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The BPP Legal Awareness Society is a flagship leader in the BPP Students Association community.
The current brochure is available at: http://www.bppstudents.com/clubs/item/229/start/0/num/10/
As you’ll be aware, I myself presented 4 workshops on commercial awareness earlier this year in Holborn. Successful delegates who attended my workshops nationally were awarded a certificate of attendance.
As I hope to be leaving BPP soon, with much sadness, the last thing I should do is to appoint a new President and new Committee for next academic year (2013-4).
*The positions are: President (in charge of events, internal stakeholder meetings at BPP), Vice-President (assisting the President), Publicity Officer (self-explanatory), Events Co-ordinator (self-explanatory). Please feel free to propose an Officer for an ‘unmet need’.*
The selection committee will consist of me, Sonia Goodman (President of the BPP Commercial Awareness Society, London), and a member of the current student engagement team at BPP.
To be eligible to apply for any of these positions you must meet all of the following selection criteria:
1. A student enrolled on a BPP course of any discipline, at any site, for the substantial part of academic year 2013-4.
2. A commitment to hosting Society meetings of any nature, consistent with student conduct at BPP and with the stipulated aims of the BPP Legal Awareness Society. The Committee will be responsible for organising hosting of these meetings through room bookings at BPP, and will be responsible for all security at meetings.
3. The President and Committee will specifically extend the strategy of promoting commercial awareness, and endeavour to promote this value both locally and nationally.
All applications for any of the posts on the Committee must be received by 4 pm on this email address by Friday 12 July 2013.
Please do not hesitate to contact me on email should you have any inquiries. To apply send me an email as well. The email address is: email@example.com
Submit a brief statement containing
1. Name and relevant correspondence details
2. Educational past and present
3. Explain, in no more than 150 words, why you would like to become a student representative of the BPP Legal Awareness Society.
4. Why do you think commercial awareness, or an insight into how companies function, is important in the legal profession, and how can it best be promoted? (Please do not write more than 200 words.)
5. What position would you like to apply for and why do you think you are suited for this rôle? Please provide brief reasons. (Please do not write more than 100 words.)
6. What positions of responsibility have you held before? Also list any relevant extracurricular activities which you feel may be helpful. (Please do not write more than 200 words.)
7. Please add any further information which you feel will be useful for your application. (unlimited)
Shortlisting will occur in the week beginning Monday 15 July 2013, and students will be invited for interview on Wednesday 17th July 2013. We will be unable to contact unsuccessful applicants.
Interviews will be held on Monday 22 July 2013. It is likely that I will interview with Sonia Goodman or Shabnan Aziz, incoming Chief Executive of BPP Students, if either of them are available. Appointments will be made on that day.
Best of luck!
Shibley, BPP Legal Awareness Society President 2011-3.
Looking for a training contract is unfortunately necessary to complete your legal training, unless you’ve gone certain routes. You need to complete your training in order to be admitted to the Roll of Solicitors.
You can now ‘top up’ your LPC to make a LLM at certain institutions, including BPP Law School and the College of Law. You can also top up your LPC to make a MA Law with Business at BPP Law School, for example.
The BPP Legal Awareness Society page is here. Even if you’re not at BPP, I strongly recommend you join our mailing list to receive updates on our various activities. Whilst we are based in Holborn, we realise that sometimes it’s not possible for students to attend physically our events, fortnightly on Thursday evenings. We try to put a lot of material here on the blog, and advertise new posts through our active Twitter (@legalaware) with over 6000 followers currently. Please feel free to share this with anyone you wish.
If you’re yet to immerse yourself in the jungle that is the hunt for the training contract, you might not have yet encountered the online verbal reasoning test. The Society has been developing learning resources for this test, a necessary part of the training contract application process, and they can be found on the ‘Legal Recruit‘ website. Please note that, whilst these resources have been developed by students in our independent society, these learning materials are nothing to do with BPP whatsoever and thus should NOT be confused by any learning media of BPP. You will find, however, on this website plenty of free sample worked examples, videos, and factsheets.
We have been holding fortnightly meetings, which are well attended, for the last two years nearly. We discuss interesting new commercial and corporate news, including noteworthy transactions, and developments of the law of contemporary significance. On our website, we have special educational videos, also produced by members of our society, on common legal specialties of commercial and corporate law firms, which may be of particular benefit to you. You might find these videos useful preparation before a ‘commercial awareness problem scenario’ for you to do during an interview at a law firm.
These videos may be found on the following pages:
We hope that through our meetings, our blog and Twitter, you may develop your ‘commercial awareness’, and you are able to evidence this on your training contract application form.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in helping us run our activities at Holborn in any small way (you’d then be on our executive committee), if you’d like to give a short presentation on a corporate client you find interesting (this is our “corporate client project”), or if you would like to be a member of a small podcasting team (our recordings are quite infrequent, but are good fun and once every few months).
BPP Legal Awareness Society
Our brand new brochure : BPP Legal Awareness Society
The corporate client project for students
We are currently looking for law or business students with an interest in commercial or corporate law to give mini-presentations on the corporate strategy of their choice.
This might be a real client of a firm engaged by a firm after his or her training contract, or a real client which is genuinely otherwise of interest to the law or business student.
If you know of anyone who might be interested in this new innovative project, please feel free to forward this email to him or her.
There is no application process to take part, save to say the applicant should be genuinely motivated about explaining the relevance of corporate strategy to people in the commercial or corporate law disciplines, at whatever level.
Please respond by emailing this account as soon as possible, email@example.com stating who you and what course you are studying, or have studied, or will study, with BPP.
If you are at a loss in thinking about a suitable client, or a suitable area of client, you might find it interesting to watch our short presentations on the ‘LegalAware’ website.
They are to be found as follows:
Best of luck! Law firms are particularly interested in those trainees who are very knowledgeable about the economic, business or financial climate around them; and graduate recruitment partners and their colleagues look for ‘commercial awareness’ amongst a plethora of other competences.
THE LINK TO OUR OFFICIAL PAGE ON THE BPP STUDENTS SITE IS HERE (AT THE END OF THIS PAGE, YOU CAN JOIN THE SOCIETY, IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY DONE SO.)
BPP Legal Awareness Society
BPP Law School, Holborn
24 October 2012
Flier: Corporate Client Project
Please feel to share on Twitter or Facebook. We should like our outreach to be as wide as possible, including law firms, law centres, CABx, law schools and academics; as well as of course members of society who are interested in how law and regulation affect our society.
To download our new brochure click here.
This evening, I will be giving a presentation in room 2.6 here in the BPP Law School, Holborn, on disputes involving Apple, Samsung and HTC involving tablets and smartphones.
The learning objectives of this talk are as follows:
- To give an overview of two disputes in intellectual property between multi-national parties in the technology sector.
- To contextualise the importance of two intellectual property rights (patents and design rights) in how multinational companies create ‘competitive advantage’.
- To improve the “commercial awareness” of applicants for training contracts this summer.
I wished to give an explanation of how multi-national companies involved in technology use innovation to create competitive advantage to generate profit, but look at it from the perspective of the industry of intellectual property protection in the form of design rights (tablet) and patent (“slide-to-view” mechanism of smartphones).
The handout for this talk is here.
Students on the LPC might find the talk interesting as these intellectual property rights have been introduced on the Legal Practice Course special elective on commercial law and intellectual property. The subject-matter is also a valid topic for a recent interesting example of ‘commercial news’, which might be aired in the training contract application form or in the interview itself.
A “calico” – all will be revealed….
Our new brochure is here.
It contains essential information about the BPP Legal Awareness Society, a popular student society at BPP, which discusses how corporates make strategic decisions in the context of law and regulation.
We will be sending out hard copies of the brochure, with an invitation to take part in a survey, to leading Corporate law firms at the end of June 2012. Through this, we hope to develop mutually agreed terms with firms as to how we can promote an understanding of business in legal education through our Society. We then hope to engage with such firms on this mutual basis. We will also continue to promote heavily the importance of community investment and pro bono projects in the law profession.
We have recently decided to appoint Zerbakht also to the role of Vice-President, a role which he will be sharing with Gizem until September 2012.
Law is not just about compliance for businesses. It’s about creating value. It’s also about creating ‘competitive advantage’.
This is what I strongly believe should be at the heart of the business strategy. Unsurprisingly, it’s why I feel parts of Society may need lawyers.
A company in the UK will be make offerings to the general public for a product or service. People who have watched the careers of Lord Alan Sugar and Sir Richard Branson saw them progress in ‘business media’ from ultimately a sole trader to the company in English law. Lord Sugar tends to excel at products, Sir Richard Branson tends to excel at services.
The debate in economics is not just about delivering a low cost product. There are two critical aspects to creating value. Firstly, there is inherent worth in the offering you’re producing (this could be ‘eco-friendly’ washing powder, or a legal education which has a strong passion for social justice). Also, it’s creating shared value between the company and the customer.
That’s where the strategy comes in. Businesses need to position themselves ahead of their competitors, and this involves an understanding of their ‘competitive advantage’. A number of factors can act here such as market entry for what you’re producing, and the bargaining power of suppliers and customers, but fundamentally the ‘competitive landscape’ plays a part. Enmeshed in this competitive landscape might be political, social, economic, technological, environmental factors, but above law, law and regulatory factors.
Our student society at BPP has at its roots a balanced discussion of how businesses deliver value and competitive advantage. We also discuss key aspects of compliance with the law (e.g. not hacking to selling a multi-million paper, not accepting bribes to further our business), and we argue that compliance with the law is important. However, to create a successful environment for the clients of business lawyers it’s fundamental to understand value and competitive advantage at the heart of business.
Irrespective of students’ ultimate ‘success’ in finding City training contracts, we feel strongly that an education and unfettered discussion of this, at student level too, is what their high-profile clients want.
The BPP Students Association is a thriving community at BPP, including future lawyers, accountants, marketing and business professionals. We are lucky in that the range of our student societies reflects a much wider range of interests.
Across all sites, BPP students can get involved in any capacity they wish. Of course, the courses are demanding, but many attend meetings and events, as well as help to run the societies as extra-curricular activities in positions of responsibility.
Here’s a video of the fun which we had at the recent BPP Students Fair, held at BPP Waterloo (London.)
The BPP Legal Awareness Society (click here for details) is an unique Society, run by current students at BPP, and exists to promote the importance of both complying with and cultivating a culture of competitive advantage from the law and regulation to improve the corporate strategy to clients and their stakeholders, from a client’s perspective. Any current, past, or future student at BPP, across any of the campuses, may attend our meetings. It is one of very many societies:
Thank you to the BPP Careers Team for organising the BPP Annual Law Careers Fair 2012 this Thursday 29 March 2012. It was great to meet Saira Iqbal for the first time, and Eric Migliaccio whom I know well from Holborn.
All students of BPP were invited. We met up in the lower ground floor of the Waterloo campus of BPP Law School between 3 pm and 7 pm.
Legal training providers/City firms attending the event included Addleshaw Goddard, Boodle Hatfield, Charles Russell, Clyde & Co., CMS Cameron McKenna, Dundas and Wilson, Eversheds, Fox Williams, Government Legal Service, Jones Day, Kennedy, Macfarlanes, Orling, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Osborne Clarke, Reed Smith, Sidney Austin, Squire, Sanders and Hammonds, Stephenson Harwood, and Withers.
I went along there on completion of my second SGS on professional conduct and regulation at BPP Law School, Holborn. We had been studying financial promotions and mainstream/incidental activities as a solicitor (as indicated by the FMSA and SRA conduct rules).
I must say that I had a really enjoyable time. In fact, soon afterwards, I came to the decision that I would not apply for a training contract until after I had completed (and passed) the Legal Practice Course. I am not in an overwhelming hurry to do the training contract, as I am 37, and I have already experienced much in my life.
That’s what made my afternoon all the more enjoyable. I happened to speak to Alex, Emma, Izzy, Jonathan, Lorraine, Simon, Sarah amongst a few others (whose names I should have jotted down to be honest) at Addleshaw Goddard, Boodle Hatfield, CMS Cameron McKenna, DMH Stallard, Government Legal Service, Eversheds, Macfarlanes, and Stephenson Harwood. Having done numerous unsuccessful applications for training contract and vacation placements in the past, I must admit I had become rather jaded about the whole experience. It was therefore really refreshing for me to actually that these representatives of legal entities were all very nice people, all personable, extremely knowledgeable about the firms they worked for, and the legal sector in general.
This of course should be no surprise, but they do include one or two firms which have rejected my previous applications (I’ve never been interviewed by any of them). In some cases, it was really nice to meet the person behind the Twitter account, although I did accidentally find myself screening myself the law firms by an innocent question on their approach to social media. Of course, it was brilliant to meet @legaltrainee – Eversheds have been remarkably successful in treating recruitment as a two-way dialogue, where both parties can find out more about each other’s identity and culture in a mutually beneficial way; they also offer a number of excellent opportunities including the combined study training contract programme, for example. Likewise, it was lovely to meet the team behind @DMHSRecruitment, who IRL were as positive about the work of their firm as they are on Twitter daily; they also confirmed that the biggest gripe of a legal recruiter, aside from application forms with poor spelling and grammar, was an inability by the candidate to answer the question asked. Finally, I met members of our own society there, the BPP Legal Awareness Society (the official BPP students website, blog, twitter, Facebook) and members of the excellent BPP Commercial Awareness Society there too.
Legal entities either fielded graduate recruitment advisors, managers or administrators, and/or current trainees (including mostly BPP graduates). I had the pleasure of discussing the legal doctrine of proportionality, innovation, the relative importance of corporate social responsibility, and expansion of legal services into Eastern Europe with the Government Legal Service, Eversheds, Addleshaw Goddard and CMS Cameron McKenna, with current trainees respectively. For some firms, applying would be awkward in a sense that I don’t wish to fall out if I ultimately have rejection (it’s a highly competitive market out there), but something I’ve learned that the whole process is not personal in the sense until it comes to interview. I personally liked all the people I met on Thursday.
Without naming names, I would like to thank the legal entities for a fresh supply of pens, praline chocolates, a frisbee, a memory stick, hemp bags, company literature and highlighter pens. It’s the thought that counts, but actually all are very useful to me! What I especially found very reassuring was how the law firms have such a high regard for BPP – and the feeling is entirely mutual, I assure them…
Thank you for all giving up your time to attend, and, despite it being a hot day, I hope that the legal entities enjoyed meeting the current students of BPP.
This post is very much influenced by various conversations I’ve had in the corridors and the main lift of the BPP Law School. Notwithstanding the lack of luxury in the environmental context, I think the discussions I’ve had with other students has offered ground for fertile discussion. We have also discussed and read carefully the published opinions of Bar Standards Board, CILEX, Prof. John Flood, Rebecca Huxley-Binns, The Legal Services Institute/College of Law/Prof. Stephen Mayson, and Prof Richard Moorhead and the Solicitors Regulation Authority especially. These are therefore opinions of the BPP Legal Awareness Society, an active independent student body within BPP, but they must NOT be taken as representative in part of wholly of the opinions and plans of BPP.
It is difficult to unpack the issues in a coherent way, so please forgive me for explaining some ‘pointers’ briefly, regarding the formal document we hope to produce from the BPP Legal Awareness Society, one of the most active legal and business student societies at BPP before the end of this month.
In the discussion below, ‘LPC’ is shorthand for the Legal Practice Course, the vocational part of the training to be solicitor as a law student, and “GDL” is the Graduate Diploma of Law part of the course, but it is imagined that these parts of the course would be assimilated into an integrated whole. Please note that our ideas are in a state of flux, and are being re-drafted all-the-time.
These are the views of the students on the subcommittee of the BPP Legal Awareness Society. We hope that, as students, our opinions will be taken seriously too.
- Students are these days paying for their own education both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Therefore it makes sense for the legal syllabus and curriculum to be not overly long, and offer a high value educational experience.
- The emphasis in the overall shape of the legal education should be placed upon optimising the performance of the law student in learning how to learn, and how to manage the behaviour, skills and knowledge resulting from their learning. It is likely that law schools should wish to encourage collaboration and teamwork during the educational experience, especially since this is likely to be a factor of their vocational training and beyond. There should be less of an emphasis on memorised facts, although this will be essential for ensuring a competent standard in any assessments.
- Students need certainty in their studies, and employers need to feel certain that students have reached a minimum level of competence, however measured, through their studies. Not all the subjects need to be in a core curriculum, but there should be an application of ‘the uncomfortable test’, in other words ‘would you feel uncomfortable if a law student on completing their training could not explain to a member of the general public the importance of … [x]?’ where x might be the rule of law or unfair dismissal, for example. However, there should also be sufficient flexibility in the curriculum such that students could voluntarily pursue optional courses in depth, such as media and entertainment law.
- There should not be undue bias to any particular stakeholders in legal education, whether those be academics in constitutional law or insolvency practitioners. Particularly, the LPC should offer some consideration of the law relevant to workers, as well as the companies which employ them. There is no justification for excluding some parts of law, represented by key members of society, such as disabled benefits, albeit there may not be time to devote much time to these at all (if they are included). As a comparison, medical students may receive just one lecture on dementia in the whole of their five or six years as an undergraduate.
- The basic curriculum, on successful completion, should be sufficiently broad as a training vehicle, to allow students to progress to a pre-registration stage, a further degree (such as LLM or a PhD), or an altogether different law-related discipline such as criminology or policy studies.
- It should be possible for students from non-law degrees to pursue law – we feel a compromise for this would be to make the curriculum entirely modular in the form of units, such that you could achieve exemptions from units on the course having done comparable units elsewhere.
- The assessments currently can be dysfunctional, particularly with students clearly ‘question spotting’ on the GDL. The programme should be inclusive of all possible suitable assessment techniques, which might include focused dissertations or projects, or even an e-portfolio or work-based assessments.
- The curriculum ideally should be integrated, so that law students have some valuable work experience. A problem with the law curriculum remains how to address the wishes of those who do not wish to work in a City firm, law centre, or CABx for example; while possibly work placements for this type of career might exist, law schools/law providers should generally consider other types of work experience, such as being an academic research assistant. Many law students wish to pursue a career in something law-related at the start, but due to lack of work experience, get put off from continuing. It is extremely worrying that good candidates leave due to lack of training contract or pupillage, therefore basic training should not be dependent on such opportunities.
- The drive should be away from ‘picking winners’. Whilst it is essential to ensure a minimum level of competence and fitness-to-practice, for the benefit of confidence for students and future employers, certain individuals should not be ‘destined’ to work in a particular firm from an early stage as the expectations of both parties change with time. All stakeholders, including City firms, should therefore concentrate on the provision of transferable skills. This will benefit their current employees too, where some retention rates are poor. Appraisal selection tests can be dangerous in maintaining the reputation of the profession, if the tests used to do not attempt to measure key attributes of being a good lawyer such as emotional intelligence.
- The curriculum is possibly suffering from a subtle ‘mission creep’ in commodification currently. The concern that a corporate culture has become invidious to legal education is not a strong one amongst members of the Society. However, of great concern, is that some specialities, seen traditionally as unprofitable such as housing, immigration and asylum, may be elbowed out at an approach with favours alternative-business-structures and corporates. The practitioner curriculum needs to be balanced, as well as giving due weight and attention to our rich heritage of English law across the seven traditional subjects.
- A potential way forward might be that the topics of the GDL could be inculcated into a 4 year-programme, offering integrated strands as proposed by Rebecca Huxley-Binns, Reader in Legal Education, followed by a specific period of vocational training akin to the BPTC or LPC, and then followed by a pre-registration period, offered by a legal entity, corporate or otherwise, offering a balance of seats relevant to that specialty (e.g. social welfare, corporate law). On registration, practising lawyers, would be free to specialise as they wish, with specialty-related qualifications as currently seen in medicine. The length of this programme would be to ensure it’s not too costly for the student, and also to ensure that students reach a minimum level of competence without being rushed. However, it might be conceived, like medicine, that the academic stages and non-academic stages might be fully integrated from the word-go, but this would throw up the need for changes in regulation.
- An element of this proposed scheme would be to remove the training contract or pupillage as a barrier-to-qualification (effectively barrier-to-entry to the profession). We felt that removal of the 7 traditional boundaries might work well, although we did feel that the current system of the GDL, LPC and BPTC was well executed with much certainty. Such a proposed scheme instead would not be that too distant from the CILEX approach currently offered. For members of the legal profession who wish to be barristers rather than solicitors, the modules corresponding to the LPC could be replaced by modules corresponding to the BPTC.
- Conduct, we feel, should be a continuing obligation therefore for all students from the point at which they enter the whole legal course, and would be effected by the Bar Standards Board and Solicitors Regulation Authority. It is more appropriate that common regulatory features (such as the principles of outcomes-focused regulation) could be introduced at a much earlier stage in the legal curriculum. This would send out a powerful signal that ethics and regulation is an important area itself, rather than simply a necessary compliance issue for future trainees with regulatory bodies. An issue is of course why should the curriculum impose such a strong regulatory and ethics load on people who never even go into practice? A fair counterargument would be to suggest that many of the principles, for example confidentiality, rule-of-law, consent, conflicts of interest, are diverse skills important for academic legal research careers too (and which are examined in research ethics applications by the funding councils).
- Case-analysis could be introduced in a traditional way as traditionally done on the GDL currently, and could be developed into practical legal research as indeed currently done on the LPC (e.g. developing proficiency in writing research-based memorandums (sic)).
- Students annually might have to disclose their compliance with relevant professional codes on an ongoing basis, therefore. Status could be graduated, e.g. ‘student’ for when a law student is doing the basic curriculum, ‘pre-registered’ when a law student is doing further training prior to being qualified, and ‘fully registered’ on successful completion of legal training. This, we feel, should not be a symbolic sop to the regulatory authorities, but to recognise their essential part of academic and practitioner life, and indeed we feel that the BSB and BSB and associated bodies should develop a very ‘hands-off’ approach for individuals setting their own syllabus in pursuing the aims and objectives of a legal newly-designed curriculum.
The members of the BPP Legal Awareness Society forming a subcommittee to address the Legal Education and Training Review were invited to consider carefully the following references:
Boon, A., Flood, J.A., Webb, J. (2005) Postmodern professions? The fragmentation of legal education and the legal profession. Journal of Law and Society. Vol. 32(3): Sept, pp. 473-92. http://www.johnflood.com/pdfs/Postmodern_Profs_2005.pdf cited in http://www.johnflood.com/categories.php [accessed 17 March 2012].
BPP website: Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) http://www.bpp.com/postgraduate-course-details/-/d/postgraduate/GDL/145 [accessed 17 March 2012].
BPP website: Legal Practice Course (LPC) http://www.bpp.com/postgraduate-course-details/-/d/postgraduate/LPC/146 [accessed 17 March 2012].
LegalAware blog. (2011) “#UCLLawDebate: Do lawyers need to be scholars? Panel discussion on 11 October 2011. “ Oct 12 http://legal-aware.org/2011/10/ucllawdebate-do-lawyers-need-to-be-scholars-panel-discussion-on-11-october-2011/ [accessed 17 March 2012].
LegalFutures blog. “Review sets out “radical” options for reform of legal education and training”, 13 March 2012. http://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/review-sets-out-radical-options-for-reform-of-legal-education-and-training [accessed 17 March 2012].
Legal Services Institute/College of Law (2012), “Reforming Legal Education: Issues for the Legal Services Board”, February, http://www.legalservicesinstitute.org.uk/LSI/LSI_Papers/Institute_Papers/Institute_papers/ [accessed 17 March 2012].
LETR (2012), “Discussion paper. Key Issues(1): Call for Evidence” http://letr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Discussion-paper-012012.pdf [accessed 17 March 2012].
Metcalfe, C. (2012) “Add ethics and values to legal education, researchers say”, Lawyer 2 be, 16 January, http://l2b.thelawyer.com/add-ethics-and-values-to-legal-education-researchers-say/1010947.article [accessed 17 March 2012].
Metcalfe, C. (2012) “Bang goes the law degree”, Lawyer 2 be: http://l2b.thelawyer.com/bang-goes-the-law-degree/1011592.article 27 February 2012 [accessed 17 March 2012].
Moorhead, A. (2012) “LETR: Is there a big hole opening up under the solicitors’ profession?”, 2 March 2012, http://lawyerwatch.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/letr-is-there-a-big-hole-opening-up-under-the-solicitors-profession/ [accessed 17 March 2012].