Famous for the academic nature of its programme, City Law School might feel more like a three-year LLB packed into nine months, some students claim. This contrasts with the GDL at many other providers, which focuses more on getting students from A to B. But City’s rigour is considered a positive, particularly since the teaching itself is “hard to beat”. A City student reported that, “some students respond very well to this style”, though it is worth noting that “some are overwhelmed”.
The course materials match City’s academic outlook. It doesn’t issue manuals, and the “vast majority of the work and research is expected to be done by the student”. This might be more hard work but: “You learn to think for yourself – no manuals is a good thing!!” (Better for the environment too – the course is delivered via textbooks and tutoring, “rather than reams of photocopies”).
In view of the academic style of City’s GDL, it’s perhaps no surprise that it’s the preferred choice for future barristers. Many students agree that it’s “the best place to go for the bar” as it “seems more targeted towards barristers”. Accordingly, there are “frequent and very good chambers-related events throughout the year”.
On the school’s career service: “There is a strong focus on the bar – if you are looking to go down the solicitor route you may have to do a bit more work yourself,” one recent graduate tells us. City also reserves some perks for students who secure a mini-pupillage; they’re permitted to take a week off to spend time at chambers.
Both City’s barrister and solicitors-to-be are more than happy with the quality of tuition at the law school noting that “all lecturers are enthusiastic and actually seem to enjoy teaching.” A recent graduate said the course was: “Genuinely engaging and surprised me with its quality. The course convener, David Herling, is a brilliant teacher, and did a great job of ensuring that the law we were taught was related to real cases, and the way an argument might be pleaded in court. Great preparation for the actual career!”
And a PS: “the provision of pro bono and mooting is also very good”. Rather mysteriously, there’s a distinct sway in favour of the land law lectures – a module that’s usually considered to be the ultimate nightmare, but which one City student has described as “outstanding”.
Insiders have also reported that the online resources are “really quite excellent’” with “lots of past papers and Oxford handbooks”. City also has its own legal learning resource – Lawbore – which is apparently very good. Although the GDL is taught at the main City campus in North London, all law students have access to the specialist law library at the Gray’s Inn campus.
City’s graduates appreciate being part of a larger ‘full-service’ university, which, aside from the bigger libraries means there’s also a canteen. Known for “lots of comfort food. Pizza, pasta etc” some were downright disappointed, with reports of an unforgivable miso soup that the canteen “somehow managed to make taste greasy” and reportedly gave one of our insiders a wobbly stomach. Others feel the campus options are “average” but not to worry since Angel and Farringdon are only a stone’s throw away.
Perhaps there’ll be an upgraded menu in City’s new £30 million law school to be built in North London. The impressive plans include a seven-storey glass tower, plus a four-storey brick building to adjoin it. The makeover is set to begin this summer and is due to be completed by May 2019.