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Solicitor at top corporate firm is flogging GDL and LPC notes to hard-up students

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EXCLUSIVE: A solicitor at leading law firm Kennedys is running a sideline selling law school notes to students online.

Operating under the names of ‘GDL Guru’ and ‘LPC Guru’, Helen Neale charges £69.99 per set of notes for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC).

The notes were taken by Neale during the GDL and LPC, which she completed between 2008-2010 before doing her training contract and going on to qualify as a solicitor at Kennedys’ Sheffield office. Publicly available salary data states that Kennedys’ newly qualified solicitors earn £58,000 a year.

Neale, who also has a degree in philosophy from Cambridge University, makes no mention of the fact that she is a Kennedys lawyer on either the ‘GDL Guru’ or ‘LPC Guru’ websites. But she does reveal her own identity, stating in the “legal” section of both sites that all the featured notes and materials “are copyright of Helen Neale 2010”. Until earlier this month, Neale also listed ‘GDL Guru’ on her LinkedIn profile.

Helen-Neale

Pictured: GDLGuru.co.uk, through which Neale sells her “distinction-level” notes to students.

GDL-Guru1#

The success of GDLGuru.co.uk prompted Neale to launch LPCGuru.co.uk.

LPC-Guru1#

Both sites include a notice that guards against the “copying or redistributing of these notes without the author’s permission”. Students are warned that this would constitute “an infringement of UK copyright law”. In addition, a disclaimer states that the notes “are not a substitute for the need to do your own work on the GDL/LPC course”. Copyright

Neale did not respond to Legal Cheek‘s request for comment.

A representative for Kennedys said: “The firm aren’t going to make any comment on this.”

16 Comments

Franco L

As a First class average student, I like to help my fellow students by sharing my notes (which are excellent – if I may say so myself!). I believe that this sharing attitude is certainly congruent with a world where sharing knowledge and know how between colleagues is so crucial, i.e. Law firms, and I take pride in knowing this will help me as a future commercial solicitor. For a Cambridge educated lawyer at a top firm to sell her notes in such a way is simply astounding and does not show commercial acumen at all, only greed. It is about time everyone within the legal profession abandons this sort of attitude and starts making a positive difference to what will inevitably be its future, i.e. us students, by providing guidance and a positive information sharing model, not a quick way of making what, inevitably, will only be a few unnecessary bucks. But this is just my opinion.

(6)(6)

joolz

YourGDL and YourLPC are much more popular in my experience. And both are widely copied by students.

(3)(1)

limbo

I actually think it shows pretty good commercial acumen. No-one gives a toss about your first chum (and if you think your Marie Antoinette act is going to make you a better “commercial solicitor”, you’re dreaming), but a few hints and tips which might help students through the turgid, boring and pointless LPC might well be very handy. I would definitely have bought them. If nothing else, it probably will allow students to do something more useful with their time, rather than wasting it attending LPC lectures/classes – like drinking or playing with themselves.

(3)(0)

Makesmelough

I disagree with you and approve of the above. The fact that you would rather ‘drink’ or ‘play with yourself’ than attending lectures only proves that whether or not you personally think it actually shows commercial acumen is totally irrelevant.. as, clearly, you haven’t got a clue..

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PantsInATwist

If these are wrong then nutshells and nut cases should be put out of business. In fact, so should all textbooks!

She has seen a gap in the market, and is exploiting. Good business sense.

(2)(0)

Ermmm...

Not sure you’ve factored in the region into her salary. I would be astounded if NQs in Sheffield get the £58K London rate …

Sorry to spoil a good story with facts (You’re getting a teeny bit Daily Mail)

(4)(0)

Jonathan Lea

A solicitor providing an affordable fixed fee service/product at a price consumers think is valuable enough to pay upfront for. And online too. Whatever next!!

(1)(0)

Lewis

Having sat in on workshops at the University of Law where students were heavily dependent on LPC Guru I can only express bitterness towards this product. Every lesson was dominated by the students who had bought their notes, done no prep work, and were sat with their arms folded giving snippy answers to questions with little to no authority straight from the papers in front of them. Also interesting that large chunks of these notes are copied word-for-word from the UoL’s own admittedly shoddy textbooks. They’re a substitute for actual work, not top class notes.

(3)(0)

Yesbut..

Completely agree!! And this is why a positive framework of help where people shared their knowledge in a way that allows “actual learning”, is to be preferred each and every time. I am not advocating morals over economic activity all the time, but clearly this is just greed. Just give back to the future of the legal profession, don’t take back!!

(0)(1)

limbo

Come talk to me when you’ve been practicing for a decade. Or maybe when just you’ve obtained a slightly more nuanced understanding of irony.

Here’s a stark fact for you: the LPC is a year of relentless, irrelevant guff. There is no problem with skating through it, learning nothing which you won’t have knocked out of you as soon as you actually join your firm. I’d highly encourage a year of reckless, drunken abandon, because that opportunity doesn’t come again.

I’d also encourage you to give the sanctimony a rest.

(3)(0)

PantsInATwist

Then surely its an issue with the provider, not the notes themselves? UoL teaches in such a formulaic way that these notes give students who have them the edge. Hate the game, not the player

(1)(0)

Lewis

I definitely agree that a lot of the blame falls with UoL who seemingly have no problem with students buying their notes and avoiding the work, nor with open-book exams where you can take in somebody else’s notes to help you. I personally find it unbelievable that these people were also given glowing references from their tutors as long as they did alright in the exams.

(0)(0)

James

I gave my notes away to a student in the year below me. That’s probably an indicaction that I’m more suited for my career at the criminal bar than I would be as a commercial solicitor. It would never have occurred to me to sell them.

(3)(0)

CD

The LPC Guru is not a substitute for work and cannot be solely relied on for a full understanding of the law. In my opinion, it acts as a succinctly put together template for which to base one’s own study around. Also, it is great for a quick reference. Anyway, it is not the notes of the law that make a good student but the ability to apply the law to the facts. This sharing attitude is much appreciated in such a competitive industry.

(2)(0)

CurtisMayfield

The most sense yet….

(0)(0)

SM

“For a Cambridge educated lawyer at a top firm to sell her notes in such a way is simply astounding and does not show commercial acumen at all, only greed.”

I doubt she was a lawyer at a top firm when she started, probably just another law student struggling to pay the enormous fees for the courses and worrying about finding a training contract.

Students share notes all the time, hardly a revolution. Anyone remember SparkNotes? And it’s not like the good old College of Law is encouraging Harvard law style academic debate which is being hampered by trade in notes. It’s a crammer institution, despite its new university status. Agree with the above poster though that GDL Guru/LPC Guru is old news, Legal Cheek. When I was on the courses YourGDL and YourLPC were all the rage.

(5)(0)

Comments are closed.