Sunday January 13, 2013
CLP exam pass rate plunges
By SHAILA KOSHY
KUALA LUMPUR: The overall pass rate for those sitting for the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) examination has plunged from 94.79% at its inception in 1984 to 40.81% last year.
According to the Legal Profession Qualifying Board (QB) examination statistics, the overall CLP performance (which includes resits) fell below 50% in 1994 and hit the lowest ever in 2001 (30.29%) after a re-grading of results following a marking scandal.
It has been up and down since then the overall and main examination pass rates rose to 48.87% and 31.39% respectively in 2011 but dropped to 40.81% and 26.63% respectively last year.
CLP is for those who do not have the English Bar qualification and are generally made up of graduates with foreign law degrees (London external or twinning programmes done locally, or Australian and New Zealand qualification).
A recent employability survey commissioned by the Bar Council on new entrants to the legal profession showed a gap between what law firms want and the new lawyers they were getting, said council treasurer Steven Thiru.
There was also a wide disparity even in the quality of the new entrants themselves, added the chairman of its Ad-hoc Committee on the Common Bar Course.
The statistics and survey showed the dire need for reform in legal education here, whether by public universities offering local law programmes or private colleges and universities offering foreign law programmes, said Steven.
Multimedia University (MMU) is the only private university offering a local law degree and it has just obtained a full exemption from the CLP for its law graduates from the QB.
Based on the survey, law firms would rather employ those with a foreign law degree than a local one, said Steven.
The most important attributes for firms when hiring fresh law graduates are: written/oral skills and proficiency in English; commitment to the law firm; communication skills; and knowledge of the law.
Steven said local law graduates “failed to meet these standards consistently across the board” and “fell far short of the law firms' expectations”.
“They were rated the lowest, the exception was their commitment to firms.
“Graduates from foreign universities with CLP came out top consistently followed by London external programme graduates with CLP.”
Of the universities in the survey, the ones that firms most preferred in decreasing order were Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, International Islamic University, Universiti Teknologi Mara, MMU and Universiti Utara Malaysia.