Law Review: College of Law to offer two year law degree

College of Law to offer two-year undergraduate law degree

Interestingly, both BPP Law School and The College of Law are now going head to head with leading Russell Group universities by providing law degrees.  The College of Law LLB degree will run initially in the College’s London, Birmingham and Chester offices from September 2012.  The Lawyer reports that the fees will be £18,000 – right at the upper point of fees which may be charged by traditional universities in the new post-Brownian era.

CoL chief Nigel Savage told The Lawyer: “I’ve said consistently that the undergraduate law degree is no longer fit for purpose and should be more in line with medical degrees by combining the right amount of law with the right amount of context.”

I have my reservations about the current craze for describing law degrees as ‘not fit for purpose’ and await the results of the review by the legal profession regulators to see how their vision of legal education pans out.

Both BPP and The College of Law run sophisticated offerings for the LPC and BPTC, with equally hefty fees, so it will be interesting to see how they compete with traditional universities who have far more experience in running undergraduate and postgraduate law degrees and a very different research based ethic. Both law schools have the financial muscle to invest in high quality education and both are well aware of the need to be client focused.  They don’t always achieve this, judging by some of the comments on the various student forums on the net, but no institution can please all the people all of the time.  Nevertheless, it would be folly to discount or ignore criticism from fee paying customers – and these customers are paying a lot of money for their legal education.  The traditional universities will also start to feel the bright light of student fee payer power when their fees rise.

BPP and The College of Law have enjoyed primacy at  the vocational stage of legal education.  They will have to start at the bottom of the reputation ladder when it comes to competing with the top UK universities offering law degree programmes.   For my part?  I would say that it is not unreasonable to suggest that the deans of traditional Russell Group universities will have to keep an eye on their backs and up their game to stay ahead.

I am doing a series of podcasts on legal education – which is ongoing.  You may be interested in hearing the views of those I have interviewed thus far?

Lawcast 175: Professor Gary Slapper, Open University, on the reform of legal education

Lawcast 172: On the reform of legal education with Scott Slorach, College of Law

Lawcast 171:  Nigel Savage, CEO of The College of Law

Lawcast 170: Professor Richard Moorehead, Cardiff Law School, University of Cardiff

6 thoughts on “Law Review: College of Law to offer two year law degree

  1. I’d turn this around – I’ve often wondered why the Russell Group doesn’t offer the LPC/BPTC; both of my alma maters (Oxford and Liverpool) don’t, but the local ex-Polys (Oxford Brookes and Liverpool John Moores) do.

    (Notably, Oxford has actually backed out, helping found OXILP, but handing control to Brookes in 2008).

    This strikes me as especially odd given that I was taught several subjects at degree and masters level by current or formerly practicing lawyers.

    Given you can squeeze the LPC into about 40-sum teaching days (as I did, on College of Law’s weekend course), you’d think it was an ideal opportunity for large, prestigious Universities with lots of vacant accomodation over the summer months!

  2. I think there is a lot to be said for the US practice of requiring lawyers to get a general education first. For some areas of practice such as my own a science, technology or engineering degree is almost a prerequisite. In Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates used to require intrants to show they had the equivalent of a Scottish general MA.

    Most of the law that I have learned has been acquired from practice. I can see scope for more on the job training and also greater scope for universities in continuing professional development.

    All this has to be funded of course. Scope for scholarships from the Magic Circle and the alternative business structures perhaps?

  3. It will be interesting to see how the job market reacts to these degrees. Will they be seen as desirable, employable degrees? Will they be up there with Russell Group courses?

    While I can see the appeal in only taking two years, and indeed only paying for two years, that’s still a lot of time and money if the end result is finding out that you’re not as employable as most other people.

  4. lateforlawschool – nail on the head!

    Jane Lambert – I have suggested in the past that major law firms pay for the end user….some, of course, do.

    MTPT – I did not get an enthusiastic response to that idea when I did a survey for MC firms 10 years ago – maybe they will re-consider?

  5. Pingback: Two Years or Not Two years: That’s Not the Question | Lawyer Watch

  6. I’m looking to undergo the undergraduate programme at the College of Law and I’ve often expressed the abover reservations noted above to myself also.
    In terms of employability they are linked to loads of the top law firms so I dont think they’ll lack in that aspect. Plus the fees and the entry requirements puts it on the map for me. RG unis are the most suscribed to which is why a number of young people including myself look for alternative/cheaper ways on entry to gain a law degree.

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