College of Law to offer two-year undergraduate law degree
Interestingly, both BPP Law School and The College of Law are now going head to head with leading Russell Group universities by providing law degrees. The College of Law LLB degree will run initially in the College’s London, Birmingham and Chester offices from September 2012. The Lawyer reports that the fees will be £18,000 – right at the upper point of fees which may be charged by traditional universities in the new post-Brownian era.
CoL chief Nigel Savage told The Lawyer: “I’ve said consistently that the undergraduate law degree is no longer fit for purpose and should be more in line with medical degrees by combining the right amount of law with the right amount of context.”
I have my reservations about the current craze for describing law degrees as ‘not fit for purpose’ and await the results of the review by the legal profession regulators to see how their vision of legal education pans out.
Both BPP and The College of Law run sophisticated offerings for the LPC and BPTC, with equally hefty fees, so it will be interesting to see how they compete with traditional universities who have far more experience in running undergraduate and postgraduate law degrees and a very different research based ethic. Both law schools have the financial muscle to invest in high quality education and both are well aware of the need to be client focused. They don’t always achieve this, judging by some of the comments on the various student forums on the net, but no institution can please all the people all of the time. Nevertheless, it would be folly to discount or ignore criticism from fee paying customers – and these customers are paying a lot of money for their legal education. The traditional universities will also start to feel the bright light of student fee payer power when their fees rise.
BPP and The College of Law have enjoyed primacy at the vocational stage of legal education. They will have to start at the bottom of the reputation ladder when it comes to competing with the top UK universities offering law degree programmes. For my part? I would say that it is not unreasonable to suggest that the deans of traditional Russell Group universities will have to keep an eye on their backs and up their game to stay ahead.
I am doing a series of podcasts on legal education – which is ongoing. You may be interested in hearing the views of those I have interviewed thus far?