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In one of the biggest shake-ups in legal education history, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has finally unveiled the official list of institutions, which are to launch new-look Legal Practice Courses (LPC) later this year.
The announcement, made today on the SRA's website, has revealed that many institutions are using the new, more relaxed LPC guidelines, to totally revamp courses, with some providers including BPP Law School and Manchester Metropolitan University introducing fast-track options.
Nottingham Law School (NLS), the first provider to announce its decision to split the LPC in two by disengaging compulsory subjects from the electives, has also declared it will also be launching an exempting law degree.
Following in the footsteps of the universities of Northumbria and Huddersfield, NLS plans to allow students to combine a four-year sandwich course in law with the LPC.
LPC course leader at NLS Bob White (pictured) said: Trade is good for the course already. Were only going to have a relatively small intake and require high grades, so were expecting the quality of students taking this course will be extremely high. And of course it will be significantly cheaper than the normal route.
In theory students will undertake their degree course in their first and second years of study and then during the sandwich period they will start to study part of their LPC. Then the would-be lawyers will be left to complete the rest of their LPC during their fourth year of study.
Under the SRAs new guidelines the first stage of the LPC will have to cover the core practice areas, course skills and professional responsibilities and conduct. During the second stage students will need to complete three vocational electives. This stage can be completed with a different LPC provider.
Trainee solicitors who start a training contract after stage one of the LPC can study for their electives entirely in their own time (evening, weekends and/or by distance learning) or be given time off by their employers to study.
The move coincides with BPP creating a tailored fast-track LPC for students sponsored by the so-called City LPC consortium, as reported by this website earlier today.
Other institutions that are introducing new-look courses include the Bristol Institute of Legal Practice, which has teamed up with Central Law Training to launch a nationwide part-time LPC.
Elsewhere in legal education, BPP Law School is launching a fast-track LPC for students on the City consortium LPC (see story.