Editor’s weekly: Law schools take a bite out of the big apple

Another week, another law school scrap. This time it’s not about the Legal
Practice Course (LPC), but rather the New York Bar programme.

Last week College of Law (CoL) announced that it will offer the New York Bar Course to full-time Graduate Diploma in Law students who go on to complete its LPC or Bar Professional Training Course (see story).

Those who successfully complete the extended course will be awarded a US-style CoL Juris Doctor (JD) professional degree in law.

This could potentially be good news to would-be lawyers in America who want to qualify as US attorneys because it will reduce the amount of time – and as such the cost – of qualifying. That said, we won’t know exactly how much students will be saving until CoL finalise the fees.

But the news hasn’t gone down particularly favourably with online readers of Lawyer2B, who have branded the new course a waste of money, claiming that the qualification is useless unless you actually want to practise in the US.

One poster says: “I’m often asked by prospective trainees if taking the New York Bar is a good idea. It should be regarded as satisfying personal ambition only, as it may be very interesting but absolutely useless in legal practice. My US colleagues would not hire someone for US law work based on the conversion, and it is irrelevant to English law work.”

But that hasn’t stopped Kaplan for following CoL’s move by announcing that it will be offering an on-line version of the programme. BPP, meanwhile, has been running the New York Bar Course for three years already.

I’m all up for cutting the cost of study and allowing students more choice, but I hope all these new courses aren’t just another way for law schools to boost their profitability while leaving would-be lawyers still struggling to enter the profession.