Former BPP CEO Crisp takes up new role at legal education rival University of Law

Former BPP Law School CEO Peter Crisp has joined its competitor The University of Law (ULaw), in a high-profile move in the world of legal education.

Crisp resigned from BPP in June this year after almost 20 years at the university. He will join ULaw on 2 January next year, taking up the role of pro vice-chancellor – external.

He will lead the university’s business development activities with external clients, partners and law firms, while also joining its executive board.

Vice-chancellor and CEO Andrea Nollent said: “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 started as a tutor at BPP in 1997 before becoming dean and CEO in 2003. He is also a barrister specialising in property law.

Legal education is currently undergoing a period of significant upheaval, with the Solicitors Regulation Authority announcing this April that from 2020, the Solicitor’s Qualification Examination will replace the current system of qualification, removing the requirement for aspiring lawyers to complete the Legal Practice Course. Earlier this year, Crisp told Legal Week that the shakeup would have “profound implications” for the sector.

Trainee solicitors will also no longer be required to complete training contracts – instead, they will need to complete at least two years of “qualifying legal work experience”.

Crisp said: “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 as the university continues to go from strength to strength. I am pleased to be beginning this new chapter in my career, and I hope to make a valuable contribution to the university’s continued growth and success.”

Nollent added: “The future changes to legal qualifications offer many opportunities for innovation and enhancement.”

The news comes after BPP was sold to a private equity consortium in 2017, making it one of few for-profit and private universities.

ULaw – formerly The College of Law – agreed a £200m sale of its education and training business to Montagu Private Equity in 2012, before rebranding on its conversion to university status. Montagu subsequently completed a sale to Global University Systems for an undisclosed sum in 2015.

The university has gone through a raft of leadership changes in recent years, following the 2014 retirement of long-serving president Nigel Savage, who had led the institution for 18 years.

Ex-CEO John Latham, who succeeded Savage as president, stepped down in 2015, with COO David Johnston taking over.

Johnston lasted less than a year in the role, with Stelios Platis – a former KPMG consultant and head of strategic planning at the Cyprus Popular Bank Group – taking up the reins in May last year, just five months before being succeeded by Nollent.