Law Soc under fire over LPC plan

Top law schools have lashed out at moves by the Law Society to more than triple the number of skills assessments on the LPC.

The Law Society has proposed increasing the number of compulsory skills assessments from the current six to 20 in order to remedy the problem of students entering firms with poor writing skills. However, LPC providers have savaged the proposal, arguing that it fails to address the problem, will lower the standard of teaching and could increase the cost of the course by up to £1,000 per pupil.

In a formal response to the proposals, the Association of LPC Providers (ALP), which represents all but two of the nation’s LPC providers, listed eight reasons why the proposals were flawed.

These included the establishment of an “assessment culture” among students, the oversimplification of assessments in the early stages of the course to avoid an “assessment jam” later, and insufficient time for students “to learn by doing”, which would change the ethos and effectiveness of the course.

“Assessing the same subject more than once does not improve standards,” the response concluded.

The ALP also observed that the proposal runs contrary to the Law Society’s 1997 decision to reduce the number of skills assessments so as to address concerns about the coverage of ‘black letter law’, as well as its 2002 decision to remove coursework because of overassessment.

Other proposals in the controversial Law Society document include disengaging electives from compulsory modules and allowing an unlimited number of exemptions.

ALP head and LPC director at London’s Inns of Court Law School Melissa Hardee said the Law Society had given LPC providers just two and a half days to respond.

“We’ve been treated like schoolchildren and haven’t been consulted at all,” she said. “The Law Society is having a meeting on Wednesday [26 July] to discuss the proposals, at we which we [the ALP] have no representation. It’s like being in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

Law Society spokesperson Isobel Rowley said: “The Law Society will be looking at the view of everybody who has responded to our proposals. There are a lot of views to be taken into account – other people than just the Association of LPC Providers have responded.”