Krishnan Nair is an LPC graduate

Too many LPC students - where does responsibility lie?

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  • Law students are introduced to the concept of 'caveat emptor' very early on in their legal education. Most know what they are letting themselves in for by the time they sign up for the LPC. Waiting for a TC to be offered before embarking on the LPC won't work for everyone. Not everyone wants to train at the big firms who offer sponsorship and the reality is that securing a paralegal role without the LPC is really rather tricky. LPC students should however wait until they can afford to take the course rather than convincing themselves that getting it out of the way as soon as possible will pay dividends. It is possible to self-fund the LPC without getting deep into debt. There are plenty of part-time options out there and providers which charge far less than the major players in the market. You have seven years to complete the LPC on completing an LLB/GDL - why the rush? There is only so much blame that can be placed on the system. The law schools or the regulator can't be blamed for everything - debt ridden grads have themselves to blame too.

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  • Complete twaddle.

    There are a lot of students on the LPC because a lot of people want to be able to practice law.

    The responsibility of a LPC course provider is to meet the course requirements as set out by the SRA .

    There are less training contracts than LPC graduates because the number of lawyers currently needed is less than the number of LPC graduates.

    I have not seen any LPC provider trying to pretend otherwise.

    Students make a decision to study an LPC knowing there is a competitive process involved in getting a training contract.

    So long as LPC providers do not mislead students regarding the number of training contracts I see no problem.

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  • Great article. I like the idea about regulatory capture. SRA ate definitely responsible for doing something, even though they say their powerless to it. I don't buy it!

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  • haha! this article rips into LPC providers and there's a massive LPC provider advert right in the middle of it. You gotta love the irony.

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  • an excellent article. i remember reading something like this a couple of years ago. but pointing the finger at the sra is the right move. it is a lot like the press complaints commission saying they 'have no power' in journalism. if a regulator has no power when things are getting awry, why do we have them in the first place?

    Does anyone know what role the law society plays in this? surely it's not all on the sra is it?

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  • ben said "So long as lpc providers do not mislead students regarding the number of training contracts I see no problem."

    i think you've missed the crux of the argument here. The poster is pointing the finger at the sra. And yet you've rant and raved about providers.

    plus, re you ''mislead'' point - please! college of law say 84% of their lpcers are in training contracts 'OR other legal jobs' withing 6 or so months of finishing the course. a marketing ploy - fair enough. misleading - absolutely.

    these guys are sharks and the sra really need to do something about it. i agree with the poster that lpc grads are't kids. but the fact of the matter is there is a problem which persists. the sra are obligated to pick up the pieces. end of.

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  • Students who decide to embark on the LPC are fully aware of the current job market. Students are aware of the probability in securing a training contract and the debt it will leave to complete the LPC. LPC providers are simply supplying to the demand, after all they are a business.

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  • "LPC providers are simply supplying to the demand, after all they are a business". yes. much like the banks were 'supplying' mortgages to the 'demand' ahead of the subprime crisis.

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  • The SRA is like any other regulatory body - it has a number of competing priorities, but with limited resources. At the moment, this problem is simply not at the top of their list (if it is even on their list at all). With the introduction of ABS and outcomes focused regulation, they have a lot on their plate as it is.

    Plus, I imagine that the SRA will be responding to political pressure to regulate the profession in such a way as to provide a better service to clients - not focus on looking after LPC grads. That may be harsh, but it is probably the truth. There won't be too much pressure coming at the SRA to look after LPC grads.

    Whether the SRA actually has the power to limit the number of LPC places is something I am not sure of and so can't comment on.

    However, the fact that there is a problem has been agreed by most people. Perhaps something will come from the review of legal education, but at the moment no one wants to or will deal with it.

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  • There must be a gatekeeper within the profession that keeps it in check - both to ensure some sort of QA and also to achieve some sort of equilibrium between market supply and demand.

    I can attest that the American example would not solve the problem. The LSATs/GPA barrier does nothing to stem the tide of prospective law students from applying to and matriculating from the more than 200+ law schools in the States to very few jobs. An anti-trust suit was brought against the American Bar Association for restriction of trade which let to a wholesale approval of law schools across the nation.

    Canada seems to have done better with their amalgamation of the American and British systems - postgraduate entry, bar exams and articling training post-graduation (a la training contracts). Because of the small number of law school places the tide is stemmed at the application stage, ensuring a steady supply of future lawyers. Hong Kong also seems to have succeeded - by capping the number of PCLL places (the equivalent of LPC/BVTC) to control the market. The question therefore is: what are the stakeholders within the profession here willing to do about it? Let the market resolve it by itself? Friedman would be proud.

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