The three law schools chosen by the top eight UK firms to run the new City Legal Practice Course (LPC) have exclusively revealed to The Lawyer details of the new curriculum.
Around 600 places on the City LPC out of a total of 1,360 are allocated to students who do not have training contracts with the eight firms which established the course. The course is oversubscribed for September.
BPP Law School, Nottingham Law School and the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice established a partnership approach with the City eight in devising the new course.
Students who secured training contracts with Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Linklaters & Alliance, Lovells, Norton Rose and Slaughter and May will begin the new course in September 2001.
In coming years, competition for the remaining 600 places is expected to be fierce, and there are concerns that those with training contracts with firms in the next tier will be edged out of the new course.
Robert Halton, director of human resources at DLA, is worried that three of its potential trainees, who have been offered places at Nottingham to do the LPC, have not been guaranteed places on the City version. “We were told our candidates would not be prejudiced… but now they are,” he says. “If they do not get on the City LPC, I’d rather our students go on the College of Law’s tailored version.”
The College of Law has launched a modified course which will place more emphasis on black letter law and addressing issues from a City perspective.
The details of the City LPC were revealed following the upgrading of one of the three course providers’ ratings under the new ratings system. BPP Law School’s February assessment has resulted in a “Very Good” rating, up from its previous “Good” classification. However, this has yet to be approved and published by the LPC Board.
While the basic format of the course will remain roughly the same as in previous years, the focus will be on substantive law and away from manuals. Slaughter and May partner Melvyn Hughes says: “Our starting point was not to produce something radical, but to produce something better for people. A radical course was never on the agenda. We never saw it as that, but as getting to what it should have been from the beginning.”
The eight City firms have invested much time but no funds in the course. Nottingham Law School says that a close working relationship between practitioners at the firms and lecturers at the three providers has evolved. Clearance for the course was given by the Law Society in December, on the condition that one third of places on the course are reserved for students not signed up to the top eight firms. In addition, the quality must remain consistent with other LPC courses.
Changes to city lpc
Business: Focuses on company financing, including capital maintenance and distribution rules. Corporate accounting to be integrated.
Litigation: Covers jurisdiction in-depth. Interim injunctive relief will also be covered.
Property: Covers commercial property and leasehold in more detail.
Business Sales and Acquisitions: Covers contractual remedies (actions on warranties, indemnities, covenants and misrepresentation) in the context of negotiated agreements.
Public Companies and Equity Finance: Teaches equity offerings and the liabilities connected to flotation structures.
Debt Finance: Gives more focus to finance transactions issues and security law.
The Law Society requirements also maintain ethics, taxation, EU law and probate and administration. The City LPC will emphasise written work and legal research skills.
College of law corporate course
Two pathways through the LPC exist. In the College of Law’s corporate version of the LPC, the core topic, Business Law and Practice, covers the same content, but in the context of a large City company rather than a small partnership. Incorporation is covered in both versions: the original LPC version tracks the incorporation of a partnership, while the corporate version covers the creation of a subsidiary business.
Five corporate electives exist that any students can choose. These are;
Corporate Finance (debt and equity)
Acquisitions and Group Structures
Commercial Law (intellectual property, competition and commercial contracts, conflicts of law)
Commercial Property (commercial lease focus)
The electives are to be reviewed next year, after the corporate version of the course has run.