Law schools face crackdown as legal education goes under spotlight

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  • Agree with Savage for once - legal education is in shambles at the moment so it's definitely about time the SRA et al did something about it. I just hope the review actually results in some real change as it's long overdue.

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  • The review couldn't have come soon enough - I hope that the review results in the SRA making it compulsory for LPC providers to publish exactly how many of their intakes secure training contracts. I would also support the introduction of some sort of grading system for LPC providers similar to the one that used to exist so that it makes it easier for students to tell the providers apart.

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  • From: Steve Dinning, Head of the Bristol Institute of Legal Practice (BILP) at UWE.

    As one of the leading providers of professional legal education, we support a wholesale review of the system which must include both undergraduate and postgraduate provision. We particularly endorse the view that a grading system for LPC providers should be reintroduced. This system should focus on the actual teaching and learning experience of the student at the various providers and the outcomes should be made clear to potential students, law firms and the general public alike. Only in this way can potential entrants to the profession make informed choices about the quality of the training on offer and the value for money provided. Well done to the regulators for moving this one forward.

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  • Steve, with all due respect. When I was on the LPC, I was still looking for a TC. I did not really care about the teaching and learning experience and I still do not (lets face it, the LPC is pretty easy). The only thing I cared about was which one I was more likely to get a TC at and which one had a good careers service. That was the same for every person I knew in the same boat as me. Your comment is one of the reasons there should be a review in my opinion (please do not edit that last bit The Lawyer) because for teaching and learning UWE would probably come out on top from what I here. But most City firms will not look at UWE students. So which one is more valuable to a student? Having good teachers or being a lawyer? And for the LPC, do you even need a teacher (I do not think you do)? I would be interested in your views on all this because if students can not get where they want to go by going to a certain institution, surely these are the ones that should be under review? (Again please do not edit The Lawyer, as these points are why the review is taking place and Steve has chosen to comment).

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  • Many thanks for the comments. I guess my point in a nutshell is that I think it is important for all stakeholders: self-funding students, firms who sponsor their trainees through legal education and the public at large to be informed of the nature and quality of the product. Don't we all want good quality training in the Law Schools?

    That is not to say that I don't agree that the level of careers support provided to students is of major importance and will inform choice. I hope all Law Schools would agree that we must do all we can to inform students of the true state of the market and assist them wherever possible in their searches for a training contract. However, I would think it worrying and potentially detrimental to the legal profession at large if the sole determining factor for review of a course was the level of careers support offered. Most of the students I come across appear to have made mature decisions to pursue a career in law and accept that it is primarily their responsibility to secure a training contract.

    Finally, thanks for the kind words about the teaching and learning at UWE. On a lighter note, I'm going out on a limb here but I'm guessing our students do very much appreciate the support and guidance of our practitioner teachers when studying on the LPC.

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  • Many city firms won't even look at you if you have gone to certain university. Are you saying that these universities should not offer undergraduate law degrees?

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  • Holy cow, who would have seen this coming?!

    After all, we've only had a decade or more where 'rats have been able to take places on an LPC or BVC or what ever they call that now when there was only a marginal chance that you'd get a TC / Pupilage & tencnancy unless you were chooled well and varisit.

    See above for evidence, as it's all I here (sic) is estuarine English and crap grammar.

    Why not just start as a paralegal and go down the old clerking route rather than wasting 5 years and incurring lots of debt?

    Apologies if there's a few typos been watching the cheating bast*rd kiwis and a crap ref.

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  • I disagree with Del Boy. What gets someone a TC is good A Levels, a decent degree and the overall quality of their application – this is entirely independent of which LPC provider they choose. Many College students have City TCs before they start; i.e. it isn't going to the College that gets them employed. I know lots of UWE LPCers who have gone to the City (including me) and, in any event, to point to the number of City TCs as being the primary indicator of quality is lazy logic and spurious. Re-reading his comments, I think he views the LPC as a tick-box business enterprise rather than a thorough preparation for practice. We should all welcome a return to an objective measurement of quality.

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  • What a pity that Savage, Green and co seem to have completely lost sight of the value of an undergraduate legal education in its own right. "Green said: “Morally, I have real qualms about a system of education which encourages universities to educate more and more law students...". Taken at face value, this statement implies that Green would close down every philosophy, Art History department etc and pretty much all other university departments specialising in the liberal arts, as subject specific jobs for their graduates hardly exist at all. Prospective law students should be fully informed of the challenges facing them in securing practitioner status, but it has reached a sad point when such senior figures in the legal field see the only value of a law degree being to churn out the next generation of lawyers to compete in the greed fest of PEP tables etc.

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  • I agree with Del Boy's comment. Very fortunateIy, I secured my TC before starting my GDL and LPC. However, many firms (I can't say with certainty how many, but certainly the top 15), all have "preferred providers", particularly for the LPC, and outside of those providers they will almost not even look at a student unless they have stellar academics. I was told my TC provider I had a choice of 3 law schools and those were mandatory. However, I digress from the issue at hand. It's certainly time a review took place. So many of my friends at law school didn't secure TCs and I'll admit there were some very talented people there! Numbers really need curbing and if not realistic expectations put in place so students know they are entering a process with around a 1 in 10(?) success rate.

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