Lawcast 212: Peter Crisp, Dean and CEO of BPP Law School

Lawcast 212: Peter Crisp, Dean and CEO of BPP Law School

Today I am talking to Peter Crisp, Dean of BPP Law School, part of BPP University College. We examine the developing law programmes at  BPP Law School, the Legal Education Training Review and the changing face of legal education and practice in England & Wales

It is a wide ranging and robust  discussion which, I hope, will also be of interest to practitioners.

Listen to the podcast

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the  Law Review Weekly  and my Lawcasts

6 thoughts on “Lawcast 212: Peter Crisp, Dean and CEO of BPP Law School

  1. Pingback: Lawcast 212: Peter Crisp, Dean and CEO of BPP Law School – Charon QC | Current Awareness

  2. Very interesting podcast. I enjoyed it enormously.

    1. A question in this podcast specifically asks about a comparison between the undergraduate course and the BPTC at BPP. Both the question and the answer are clearly comparing ‘apples’ or ‘bananas’, and this would be like comparing the cost of the undergraduate course at Cambridge to its M.Phil; they are very different courses, taught in a very different way (this answer does come out). I don’t feel that the ‘economies of scale’ argument is relevant, but true (?) – I’ve never seen the management accounts of either institutions.

    2. The ‘unique-selling point’ of the undergraduate course at BPP does merit attention of course. I come to this from a rather odd perspective and perhaps totally unrepresentative. I obtained the second highest first at Cambridge, and happily completed my PhD there; however, I also have done a LLM at the College of Law and a MBA in fact from (our) Business School. The MBA and LLM were very practice-focused in fact, the degrees at Cambridge were probably the polar opposite of a practice-focused course. I think the LPC, which I will complete next month at BPP Law School, has been fantastic, not just in terms of content but also the course delivery and standard of our supervisors. For what it’s worth my views on this issue are generally well-known; I found little correlation between excellence of research at Cambridge with excellence at lecturing/supervising, though it did help enormously being made aware of recent developments in the subject from people who were world leaders in it. This is a totally different goal to producing practitioners for the legal profession in a bespoke way.

    I do feel, however, that the discussion could have brought out more the worth or value of both approaches, particularly given that law is such a cerebral subject, unless it was a deliberate intention to say that one approach is better than the other? Whilst it might also be a selling point for graduates of BPP Law School to emerge into a magic circle training contract, the real question must be about “sustainability” (and this indeed should be the focus of the business model of BPP and the College of Law, ironically). In this current economic climate, how many of people in such a direct career path will remain in a job with that firm or a comparable lateral as a newly-qualified in the early 20s, associate in the late 20s, or even partner in their 30s? Is such a fast career progression advisable, desirable or even possible? I am genuinely open-minded about the answer to this. Furthermore, I would feel concerned if ‘academic’ students were put off from applying to BPP University College, and rather go to Russell Group including Oxbridge. From a business perspective, if there is a mismatch between the brand perspectives of the undergraduate and vocational courses, there could be ‘brand dilution’ of the overall brand of BPP. Not wishing to ‘protect my own’, there are many excellent Cambridge graduates at BPP who are good friends of mine now.

    3. I am very enthusiastic about the Reed Smith initiative. I feel that the argument is much wider than the law firm as a business though. From my own MBA here at BPP, and whilst I am mindful of the well articulated arguments of Prof RN Charon, I think it is very much about understanding the fundamental principles of how the economy works, and the general principles of how business clients go about their business. By this, I mean decision-marketing, strategic analysis and implementation, innovation management, performance management and human resources, and international marketing strategy. Whilst I do not feel that lawyers can ‘replace’ corporate strategists, I feel the two disciplines go very much side-by-side, particularly in light of the aspiration of many firms to ‘beat the recession’ by finding new competitive markets elsewhere, including BRIC and Australasia (for example).

    4. I am intensely interested in the changing landscape of legal services and legal education.

    (a) Members of my student society, BPP Legal Awareness Society, in fact recorded a podcast discussing curriculum aims and designs, mainly in response to the writings of Rebecca Huxley-Binns, Prof John Flood and Prof Stephen Mayson. I too am interested in ILEX, having been exposed to it mainly from the @CILEX_Lawyers thread and Barbara Hamilton-Bruce (whom I met at our recent #Trialof3legals was held at the Lamb Tavern, Leadenhall Market, The City EC3). Curiously, our podcast team never mentioned ‘graduating debt-free’, though this is perhaps likely to be a concern; but ours was a wide-ranging discussion including whether it was a good idea that legal education should have become so commodified, and how other strands could be taught from a much earlier stage (such as ethics and conduct, practical legal research, and communication skills). As students, we have a number of concerns about the Legal Education and Training Review, reporting directly to that review, but we have been encouraged from the wider feedback which we have received.

    (b) The LPC, as taught to me this year in Holborn, makes no mention of ABSs at BPP Law School (and there was no mention of them in my LLM 2008-2010). Our twitter thread, @legalaware, is indeed followed by Riverview as well as Jeremy; indeed I’ve met both of them in real life. Personally, I should like this to be found a way for this to be covered, though I can’t immediately see where it would come. Likewise, the position of legal aid and funding in civil litigation remains uncertain, so I am not sure how this should be covered, either.

    The BPP Legal Awareness Society, of which I am the President currently, has meetings every fortnight. We have a popular Legal Aware blog which is daily updated, and nearly 5000 followers on Twitter with very many students, journalists, and firms following (with 3 QCs following too.)The aim of our society is to contextualise the importance of law in the context of how business clients obtain optimal competitive advantage in a global market; our meeting this Thursday looked at the recent design right dispute between Apple and Samsung, with the judgment delivered on my birthday this year, June 18. We see this society as very much filling in the “commercial awareness” competence desired by law firms, as well as a fun way for us students to keep up-to-date with corporate news! Rather selfishly, as I have a good relationship with a law centre where I worked (I am disabled and therefore passionate about welfare benefits for deserving disabled citizens in society), I am now interested in considering how you can take the best of the ABS approach and apply it to law centres, and this is work I’d like to do after my LPC concludes next month.

    With best wishes, as ever.

  3. Just an aside, I think it would be an enormous tragedy if successful graduates of BPP University College were not inclined (or indeed able) to continue a research career through perhaps a M.Stud., M.Sc., D.Phil or PhD in a good unit, through not having been exposed to rigours of sustained academic research prior to completion of their first degree. However, the counterargument is that more traditional Universities have better resources to allocate for that function, BPP should concentrate what it’s best at – and perhaps (most convincingly?) bright academic people will succeed wherever they went to University. The problem is that I am a passionate believer in people not having options shut off for them at too early a stage in life – I therefore feel uneasy about the idea of someone who hasn’t even completed their GCE A levels having to decide that they wish definitely to be a legal practitioner and/or they do not wish to do research – the precedent across the Atlantic (as indeed here in the UK) is that – maybe – law schools are overproducing graduates who can’t get jobs anyway. Law schools therefore must show some degree of responsibility for this – whilst engaging genuinely with the wider ‘social mobility’ debate.

  4. Pingback: Law Review Weekly #5 Pt 1: Podcasts – John Cooper QC and others « Charon QC

  5. Pingback: You listen to one podcast…and three come along at once! – Emily Allbon « Lawbore Future Lawyer

  6. Dear BPP, You gave many young people false hope that they could have a meaningful legal career and, as you did so, you took alot of money from them, whilst we cannot get a legal job other than filing or some other administrative crap like that. Yours, the vast majoroty of BPP LPC/BVC/BPTC graduates.

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