When asked where BPP University Manchester’s strengths lie, one recent LPC graduate answered: “The teachers and the careers service.”
The former, the LPC-er reports, have mastered the fine balance of teaching law simply while using their personal experience of legal practice to put this law into context. At BPP Manchester, this experience is a pre-requisite: all tutors are qualified lawyers of at least three years’ call — one tutor who left a few years ago was even a district judge.
They’re also “just really nice”, which helps given BPP Manchester’s LPC students enjoy about 20 hours a week of face-to-face interaction with their tutors. This is supplemented by online resources such as webinars and lectures, as well as online “catch-up sessions” for students who miss slots because of illness or job interviews. The LPC student-to-staff ratio is 20:1, the same as on BPP’s GDL (the BPTC is 12:1).
As for BPP’s “absolutely valuable” careers service, one particularly useful tool is a “Glassdoor-style” database where students can, anonymously, share their experiences of applying and interviewing at various firms. Careers events run through the week, including Saturdays and Thursday evenings (to accommodate part-time students who work full-time). Some say though these events are good they’re not widely advertised; others disagree and say LPC students are emailed frequently about upcoming events and job opportunities.
You can expect to see big firms like Addleshaw Goddard, Eversheds Sutherland and Irwin Mitchell wandering the corridors of BPP Manchester, but the law school tells us it tries hard to expose students to firms of various sizes and specialities. It helps that tutors hail from a wide range of practice areas: the head of the law school is a former criminal lawyer, while areas like family law and immigration are covered, too.
BPP’s campus is located in an Edwardian, grade II-listed building on Manchester’s Oxford Street, just a stone’s throw away from shops and amenities including that all-important Tesco. Students can bring food from the outside into the library (though noisy and/or messy items are not advised) and can also purchase meals and snacks inside from vending machines or the campus canteen. The latter serves a “not massive” range of hot and cold food and drinks, but has two things going for it: its “fantastic” cakes and its 60-year-old staffer, Kit. Kit is a butler who recently appeared on First Dates and, if that wasn’t already enough, we hear students “love him” and that he’s “a wonderful character”.
Grabbing a bite of hot food may be useful not just as sustenance but as a warmer: we’ve been told the library can be very cold in winter time, prompting “people sat inside with GLOVES and jackets on”. Temperature aside, the library gets mixed reviews: from “very reminiscent of my dingy sixth form library” to “like a nice open-plan office space”.
LPC numbers vary year to year, but BPP Manchester took on 190 new full-time students this year and 120 part-time. Compare this to the BPTC, which has 70 students, and the GDL, which has 85.