Bristol Law School at UWE (University of West England) has recently undergone a £55 million makeover. The new law faculty includes two showcase law courts, a pro bono clinic and even a City trading room. “The new law school has amazing facilities!” reports one GDL student.
Class sizes are generally small: “UWE has been excellent this year. The class sizes are around 25 students, so study time is highly productive,” another GDLer comments. Seminar groups “are even smaller” and “really help to inform knowledge”. This is “really great for getting to know people and working with others”.
The “enthusiastic” tutors help facilitate a cooperative environment. They tend to “know their subject inside out”. This is crucial since, “enthusiasm and effective delivery count for a lot when trying to get through the volume of work required on the GDL”, as one UWE student says.
The course materials also have some fans. “All course books are provided. Each module had a variety of materials included, topic outlines, additional reading, and helpful graphs,” notes one student, while another reflects that “a lot can be said for the way the course was structured and the way we had to approach the course – it seemed more professional than a standard degree”.
Where the UWE GDL falls down slightly is on its links with the leading law firms, the majority of whom send their future trainees to the likes of ULaw and BPP. But if you are doing the course without a training contract lined up in advance, UWE undoubtedly offers good value for money – and you certainly wouldn’t be disadvantaged applying to firms affiliated with other law schools. Students also tells us that the UWE GDL is “linked well” with its BPTC and LPC courses, which is useful if you are planning to stay on in Bristol.
Jobs aside, the GDL boils down to passing your exams, and UWE has a novel exam structure. A student describes it: “Thing I liked most was that the exams were split up so that you did four halfway through and another three at the end instead of having to learn all simultaneously”. This marks UWE out from many rival GDL providers where you’ll be sitting all seven exams across two weeks.