30 March 2008

Susie Law School returns with Law School Advice

Hi kids,

Yes yes, I know, I never post here, shame on me and my handbag-sized dog. I do enjoy passing on my wisdom to those who follow in my footsteps. However, I can rarely think of awe-inspiring, useful topics to discuss on this blawg that will aid lawyers-to-be in their quest for a training contract and beyond.

However, part-time law student has given me food for thought and I figured since s/he asked this question, there must be others out there wondering the same. So here is some advice regarding Law Schools, in response to the following query:

"I have a question regarding the LPC - Is there a divide amongst those who have a training contract and those who don't? Do providers generally help those do not yet have a TC? I have heard that in comparison to the GDL, the LPC provider is more important - more notice is paid to the LPC provider on the CV. Im currently weighing up pros and cons of part-time study v full-time and cheap provider re big provider (such as Kaplan / BPP / CoL)....dilemmas, dilemmas..."

1. On the GDL, most people don't have a training contract. In my class of 18 last year, only six of us did, and only two were going to the Bar. So that leaves 10 people in a class without TCs. On the LPC, this is slightly different, but apparently most people start the LPC without a TC. This is a somewhat warped interpretation of matters, of course, since the percentage of TC-equipped would-be-solicitors is *probably* higher in places like College of Law or BPP where majority of City firms send their trainees.

I can only speak for my current provider, but for the compulsory subjects, students were placed in groups with others in the same situation. So everyone in my original group have TCs whereas friends without TCs are in groups with others in the same situation. This changes during the electives, however.

2. As for helping students get a TC, there is apparently a good careers service, but I can't speak for its value as I lack first-hand experience. At BPP there are apparently more students without TCs at Waterloo, whereas most (?) people at Holborn have TCs. And I hear this is so because it is then possible to provide more specialist help for students to obtain TCs, firm presentations, workshops etc. at Waterloo.

3. I am not a recruiter but I would say yes, your LPC provider is more important than your GDL provider. If you want a City TC I wouldn't bother applying to anywhere but BPP, CoL or Nottingham. This is merely because once you get your TC most City firms will get you to pack your bags and set off to one of the said institutions anyway. So you might as well already be there, and there probably is *some* additional prestige attached if you haven't got a TC and go to one of those schools. You might as well do all you can to maximise your chances of getting a TC rather than make it harder on yourself by going for a cheap-but-obscure provider.

As for the GDL, it probably doesn't matter where you go. I know people with GDLs from all kinds of places who have training contracts and did not have trouble obtaining them.

4. There doesn't seem to be much difference in practice between providers. What you learn is exactly the same, obviously, since it is set by the Law Society. Friends who went from GDL at BPP to Kaplan have despaired at the admin nightmare that is Nottingham, but BPP LPC-goers who did the GDL at BPP also despair at the at-times ineptitude of the organisation of the LPC at BPP.

CoL is a whole different kettle of fish as much more of the studying is independent (compared to spoon-feeding at BPP) and exams are open book. A word of warning though - just because you can take your notes, this does not make it easier. The questions are harder and apparently there is very little time to actually look at your carefully constructed colour-coded diagrams unless you know exactly where they are. Really depends on what style of teaching and learning you prefer.

5. As for the merits of part-time versus full-time, I have very little advice on this, alas. I know a person who opted for GDL and the LPC part-time and he has coped well. Again, depends a lot on the kind of learning-style you have, how disciplined and focused you are and suchlike.

On that note, I hope I have managed to impart at least some wisdom to someone.


Anonymous said...

I dont agree that most people on the gdl are without TCs. In my group of about 20, only 2 people were without TCs.

Anonymous said...

Could you not post in pink. A) it looks ridiculous and B) it is very difficult to read against the grey background.

Sex, Drugs and Law School said...

Thank you!
Keep posting in pink, its super-extra special! lol, its just sad that people have to poke holes. Its her blog she can publish a blank page.

But thanks for the info!

Training Contracts for Solicitors said...

A training contract is not normally required for anyone qualifying without a degree; non-graduates typically advance toward qualification by passing exams administered by the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) – all the while working under the supervision of a solicitor.