University of Law stems flow to BPP and snares Linklaters for five-year LPC deal

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By Judge John Hack on

Magic circle firm stays on board with enhanced masters in law business and management on offer to its trainees


The University of Law has stemmed the hemorrhaging of big name law firms from its bespoke City Legal Practice Course (LPC) by retaining Linklaters in a five-year deal announced today.

The institution was in danger of being left with no magic circle horses in its stable of bulk LPC provision clients, following last year’s high defections of first Allen & Overy and then Clifford Chance to BPP Law School.

But the Linklaters deal means it has hung on to arguably the most valuable jewel in its crown, with the firm running the biggest trainee farm in the country, currently offering 110 training contracts a year. That figure is ten more than second place Clifford Chance and 25 more than third place A&O.

Legal education insiders speculated that it was unlikely that the Linklaters contract went to tender, with ULaw lobbying hard to keep the contract and cut a favourable deal.

The deal comes only a fortnight or so after the university appointed former Linklaters partner and global head of corporate David Barnes as its director of client law firms. Barnes spent 26 years as a Links partner before moving in 2012 to take a consultancy role at Berwin Leighton Paisner.

The freshly-cut deal will see the university offering the firm a new modular legal and business qualification: an MSc in law, business and management. According to ULaw, the programme “embeds a masters-level business and management qualification within an enhanced Legal Practice Course”.

A statement from university went on to say:

“A similar course will be available to all law firms and students from September 2015, giving ULaw postgraduate students a comprehensive range of skills aligned to both the legal and business challenges faced in today’s market.

“Uniquely, business skills are fully integrated within all aspects of the programme from day one. In addition, the teaching experience and course design will be further enhanced by specialist visiting professors, an innovative assessment process, and a range of personal and professional skills training”.

Wendy Tomlinson, Linklaters’ global head of learning and development, said:

“We demand the highest standards of our training providers to ensure the next generation of Linklaters trainees have all the key competencies to meet all the outcomes required in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving market. ULaw has delivered a new and innovative MSc … that will equip our trainees with those essential skills.”