The University of Law, Birmingham (Bar Practice Course)

The Legal Cheek View

ULaw Birmingham is based in a burgeoning metropolis which is cheaper than London and has a number of decent chambers, such as No5, St Philips and St Ives, on its doorstep. It also has very good advocacy training, students tell us.

You get “more hours of advocacy than any other provider”, reports one. BPCers make use of the “good opportunities for moots”, which hone their advocacy skills. They tell us you also get to “judge the undergrad moots, which is always amusing”. This comes at slightly cheaper, but still far from cheap, rates than ULaw’s Bloomsbury centre in the capital (the Bloomsbury campus charges £13,000). Note the scholarships which are available (see below).

It’s worth noting that by introducing an assessment day for entry onto its BPC in 2015, ULaw has upped the standard of its students to the extent that over half of full-timers are completing the course with offers of pupillage. That might not sound huge to the uninitiated, but in the cut throat world of barrister training – where approximately 1,500 bar graduates battle for around 400 pupillages each year – these are good numbers.

Continue reading

Still, the careers service in Birmingham can be mixed. On one hand, it could be better resourced: “They had [only] one careers adviser for undergrads, LLM, LPC and BPC students,” one recent graduate tells us. On the other, there are plenty of careers events to attend. One of the most popular is the ‘Day in the Life of a Barrister’ session in which a series of barristers and a judge from different practicing backgrounds give talks and then answer students’ questions. The big draw is that BPCers get the chance to meet members of the bar and try to make themselves memorable, especially at the drinks reception that follows.

Expect regional court visits including to the Magistrates’ Courts and Crown Court. Then there are mock trials and mooting competitions where BPCers can really test their newly-acquired advocacy skills. Final rounds are judged by practicing barristers and judges. Be sure to sign up to take part in the National Negotiation Competition for which ULaw picks a team from its BPC students.

But it’s not all work and competitions. As one BTCer puts it: “classes finished at 1:30pm and there is a pub directly across the road”. After a long day of pseudo-barrister life, there’s time for an afternoon drink or three.

Scholarships

The Lord Blunkett Widening Access Award

Scholarship value £1,000
Application info Students must be from a household with an income of £25,000 or less and obtain a minimum of a Lower Second Class degree (or international equivalent); over 100 awards are available

Choose Law Scholarship

Scholarship value Full-fee
Application info Available for courses starting in September 2020 and January 2021

Career Changer Scholarship

Scholarship value Full-fee and partial-fee
Application info To support those whose careers have been impacted by COVID-19 and want to re-train in a career in law, ULaw is offering up to 10 full-fee and 300 partial-fee scholarships (worth up to £2,000)

Set for Success Scholarship

Scholarship value Full-fee
Application info To be eligible for this award, you must obtain (or expect to be awarded) at least a Lower Second Class degree, or international equivalent. Students who are not awarded a full-fee scholarship, will automatically be put forward for the runner up award, worth £2,000

Bar Practice Course Awards

Application info To be eligible, students must obtain (or expect to be awarded) at least an Upper Second Class degree or international equivalent

Inns of Court scholarships

Application info The Inns of Court offer scholarships and financial awards to aspiring barristers

Key Info

Full time fees £11,750
Part time fees £5,875
Entry requirements 2:1
Full time places 132
Part time places 48
Contact time 12 hrs/wk

ULaw also offers a BPC LLM in Birmingham for £14,450. Entry onto the BPC is subject to candidates passing the Bar Course Aptitude Test and ULaw’s selection interview. Part-time fees are per year. All prices include Bar Standards Board (BSB) registration fee of £585.

Option Subjects

The Law School In Its Own Words