Number of places: 84 FT
Pro: only Russell Group uni to offer the BPTC
Con: no scholarships or bursaries on offer
Throw together the only Russell Group University to offer the BPTC and its campus right in the heart of a bustling capital city and you've got a popular destination for aspiring barristers. Cardiff Law School sees a lot of former Cardiff Uni undergrads enrol, but a "good number of geographical locations are also represented, including overseas." Cardiff consistently receives "more first-choice applications than we have places, so it's hard for us to consider those who put us lower than that." In other words, if you want to come here, make it obvious. Graduates of the BPTC and LPC are now able to enrol for a top-up LLM in Legal Practice should they want to obtain a Masters qualification after the conclusion of their course.
Classes run Monday through Thursday, with Friday left free to allow students a chance to catch-up or undertake work experience. Cardiff deliberately keeps its intake low to ensure that teaching is limited to small groups. Oral skills are generally taught to groups of six people, but often as few as four. A teacher will observe students in pairs when they practise their oral skills, with verbal and written feedback provided to each student individually. Although the BSB requires a minimum of 12 advocacy sessions during the BPTC course, Cardiff goes above and beyond this, offering over 25 sessions annually. A limited amount of large group sessions concentrate on knowledge-based content, while all the course materials are uploaded onto the school's 'central learning environment' for students to access at a later date. A good range of elective options are on offer to cater for those looking for differing career paths, although those listed are always indicative and never guaranteed.
A unique part of the BPTC at Cardiff is the two-week placement scheme that runs each year. Students are guaranteed to marshall a circuit judge and district judge during the first week, followed by a mini-pupillage or other relevant employment in the second week. There's a standalone careers department within the university should you need any general advice, while people within the law school hold regular careers talks.
Cardiff provides "a wealth of different pro bono opportunities" through its 'Law in the Real World' programme that gives students access to real-life cases and better prepares them for the rigours of practice. It is also the only UK law school to run a legal advice clinic in conjunction with the NHS Continuing Care Scheme, while The Cardiff Law School Innocence Project is another example of what's on offer. Students can further enhance their skills by participating in negotiation, advocacy and mediation competitions.