BPP Law School, London
Number of places: 264 FT, 96 PT
BPP Holborn’s central location – surrounded by the Inns of Court and a sprinkling of barristers’ chambers – lends itself well to the extracurricular elements of the BPTC; students can finish classes well in time for dinner at their Inns. With barristers no longer holding the monopoly on higher rights of audience, BPP aims to better arm its students by offering around 30% more advocacy than BSB requirements stipulate. Students also receive written feedback after every class. “We think that advocacy is advocacy,” said sources. “Some providers have the civil and criminal team teach advocacy, but we teach it separately in small groups of four, and dedicate a one and half hour tutorial to it every week.” The civil and criminal litigation components of the course are then taught in one-and-a-half-hour tutorial groups of 12 students, while professional ethics is “front-loaded early on, so that students can pick up on ethics points throughout the course.”
The tutors are all qualified practitioners, and some are freelance tutors who are still practising, which is “valuable to the students and one of the ways in which we maintain links with the profession.” In the third term, students select two options of interest from a choice of 11, including intellectual property and international trade, which has been “more popular than ever before.” The school is also looking into additional public law and advanced commercial options in the coming year.
Part-timers attend school one weekend in four over two years, and although they have the same skills programme as full-time students, more self-study is required for the knowledge elements. With one day a week (usually a Monday or a Friday) free for course preparation, full-timers can commit to pro bono activities. Flexibility increases in the third term, where students “may have other days in which they do not have classes.” On the full-time course around “20 to 25% of students have a first, and the student body is slightly less diverse.”
In comparison, the part-time option has “greater diversity: we get people who have had the most amazing careers – one once operated on Michael Owen's knee!” Students must complete a minimum of five hours of pro bono. The pro bono department has opportunities to suit every interest, from Streetlaw and FRU to the Environmental Law Unit and the Legal Translation Service. Furthermore, if students “have their own contacts or causes that they would like to devote time to, then we encourage them to be as imaginative and creative as they can be – but helping out a pal won't count!”
Mock pupillage interviews and appointments with careers advisers help the pupillage hungry, and students can continue to use the service for a whole year after leaving. A programme of seminars with chambers, commercial awareness workshops and themed panel discussions with local barristers all bring networking opportunities, which are usually organised by the careers department. A wealth of mooting and mock trial competitions provide ample opportunity to develop advocacy skills, with designated 'mooting officers' available to help orchestrate student involvement.
Current students can call on recent BPP alumni who act as buddies, but are also put into groups of 12, which are each overseen by a designated personal tutor. Those who complete the course can undergo further study to obtain an LLM in Professional Legal Practice.
BPP Law School, Leeds
Number of places: 48 FT, 48 PT
Students can expect the same course as their peers in London, albeit in a more intimate atmosphere. As with other regional providers, students can network with members of the local Bar, and BPP helps facilitate this with meet-and-greet sessions and a speaker programme. Students also have the opportunity to get closer to the profession through pro bono activities such as a legal advice clinic and a human rights unit. Internships are also available at non-profit organisations. Those who complete the BPTC can undergo additional study in the ensuing months to obtain an LLM.
Studying the BPTC in Leeds incurs lower fees than in London, and since the course and extracurricular opportunities are more or less uniform between the two cities, the money factor makes the Northern branch an attractive choice. So if you’re cost-conscious or have aspirations towards the Northern Circuit consider putting it down as your first-choice provider.
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