Number of places: 108 FT
Excellent links with local chambers make Manchester Met an excellent choice for those looking to pursue a career on the Northern Circuit, although prospective applicants should note that the part-time course has been cancelled this year. Students largely come from the region – “the Manchester, Liverpool, Preston area” – and are likely to remain local after completing the course. The list of experienced teaching staff numbers Deputy District Judges, mediators, pupil supervisors and Inns’ advocacy trainers: “People have a lot of experience, and the course remains current because of that.” Students can also take advantage of additional advocacy classes (delivered by practitioners) and the Continuing Professional Development events hosted by the school for members of the Bar. In the past the law school has even brought in voice coaches and trainee police officers to practise cross-examination.
Full-timers are taught across four days. At the beginning of the course students are split up into nine ‘chambers’ of 12 and further divided into groups of six for practising of oral skills. These ‘chambers’ are rotated at the elective stage of the course.
Students alternate weekly between civil and criminal litigation. Teaching focuses on knowledge at the beginning of the week, building up to the relevant skill, such as advocacy, at the end. Some lectures are available online and the school has a variety of electronic support, including podcasts. A dedicated careers adviser and a speaker programme enable students to learn about pupillage and the Bar. Students are also assigned a mentor currently practising at the Bar. Pro bono opportunities include the Personal Support Unit at Manchester Civil Justice Centre, the Manchester Mediation Service, visits to Manchester prison and Partners of Prisoners. Some students volunteer with Amicus, which offers legal representation to death row inmates. Mock trial, interview and negotiation competitions are set up – sometimes on a national scale – for students to develop their skills and CVs. There are also scholarship opportunities available for those who list the school as their first or second choice upon applying. Fees do include the cost of course materials.
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