The University of Law (ULaw) is to launch a four-year part time undergraduate LL.B law degree from September to enable students to combine study with work commitments.
The programme, which will run initially at ULaw’s London Bloomsbury and Birmingham centres, will combine weekday evening workshops at the centre with supported online learning and webinars at weekends.
By offering flexibility over how and when to study, the new programme is expected to appeal both to mature students, who wish to switch to a career in law or develop their existing legal career, and to younger students who are committed to entering the legal profession but need to work alongside their studies.
ULaw intends to extend the part-time LL.B (Hons) Law degree to its other city centre locations in 2015, meaning that students can choose the centre nearest to their home, increasing convenience and flexibility.
The new programme builds on the success of ULaw’s existing full-time law degree and will be taught by the same tutors, all of whom are qualified lawyers with practice experience.
At its launch in September 2012, the two-year LL.B (Hons) Law attracted a higher number of students than any of the more than 50 law degrees that have launched in England and Wales in the last decade, according to figures published by UCAS. In 2013 its intake increased by nearly 80 per cent and applications for the 2014 programmes are up by more than 45 per cent compared with the same point last year. By contrast the number of applications to full-time undergraduate law courses across all nationwide providers has dropped by nearly 1 per cent.
ULaw’s LL.B was the first of its kind, focussing on practice-based learning and boosting students’ employment prospects. In contrast to many traditional law degrees it combines academic rigour with teaching essential professional legal skills and includes timetabled employability workshops.
The University’s emphasis on putting employability at the forefront of course design is reflected in the fact that 89 per cent of full time students graduating from its postgraduate Legal Practice Course in 2012 had secured positions in the legal profession just a few months after graduating. In total 97 per cent were in work, legal positions or continuing education.
Professor Nigel Savage, President at The University of Law, said: “Following a successful launch of our law degree and very positive feedback from students and legal employers, we were keen to make the programme accessible to students who want to combine study with other commitments.
“The dynamic legal sector, both in the UK and globally, offers a wide range of career opportunities and, by immersing students in practical real-life business scenarios from day one, our LL.B ensures that they have the necessary professional skills to stand out in a competitive recruitment market. The rapid growth of our LL.B is evidence of the increasing demand for our approach to undergraduate teaching, particularly in the context of a small decline in demand for law degrees nationally.”
According to figures published by The Law Society, the number of legal professionals, including solicitors, barristers and judges, will increase by nearly 20 per cent by 2020.
In addition the global legal services market is forecast to increase to $751bn (£480bn) in 2015, which represents an annual average growth rate of 5 per cent.
With median graduate starting salaries at £39,000, the legal profession offers students one of the highest graduate salary profiles across all industry sectors, second only to investment banking.
The launch of the part time LL.B (Hons) Law means that ULaw will offer five degree programmes from September, including the UK’s first two-year LL.B (Hons) Law -International. The international programme will run at the Birmingham, Guildford, London Bloomsbury and Manchester centres and is also available as a three-year programme. The full time LL.B (Hons) Law is available as both two- and three-year programmes at all seven locations.