Stephenson Harwood legal recruitment manager Alison Warner says: "A commercial law firm needs people with commercial skills."
Warner says LPCs must be practical and she supports the introduction of courses tailored to the needs of City firms. "From day one, trainees could be meeting with clients. It is likely that they will need to know how to deal with clients and how to conduct themselves when they go into court," she says.
All Stephenson Harwood recruits are required to choose commercial law-related electives such as commercial litigation, commercial law and commercial property on the LPC, instead of family law or private client law. Upon qualification, every Stephenson Harwood lawyer receives training in marketing and business development.
Warner says: "Teaching marketing and business development is not the responsibility of the LPC provider, since every firm has its own individual strategy."
He says: "There is a much more competitive environment now and clients expect you to have a broad understanding of the commercial world and to provide them with the best solution for their business."
Warner says there is "a bit of a difference" in standards among LPC providers, with course content and teaching differing according to the school's outlook and needs. She says that a growing number of people are undertaking the LPC as a result of an increasing number of firms recruiting trainees.
She adds that many students pursue an LPC because it "finishes" their training, but then go on to follow a career in business rather than the law because "some of the skills are transferable".