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BPP big wigs silent as failed students are reported sacked from training contracts

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Accelerated course disaster for seven wannabes — but law school won’t comment

BPP Law School officials maintained a veil of silence in response to reports that a group of accelerated Legal Practice Course (LPC) students lost training contracts after failing several modules at the first time of asking.

A spokeswoman for the law school told Legal Cheek:

We cannot comment on individuals’ results.

However, according to a report on the weekly partners’ chat forum, Roll on Friday, seven students that failed a combination of the business, law and practice and the drafting courses have been given the bullet by their firms.

The chat forum quoted a source close to the students as suggesting the Solicitors Regulation Authority should intervene to assess whether the unnamed City of London firms have behaved fairly towards the students by saying sayonara before they have had a chance to resit.

While the specific firms involved with the seven students are unknown, it is a matter of record that only five City giants have signed up to the BPP accelerated course: Anglo-German magic circle player Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, English-Aussie combo Herbert Smith Freehills, Transatlantic dynamos Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose Fulbright and blueblood magic circle outfit Slaughter and May.

BPP’s course, launched in 2009, was the first super-fast LPC to hit the market — or at least the first to be dubbed “accelerated”. The law school says the course — which shaves 10 weeks off the standard 10-month LPC — is “designed exclusively for students joining the … five [consortium] firms”.

According to the law school:

The partnership between BPP and the consortium of five firms provides students with unrivalled links between their education and future legal careers.

Unless they fail a module or two, of course.

Confusingly, BPP also offers a “fast-track” LPC, which is effectively the same course, but just not for students lucky enough to have bagged training contracts with that group of five law firms.

43 Comments

Anonymous

Difficult to see what’s unfair about this, in itself. Firms forewarn you that they expect first-time passes.

(43)(12)

Anon

We all know that exams can be arbitrary and unfair. It seems ridiculous to toss away a prospective trainee, who has survived the long-winded assessment centre, because they did not have luck on their side during their drafting exam.

What difference does passing a drafting exam first time or after the resit genuinely make upon a trainee’s long-term career?

This is all part of the culture that has resulted from an oversupply of law graduates, which means firms can treat them however they want and set unfair expectations.

(63)(16)

Not Amused

“We all know that exams can be arbitrary and unfair. ”

No we don’t. What we have right now is a culture whereby everybody who fails an exam, blames the exam.

There is a complete unwillingness to accept personal responsibility for academic failure. This in turn gives rise to an anti-academic culture and is often used as an excuse to bully the academically more successful. We don’t do it in sport. No one loses a running race and then starts saying that the ground was arbitrary and their trainers unfair (or if they do they are rightly mocked). The kid in the class who runs fastest is not ostracised and mocked. Why do we do this with academic tests?

Exams are not arbitrary. The word arbitrary means:

1. based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
“an arbitrary decision”, or
2. (of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority

That is not what an exam is.

(37)(28)

Anonymous

Oh but it is –
The content of an exam IS based on random choice re content (within the subject field of course) – but that does mean that there is an element of chance in terms of questions or topics coming up that might better suit some candidates over others – that being a matter of good luck for those that it favours and bad luck for those it does not.

(12)(21)

Anonymous

Well, in the specific case of drafting I managed to pass without revision. My own opinion based on that experience is that if you fail drafting you’re probably not cut out for it. That is just my opinion, though.

I also think that drafting is a fairly poor example to pick on, given that it’s one of the modules most closely connected to practice.

(14)(5)

Trainee & former BPP LPCer

Nothing unfair here. If your firm requires you to pass 1st time, then make sure that you do.

I agree with Anon 2:45 – don’t reference the drafting exam. It was absurdly easy and required little revision, as long as you learnt the handbook on drafting given to you by BPP.

(14)(5)

pamela.kamel@icloud.com

I do not understand why there is so much passive aggression seeping through people’s comments. People are entitled to their opinions, but there is a way to eloquently voice them without any anger oozing out.

The LPC is a tough course, and people work very hard to apply for training contracts, attend assessment days, interviews, and the like. If a Magic Circle Firm considers them capable enough of becoming a trainee after jumping through so many hoops, I think it is safe to say that their intellectual abilities are able to pass LPC examinations. The Business Law and Practice examination is, however, renowned across the board for being a difficult module where most students fail.

If the drafting module is so easy, (I too, passed without revising much for it), have any of you stopped to consider that the parties who failed were focusing on studying for tougher modules, and did not give themselves enough time to review their drafting notes?

We have all made mistakes, and failure is not a nice thing to go through whether you are wholly responsible or not. It would be nice to see us helping one another to get back up, rather than to shoot one another down. It is a ridiculously competitive market, and my heart goes out to those 7 students. You are all perfectly capable and I am more than sure that you will receive training contracts at fantastic firms.

We do not know of anybody’s personal circumstances, so let us be less quick to judge.

(44)(4)

Anonymous

The Business Law and Practice examination is, however, renowned across the board for being a difficult module where most students fail.

Errrrrrrrrr.

(3)(11)

Anonymous

*It is not uncommon for students to fail.

(3)(3)

Anonymous

sorry – the lpc was potentially the most straight forward exercise. its only challenging for those who have no real concept of practical skills. go and get a year of work under your belt before trying it and its a breeze.

(5)(10)

Anonymous

I also do not understand what is wrong with BPP. Everyone knows that they must pass all exams from 1st attempt, so nothing unfair here.

(18)(7)

Anonymous

Having just finished the LPC at BBP, I can assure you I’m not a fan of that theirs, but I don’t get why it’s BPP’s responsibility to comment of the decision of 5 firms to ditch prospective trainees?

(33)(0)

Anonymous

*BPP

(4)(5)

Anonymous

I was part of this cohort.

Could we avoid passing comment on the 7 students that ALLEGEDLY failed and lost their training contracts, without any idea of the hellish course 150 of us have just completed, the content of the exam papers concerned (BLP being particularly difficult), the amount of revision time (2 weeks for BLP, Civil and Property, with an advocacy exam in the middle of that) and so on. The accelerated LPC is a highly stressful, demanding and exhausting course – it is a completely different beast to the year long version. You also do not know the individual circumstances of the students concerned.

To the user above: BPP has a part to play in that it designs the course, teaches the material, sets the assessments and so on. IF a cohort of highly intelligent people are failing elements of it, of course questions need to be asked. I actually think more questions should be asked of them than the firms. I’ve no doubt the relevant firms will have spoken to the students concerned directly and taken into consideration all of the circumstances. You have no concrete information whatsoever on the decisions these firms have made, so speculation on people losing their jobs isn’t really necessary.

Really, this article is full of fluff.

(50)(18)

Anonymous

Get in touch with them anonymously and let them know what happened – tips@legalcheek.com

(5)(2)

Anonymous

1. You didn’t have to do an accelerated course.

2. If you can’t handle the stresses of education and a pseudo-intellectual course, how do you expect to survive at a top tier law firm.

3. Man up and take responsibility for your failings.

(18)(46)

Anonymous

ha! yes I did – you get a TC at one of those firms, you don’t have a choice in the matter!!

for the record, I passed…to reiterate what I said above, know the facts before you speculate on whether or not someone’s passed/failed/lost their job and so on.

(31)(5)

Anonymous

I know from experience (not my own, I passed first crack) that they take all circumstances into account. If there’s mitigating circumstances the firm is likely to cut some slack.

Fundamentally, the accelerated lpc is not as difficult as practicing or as a law degree (or apparently the GDL). It’s a pity for people who fail a course, but there’s not necessarily any fault here and certainly not enough information to draw conclusions .

(6)(0)

VTESI

7 students failing is not indicative of a problem with the exam.

300 or so failing one paper, however, gets us slightly closer to blaming the exam.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

What about the people who came close to failing?

(0)(4)

Anonymous

They passed.

(34)(2)

Anonymous

Brilliant

(5)(1)

Anonymous

Best comeback everr

(2)(3)

Oh sweet Jesus

But if you can’t crack the LPC, then how do you anticipate on surviving in a legal career?

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Anyone with a decent ability to write English can pass the exam.

It’s the same with the Practical Legal Research and Writing modules. They are key but basic skills that all lawyers should have. If you manage to fail such easy modules, it’s arguable whether you’re truly cut out for the profession.

(3)(3)

Anon

I want exams where poor born kids and rich born kids are pitched equally against each other. I want a world where fairness is entrenched. I want a universe where the voices of all are heard. I want multiple, possibly infinite, dimensions which are governed by equality and justice.

(14)(6)

Anonymous

Is that you, NA, or one of your imitators?

If it is you, stop eating that cheese from under the fridge. It’s giving you hallucinations in which you’re the bar’s Martin Luther King.

(6)(0)

Not Amused

Quality troll is quality. #topmark #bazzabantz

(5)(1)

Not Amused

Not me

(1)(2)

Not Amused

As I’ve already said, its not me.

(0)(5)

Anonymous

I hadn’t refreshed my browser when I typed that question so hadn’t seen your comment.

I should have known really. It didn’t have your chilly Edwardian prose style.

(3)(1)

Not Amused

Not me

(1)(1)

Not Amused

This definitely wasn’t me. Stop imitating me, you lugubrious globules of primordial, pangaean ooze!

(4)(3)

Not Amused

Not me

(0)(3)

Not Amused

Nope nope nope!

(3)(0)

Blame anyone but me.

If you can’t pass first time up you picked the wrong profession. Natural selection is everything this jobs about. Better they know now rather than being out of their depth in the city and reputation and clients being affected.

(2)(10)

Anonymous

Bpp are just grabbing their money almost 15k then if they fail another £100 plus per exam on top of the fees already paid.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Don’t fail then.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

I have just finished the Accelerated LPC at BPP and was part of this cohort (and passed).

Students with training contracts at the five consortium firms have to do the accelerated version of the course at BPP. Whilst the content isn’t always particularly difficult, the speed of the course and the number of exams and assessments you have to complete in such a short space of time is. The BLP exam we sat was bizarre and students were generally quite concerned about it afterwards. As for drafting, you don’t sit a separate drafting exam on the Accelerated LPC – it is assessed within the BLP/ PLP/ Civ Lit exams via a drafting question based on the content of each individual module. The few who ‘failed’ drafting seem to have done so as a result of not picking up the relevant marks in the BLP exam.

All in all this article is largely speculation!

(17)(0)

Anonymous

It amazes me how unsympathetic some of the commentators on here are. I am assuming this minority are either so far gone into their careers they can’t remember the stresses of being a law student (and that being said, have never experienced it as it is now ie. more competitive than it ever has been before) OR are begrudged students who have failed to gain a Training Contract offer.

These students are presumably all capable and motivated. They have had to jump through numerous hoops to get to this point. So why are they failing now? We can safely assume that firms are not going to be happy about this given the amount of £££ spent on paying for the LPC and on paying for Grad Rec selection programmes. I think BPP need to take some accountability.

I say this as an individual with a MC firm TC who has studied for the GDL at BPP.

(9)(4)

Oh sweet Jesus

One theory is, is that upon being recruited during university, one could revise less than a week away from an exam and still do remarkably well.

Whilst on the LPC, you don’t have such a luxury.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Speaking as someone who has a TC and has actually done the LPC, in my experience both the firms and BPP are quite clear on what they expect.

(0)(1)

Oh sweet Jesus

Anyone can pass the drafting module, so long as you read the BPP Handbook (‘Handbook’).

See what I did there?

*If you failed the drafting exam and have still failed to spot what I did there, I produced a pun based on a defined term as you would in a contract.

(8)(7)

U wot blad

Heheh u funny little kunt

(9)(3)

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