Very best wishes to Shaun Lawler, who may be the first solicitor to be admitted through the "equivalent means" route. This is no doubt something to be celebrated, particularly by those paralegals who, like Shaun, may have worked hard for many years without any realistic prospect of a traditional training contract.
This does however prompt a number of further thoughts. Firstly, whilst increasing access to the professions is no doubt a good thing, I doubt there are many who think the market is currently undersupplied with qualified staff.
Secondly, is there now any economic rationale behind training contracts, still less any form of training that isn't specific to your own business needs? You might find it better to employ only paralegals, encourage the better ones to swap departments and pay their own admission costs, than to attempt to recruit graduates and fund their LPC studies.
Thirdly, as I have previously written, bringing more people inside the regulatory tent may be one way of dealing with the possibility of public confusion about what (legal) qualification actually signifies when it comes to the practise of law. The down side may be that where aspirant solicitors effectively choose their own experience and training, the title alone may mean increasingly little without further qualifications (eg in advocacy; or probate or litigation). It may be that the number of "higher" titles will increase, as sub-specialities attempt to distinguish themselves from the herd on the grounds of training, and experience (and thus perhaps justify higher prices...).
Paralegal Shaun Lawler has said he hopes to be the first solicitor admitted to the profession through the ‘equivalent means’ route rather a traditional training contract.