The Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) has defended its national committee for speaking out against BPP Law School’s expansion plans.
The move follows a barrage of comments posted in response to a story published last month (October) by Lawyer2B.com in which the JLD said it was convening an emergency meeting to discuss BPP’s launches in Cambridge, Liverpool and Newcastle (read story).
One poster, under the alias ‘Alex’, claimed the JLD does an awful job representing young lawyers. They wrote: “I feel embarrassed that the JLD have become embroiled in this argument. This is a commercial decision by BPP and the JLD have chosen to make their points in an aggressive manner which reflects badly on the profession.”
While another poster went as far as to call for the JLD to be disbanded. “I think most people want the JLD to be abolished and replaced by a new group. There’s a need for representation and events for younger members of the profession,” wrote the poster.
In response to the posts JLD committee member Kevin Poulter said: “I think it’s a bit unfair as a lot is based on unfounded information. But, in general, it’s great that it encouraged so much debate as we want people to talk to us as we accept we can’t cover all opinions of the members.”
He explained the key concerns raised in the “emergency” meeting were not aimed at the larger law course providers solely, but at the fact that no one is taking responsibility.
Poulter added: “What we don’t want to see is people who wouldn’t have gone to law school go because it is closer to them. Just because it is on their doorstep doesn’t mean they should do it.
“Manchester, for example, has many law schools, but BPP and College of Law have finances and resources to almost blanket the city with adverts. This is encouraging people to do the course because it is on their doorstep rather than doing it for the right reasons.”
The fiery debate also raised claims that JLD committee members do not truly represent members due to being from smaller firms and some members being too many years qualified. It was further criticised for a lack of transparency.