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The University of Law, London Bloomsbury (Bar Practice Course)

The Legal Cheek View

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.

The atmosphere on the Bloomsbury bar course, which is ULaw’s largest BPC, is very much set by that assessment day sift. If you get in, you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with serious candidates whose decent track records have already landed them Inns of Court scholarships. The presence of a decent proportion of high achievers in classes means tutors can pitch their instructions quite high. One recent Bloomsbury BPC graduate reports: “Excellent tutors who gave brutal feedback that meant each time was I was better than the last.” Another adds: “Our class was of a good standard and therefore sessions were useful.”

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As it has focused on getting those pupillage numbers up, ULaw has poured considerable resources into its bar careers service, which is described by one student as “genuinely excellent”. He adds: “Their Bar specialist supported me throughout my time at ULaw and in the year after I left in face to face and email contact (during which year I got pupillage).” The specialist bar careers consultant, Anna Williams, received a number of name checks in the Legal Cheek BPC survey as one of the best aspects of ULaw Bloomsbury.

The pro bono also comes recommended, with students encouraged to get as much practical experience as possible. Alongside collaborations with the likes of the Free Representation Unit, the “well-resourced” clinic offers a number of opportunities to get involved in quirkier projects like teaching debating in prisons.

Where the Bloomsbury BPC elicits most criticism is for the physical surroundings. Though well located for the Inns, the building is seen as not as fancy as ULaw’s swish Moorgate campus for LPC students on the other side of town. “Trying to find a free computer” is apparently “quite difficult” while occasional “technical issues” with online course materials proved “annoying”. But thumbs ups are given to the BPC-only library, which is “a good study space”, even if it is “absolutely freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer”.

A lively social scene rounds off what, as far as the BPC goes, is one of the better experiences. One 2016-17 student fondly recalls “getting pissed in the College Arms on a Friday afternoon”. But be warned: while such japes are “good fun”, “the BPC is a lot of hard work” so don’t expect to enjoy yourself too much if you want to secure a good grade and bag that pupillage.


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 £13,000
Part time fees £6,500
Entry requirements 2:1
Full time places 240
Part time places 48
Contact time 12 hours/week

ULaw also offers a BPC LLM, for £16,000. 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.

The Law School In Its Own Words