BPP may extend free course opportunity to BPTC graduates

BPP Law School may extend its offer of a free course to its bar professional training course (BPTC) students if they are unable to secure permanent, paid legal employment within six months of graduation.

Dean and chief executive Peter Crisp told Lawyer2B last night: “This offer is a pilot which we will keep under review. It may well be extended to the BPTC in the future.”

BPP is offering students who do not obtain legal employment in the six months after graduation a free place on another course.

The private provider is allowing LLB, graduate diploma in law (GDL) and legal practice course (LPC) students who are not successful in their search for a permanent legal role to undertake another qualification worth up to £16,500 for free.

Students have to be able to demonstrate that they have made a “reasonable” effort to secure legal employment, although no application quota has been set.

Crisp said that the offer was: “a way of demonstrating our commitment to enhancing the CVs of all of our students.”

When asked if BPP should recognise “any” permanent legal employment as a suitable position for a self-funded LPC graduate, Crisp said: “We have to recognise the reality of the situation. What this does is offer a guarantee that if graduates do not have a suitable position six months after graduating they can return for more training and support, which I think is what we ought to be doing.”

The provider has stopped short of letting students take its BPTC, priced at £17,350, but will supply any LLM degree or any MSc degree at its business school for free.

Graduates can also take free qualifications to become chartered accountants, chartered management accountants, chartered financial analysts or chartered tax advisers. The New York Bar course is available under the offer, although GDL students are not usually able to qualify for its intake, as is any Continuing Professional Development Course (CPD).

The offer applies across BPP’s law schools in London, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Cambridge, Bristol and Liverpool.

Law students and the legal education field gave a mixed reaction to the news yesterday with some referring to the offer as a cynical marketing move and others believing it to be a genuine aid to graduates seeking work (2 May 2013).

Nigel Savage, chief executive of the University of Law, formerly the College of Law, labelled the initiative “a gimmick” and “cheap marketing”, while former BPP student Katie Mellor, who completed her LPC last June and is now a legal adviser at Pannone, took a more positive view of the offer saying “I think it’s a great move. It highlights confidence in your students.”

Last month, Osborne Clarke switched its LPC to BPP from the University of Law (11 April 2013).