Despite being located in one of the UK’s busiest cities, “everybody knows each other” at MMU. Numbers in the law school are small which creates a more “relaxed environment”. Students say there’s a “real sense of being part of a team”, and highlight the “great support” network that make the “intense course” passable.
Being part of a wider university environment is a bonus: “It’s a place of learning before profit, which not only means it’s cheaper but it enhances the atmosphere,” one recent graduate tells us. There is a consensus among the students that the tutors want to “get the best results for their students”.
Living up to the cliché that people are nicer in the North, the tutors have an open door policy. Students find it helpful that “you can speak to them whenever you need to”. Importantly, “nothing is ever a stupid question”, and they promote teaching in a “realistic legal environment”.
The tutors have all had a past life in practice, with many still in the game. They’re “really knowledgeable” and keep students up to date: “We get up to the minute information about how the courts are working in all of the legal disciplines”. This helps students to understand a “dry rule on paper” in the context of modern day practice.
For those seeking vacation schemes, there are ever greater opportunities to do so in Manchester itself. In recent years, there’s been a steady inflow of national and international law firms expanding in the city. New arrivals such as Freshfields have joined stalwarts including Eversheds Sutherland, DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard.
Manchester Met has close ties with the local legal scene, particularly with regional firms. One insider appreciates the relationships which MMU has developed, telling us: “Many different legal professionals come in to speak to us, and as a direct result of these fairs I was able to secure two work experience positions”. Another student says the “best thing” about MMU is its connection to law firms.
Wannabe barristers benefit from MMU’s links with the Northern Circuit (“I was able to attend an advocacy training day, where I was a witness in a mock court” says one) and being given the “opportunity to meet barristers”.
Though there will always be law students who want to study the GDL in London which they see as the real deal, but as one MMU insider observes: “For me, Manchester has a great draw as it has a smaller circuit”. Indeed, the careers service is good at organising law, recruitment and pro bono fairs. One student adds that the careers team send “regular emails re vacancies”. Though they note that there is “little interview prep assistance for training contracts”.
The only whinge appears to be about the size of the classrooms which are “roasting” and “tiny” with “little room for all the materials”.
Of course, Manchester itself has much to offer its students who can take advantage of an “interesting and creative city” with “loads going on”. Living will be more affordable than in the capital. Students particularly recommend studying the GDL at MMU because it “gets you a big discount” if you choose to go on to do the LPC or BPTC there as well.