Editor’s weekly: It’s not fair

Our story about the College of Law’s (CoL) spat with a number of Kaplan Law School’s clients has attracted plenty of comments from both students and graduate recruiters.

As reported on Monday (27 September) CoL is refusing to pay back thousands of pounds to future students who after paying their first instalment to CoL secured training contracts with law firms that send their future trainees to Kaplan (read story).

As head of Kaplan Giles Proctor said in the story: “This is particularly unfair now that there are so many more firm-specific LPCs. Students are being denied the chance to work with the provider and their firm before starting their training contracts.”

Indeed, this is echoed in many of the comments from Lawyer2B.com users. For instance, one poster writes: “This is yet another example of CoL being overly aggressive and unreasonable in the pursuit of profit.”

On the face of it CoL’s stance does look overly aggressive but as one source at the law school explained to us why did the students not read the small print and why are their future employers encouraging them to breach their contracts? Indeed, I do have some sympathy for CoL after all it isn’t doing anything illegal – a position that is summed up nicely by another poster who writes: “As harsh as it may sound, a contract is a contract.”

What’s more if you put ethical and business development issues to one side for a moment you’ll soon realise that there’s a much bigger issue here – the clashing deadlines between the date students are required to pay their first LPC instalment, which is typically 31 July, and the timings of law firm training contract assessment days – a large number are held in August.

Indeed, what this whole sorry saga perfectly highlights is that perhaps it’s finally time for a proper and meaningful look at the LPC and more importantly the providers that operate in this sector. Because deep down almost every LPC provider like every business is arguably motivated by the same thing – making money. And in our minds that’s not necessarily fair either.

husnara.begum@lawyer2b.com

PS – if you think you’ve left it too late to break into the legal profession think again. Lawyer 2B is hosting a brand new careers event on 1 December in conjunction with the College of Law for mature applicants. Click here for more information on how to register. But you better be quick because places are filling up fast.