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Blog Name: Jamie's blog

Exclusive: ULaw shuts down business school a week before courses due to start
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27 August 2015
ULaw's business school has closed down a week before it was due to start teaching.

In July, ULaw provost Andrea Nollent announced with great fanfare that 'De Broc' would be opening its doors in September. Installed on ULaw's Bloomsbury campus, it was supposed to compete with BPP's business school. Glossy brochures advertised undergraduate degrees in business & management, business & finance and business & marketing. Nollent told The Lawyer, "We are confident that students will be attracted to us even at this late stage and we will build on numbers next year".

Or not. A source told RollOnFriday the school has shut down because there were "no students". When RoF hurried to enrol itself after putting off applying all summer, it was informed that applications were not being accepted for 2015.

A ULaw spokeswoman told RollOnFriday, “As part of ULaw’s unequivocal commitment to uphold the very highest standards of academic quality and student experience, the first cohort for De Broc will run when a viable mix of students, with the correct level of attainment, has been achieved”.

    The new De Broc business exam

De Broc was launched mere weeks after new owner Aaron Etingen bought ULaw earlier this Summer. Credit where credit's due, he's certainly enthusiastic. And despite its travails, ULaw has not had the worst week of the legal education providers by a long shot: as revealed by RollOnFriday, Kaplan Law School has outright collapsed.

.... read more >
Gender-equal Linklaters retaining 84% of its trainees
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26 August 2015
Linklaters has confirmed a trainee retention rate of 84% for its Autumn qualifiers.

The last Magic Circle firm to announce. just hours after Allen & Overy, made offers to 46 of its 55 trainees qualifying in September. All 46 accepted.

A spokeswoman said that of the nine exiting the building, two were doing so because they were leaving the country (a drastic but understandable data room reaction) and one was considering leaving law (what? Unheard of). The result isn't up up there with the Spring, when Links kept on a superb 91% of its 54 qualifiers.

The most interesting stat released by the firm was the gender breakdown: an almost right-down-the-line split, with 48% of the retained NQs female and 52% male.

    How it probably won't look

The breakdown of their destinations revealed that one NQ is off to Paris and one to Singapore, with the largest number going into the capital markets practice (eight of them) and litigation (seven).

Linklaters partner Nick Rumsby said, “Our retention rate remains consistently strong, averaging a 90% retention rate over the last four qualification rounds, and we are delighted to have retained so many talented young lawyers.  We continue to be able to offer fantastic opportunities to our trainees and we believe that we continue to be an employer of choice for today's students”.

It means that the top Magic Circle trainee retainer this Autumn is Clifford Chance, with 96%. Second is Slaughters with 89%, third A&O with 86%, fourth is Links and last, but not by much, is Freshfields, with 83%.

All in all a very solid performance from CC alone. The other big intake firm to announce, non-Magic-but-special-in-its-own-way Herbies, has done better than four of the MC firms. It's keeping on an excellent 92% of its qualifying cohort.

.... read more >
Allen & Overy keeping on 86% of Autumn NQs
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26 August 2015
Allen & Overy is retaining 86% of trainees qualifying this Autumn.

Out of the 44 in the intake, 42 applied for jobs. 41 received offers and 38 accepted.

James Partridge, partner and training principal, said, "this is another pleasing result which demonstrates the consistently high standard of the trainees here at A&O, as well as our commitment to supporting their long term careers with us."

    Something else pleasing, yesterday

It does follow a really strong result in Spring, when the firm kept on 43 out of 46 of its March qualifiers - 93%.

Last year, A&O managed 82% in September, when 41 of the 50 trainees joined as NQs, and 84% in March. The results appear to reflect increased demand for NQs after A&O slashed the size of its intake by around 25% when the credit crunch bit. In 2013 its retention rate with the larger cohort was considerably weaker.

To the table:

A&O is the fourth Magic Circle firm to unveil its stats. Only Linklaters has yet to go. So far none of them have soiled the sheets, with Clifford Chance doing particularly well on 96%.

BLP has also released its retention rate. Its 71% is rather less impressive - but at least it didn't fiddle the figures this time.  .... read more >
Exclusive: White & Case dumping ULaw
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25 August 2015
White & Case has ended its contract with ULaw.

The firm takes on approximately 30 trainees a year. It will now send its 60 GDL and LPC students a year to BPP.

White & Case is the latest in a growing list of firms to jump ship from ULaw to BPP.

A&O, Clifford Chance, Baker & McKenzie, Osborne Clarke, DAC Beachcroft and DWF have all moved their students to ULaw's fiercest rival (and only rival, now that Kaplan's kaput). The sole Magic Circle firm still sending its students to ULaw is Linklaters.

    ULaw yesterday

ULaw's new owner, Aaron Etingen, may have hoped to stem the flow when he bought the legal education provider from Montagu. And ULaw did poach Shearman & Sterling from Kaplan earlier this year. Yet exits continue. Two weeks ago, at the same time as ULaw's CEO and COO were packing their bags, it lost Dechert to BPP.

There is a bright spot in the gloom. With Kaplan's demise, revealed by RollOnFriday this morning, there are suddenly ten firms looking for a home. The question is, how many refugees can ULaw convince to join it instead of BPP?

Get ready for the driest popularity contest of all time.

ULaw declined to comment.
.... read more >
Exclusive: Kaplan Law School closing
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25 August 2015

Kaplan Law School is closing. It is understood that all staff are being made redundant.

There will be one year more of teaching, then its doors will shut. Sources report that dean John Clifford is leaving with immediate effect.

Kaplan serves hundreds of students - 275 on the LPC and around 110 on the GDL. But numbers have been dropping.

Though the school claims on its website to be "one of the fastest growing legal training providers in London", it has actually been losing firms hand over fist. In the last three months it has lost Shearman & Sterling and Trowers & Hamlins (though on Kaplan's website both are still erroneously featured on a list of firms with which it says it partners). Kaplan also shuttered its BPTC last year, blaming the "economics of the course".

Kaplan Law School also works with Nottingham Law School to deliver their LPC and GDL in London. Including that partnership, Kaplan is the third biggest law school provider after ULaw and BPP. When RollOnFriday asked Nott Law School for a comment, a spokeswoman said it was the first they had heard of the closure.

  Mr Kaplan 

The news will send shockwaves through the legal market. With only a year of teaching to go there are presumably going to be hundreds of students who have signed up for future courses looking for refunds and left without a place on a course.

It leaves not only those students in the lurch and up for grabs, but also the firms who do still send their students to Kaplan for their GDLs and LPCs. The complete list of firms who use Kaplan, listed on its website (so citations needed) is as follows:

Bates Wells Braithwaite LLP
Fieldfisher LLP
Holman Fenwick Willan LLP
Ince & Co
Manches LLP
Mayer Brown International LLP
Mills & Reeve LLP
Nabarro LLP
Penningtons Solicitors LLP (which merged with Manches)
PwC Legal LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP (already left)
Trowers & Hamlin LLP (already left)

A spokeswoman for Kaplan has confirmed to RollOnFriday, "The contract with Nottingham Law School to run their LPC and GDL comes to an end in 2016".
"The SRA's Training for Tomorrow programme has opened up the prospect of exciting new possibilities for the route to qualification as a solicitor of England and Wales. Kaplan has therefore taken the view that it will not invest in a traditional LPC and GDL to replace the existing one but rather will concentrate its resources on developing innovative new products that draw on the Training for Tomorrow framework and reflect the Competence Statement". So, rest easy staff and students -  it's just shutting and making everyone redundant because it's "exciting".
BPP and ULaw, start your engines.

RIP Kaplan, 2007 - 2016.
.... read more >
Exclusive: Keoghs rumoured to be buying Plexus Law
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24 August 2015
RollOnFriday understands that Plexus Law is being bought by Keoghs Solicitors.

Plexus is the personal injury arm of Parabis Law, which was the first firm to attract private investment under an ABS licence in 2012. It also 'won' RollOnFriday's Golden Turd in 2014 when Parabis staff voted themselves the least satisfied in the UK. 80 Plexus support staff were made redundant earlier this year when the firm outsourced their jobs to South Africa, along with low volume, low value claims work which resulted in lawyers also losing their jobs.

    Together they will change the world
of supermarket slips

Keoghs also converted to an ABS in 2012 and also, as revealed by RoF, made mass redundancies. The north west firm blamed the job cuts on reforms to the personal injury market. Its net profits dropped 19% in 2013/14 from £11.6m to £9.4m, while turnover fell 4% to £54.9m.

Keoghs employs around 1,050 people, aproximately 750 of whom are fee-earners. The acquisition of Plexus' 1,200 staff would make a PI beast - at least, until the dreaded 'synergies' kick in.

(originally posted 12.23pm)

Update 2:48pm: A spokesman for Plexus has told RollOnFriday,  “Like any other firm, we remain open to discussions with interested parties, but it is our policy not to comment on market speculation.”
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Clifford Chance announces impressive 96% trainee retention rate
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21 August 2015

Clifford Chance is retaining an impressive 96% of its trainees qualifying this September.

47 trainees are in the cohort. 45 were made offers by the Magic Circle firm. All accepted.

This Spring CC offered jobs to 41 out of 45 of its March qualifiers, and, again, all accepted - a 91% rate. All in all a very strong performance.

.... read more >
BPP student killed in Bangkok bombing
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18 August 2015

A BPP law school student was one of the victims of the bomb attack in Bangkok.

Vivian Chan Wing-yan, 19, has been confirmed as one of 22 people killed in the blast in Bangkok on Monday.

Chan was living in Hong Kong and was a former pupil at Harrow International School in Hong Kong, as well as a former BPP student. BPP dean Peter Crisp told Sky News, “Everyone at BPP University is devastated to hear of the loss of one of our students, Vivian Chan Wing Yan, in Bangkok yesterday".

He said, “Our thoughts are with Vivian’s family and we are currently working to support them in any way we can”.

.... read more >
Freshfields stays consistent with 83% trainee retention rate
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17 August 2015

Freshfields is giving jobs to 40 of its 48 trainees qualifying this September.

The Magic Circle firm offered NQ positions to 43 of its Autumn-qualifying trainees. Three turned it down. That gives FBD a decent 83% retention rate.

Decent and consistent. The firm takes on around 90 trainees a year and, a 96% spike in September '11 aside, has been keeping on between 80-90% of them for a few years now.

.... read more >
Exclusive: Parabis keeping on 69% of trainees
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12 August 2015

After RollOnFriday broke the news of Ince & Co's feeble trainee retention rate yesterday, this afternoon brings exclusive word from personal injury firm Parabis.

The firm, last year's Golden Turd winner, is retaining 18 of its 26 trainees, resulting in a so-so 69% retention rate. Of the eight not staying with the firm, two declined offers, two weren't made an offer and four didn't apply.


Meanwhile, City firm RPC has announced that it is retaining 79% of the trainees set to qualify in September. 15 of the 19 trainees qualifying this year (RPC has one trainee intake per year) are staying with the firm. 13 will be based in London and two in the firm's budget Bristol outpost. A fairly decent result, though a bit down on recent years: in the UK the firm kept on 94% of its trainees last year, 81% in 2013, 80% in 2012 and 100% in 2011.

Managing Partner Jonathan Watmough said, "We ensure that our lawyers, right from the very start, are the kind of people who don't just apply their legal skill set with a commercial mind, but are also creative, intellectually curious, and comfortable expressing their personalities in the work environment. It is essential for our lawyers to maintain this crucial mix and to be prepared to go that one step further for clients. This year's group is no exception – they have all demonstrated that they are ambitious and hard-working, and we are pleased to welcome them".

Which all means the table looks like this:

.... read more >

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