Home to impressive architecture, hilly roads and boozy students, Bristol is a great city in which to spend a postgrad year. To an LPC student’s added delight, Bristol is also filled with law firms: Burges Salmon, Simmons & Simmons, TLT, Osborne Clarke and Bond Dickinson all have offices nearby.
Student reviews of the teaching at the ULaw Bristol campus are a little mixed. Generally, “the teaching is really good quality”. Some teachers are “absolutely brilliant”. But a few are “massively disastrous”. Something that the Bristol centre is “good” at, though, is enhancing students’ advocacy and interviewing skills — equally important preparation for practice in the real world. “Every time I talked to my personal tutor it felt like having a trainee interview,” one student tells us.
The Bristol campus offers you the full range of ULaw electives. There is “an extremely strong focus on corporate/City electives”. Less commercially-minded LPC students may have “few options”, especially those wanting “to pursue careers in criminal or private client law”, though you can take advanced criminal practice, personal injury, immigration and family law. But the business focus is the same across all ULaw centres, where commercial topics heavily dominate the options on offer (and it is the same in the core modules too).
Course materials include “good textbooks”, minus the “odd typos”. LPC students do think that it’s “ridiculous” that they’re not allowed to receive copies of slideshows used in workshops. Instead, they “have to take photos” of the board on their phones. Inconvenient, but understandable. After all, the course is taught by lawyers — who may be touchy about their IP rights. Online resources are OK, students say, providing “standard access” to WestLaw, Practical Law and LexisNexis.
The facilities are reasonable, though you might want to dress warm: “The library is absolutely freezing and has the feel of a dungeon,” claims one recent graduate. On the plus side, even though it “is a small room”, it still has “around 50 PCs” and is “silent for four weeks around exams”. One PS is that “group study is not facilitated”. Great excuse to take your study group elsewhere and make the most of Bristol’s vast array of quirky coffee houses.
The social life is mixed. We’ve received complaints of some ‘societies’ not being actively run. One reason for this might be that the societies are run by students who aren’t the most reliable. There were a few gripes from part-time students who report that some societies are “completely geared up for full time students” and part timers can get left behind. The law school does organise court visits, which are a hit.
The good news is that Bristol is a great student city as a whole. Take advantage of the student nights in town — you’ll be spoiled for choice.