For the last few years, the College of Law’s (CoL) strategy has been to present itself as a high end establishment, while attempting to portray its rival, BPP Law School, as trashy.
Hence the CoL’s 2010 tie up with elite American law school Northwestern to launch a US law degree, and the frequent assertions in print and elsewhere by its chief executive, Nigel Savage (pictured), that BPP – which is owned by for-profit US higher education company Apollo – is a “sausage factory” whose degrees and professional qualifications “come with fries”.
Savage’s jibes have been so effective that, judging by BPP's recent opening of a Swindon branch, even the law school itself has started to believe them. However, the CoL has had much more difficulty living up to its pretentions to elitism – an uncomfortable fact illustrated by the embarrassing failure of its US law degree, which was dropped last week due to lack of demand. Not a single student even began the course.
Dubbed ‘the US Gateway’, the joint CoL-Northwestern programme was initially aimed at English LPC and BPTC graduates, who could tack the extra study onto their courses and come away with a US-style CoL Juris Doctor (JD) degree in law. But the £12,500 fees, and lack of practical usefulness of the qualification, saw no one sign up, forcing the CoL to postpone its launch for a year as it hawked the course around the US for American takers. It didn’t get any.
“We have just not attracted the number of students we thought we might,” CoL director of business development Robert Dudley told Legal Cheek.
Dudley added that the American Bar Association’s (ABA) decision to opt against accrediting foreign law schools to deliver US law degrees contributed to the course being dropped.