If you’ve never been to Manchester, start with watching Fresh Meat. With a giant student population, there’s lots of fun to be had in the red brick city. BPP’s campus is located in the Edwardian, grade II listed St James’s Building, on Manchester’s Oxford Street.
The course highlight has got to be its textbooks: “As a barrister I still refer to the GDL textbooks, which provide an excellent comprehensive overview of the basics of the area,” one graduate tells us. There are a lot of them though, and realistically you’ll be memorising material for your GDL exams not from the hefty textbooks but from the slimmer ‘study notes’ that BPP also provides. Still, every BPP GDL student remembers the day they got a huge parcel (which could probably fit a washing machine) delivered to their door, filled to the brim with course materials.
The “quality of teaching staff” is recommended by one Manchester insider. The way you learn has also been described as “accessible”. There are tutors who will put you in good stead if you’re aiming for a commendation, or even a sparkling distinction: “Some of the tutors are excellent and do really prep you for exams”. Most of the teaching “is really good”, another student tells us. “But not all”.
The online resources are solid, and heavily relied upon, while the study space — which GDLers use for face-to-face tutorials and the library — is decent. One slightly bizarre complaint is the quality of chairs. Manchester students say that “new chairs are needed”, especially in the library. There are also some grumbles about the temperature during winter. We are told the library “has a total of four portable heaters – and people have been sat inside with GLOVES and jackets on. No double glazing. Ridiculous”. On the upside, there’s plenty of social spaces as well as a solidly “standard” canteen.
The careers service is solid, too. The team is “good with mock interviews and CV reviews”. They organise “some good events”, but they’re “not widely advertised”. So you’ve got to “go out of your way to find out about them”. But as an aspiring lawyer, you’ve got to get used to chasing dreams and locking down opportunities.
The high concentration of law firms in Manchester will make this easier. Firms include DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons, Eversheds Sutherland, DWF, Shoosmiths, Addleshaw Goddard and Squire Patton Boggs. Known also as a huge commercial centre, Manchester houses 65 of the FTSE 100 companies. So if a corporate legal career is your plan, you’ll be surrounded by all the right places. Chambers also fill the city, among them Exchange, Doughty Street, Nine St John Street, Deans Court and Kings Chambers.