National College of Legal Training terminates LPC and GDL

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  • As an NCLT Student this was a shock today to be told from September the course will no longer operate through NCLT.

    Having received a distasteful email from Derby University saying they were "delighted to inform me that the University of Derby will be taking over the LPC from NCLT" before hearing the news from NCLT was not at all professional. And I can assure you I am not 'delighted' at this news.

    This news will leave many NCLT part-time students wondering how well the course will be delivered from September? The NCLT delivery of the course has been fantastic and the tutors extremely knowledgeable and helpful, but this news leaves me unsure of what my final year as an LPC student will bring.

    The cost of the course and flexible payment options for many was a deciding factor when deciding to complete the course. It appears the larger providers will now have even more of a monopoly on fees and many students will be priced out of pursuing a legal career.

    With training contract places at an all time low is it time to put a cap on LPC places, put into place more rigorous entry requirements and look fees? It would appear the demise of the NCLT partnership would suggest so.

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  • There has been an oversupply of disappointed LPC graduates for some time. The fault lies entirely with the SRA for authorising too many providers. Also the quality of the course has detoriated dramatically over the past 15 years. Surely it is time now to reinstate a centrally set solicitors final examination.

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  • This was predicted.

    On the one hand an unfailable 'Professional' exam.

    On the other, UWE (in particular), are completely contemptuous to their local solicitors. You can't get in to their library. You can't photocopy or use electronic materials (are they not obliged to have statutory materials and all the case reports and SI's etc, if they receive public funding for this?).

    Oh how the mighty fall (in terms of the 'profession' generally, and also this previously blue chip organisation)....

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  • Anonymous, above (31-May-2013 12:54 pm)

    You and many others like you, namely aspiring solicitors, bemoan high fees and too many LPC graduates, and frequently demand that LPC providers should reduce intake and/or only offer places to those who have a training contract offered.

    Whilst I am not unsympathetic of the financial, career and psychological pressures of getting one's legal career up and running, your stance overlooks several important truths:

    1) Nobody knows what will occur before, during or after their LPC. In other words, it could be that training is secured after the LPC, as is often the case, indeed soon after the LPC, due to having greater knowledge and skills that can be developed and put to use. This is the typical 'foot in the door' which sets lawyers’ careers in motion. Not every recruitment policy, in my opinion, should follow the corporate swanky law firm strategy. To believe that training contracts should be secured before the LPC would indicate that those firms are 'right' and their models are to be followed (which is laughable if anything, given the culture they represent).

    2) LPC providers are private, for-profit companies, just like law firms, and their goal ultimately is to make money. Why would any business turn away business and make losses and/or less profit? Again, how does anybody know where they will be in two years' time? Not everyone wants to wait for their life to be in bloom before taking decisions and LPC providers should therefore not bring this self-pitying form of ethics into their admissions policies. If ethics are to be applied, let’s talk about fees. Nobody likes paying high fees, but again these are businesses. Further, if LPC providers should have guarantees before admitting students that those students have training lined up at the end, then so, too, should universities before offering places to prospective undergraduates regardless of the career.

    3) The problem is that it is too easy to be a law graduate with no prospects at your disposal, which is a far cry from other careers such as dentistry and medicine which are more selective and have the career set out in front the student. Looking at how swamped the legal market is with lawyers and people claiming to be lawyers, I think we need an overhaul of how law is taught at degree level (because let's face it, anyone can and is allowed to study it) and perhaps make LLBs more stringent, vocational and practical, incorporating elements of the LPC such as litigation and drafting. If you’re an academic, then there should be a more academic route that could be taken. The problem of being a law graduate with no prospects at your disposal also is due, as mentioned above, to the fact that the graduate pool is swamped...too swamped. I blame the GDL. It ought to be scrapped and anyone wanting a career change should be made to do the LLB, just like I would have to do a degree in dentistry if I decided that I disliked what I was doing or realised that my degree (in Classics from Oxbridge, or maybe a psychology degree or history degree, with no offence intended to those studying those subjects) was realistically not going to get me anywhere. I mean, imagine being able to do a conversion course into dentistry without having to do a degree *in* dentistry. The GDL is an insult to and undermines the LLB and those who worked hard for it, in some cases overcoming hardship of various sorts but sticking at it nonetheless, especially those who already had a career in law set out ahead of them. Imagine slogging your guts for your dentistry degree only to find that you are applying for the same job as somebody who did a geography degree but did a conversion course. In most cases, GDL students undertook degrees that would lead them nowhere and so when looking for some sort of comfort, safety net, prestige and, above all, well-paid career, decided to turn to law as a get-out-of-jail-free card. Which other prestigious career (sadly becoming less so) would have them? Engineering? The sad truth is that, to their advantage, GDL students were able to study something they may well have enjoyed yet have the bonus of having an easy ride into the legal profession, making life more difficult for those who have been in law from the beginning (reducing job opportunities, increasing competition, contributing to the surplus and, above all, adding to the destruction of the legal profession).

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