Number of places: 120 FT
The BPTC course at Kaplan was first offered to a group of 60 students in September 2010 and in 2012 this was extended for the second time to account for 120 prospective barristers: “It’s quite a leap, and we need to accommodate that in terms of tutors and resources, but it shows that the word is spreading, and we’re not just the new kid on the block any more.” The school sets the bar high when it comes to entry requirements, with its very own entrance exams for prospective candidates. BPTC applicants need to pass an interview, written exam and advocacy test and demonstrate a commitment to the profession evidenced by previous formal and informal work experience or otherwise. Once in, the professional attitude continues as students are required to wear suits into class and study from practitioners' texts Archbold and The White Book (Civil Procedure). Students have to be “firing on all cylinders” while at Kaplan, and it’s worth mentioning that “around 40% of the intake are Oxbridge, while another 30 to 40% are from the Russell Group. We rarely offer a place to someone with less than a 2:1.”
The course itself mirrors that offered at Nottingham Law School: consisting of three civil briefs and four criminal. Class sizes of around 12 for written skills and no more than six students for oral skills are standard. Students can expect to be in class four days a week with one day off, although this is subject to change, as the increase in student numbers may mean that room availability “won’t be quite as flexible.” BPTC students can select from seven options, subject to demand. The commercial and advanced civil litigation electives are popular, and the “majority of students will opt for them.” After a lagging interest, immigration will not be running. Those who can't wait to test out their advocacy skills can enter mooting and mock trial competitions where past students have enjoyed success in the international arena, reaching the final of the International Court mock trial in The Hague. In addition to bragging rights, a 50% scholarship is available for the Master or Mistress of Moots and there are nine other advocacy-based scholarships as well.
The location of the law school building more than makes up for its less than fancy exterior. Surrounded by the history of Southwark Cathedral, the Golden Hinde and Borough Market, it's also a stone's throw away from cool bars and fine restaurants. At the end of the day it's what's on the inside that counts and Kaplan has fresh classrooms, break areas and mock courts. Students searching for a pupillage can seek advice from Kaplan's careers service, which provides mock interviews and application advice. It also invites guest speakers from the Inns of Court and some of the 50 chambers with which it maintains close links to give talks. A bank of interview questions is also being developed, based on the experiences of former students who have applied to specific sets. Students looking to add a bit of shine to their CVs can get involved in one of several pro bono programmes which include representing individuals in council tax issues at Thames Magistrates' Court. Students can also volunteer one or two days a week at the Kaplan Legal Advice Centre and the school is looking to cement links with FRU. According to sources, around 46% of Kaplan students go on to acquire a pupillage: “That’s without this year’s figures – we hope that it will go above 60%, which is three times the national average.” Kaplan has also produced what is quite possibly the legal world’s answer to Guns & Roses; a band called ‘Barely Legal.’ Check out their Facebook page: they’re going to be huge.
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