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BPP Law Schools London branch is on the verge of losing its excellent Law Society rating. If a recent audit is confirmed, the legal education provider will be classified as merely very good.
Butdoesitreally matter? After all, when the consortium of top firms comprising Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Lovells, Norton Rose and Slaughter and May sought to renew their contract for the provision of the City LPC, they opted for an exclusive relationship with the London branch of BPP. In doing so, Nottingham Law School, now one of only five education providers holding an excellent rating, was thrust out in the cold.
The consortium had previously also included Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters, but these three magic circle firms opted for the College of Law when they decided they wanted someone to design and run a bespoke LPC. Yet, all of the College of Laws five branches are rated as merely very good.
These eight firms represent much of the elite of the legal profession, where the key to winning and retaining clients is excellence in delivery of service. In practice, very good is simply not good enough.
Not that the Citys finest have much of a tradition of toeing a Law Society line. One of the many aspects of the Training Framework Review, with which training partners are unhappy, is the erosion of their powers to sign off trainees as competent to practise.
Certainly, most agree that there is simply too much regulation of training providers. A common theme is that there is often too little time between Law Society visits to effect real change.
There is also a perception that the Law Society is out of touch with the wants and needs of City firms and is better geared up to assess generalist, rather than tailored, courses.
Ultimately, the most successful providers are those that meet the demands and expectations of their law firm clients - not those that chase ratings.