ULaw offering 50% rebate of fees for those unable to secure job in “legal or commerce”
Competition in the solicitor vocational training market ramped up several notches this morning, when one of the biggest providers launched a money back guarantee.
The University of Law — which several days ago confirmed a top-tier internal shake-up — has told Legal Practice Course (LPC) students that if they don’t bag a job within nine months of graduation they will be entitled to a rebate of half their tuition fees. This equates to over £7,000 for students at London ULaw branches.
It is a dramatic illustration of how cut-throat the LPC market appears destined to become, with the number of training places seemingly not recovering to pre-global financial crash levels.
ULaw’s move comes more than two years after its main rival, BPP Law School, launched a similar scheme which offers graduates who do not bag work within six months of graduating a free place on another course.
There are of course conditions attached to ULaw’s money back guarantee — not least that it does not apply simply to graduates who have been unable to bag training contracts. The small print explains that LPC grads will only be able to claim their rebate if they haven’t secured “qualifying employment”. This is defined as:
Employment in the UK or elsewhere, either a training contract as a trainee solicitor, lawyer or other legal professional, or other employment within law or commerce.
Ulaw reports that it has a 97% graduate employment rate (with 91% employed in law), meaning that on current form only three out of every 100 students would qualify for the deal. It is worth noting that many of ULaw’s students are on deals with law firms that have awarded them training contracts and are paying their tuition fees. That means ULaw is only taking a risk with those students that have not obtained training contracts in advance.
Commenting on the move, ULaw’s freshly appointed chief executive, David Johnston, said:
More than just a degree, today’s students want a clear return on their investment. For law graduates, this means one thing: securing a training contract or a full time job upon graduation.
Johnston was thrust into the spotlight only days after Legal Cheek exclusively reported that he had replaced John Latham at the Guildford-based university. That top table rejigging was the first significant move by businessman Aaron Etingen since his Netherlands-based company Global University Systems bought ULaw two months ago.
LPC tuition fees at ULaw vary from £10,950 to £14,765, depending on the branch.