Firms hit back at DCA’s broadside against bespoke LPC courses

Firms using tailored LPC schemes have hit out at a Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) report on diversity, which suggests that the courses may hinder entry into the legal profession.

A working group composed of representatives of the Law Society, the Bar Council, private practice lawyers and other legal professionals issued recommendations arising from the DCA’s February 2006 report ‘Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession’ last Monday (4 December).

In its report, the working group noted the increasing trend for bespoke LPC courses. It said: “The working group recognised that this would suit some students, but not all.

“It was concerned that an increase in the trend could limit the choice of courses available to trainees.”

But firms using tailored LPC courses insist that their courses are no narrower than the standard LPC.

Simon Firth, the partner responsible for trainees at Linklaters, which has a tailored course with the College of Law, said: “I don’t see how [bespoke LPCs] can possibly have any effect on diversity.”

Clifford Chance graduate recruitment partner David Jones-Parry said: “We’re recruiting the same people on the same basis as we’ve always recruited.”

Phil Knott, executive director at Nottingham Law School, which so far does not offer bespoke LPCs, also supported the courses.

“I think we’re moving towards a situation where the new framework is going to lead to a greater range of courses,” Knott said. “I think arguably that could be a positive thing.”