London firm Olswang recruits between 10 and 12 trainees a year. It is renowned for its grip on the latest state-of-the-art technology.
Originally a media and communications firm, it is now expanding its practice on the back of the digital revolution to specialise in corporate finance, technology, communications, intellectual property, litigation and commercial property.
However, the firm which prides itself on its “commercial pragmatism” complains that the LPC is too practical.
Olswang human resources director Malcolm Lewis says: “The new LPC does develop a range of skills in people but that is at the expense of black letter law so one has to concentrate a bit more on making sure people are getting a solid grounding in the key legal areas.”
Lewis is not advocating a return to the Law Society finals of old, but a shift of emphasis from practical to theoretical in any new course.
He says: “I wouldn't want to turn the clock back – it is a matter of taking the LPC and refining it a bit more.”
Lewis says LPC students' training now involves “more client meetings, research skills and group discussions – all are useful and relevant, but learnt at the expense of legal theory.
There is a general sense that they don't know as much law as people did under the Law Society finals.”
He says that, in his experience, the quality of LPC courses does not vary greatly between providers. When recruiting, he says he looks for “bright personalities, individuality, drive, enthusiasm, character, the ability to relate to people and the ability to learn”.