College of Law outwits BPP in North West

THE COLLEGE of Law has signed up two more firms to its programme of tailor-made Legal Practice Courses (LPCs).

Manchester-based Cobbetts and Halliwells are the first firms in the North West to sign up to the college’s ‘LPC+’ courses.

The move is a snub to arch rival BPP Law School, which also has a base in Manchester. It also places further pressure on Nottingham Law School, which is battling to regain its premier status after losing ground to BPP and the College of Law in recent years.

As part of its fightback strategy, Nottingham Law School is to launch a London branch in 2007 with US professional services trainer Kaplan, but was rocked by last month’s loss of dean Michael Gunn.

The move is a bid by Nottingham to reclaim its status as a premier LPC provider in the capital after its London joint venture partner, the then littleknown BPP Law School, ditched it in 1997.

Nottingham took a further blow in 2004 when the eight top firms behind the corporatefocused City LPC kicked Nottingham off its three-school panel of providers.

Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters broke away from the group to go it alone with the College of Law, while the remaining five – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Lovells, Norton Rose and Slaughter and May – signed up to exclusive courses with BPP.

Although Nottingham insisted that it has a watertight contract with Kaplan, its London venture has led to speculation that the tie-up may lead to a repeat of the BPP fiasco of 1997.

The war between BPP and College of Law continues to rage. BPP now boasts not only the remaining members of the City LPC consortium, but also Addleshaw Goddard, CMS Cameron McKenna and Simmons & Simmons as its users.

Meanwhile, the College of Law has signed up Baker & McKenzie, Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, Berwin Leighton Paisner as well as Cobbetts and Halliwells for its LPC+ course.