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Thinking about doing the diploma?

28 June 2016 | tagged New lawyers news

Rob Marrs

Last week we issued supplementary guidance for those who have applied to undertake the Diploma next year. This guidance can be found here and I thoroughly recommend that anyone who has applied to do the Diploma next year takes a few minutes to read through the guidance.

780 people have applied to undertake next year’s Diploma. That is a startling number. Admittedly, it is lower than last year but it is still – in historic terms – high. The guidance note provides some analysis and context of this number. We have all LLB providing universities  and all Diploma providers to pass this on to applicants and also shared it via our social media accounts.

Why have application numbers grown?

The funding situation for the Diploma changed at the start of the 2015/16 academic session. This change had been known about by students for at least a year.  We know that some people delayed undertaking a Diploma in 2014/15 because of the changes to funding for the following year. This –allied with an increase in training contract figures at the time – saw a huge increase in the numbers who both applied for and commenced the Diploma in the 2015/16.

Last year, we did not know whether this increase in numbers was a one-off (a unique combination of increasing traineeship numbers and those delaying the Diploma to receive a better financial settlement) or part of a longer-term trend. Given the higher than usual application figures for this year, it seems that higher numbers of applications seem to be ‘’a new normal’’ rather than a one-off spike.

We don’t know how many people will commence the DPLP in 2016/17 nor do we know how many training contracts will commence next year. We do know – however – how many Diploma applications there are this year and can give you context from previous years. We hope that this will be of use to you in making your decision.

The Brexit curveball?

We note in the guidance ‘we are not aware of any market analysis that suggests that the number of traineeships will fluctuate significantly over the next few years’. Of course the recent vote to leave the EU marks the start of monumental change for the UK and our relationship with the rest of Europe – although we remain an EU member until further notice. We cannot predict the economic impact of Brexit in the longer term or the decisions firms will make as a result, including on the number of training contracts on offer this year (or future years). At the moment we advise that you read the guidance, weigh up your financial situation and personal circumstances, and consider these in the context of political and economic circumstances. You can read more about what we’re saying on the EU Referendum vote in our Q&A.

If you have any questions about this at all please email:

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