The disparity between law schools has grown more extreme, with postgraduate pass rates ranging from 100% to under 25% depending on where you study.
According to a report by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, there continue to be ‘significant differences’ in successful completion rates between training providers. Pass rates on the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for the year to August 2019 ranged from 100% to 23% across 25 institutions.
Meanwhile, pass rates for law conversion courses range from 95% to 22%, according to the regulator’s annual quality assurance report.
Last year’s study found that LPC pass rates ranged from 29% to 100% and success rates for the law conversion course ranged from 35% to 100%.
‘We are unable to draw firm conclusions about why there is such a broad range in successful completion rates. However, pass rates can be influenced by candidate ability and engagement, as well as teaching quality and assessment arrangements,’ the SRA said. ‘In addition to the differences in rates between providers, there are significant differences between providers in the proportion of students who achieve pass, commendation or distinction grades.’
The regulator has anonymised the training providers.
Data also shows that students from ethnic groups other than white are less likely to pass the law conversion course and the LPC. The SRA said this attainment gap is ‘widely seen across higher education and professional assessments’ and it is commissioning independent research to look at the reasons behind it.
In total, 7,887 students – 58% of those enrolled – successfully completed the LPC in 2018/19, compared with 56% in 2017/18. Male and female students appeared to perform equally well.
From September, the LPC will be phased out and replaced by the Solicitors Qualifying Exam. The regulator said the new assessment model will make it easier to monitor law school outcomes.