Exams moved as Law Society feels pinch
THE Law Society of Ireland plans to relocate its exam venue from the RDS in an attempt to slash costs, following a collapse in numbers choosing to enter the ailing profession.
From next month, trainee solicitors will take the 'final examinations part one', eight written exams in total, at the Red Cow Moran Hotel beside the M50.
The Law Society has also confirmed it will no longer facilitate exams in Cork, forcing law students in the south of the country students to travel to Dublin.
"We are seeking to reduce costs, like any organisation, as much as we can," explained the society's director general Ken Murphy.
"It's for reasons of costs and numbers; it's more efficient now to have it centralised in that venue than having it more expensively in a number of venues.
"The Red Cow is a venue that is acceptable and it's close to the M50. It is considerably cheaper than the RDS." Students must pass the exams, which are an essential first step towards becoming a solicitor, if they want to obtain an apprenticeship with a legal firm.
The change of venue reflects the waning in interest in a subject that became hugely popular during the property boom when the demand for conveyancing as well as other legal services was high.
It is estimated that there are currently more than 1,000 fully qualified solicitors out of work.
"There is a complete collapse in property-related work and that has been devastating for the profession; all sorts of work has fallen away," added Mr Murphy.
"The numbers taking the entrance exams are reducing, reflecting a very turbulent time.
"Firms who are letting staff go are less inclined to give out training places although the number of training places this year is the same as last year after a few years of falling."
Around 400 students took the exams this year and last, compared to a peak of 671 in 2007.