Lift for trainee barristers as HSBC reinstates BPTC loan

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  • I love the comment that trainee solicitors "make next to nothing". Who says the profession is out of touch?

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  • Jen,

    Are you being serious??

    It's a serious question.

    Taking on the debt is a milestone as it adds to the existing graduate debt. The overall debt increases materially so this is an issue.

    You question Big Dave with a rather silly question.The point is the majority are not investing in their futures because there aren't enough jobs.

    Only the minority will get a job hence the use of the word "investment" makes no sense.

    It's really a gamble not an investment. It's only an investment if you get a job!!!

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  • @Finbarr McGurk | 8-Mar-2011 7:49 pm

    It's a very valid comment for many trainees, for every one earning a City firm wage there's probably twice as many earning half that or nothing at all.

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  • If you intend to be a barrister aside from hvaing the kind of financial support that means you don't need a loan eg parents pay for it, you need a loan until recently there was only two places you could get such a loan Natwest who stopped doing their professional trainee loan scheme in January or HSBC who stopped doing their equivalent last November and as this article says are going to be bringing it back, this is a good thing because as I write this noone else offers a loan for this, all they offer are personal loans no good for the BPTC so regardless about the debate as to wether being a barrister or not is sensible this is a good thing because if you do want to do it HSBC are the only one's that are going to enable you to do so

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  • Thanks HSBC!
    As to the debate:
    It's absurd to suggest loans shouldn't be available for professional education; whether you end up working as a barrister or not the course provides valuable skills that enhance job prospects. Therefore it can't be said that the course isn't an investment, of course it will be more fruitful for some than others but that would be the case even if everyone was guaranteed pupillage and tenancy. Would you suggest that loans shouldn't be available for undergraduate education as the logic of your argument (in a market of too many graduates) implies?
    Also, if after doing a law degree/GDL and knowing all the relevant facts, people decide they are willing to take out a loan, you have no good reason to stop them.

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  • The comments on here which suggest 'take a year out and that'll pay for it' clearly have absolutely no idea how expensive the BPTC/ LPC year can be. I am lucky enough to have a training contract which will fully fund my LPC and provides a good grant aswell. I'm currently taking a year off and working in an admin job to save for the next year but by the time rent and living is considered, the savings are minimal. Even with time off to save, paid fees and a grant and a job during the LPC I will still struggle financially.
    I do feel those who do the LPC whilst pursuing a TC with a firm that would have paid their LPC for them are being a bit daft. But for those who wish to practice in an area of law which doesn't offer LPC sponsorship I have huge sympthy. At present a huge hole exists in the market. Hopeful (and somewhat reliant) on BPP/ CoL finding a bank to step into the space left by Natwest's withdrawl of their loan scheme.

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  • HSBC surely don't know anything about these types of loans as yet!

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  • The main point in almost everyone argument seems to be the big earnings of some barristers. What about the students who want to go into law to actually help the public and their future wage is hardly considered. Not everyone is in it for the money...without loans such as this many people have little to no hope of following their career paths!

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  • If you deny loans to those wishing to study the BPTC only the rich will get through. Would our legal system be fair if there were no diversity and the barristers only represented one class of people. How would that deliver justice? I have many friends including myself who have a good chance of securing pupillage. I'm not going to give up now just because I don't have the money to fund it my self. What is truly stupid is spending three years and thousands of pounds on a law degree with the aim to becoming a barrister and simply giving up! What a waste of money that would be! Why should I be stopped from having the career I want just because there are risks involved. If no one ever took risks no one would ever get anywhere!
    I agree that too many people take out the loan, people who have very little chance of securing pupillage but there are hundreds of barristers who funded their BPTC this way and have been hugely successful, how can you suggest that they should simply do something else? I'm glad they thought their future was worth the risk.
    Maybe the bank could ask for references from acaedimic staff about the likelyness of success. However this could still exclude students that truly have the potential but need a chance to prove themselves.

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  • @I Hapte BPP
    Part of the reason the BPTC is so expensive is the low student: teacher ratio. The Bar Standards Board demands that the majority of teaching (75%+) is in groups of 12 or fewer. Large lectures can be used for the remainder. For advocacy it has to be groups of 6 or fewer. There is also a long list of books and electronic subscriptions that must be provided.

    I was speaking to someone on the board of governors (or whatever it's called) of my BVC provider. He said that despite the fees, they lost money on the course. I'm not sure I believe that, but I would guess it's less of a money spinner than others this provider, which is also a university, offers.

    There are also fewer economies of scale than with the LPC, which tends to have a larger intake of students at each provider. (E.g. BPP London has around 2,000 LPC students but only 300 in the BPTC.)

    More generally, I don't think it's reasonable to expect people to save up to afford the BPTC (£15K fees + living expenses) over a couple of years. On the other hand, people have a lot of unrealistic expectations of pupillage. So I don't know what the answer is, but it's not to limit the bar to people with parents with deep pockets. I guess I'm in favour of a smaller BPTC intake with more selection to weed out those with no chance from wasting the money.

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