The University of Law
|The University of Law|
|Motto||Leges Juraque Cognoscamus|
|Motto in English||May we learn the laws and ordinances|
|President||John Latham, CEO|
|Location||Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Guildford, London (Bloomsbury and Moorgate) , Manchester, York, England|
|Former names||The College of Law|
The University of Law (formerly The College of Law) is a private university in England and Wales which specialises in providing legal education. The University has its own degree awarding powers under English law. It offers courses including the Graduate Diploma in Law, the Bar Professional Training Course, the Legal Practice Course, the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and the Master of Laws (LL.M). It is frequently ranked among the top private law schools in Europe.
The Law Society of England and Wales created The College of Law by merging its own School of Law and the tutorial firm Gibson and Weldon in 1962. The College was created in its legal form by Royal Charter on 5 December 1975. It was registered as a charity on 24 May 1976 with the aim "to promote the advancement of legal education and the study of law in all its branches".
In 1975, The College of Law submitted proposals which changed the face of legal education, recommending a 36-week Final Examination course for aspiring solicitors and a Common Professional Examination (CPE) or law conversion course for non-law graduates. It became a major provider of – and examining body for – the CPE (now known as the Graduate Diploma in Law).
In the 1980s, The Law Society asked the College to produce a scheme for additional tuition in accounts for articled clerks (now trainee solicitors), combining distance learning with one-day's attendance at lectures. The course became compulsory for those taking the Final Examination, which meant the College was able to develop distance learning study on other courses over the coming years.
The skills-based Legal Practice Course replaced the Final Examination, giving students a more vocational education. Student numbers grew to around 4,500 a year by the mid 1990s. A few years later, the College severed its links with The Law Society and, when the Council of Legal Education lost its monopoly, was able to run the new Bar Vocational Course, now known as the Bar Professional Training Course, for aspiring barristers.
The College of Law pioneered the establishment of pro bono clinics, with students undertaking legal advice work for free under the guidance of practitioners. It also forged international links, introducing young European lawyers to the English legal system for the British Council.
The College restructured its Legal Practice Courses to give students more choice and won a contract to develop law firm-specific LPC programmes for three magic circle firms – Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters. As of 2015, the College will run the firm-specific LPC only for Linklaters; Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance announced their move to BPP for their firm-specific LPC.
In 2006 the College became the first independent institution to be granted degree awarding powers by the Privy Council, leading to development of its Bachelor and Master of Laws degree programmes. The London Moorgate centre was also opened – currently the UK's largest corporate-specific law school.
In March 2010 the College announced that they would become the first legal education provider in the UK to offer direct access to the New York Bar for non-law graduates.
It was also announced in April 2012 that the College has teamed up with international law firm CMS Cameron McKenna to launch an International Legal Practice Course, the first LPC to focus on the global legal services market.
On 22 November 2012 it was announced that the College was given full University status and its name was changed to "The University of Law".
In May 2014 it announced that it was going to sell its entire property portfolio. It also announced debts of £177m in the first accounts published since Montagu Private Equity bought the College (as it then was) in 2012 for approximately £200m Critics have compared the purchase by Montagu Private Equity to the ‘leveraged buyouts ’of Premier League clubs in English football. The University of Law’s ultimate parent company is L-J Holdco Limited, incorporated in Guernsey.
The University of Law has eight branches across England. These are:
- the Graduate Diploma in Law (otherwise known as the Common Professional Examination, or the "Law Conversion Course")
- the Bar Professional Training Course (the professional qualification for barristers)
- the LL.M Legal Practice Course (the professional qualification for solicitors) – new for 2013
- the Legal Practice Course (the professional qualification for solicitors)
- Bachelor of Laws (LL.B)
- Master of Laws (LL.M)
- Professional Skills Course (the professional course studied by trainee solicitors by day-release)
The University of Law is the largest postgraduate legal education provider in Europe with 5,300 students in 2005,[verification needed] and is also a major provider of Continuing Professional Development courses for solicitors and barristers.
In May 2006, The University of Law became the first private institution to receive the power to award degrees, allowing it to award the degree of LL.B to those of its students who complete both the Graduate Diploma in Law and either the Legal Practice Course or the Bar Professional Training Course.
For over 100 years, the University of Law has been helping lawyers achieve their professional ambitions.
Until the transfer of its training business to The University of Law Ltd, The College of Law was in the top 100 of UK charities ranked by expenditure. The charity is now called the Legal Education Foundation.
Various student surveys and legal fora show that The University of Law is among the top LPC providers in the UK along with BPP Law School and Kaplan Law School. This may have been attributed to the number of applicants the three law schools receive annually, consistent top ratings from the Solicitors Regulation Authority and their partnerships with law firms.
In an article published in The Daily Telegraph, the University of Law was described as "the country's longest-established specialist provider of legal education and training". It was further stated "Mix the institution's experience of delivering education, with its unrivalled contacts within the legal profession and no other law school can match their reputation and commitment to preparing future lawyers for the fast moving world of modern law".
Notable alumni of the University of Law include:
- Cherie Blair QC, British barrister
- Graham Francis Defries, lawyer and cartoonist (Queen Counsel)
- Charles Falconer, Baron Falconer of Thoroton, former Lord Chancellor of Great Britain
- Margaret Fiedler, UK-based American musician
- Edward Garnier QC, Conservative Member of Parliament for Harborough
- Cheryl Gillan, Conservative Member of Parliament for Chesham and Amersham
- Bryan Ian Le Marquand Minister for Home Affairs for States of Jersey and former magistrate
- Francis Maude, Conservative Member of Parliament for Horsham
- Nwabueze Nwokolo, lawyer and chair of BSN: Black Solicitors Network, UK
- Guy Stair Sainty, author on royal genealogy and heraldry
- Jonny Searle, British Olympic rower
- Sayeeda Warsi, Baroness Warsi, former Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio
- John Widgery, Baron Widgery, judge and former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
- Paton,, Graeme (22 November 2012). "Britain's first profit-making university opened". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- "History and heritage". University of Law. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "Charity Commission Profile". Charity Commission. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- Stokes, Nicola (27 April 2012). "College of Law joins forces with CMS Cameron McKenna to launch International LPC". CMS Cameron McKenna. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- John Morgan, “For-profit won the title (and a ‘Premier League’ debt to boot)”, Times Higher Education, No. 2,150, 1–7 May 2014, pg. 6
- "University of Law locations". University of Law. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "College of Law – courses". College of Law. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "Bar Professional Training Course – BPTC". University of Law. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "Undergraduate". University of Law. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- "Charities Direct". Charities Direct. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- "DCSF". Dfes.gov.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- "The College of Law leads the way". Telegraph. 9 September 2011.
- Graham Defries at website of Dechert LLP Retrieved 17.August 2013