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Archive for June 9th, 2009

The rebellion is over… for the moment.

Well… he is no ‘Great and Terrible King’ like Edward 1, but Gordon Brown survives… for the present.  It may well prove to be a disaster and, no doubt, David Cameron is ‘over the moon’ …to bring back a phrase beloved of football managers years ago.

Tom Harris MP, who I had the pleasure of doing a podcast with recently, has a rather good post on the issue.

Prime Minister’s question

The comments are worth reading as well.

Tom Harris  did have the courage to suggest that Brown might step down as leader.  Tim Kevan, over at Barrister Blog is backing Purnell to be the next PM and says that Paddy Power is offering of 12-1.  Might be worth a punt… I’ll put a tenner on it… for democracy.  (We are still allowed to bet?… Are we? … in Brownian Britain??

And with my winnings… if I do win… I’ll buy a copy of Tim’s new BabyBarista novel.. coming soon from all good bookshops.  In fact, I’ll buy it anyway.

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“This ad is about a guy who would like a brew and some ass”

Just watch it… if you need a laugh. You won’t regret it!

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With sincere apologies to The Pythons  – but at least their famous song can be

used to inspire me take the piss out of these tossers.

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BPP Law School backs £300m takeover by US bidder
Legal Week: “The parent company of top UK law school BPP has accepted a £303.5m takeover offer from a US education provider in a move that will be closely watched by the legal profession.BPP Holdings today (8 June) made an announcement on the London Stock Exchange that the all-cash offer by Apollo Global worth 620p per share – a premium on Friday’s closing price of 567p – had been agreed by the board of BPP, subject to a shareholder vote.

The takeover will be closely watched by UK lawyers given BPP’s status as one of the most influential players in the legal education sphere. BPP is sole supplier to the so-called City LPC consortium, acting as exclusive LPC provider to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Lovells, Norton Rose and Slaughter and May”

If the sale is approved by the BPP shareholders, as is likely, this will mean that two of three largest providers of vocational legal education in England & Wales will be controlled by American companies.  It seems clear, from what limited comment I have been able to obtain so far,  that this could be very good news for BPP;  bringing fresh expertise and investment into an already established provider of courses.  Apollo’s online learning experience will also, inevitably (I am advised), be of considerable benefit and put pressure on other providers to up their game.

It follows, of course, that the new owners will want American returns on investment which, some say, are a bit more demanding than those required by British and European investors.  I don’t know – but it was an interesting viewpoint which, if followed through to a logical conclusion,  will mean an examination of less successful areas within the BPP group, perhaps some re-structuring,  and consideration being given to cutting expensive low  yield courses.

Focusing attention on BPP Law School – it is quite possible that the BVC course  may be subject to one of two strategies in the present climate: closure or fee raising.  BPP is not going to go short of applicants for their BVC programme because of a perception in the market by students, despite the  high fee, that they will be better placed by attending BPP than if they attended other providers.  This is a fairly widely held belief, it would appear, from talking to BVC students and those who have qualified recently – a perception not necessarily held by Chambers more interested in degree results than the grade achieved on the BVC.

Interestingly: BPP Law School has out performed its parent company, BPP Holdings plc, with annual turnover up 29% to £19.8m. Turnover for the whole group was £118.7m, up 7%. BPP Law School accounted for 65% of the growth of the entire BPP group in 2004.”

Since then, BPP has gone on to expand its law school operations, opening new, offices, designing new courses and maximising their degree awarding powers to look at lucrative course opportunities at both LLB and LLM level.

BPP Law School provided the figures on the number of sponsored students – 34%.  This is high, but not surprising given their position as exclusive LPC provider to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Lovells, Norton Rose and Slaughter and May. BPP may well, as a result, be better placed to weather the current financial climate better than smaller providers who are almost entirely reliant on students who fund their own LPC and BVC courses.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, effect the change of ownership has on City law firm perceptions of BPP, fees and policy.

I am currently talking to quite a few people to get their views – if they are prepared to give them – and in the meantime I would be most interested in your thoughts and reaction to this news.

As ever – the comments section is open for your thoughts…


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