Legal Profession. The English Way.

When, in 1470, serjeant-at-law Catesby stated that "common law has existed since the creation of the world" he, most likely, believed it. Today, many English lawyers believe it too.

It is suffice to have a look at books and articles, published in England, about the European Court of Justice, foreign legal systems and practices: English law is more flexible, lawyers are better trained and the grass, in front of the English courthouse, is greener.

There is some truth in this.

English lawyers are in demand. London is the informal legal capital of Europe. The law of England is the law of international transactions, English courts is where international disputes are resolved and the City is the home of largest law firms.

Perhaps, the English know a thing or two about training lawyers.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority, the body regulating English solicitors, has announced a small revolution in the approach to licensing the legal profession.

Now you don't need a law degree to practice law. From 2019, one needs to pass a professional exam and complete a two-year internship with a law firm.

Although surprising, the decision is not exactly out the blue. It reflects the special way the English see the link between practice and academia.

In many countries, a practicing lawyer and a legal academic are seen as two different professions. However, nowhere else these, apparently very close, trades have been so distant from each other.

In truth, the English never believed that to become a lawyer one needs a law school. The latter is a tribute to the European tradition. Until the mid-nineteenth century, universities taught mainly civil and canon law and most graduates became priests or civil servants.

Although the universities have gradually gained popularity, until the middle of the twentieth century - facts are stubborn things - most successful lawyers did not have a university degree at all or read subjects other than law.

Common law have been studied in practice while examining specific cases. It is not about a classroom and books but a courtroom and a notebook.