgraduate schooling before one can undertake the most routine matter of client representation or courtroom advocacy. Indeed, the maverick presidential candidate Morry Taylor made a pledge to close down American law schools for 10 years, a major proposal of his quixotic campaign. Why not make the study of law an undergraduate program, or a college major followed by some sort of postgraduate apprenticeship -- this would surely be a quintessentially rationalist response to an institution that survives, and even thrives, because it fills a deep cultural need for the maintenance of some atavistic set of rituals that will obscure the inescapably troublesome and often tragic relationship between moral belief, political science and social power.
Indeed, in UK to study law you go to college, that is not after earning a bachelor's degree.
The undergraduate law degree is the most common form of entry into the legal profession, followed by a 1-year professional course and examination (the professional stage). The academic stage usually consists of an undergraduate degree which is offered in any of the 89 UK universities. Entry is decided by reference to "A-Level" points -- "A-Levels" are examinations students take in the 2 years prior to entering university and each grade is worth a different level of points. Only a few law schools interview candidates before admission and some Oxford and Cambridge Colleges also set entrance exams. There is not an LSAT or similar. The majority of programs, commonly leading to a Bachelor of Laws or a Bachelor of Arts, joint honors degree, last 3 years. The study of law at undergraduate level is, as you can see, significantly different from the US where law is a postgraduate discipline. At the end of three years students are awarded a bachelor's degree in law and they must then decide what to do next. A large proportion -- possibly around one-third -- will decide not to enter a career as a lawyer. The others must choose between becoming a barrister (essentially, a courtroom litigator) or a solicitor. Students who do not have a qualifying law degree (either because they have not studied one of the subjects listed above, or because they have read for another degree) but who nonetheless wish to enter the professions must do a one-year course called the Common Professional Examination and then they too have to choose which profession to enter.
The Law Society, the professional body representing solicitors, requires those who wish to qualify to join a Legal Practice Course (LPC). If they successfully pass this they will have to obtain a Training Contract from a solicitors' firm which will provide another 2 years training, before a successful law student is finally 'admitted as a solicitor' or entered on the Roll of Solicitors. The Law Society has franchised about 10 university institutions and two private education institutions to provide the course which it supervises closely. The Legal Practice Course lasts 1 academic year. Upon successfully completing the LPC a Trainee Solicitor enters a firm and continues on-the-job-training for 2 years. This period includes formal training in advocacy.
The General Council of the Bar has franchised a 1-year program and examination for those wishing to become barristers. Called the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) it was introduced in 1989 to emphasise the practising skills required for court work. The course utilises practical exercises for the DRAIN competencies (Drafting, Research, Advocacy, Interviewing and Negotiation), and its early development owed much to North American experiences, especially Canada. Substantive courses in crime, common law, and taxation are taught as well as civil and criminal procedure. Upon successfully passing the Bar exams, a student can be called to the Bar by her/his Inn of Court. All those wishing to become barristers have to join one of the four Inns of Court (Gray's Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple or Lincoln's Inn), which basically involves paying a membership fee and eating a number of compulsory dinners. Call to the Bar however does not entitle a barrister to practice and s/he must then complete a further 12 months "pupillage" in a group of barristers' offices or "set of chambers". A pupil in the first 6 months of pupillage will be assigned to an experienced barrister. The system is intended to introduce the novice to the forms and procedures that constitute a barrister's work. During the 'second 6 months' a barrister can appear in court, but is technically still under the supervision of a more experienced barrister.
Thereafter a barrister wishing to practice on her own account must find a 'set of chambers' to join as a 'tenant'. The biggest hurdles for trainee barristers are obtaining a pupillage and finding a 'tenancy'. There is a restricted number of vacancies each year for pupils and far more students pass the exams than there are pupillages. There are still fewer tenancies available and as a consequence each year many more barristers qualify than are needed to practice in the courts. Many find employment in corporations, government, or court administration.