Nice Pictures, Horrible Odds

The Bar Standards Board presentation to the UKCLE conference on legal education is available here along with the other papers. Or the presentation can be viewed here on slideshare.

It is interesting for a number of reasons including the much talked about gap between pupillages and BPTC graduates. The slides show that gap has been creeping slowly up, with the gap widening dramatically about three years ago, before closing somewhat. This makes me wonder why the controversy is particularly acute now, but that’s not to deny it’s not a significant problem. It clearly is and the overall trend seems to be continuing upwards.

Also interesting are the Bar’s figures on the number of legal graduates seeking entry into the profession. They suggest about two thirds do. I think they may have got their sums wrong, as they do not count GLD/CPE graduates (those taking conversion courses who do the LPC). It looks like the figure is about a half those doing a qualifying law degree do not then go on to do the LPC or BPTC. (They estimate about 16,000 graduate from a Qualifying Law Degree. In round terms about 5,000 do the conversion course either full or part time. Meaning there are roughly 20-21,000 who could do the LPC or BPTC and, on their figures, about 11,000 do either the BPTC or LPC).

The presentation also shows how the number of pupillages have changed over time and the relationship between that and compulsory funding of pupillage.  The graph can be interpreted either way: pupillage numbers looked like they were on a downward trend from about 1996, but there was also a spike and then drop in the numbers at the time the changes were brought in (2003ish). The slide presentation ends with a nice Monopoly Board graphic. Take a look. I am guessing the man in the top hat wins, but maybe that’s just me…

3 thoughts on “Nice Pictures, Horrible Odds

  1. Richard,

    I agree that the BSB have their sums wrong. Part of the problem is that they are not working from the right figures. In the slide which deals with the numbers for professional courses in 2010, they state that for the BPTC there were 2,192 validated places, 1,686 enrolments and 1,556 FTE starters. I have no reason to question these figures but the corresponding figures for the LPC in 2010 are wrong. The BSB states that there were 14,482 LPC places (this is the 2009/10 figure for the LPC and therefore probably incorrect in 2010/11 as a new LPC provider has been added and the new LPC3 regime has been fully rolled out) with 9,337 enrolled students (this is the figure for enrolments in 2009/09). The LPC Central Applications Board’s figures, which show only the number of full-time students, state that only 6,067 students enrolled on the LPC in 2010/11.

    I conclude from this that there are 7,500 – 8,00 full-time students taking the BPTC or LPC full-time, with an unknown number of part-time students out of the pool of possibly 21,000 students who could take these courses. That’s about 38% (counting the part-time students, let’s round it up to 40%) of graduates who enrolled on the vocational professional courses this year.

  2. I played around with these figures in a paper for the Legal Services Institute last year. The paper is “The Education and Training of Solicitors: Time for Change”. It is at uk. Go to “LSI papers” then “discussion papers”. The figures are at pages 22 to 24.

    I concluded that, over 20 years, the proportion of law graduates proceeding to the two vocational programmes had remained constant at about two thirds of those graduating. However in 1991/2 the number of law graduates admitted as solicitors was about 55% of the total who graduated in law three years earlier. The most recently available figures showed this to have fallen to about 26%. That is a measure of the impact of the growth of the GDL and the number coming in under the qualified lawyers route.

    John Randall

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