In about as big a talent move as possible between the UK’s two dominant legal training providers, BPP’s former chief executive Peter Crisp has joined the University of Law (ULaw) as pro vice chancellor.
Crisp, who spent 20 years at BPP University Law School first as a tutor and later chief executive, will assume his new role on 2 January and join ULaw’s executive management team led by vice chancellor and chief executive Andrea Nollent. He joins two existing pro vice chancellors and will focus on business development and client relationships.
The well regarded Crisp was for years alongside former ULaw chief Nigel Savage one of the most influential figures in the UK’s vocational legal training sector. Crisp left BPP this June, and was replaced by Andrew Chadwick, who had been with the training provider since joining as deputy dean in 2012.
The appointment will likely be viewed as part of a drive to reposition ULaw after a period defined by a series of senior departures and some criticism that the body was losing its focus on major commercial firms. The institution went through a £200m sale to Montagu Private Equity in 2012 only to be sold three years later to Global University Systems, an umbrella group including the London School of Business and Finance. Savage retired from the institution in 2014.
Crisp commented: ‘This is a very exciting time for me to join ULaw, and I am very much looking forward to embracing the opportunities of the role.’
Nollent added: ‘This is a very important role for us in terms of external strategy and, with his extensive skills and experience, I look forward to Peter building further our reputation and success.’
Crisp joins ULaw in a period in which it is facing considerable upheaval. In April the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) confirmed that a single, centrally-set examination will come into place from 2020, replacing the current requirements for trainees to take the LPC or for non-law graduates, the GDL, combining both into one examination. The controversial move could in theory sweep away the current framework for qualifying solicitors in favour of more flexible, work-based learning.
With so much regulatory change looming in the legal education sphere, and many expecting technology to dramatically overhaul both the training of lawyers and the demand for junior solicitors themselves, leading law schools will likely need all the skills they can get.