BPP unveils two new LLM programmes tailored to practice as a solicitor or barrister

And both are eligible for government student loans

BPP Law School (Holborn)

BPP Law School has unveiled two new postgraduate programmes tailored specifically to wannabe solicitors and barristers.

The new masters degrees, LLM Legal Practice (Solicitors) and LLM Legal Practice (Barristers), will allow students to focus on the area of law they wish to practise. BPP has confirmed that both courses qualify for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,280 from the government’s Student Loans Company. There is still no word on what BPP’s new offerings will cost, however similar LLMs available at the university will set students back around £11,500.

Welcoming its first round of postgrad wannabe lawyers this September, BPP — which recently froze the cost of its Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) — has confirmed that full-time and part-time study options are available. The new LLMs will be operated out of BPP’s London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester centres. However, unlike the barrister programme, the solicitor option will also be available at the law school’s Cambridge and Liverpool outposts.

James Welsh, joint director of BPTC programmes at BPP, said:

This LLM is designed around flexibility, choice and transparency. With stakes as high as they are, it would be very wrong to push all students onto a single-speed option. There are a number of choices in how to complete the LLM, and, importantly, we have a route which includes business strategy and negotiation, giving candidates a chance to develop skills valued by employers.

The introduction of new course options follows a similar move by legal education rival The University of Law (ULaw).

In December the law school giant launched a brand new BPTC LLM which has been specially “designed to boost students’ chances of securing pupillage.” ULaw’s BPTC LLM students are also eligible for government funding of up to £10,000.

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74 Comments

Anonymous

What a waste of time and money. Having an LLM in ‘negotiation skills’ or (worse) ‘business strategy’ is not going to make someone a more attractive pupil. To any aspiring pupils out there, don’t do it.

(41)(0)
Anonymous

No one smart enough to secure pupillage would consider this course. It is to con the idiots with no prospects.

(15)(2)
Not Amused

It is the job of the regulators to stop this endless rinsing of young people on the false promise of a career.

What a complete disgrace these institutions are. What an endless shower of shit are our regulators.

(45)(2)
Anonymous

It’s supply and demand.

Imagine if the lpc and bptc were only made available to those with TCs/pupillage and the outcry over diversity and access to the profession that would cause. All the providers are doing are indulging these students’ (admittedly often deluded) desires.

(1)(3)
Not Amused

I am heavily involved with both diversity and access to the profession. Nothing about diversity and access to the profession requires us to allow Private Equity companies to continue to lie to young people and steal their money.

Indeed we pay for regulators to stop the private equity companies lying to the young people and stealing their money. Those regulators do nothing but cash cheques given to them by the liars.

Young people from diverse backgrounds need to not experience discrimination or active be put off the profession – they do not need special hand outs or special treatment. If taking £11,500 from a person under false pretences is indeed special treatment.

The system is failing because some people are corrupt and the people supposed to stop the corrupt people are themselves, corrupt. It is not failing because we want more diversity and access to the profession – just like gay marriage doesn’t cause floods.

(9)(2)
Anonymous

Oh, I seem to have set NA off. Not intended but a nice perk.

(2)(0)
Bumblebee

“The system is failing because some people are corrupt and the people supposed to stop the corrupt people are themselves, corrupt. It is not failing because we want more diversity and access to the profession….”

Not Amused, the problem arises from considering both ‘diversity’ and ‘access to the profession’ in the same breath. Pursuit of the latter is commendable, pursuit of the former has led to the very shit storm we now find ourselves in.

The mantra should be “if you’re good enough, the profession is open to you, regardless of your creed, colour or gender”. Instead, however, the regulator is absolutely OBSESSED with colour and, to a lesser extent, gender. Indeed, the regulator has repeatedly declined to introduce any meaningful means of restricting access to the BPTC on grounds of merit. In their own words, raising the pass mark on the BCAT, for example, would create “an unacceptable risk of discriminating against students from non-traditional backgrounds”. Accordingly, the regulator is happy keep entry requirements for the BPTC extraordinarily low because this leads to more ‘diversity’ in the ranks of Bar students.

The profession needs to wake up. Does it want an open, fair and colour-blind system, which recruits solely on the basis of merit? Or does it want a diverse Bar, which perfectly reflects the society it serves?

(8)(1)
Pantman

This isn’t just a problem of legal education, the whole higher education system is a money-go-round.

(3)(0)
Anonymous

And what exactly is the point of these courses, in reality? Seems to me a staggering waste of money for something with no proven track record of actually improving changes. Far better to take a year getting work experience wherever possible.

(17)(0)
Anonymous

Let’s be honest, it’s for us broke kids who can’t get into the big fancy firms that fund the LPC and can’t afford to self fund, so low interest government loans are required. If the private bank “professional development loans” weren’t such a rip-off, these LLM designations wouldn’t be needed.

(1)(0)
Just Anonymous

First the debacle that was McKenzie Marketplace, and now this.

I can’t prove that BPP is a cynical money-grabbing organisation, out to exploit naïve young people by squeezing as much profit out of them as possible.

But they’re behaving just how I’d expect such an organisation to behave…

(23)(0)
Anonymous

I can (just about) see the intention behind a combined LLM and BPTC, as it allows the student to get access to a particular funding source. I think it inadvisable on the part of the student to take on excessive debt in the present climate, and dubious of the provider to encourage it, but at least I can see the purpose.

But if this is a stand alone LLM? Take on more debt for an LLM which is likely to make no difference to your pupillage application, and when you will still have to pay for and complete the BPTC afterwards? It makes no sense at all from an informed student’s point of view.

(4)(0)
Anonymous

Why aren’t the regulators doing more about how these companies operate?

(3)(0)
Anonymous

This might be something useful were students are looking to qualify into a segment of the profession where LPC fees are not normally paid for by firms. Is it a repackage of an LPC to fit with student loans eligibility criteria?
However, I fear it may lead to more people with little chance of making it taking a gamble.

(2)(0)
Anonymous

Chambers know this is not a normal masters. Go to Kings, UCL, Cambridge, Queens whatever for a decent MA but dont waste your money at BPP!!

(9)(0)
Anonymous

I did the Ulaw LPC MsC because it was a free add-on to the LPC. It was a couple of bullshit classes tacked on (mostly reading free articles and watching online lectures).

The full-time LPC has a pretty relaxed schedule so if you have the time to do the extra classes, why not, but don’t expect to get a real business education from it.

(11)(0)
Anonymous

Why do people direct so much more anger at BPP than any other higher education institution? At least this degree has some career direction to it.

There’s a butt loads of sham universities offering courses like media studies, fashion photography, dog walking, surfing and knitting for £9,000 a year plus accommodation and food.

And the same applies to decent courses. A lot of people from my Russell Group university who studied ‘traditional courses’ ended up working in bars or in recruitment. The only people who have jobs are the ones who did accountancy, law, medicine or engineering.

Let’s be honest, BPP is just a symptom of a wider problem. University education has become an exploitative market place across the board. Thanks Tony.

(15)(11)
Anonymous

“Why do people direct so much more anger at BPP than any other higher education institution?”

Because this story is about BPP.

#askasillyquestion…

(14)(1)
Anonymous

This could be really good for some students.

I’m looking at just getting the BPTC done ( I’ve been binned off from some pupillage apps because I don’t have it) but it’s doubtful that I could afford it on my own ( and I don’t have the family to loan me that money or the credit to get it from a bank etc)

I’d take up this opportunity, rinse student loans for the money, then never mention the piss poor LLM

(0)(6)
Anonymous

It doesn’t suggest that it’s coupled with the BPTC, it looks like it’s just an LLM with practical focus.

(2)(1)
Anonymous

What do you mean you’ve been binned off for not having the BPTC?

If you mean chambers have said “We would have given you the pupillage if you had the BPTC” then this may not be as foolish as it sounds.

If you mean you got binned off and assumed it was because you had no BPTC, then this is exactly as foolish as it sounds.

(2)(0)
Anonymous

Considering the GDL and LPC are likely to disappear in the next couple of years, it is not surprising that law school providers are shifting their approach and selling LLMs instead. The fact they are promoting it by saying individuals can tailor the LLM to where they want to practice also shows they are listening to firms concerns about the SQE being too generic and not tailor enough to their training needs.

So they just rebrand their current courses as an LLM, will then add on SQE prep modules/courses for an additional fee. Student finance and student visas will all be a lot easier if structured this way, meaning it’s easier to sell the course than if it a short SQE prep course.

They will also offer these tailored LLM courses to firms, with compulsory modules for their trainees to ensure they get the tailored training firms will be demanding.

And as it is a Level 7 qualification, there’s also a chance that BPP and firms can be clever to set this LLM up on the apprenticeship framework, meaning firms can spend their levy on it, saving themselves a whole load of money in the process.

And I am sure they will continue to manipulate their student employability statistics to showcase how the new LLM course will give you a better chance of securing a TC.

(3)(1)
Anonymous

As a person who makes recruitment decisions I would prefer their LLM to be in a specific area of law they wish to specialise in or at least is highly relevant to the work of the firm.

I am confident the firm or chambers could help with training them to become a solicitor or barrister..

(4)(0)
Anonymous

The LLM’s coupled with the LPC/BPTC are questionable, although they do have some advantages as students can get financial assistance from the SLC.

This appears to just be an LLM with a practical focus. I cannot see how this will enhance anyone. The best thing aspiring aspiring lawyers can do is get good grades in academically challenging degrees and practical work experience. Don’t waste your money on this rubbish.

(1)(0)
Anonymous

Just do a decent degree at a decent uni and get a good grade, then apply for whatever. I don’t get these weird new fangled courses. I’m pretty sure recruiters don’t understand them or care. Law firms are conservative places and they prefer traditional courses at well known universities. It’s not so complicated.

(0)(0)
Anonymous

Yeah, just apply wherever. Don’t worry, tell them some bloke on LC who hasn’t the first clue about legal education told you not to worry about the LPC or BPTC.

(0)(2)
Anonymous

This is a BPTC and LPC with LLM modules bolted on so that you can get a Government loan. No more. No less.

I know people have issues with the LPC and BPTC but that is a separate issue.

Those saying ‘just do an LLM elsewhere’ have missed the point. This isn’t a traditional LLM, it’s just a way of accessing SLC funding. A traditional LLM isn’t the same as the BPTC or LPC.

So let’s all stay angry, but accurately.

(6)(2)
Anonymous

That government loan will end up in the pockets of private equity

(0)(1)
Anonymous

Don’t forget to also fall for the other scam as a “bolt-on” to your already expensive LPC/BPTC of qualifying as a mediator.

I mean it’s not important that nobody will appoint you as a mediator because you have no experience and it is just another waste of money.

Just remember to deflect the question about how many mediations you have handled whenever people ask about your mediator qualification you brag about on your CV.

(6)(0)
Anonymous

No. My personal tutor (ex rec partner at US firm) told me it wouldn’t make a shred of difference to my career.

(0)(0)
Nomine Digna

I’m currently studying an LLB at BPP, planning on getting a first. I understand it’s not RG but how important is that really? I’ve been told by several barristers that it doesn’t really matter where you study law, it’s just a box ticking exercise. Obviously an Oxbridge would be of some advantage but is it the be all and end all?

If there are any Barristers or recruitment types reading this, would I be better off doing an LLM or MA in Oxbridge or RG after the LLB to increase my chances of attaining pupillage or would a first from BPP and good results on the BPTC/LLM be good enough to tick the academic requirement box.

(5)(5)
Barrister

I would say do a master’s at a decent uni if you can. My chambers is university-blind but I don’t know how many chambers are. BPP would not be highly regarded for LLB.

(4)(0)
Anonymous

I did my LLB at BPP as well.

I didn’t try applying for pupillage until after I’d started my LLM (a proper LLM, not the nonsense being advertised in this post), so I can’t say if I would have been successful with just a first from BPP. I suspect probably not.

(4)(0)
Nomine Digna

So you were successful in the end even though your LLB was from BPP. Do you mind me asking if your LLM was from a RG uni or Oxbridge. Just trying to weigh it all up before spending ridiculous money on a course that serves no purpose without a fair craic at getting pupillage.

(0)(1)
Anonymous

UCL. I applied to Oxford for the BCL and was rejected. I have pupillage now, start in October provided I pass the BPTC.

I don’t agree that a decent LLM serves no purpose but perhaps I have misunderstood.

(4)(0)
Nomine Digna

I was referring to the BPTC being useless and expensive if there was no real hope of getting Pupillage. Congratulations on getting Pupillage 👍

(0)(1)
Anonymous

Oh, then I agree.

Speaking for myself I wouldn’t have done the BPTC if I hadn’t already got a pupillage but I know that is not a realistic option in some practice areas.

Whether you do the BPTC is a matter for you but you should consider how your applications for mini-pupillages have been received, whether you get an Inn scholarship, how your academics compare to junior tenants in the type of set you are interested in, your success in getting pupillage interviews (if you apply for, but do not get, a pupillage), and so on. If you are getting absolutely nowhere with those then I would think that doing the BPTC would be a mistake.

In your original post you said that you’ve been told by several barristers that it doesn’t make any difference where you study law and it is largely a box-ticking exercise. I don’t agree with that. If these comments were made in a social situation then I would be inclined to disregard them as well-intentioned white lies. IMO there is no doubt that with a degree from BPP you will find it more difficult than with a degree from a more reputable institution.

(3)(0)
Nomine Digna

Yeah you’re spot on RE: the BPTC and not doing it before securing Pupillage.

I’ll do a masters after the LLB, hopefully get into a good RG and will try for Cambridge and Oxford but I’ve read they’re very selective.

In regards to the barristers, perhaps they were just trying to be encouraging by saying it is possible to get a Pupillage with a non RG LLB but I don’t see what they would have to gain from that…..they’ve also offered me the chance to shadow them for a few days which I’m assuming is the same as a mini Pupillage.

Anyway, thanks for the insight. At least now I know it is possible even if it means I will have to do an LLM in a good Uni.

(1)(1)
Barrister

I agree with the indicators for pupillage success referred to above, save that:

1. I wouldn’t be overly excited about success in getting mini-pupillages. Even the worst applicants seem to have mini-pupillages from somewhere. My chambers’ criteria for awarding mini-pupillages are diversity-based whereas the criteria for pupillage are more merit-based.

2. I wouldn’t be overly excited by first interviews if you never get any further. I have interviewed people who are good on paper but so dreadful in person that success seems unlikely.

(2)(0)
Nomine Digna

@Barrister
When you say “terrible in person” what do you mean exactly, is it how they perform in competency based questions or their personalty such as them being rude, arrogant, not social, sense of entitlement etc.

How important is perception of personality. How important would you say knowing a Barrister in person is to applying at their set, if they perceive you in good light etc.

Cheers for the replies.

(0)(0)
Barrister

I would say knowing a barrister in person is irrelevant, except that if you know someone very well (eg you’re related) you would not be interviewed by my chambers at all. If someone was eg an acquaintance then depending on the circumstances he or she might not be permitted to be on your interview panel.

As to what I mean when I say some are dreadful in person, I mean inarticulate, unable to maintain eye contact, extremely hesitant or (most common) poor at thinking on his or her feet. The latter is a skill that many applicants do not appear to consider, and it’s not really something that can be learned.

It’s not really about personality, it’s about having the competencies required for the job, albeit that one of the competencies is the ability to relate to solicitors. Obviously if someone were rude that would be pretty poor, but people usually have enough self-interest to be polite for the duration of an interview, and most people have basic social intelligence. In other words, an ability to interact with other humans is necessary, but certainly not sufficient.

(3)(1)
Nomine Digna

That sounds fair enough, by the sounds of it canvassing is frowned upon in chambers, yours at least. Everyone should get a fair crack of the whip regardless of personal affiliation.

I suppose nervousness and a lack of confidence would be the reason for most of the failings you’ve listed, besides not being able to think on ones feet and being articulate.

As for thinking on ones feet, I can’t imagine there are too many ways an interview panel can throw someone off their game so much so that they struggle to come up with some sort of logical answer, but perhaps that’s because I’m a bit older than the typical younger candidate and through life experience have learned how to remain relatively composed and clear thinking in stressful situations.

Your answers are insightful and will no doubt benefit me when I come to the stage of Pupillage interviews.

(1)(1)
Nomine Digna

Many reasons, which include convenience and mode of study which is not available at other universities.

(2)(2)
James

Nottingham Law School are excellent in This respect as the llm is a free add on to the BPTC. To charge for this is poor form and a money grabbing manoeuvre considering it will have a negligible effect on applications

(1)(1)
Anonymous

They don’t appear to be charging more for it. ULaw charge less if you don’t want to do it. NTrent don’t.

But of course, private equity providers bad, others who aren’t much cheaper, good.

(0)(0)
Lord Dennin innit

You people do realise that formal university degrees in law are a relatively new thing, they didn’t exist much more than 60-70 years ago.

Despite this there have been many excellent lawyers and judges who never had a university degree in law at all.

Go look up the debate between Lord Sumption and Virgo from Cambridge.

Most of the snooty elitism surrounding university rank etc is nothing more than an archaic tribalist mentality that springs up in the modern age far too often.

(2)(1)
Anonymous

You are conflating two things.

First, whether it matters whether you do an undergraduate degree specifically in law. The answer appears to be no. Students who do something else and then a conversion course fare roughly equally as well as students who do law. Sumption was arguing that it is preferable to do a non-law subject first.

Second, whether it matters where you do your degree (whether law or not). The answer appears to be yes. Student who do degrees at higher-ranked universities have an easier time of it getting training contracts and pupillages. Sumption and Virgo’s debate has nothing to do with this point. Sumption went to Oxford for undergrad, Virgo went to Cambridge.

(0)(0)
Lord Dennin innit

I get that and I’m sure there are differences in the academic rigour between certain LLB’s

That said, they are all QLD’s regardless of the provider they all meet a set minimum standard, either that standard is good enough and it prepares all students who pass for a career in law or it’s not good enough and it serves no purpose other than to waste students time and money.

The competition for positions in law firms and chambers is fierce so there has to be some way to filter the bulk, I just think it’s a shame people are pre-judged based on nothing more than where they chose to study and which university ranked higher because it spent more on research etc. I mean, it’s not like we’re splitting atoms here or researching the fourth dimension, it’s bloody administrative law, how much research does it need and why does research play such an influential role in law school ranking?

(3)(1)
Anonymous

bpp? what is that? oh wait I know….. a sham institution selling naive students lies. lets be honest here; law is a cut-throat profession, what type of university you go to matters. Someone, somewhere, someplace needs to close that heartless institution down.

(1)(2)
Anonymous

Very immature opinion there in regards to BPP, it may be true that it is not the most prestigious institution in the UK but in regards to law it is one of the biggest providers of courses and has many links to employers, albeit mostly through the GDL and BPTC.

Law is not quantum physics, most anyone with an IQ above 90 can learn the law, what most people don’t have is good people skills, life experience which compliments the role of Barrister or Solicitor, natural aptitude for speaking publicly, a good ability to build lasting relationships both business and personal none or which are on any law curriculum but are invaluable for any prospective lawyer’s.

(2)(0)
Anonymous

Yeah I would rather not listen to someone who has the grammar of a child. Let’s be honest is what you meant I’m guessing. A mistake like that is going to cost you much more in Applications than where you went to University LOL? Good luck with your career you hopeless cuck.

(1)(2)
The unkown known

Haha we’ve got a grammar Nazi over here!

I’m the bull, you’re the cock, where you’ve studied? Nobody gives a f***

That simple mistake is the worst you’ve got? totally laughable. If you weren’t totally unemployable you’d realise secretaries do most of the typing and drafting in legal firms.

Do one, you spotty little nerd!

(2)(1)
Anonymous

Capitals are usually what you use when you start a new sentence. Or has Ms. Bunny not taught you that yet? Soon you will learn how to form sentences and read! Exciting time to be a five year old.

(1)(1)
The knower of unknown knowns....or is that nouns?

Still nothing of value to offer the discussion?
I suppose you must get bored living on the dole whilst chasing that ever elusive TC or Pupillage, hence your propensity for inane, twaddle filled rants.

Keep trying, you’ll get there some day kid. If practicing law doesn’t work out you can always become a legal secretary 😉

(1)(1)
Anonymous

These are some original insults. I mean implying I can’t get a TC or Pupilage AND I’m on benefits? Haven’t heard that before. Mummy must be so proud of her special little boy.

(1)(1)
Gunt Wilder

Special little boy! How do you know I’m not a girl? or a non binary, bisexual, trans-gendered spivak?
You must be a cis male, homophobic, sexist, trans-phobic mesomorph to make such assumptions.

(2)(0)

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