Kaplan gets tough on students with first LPC admissions test

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  • The principle of an admissions test for the LPC was debated last weekend at the JLD Student Forum. In principle, this might be a good idea, but it depends on the criteria being used for assessment. Key to the concerns raised by LPC students was the risk to access and diversity at the junior end of the profession.
    However, given yesterday's news about the likely increase in undergraduate fees, the risk of further expenditure and debt will at least be seriously considered now by students with legal ambitions.
    The JLD is keen to have the Law Society and SRA address the gross shortfall of training contracts to LPC places. Let's hope that Kaplan's initiative is successful in reducing graduate numbers but not at the expense of worthy candidates who might otherwise succeed. A brave move, but one which I personally hope pays off.

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  • This is an excellent idea. I recently completed the BVC and it is shocking how people who do not have any chance of realistically securing a pupillage have been let on. It is a commonly held belief amongst most law students that the providers let anyone onto these courses as they are profitable.

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  • I agree there are far too many students on the LPC who are wasting their money, with no real chance of securing a training contract.
    However, this is not because of a lack of academic ability, but a lack of understanding of the whole legal recruitment cycle & process.
    The main problem is that people come onto the LPC with zero work experience, having never made a single application to a law firm, and not clued up on the two year recruitment cycles and vac scheme dates etc.
    I am sure many students will pass this aptitude test, but then still not have a realistic chance of securing a training contract because they havn't taken the time or the effort to properly research the profession. Securing a training contract is about far more than grades and academic ability.
    Having said that, it is very positive to see that Kaplan, as an LPC provider, are taking a step forward with the issue.

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  • This may sound cynical, but Kaplan is just trying to make its LPC course more attractive in the legal education marketplace. Any half-decent candidate will be pretty confident of passing this exam, and these candidates will bet that a Kaplan LPC will look weightier on training contract applications. Kaplan therefore attracts stronger candidates and will eventually be able to report higher training contract success rates. I'm fairly confident Kaplan won't actually see a decrease in the LPC places it provides, and will actually see an increase in the volume of LPC applications it receives. This is a good business move, pure and simple.

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  • I'm with Anonymous @ 12.28. This is a marketing ruse pure and simple. Kaplan's "rigorous" BPTC test allowed them to make offers to 72 of the 83 applicants who made it past the paper sift. Most of the sifting was done on the basis of the written applications, not the selection centre. This says to me that there's not much to be added to what you can find out from a paper application.

    The bigger problem is that GDL/LPC/BPTC providers' target class size is too big. Too many people are enrolling relative to the number of training contracts and pupillages available. If each provider took half the number of students, they could conduct a more rigorous paper sift (paying attention to the matters that firms/sets look for: academic achievement, extra curriculars etc.). Then there would not be so many people paying money needlessly.

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  • This is a stunt. Why should a training provider take fewer people than it has places? These are rapacious businesses chasing a shrinking number of would-be students. The number of students is shrinking because, at last, the realities of getting qualified are begining to permeate universities.

    Students need to engage with the profession they seek to join. I spend hours trawling through magazines before shelling out on a new car (price of last purchase 10 years ago was about what students spend on an LPC). I ask friends for recommendations, I test drive vehicles, read What Car? reviews, etc etc. It takes several days out of my life - fortunately only once a decade! Is it too much to expect that those thinking about joining the profession do something similar?

    This is a contracting profession. the market is being thrown open by the LS Act 2007. ABS's will reduce the need for qualified lawyers. Legal Aid is contracting. Major recruiters are off shoring the tedious work trainees once did and they are also recruiting young lawyers overseas where they can find better graduates who eventually return to their jurisdiction of origin and help the UK firm to build relationships.

    The Bar can provide only 1 pupillage for every 4 BVC/BPTC graduate. The Law Society does rather better but the demand for trainees fell off a cliff in the very year that the LPC providers produced their highest numbers of graduates. That means that the market is currently heavily over supplied. Once the SRA gets a grip on the lamentable state of the Training Contract the number of firms taking trainees is likely to fall further even when the domestic economy recovers. Take your time, make the best choice of career you can but be under no illusion - the heady days when 90% of LPC grads got Training Contracts is over.

    Aptitude tests are a waste of time and money if you want to become a solicitor. the great thing about the profession is its diversity - anyone of virtually any aptitude can find a place within it. being a solicitor is about ability, not aptitude. If you are bright enough to get a law degree or the GDL you should be bright enough to become a solicitor.

    The wastage in the profession is colossal, especially for women. Too many people have a very distorted picture of the profession - get some experience in the work place and if it would make you cry not to become a solicitor, have a go. If you are looking at the profession as a staging post while you come up with a better plan, be warned - its expensive and risky and some of it is neither interesting nor pleasant.

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