‘Do we need more law courses?’ asks top QC as new BPTC course opens with pupillage numbers at lowest level in a generation

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By Alex Aldridge on

The fact that pupillage numbers are at their lowest for many years hasn’t stopped BPP Law School opening yet another Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) this autumn. The launch party for the new Manchester BPTC takes place next week, with many of the region’s top lawyers invited. Not that all are happy to go along…

For Gerard McDermott QC, BPP’s opportunism — which takes place at a time when there are already around 1,700 BPTC students fighting over less than 440 pupillages annually — is a step too far. “Do we need more training courses…when thousands of BPTC grads can’t get work?” McDermott asked BPP Law School’s Twitter account on Friday.

Their full exchange is below…

McDermott’s willingness to publicly challenge a BPTC provider is the latest sign that change may be in the air in respect of the ridiculously oversubscribed route to the Bar. Last week, speaking on Radio 4’s Law in Action, University of Law chief Nigel Savage urged wannabe barristers to do the Legal Practice Course (LPC) rather than the BPTC.

“Qualify as a solicitor: there are far more opportunities,” said Savage in a notable departure from the normal law school line. “Do the LPC and you can go into a [law firm’s] litigation department — litigation is booming in general both domestically and globally — and then if you are passionate about the Bar you can transfer over. That’s a much safer bet.”

Gerard McDermott QC’s contribution to the ‘If I knew then what I know now’ series is here.