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The launch of the new Nottingham Law at Kaplan Law School has fallen well below expectations, with student numbers lagging 50 per cent behind first-year targets.
Speaking exclusively to Lawyer2B.com almost a year after the launch, chief executive Giles Proctor said Nottingham's fledgling London arm was hoping to double its number of students to start the 2008-09 academic year, with 116 LPC students and 45 to 60 GDL students.
He said: "At the time we thought we'd get around 100 students, but given the fluidity in the market we had to settle for 65.
"But when we recruited those students we hadn't even opened in London. Now we have a building, teaching staff and a top ranking from the Solicitors Regulation Authority."
During the 2007-08 academic year only 53 LPC and 12 GDL students successfully enrolled with the law school. Of these, 12 were Mayer Brown LPC students. Mayer Brown is the only law firm so far signed up for Kaplan's LPC and will be sending 21 students to the law school next year.
The SRA has licensed Kaplan to admit up to 300 LPC and 100 GDL students, which Proctor said represented a realistic four-to-five-year target.
Kaplan is still significantly smaller than top London players the College of Law and BPP Law School, but Proctor argued this should not be seen as a negative.
"It's good that there's a clearer choice in London now," he said. "We feel our size has real advantages in giving students smaller classes, tutors who know their names and an experience that's a little bit different from the hundreds who pass through our rivals' doors."