Legal education

Review of the year

Legal education entered into uncharted territory this year with the September launch of the bespoke City Legal Practice Course (LPC) at three hand-picked higher education institutions across the country.

Born out of a unique collaboration between eight large City firms, the City LPC is intended to provide students with the corporate savvy that employers complain they do not get from the traditional LPC.

Such competition may be no bad thing for students, however, as the news that Nottingham Law School, the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice and BPP Law School had been hand-picked as hosts of the new course seemed to spur on those left out in the cold into giving their own legal offerings a makeover.

The College of Law – a notable absentee from the City Eight’s list of LPC providers – immediately rolled out plans for a modified one-year course, complete with an emphasis on City issues.

Meanwhile, Birmingham College of Law netted a prize catch of five senior law lecturers recruited from three different universities, including two members of staff from De Montfort University’s beleaguered law department.

De Montfort first hit the headlines in July, when its Bristol LPC was taken over by the increasingly ambitious University of the West of England (UWE), leaving many De Montfort students stranded in between institutions and UWE a regional giant.

In October, De Montfort announced plans to close its Birmingham law campus by 2002, making six staff redundant. This time, students were advised to apply to the new £7m College of Law in Birmingham, rather than to traditional Midlands providers, fuelling fears that the advent of the City LPC could be the start of something much bigger than imagined.

Jennifer Currie, Lawyer 2B