Editor’s weekly: The long and short of it

This week’s story about Clifford Chance becoming the latest City firm to launch a fast-track Legal Practice Course (LPC) for its future trainees has received mixed feedback from posters on Lawyer2B.com.

As exclusively reported on Monday (20 September) the magic circle firm is rolling out an accelerated LPC in conjunction with the College of Law, which will last just seven months as opposed to the traditional ten (read more).

The move has added to fears about the creation of a two-tier legal education system because the condensed courses are only currently available to a select few students who have training contracts with City firms.

Indeed, as University of Kent’s law society president Zainul Jussab put it: “Just because you join a certain type of firm, why should you finish the LPC more quickly than everyone else?”

In addition to such courses being criticised for being elitist a number of posters say that if given the choice they would plum for the longer version. “Take my advice and take the 12 months option. Arguably the best time of your life is the period where you have a job secured and a 7k grant yet at the same time you’re still a student,” writes a magic circle trainee.

While another poster says: “But why on earth would you want to squash the LPC like that?! Finish it in normal time like everyone else instead of completely killing yourself to get it done that little bit quicker… so that you can start killing yourself even more in your lovely new magic circle training contract.”

But not all posters agree. One writes: “It surely isn’t a matter of killing oneself to complete the LPC in 7 months, nor necessarily having to start work earlier. 
When I did the LPC, frankly there wasn’t 6 months worth of work in the syllabus, so 7 months still leaves plenty of time to be a student.”

Whatever your stance on fast-track courses the most important point is to offer students a choice. But that will only happen if such options are available to everyone and not just an elite few.

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.