City firm to place its LPC students with clients as part of innovative MA

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By Legal Futures

3 April 2012

Crittenden: students gain commercial knowledge but not extra debt

Prospective trainee solicitors at Reed Smith are to conduct projects for the international firm’s clients as part of an innovative legal practice course (LPC) that integrates legal and business learning and leads to a unique Masters qualification – the MA (LPC with Business).

The programme, put together with BPP was enabled by the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s move to allow firms more flexibility in how they design courses which include the core LPC learning.

In addition to the LPC curriculum, a range of business modules will be built into the year-long course, which will be piloted from September 2012, including: business and sector analysis, the financial markets, strategy, governance, regulation and risk.

Students will also be placed with clients over a few weeks to conduct a business consultancy project based on a real-life scenario so as to gain an

in-depth understanding of the firm’s clients and their business sectors prior to joining. The report will be shared with the client and Reed Smith has already had a positive response from clients who have been approached to take part.

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Peter Hardy, Reed Smith’s training principal, said: “This innovative new course means that, for the first time in the legal sector, future trainees will complete all the LPC topics with the full business context alongside them in one year. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for future trainees to learn about our clients’ sectors.

“Getting out to clients on the Masters’ projects, in advance of joining the firm, will also  provide them with valuable insight and help them experience their commercial realities first hand. It’s this business mindset which our clients, and we as their legal advisors, require.”

Lucy Crittenden, Reed Smith’s graduate recruitment manager, added: “We were very conscious of not lengthening the graduate career path, given the increasing levels of student debt. This unique approach will ensure that students with increasingly higher levels of debt will not need to undertake extra years of study – but will still gain the commercial knowledge they need to help them to succeed at the firm.”

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