The City Law School

The Legal Cheek View

The City Law School, part of City, University of London, offers the full service for budding lawyers. The institution, which traces its roots back to 1852, offers aspiring lawyers LLB, LLM, GDL and vocational bar training (BVS) courses, in addition to their new SQE prep course, the Solicitors’ Practice Programme (SPP).

The comprehensive SQE programme combines SQE1 and SQE2 prep into a single course, priced at £11,500 if students choose to go down the postgraduate diploma route, or £16,500 with an added LLM. City Alumni are entitled to a 10% discount on all postgraduate and professional course fees.

Former City lawyer James Catchpole is leading the law school’s SQE strategy. Catchpole is the Head of Department for Professional Programmes. He has years of experience as a curriculum and course designer, having led teams at various law school competitors. The students we spoke to also think he’s “a really great guy” and “excellent tutor!”

Continue reading

As part of The City Law School’s SQE offering, students complete two 10-week terms covering everything you need to pass SQE1 and SQE2. The optional LLM adds an additional five-week term, during which students submit a research project in their preferred area of legal practice. The course is full-time with a mix of face-to-face teaching and online blended learning.

Another strong offering comes in the shape of the School’s Bar Vocational Studies (BVS) programme. Able to boast of being the provider of the original bar course (City began life as the Inns of Court School of Law in 1852), it has a great deal of prestige and history to accompany its modern teaching. As one City student puts it: “They wrote the textbooks.” Indeed, City’s course manuals, which are authored by its lecturers, are used by other bar course providers. Among those lecturers is Professor Stuart Sime, one of the country’s leading authorities on civil procedure, who students rave about.

For those without pupillage, there is an active careers service. Students can use the School’s Pupillage Advisory Service (PAS) to make appointments to discuss the application process and have mock interviews. There are also regular events with practitioners from the many nearby chambers popping in to give talks about how to make it into the profession. This is a major plus of doing the bar course at CLS in London.

While not (quite) the most expensive, the City BVS doesn’t come cheap. Students understandably struggle with the cheapest course coming in with a £17,090 price tag. When combined with the cost of living in the capital, it means the course is out of reach of many unless they have secured a scholarship (from the Inns of Court or City directly).

In terms of the quality of teaching, one recent graduate praises the “supportive and really useful approach” adopted by their tutors. “The tutors are really good at letting you know exactly what the exams will require from you, and giving useful and constructive feedback. They’re also able to draw on their own experiences in practice to give us an insight into what we’re studying is like in the real world. This was particularly useful looking at training contracts and other jobs, as often what you study can sometimes be misleading, either in making an area sound more interesting than it is, or more often, making it seem less interesting than in practice.”

As for where you’ll be studying, the students we spoke to had nothing but praise to offer for City’s new £68 million law school campus which it moved into in 2021. “The law library is absolutely incredible” said one, highlighting the “really modern, nice, quiet spaces available.” It features all the necessary materials required for the various courses, as well as a swanky selection of standing desks and computers. That’s if you need the library at all; all resources are provided online for seamless study at home or on campus. We also hear that the seminar and study rooms are modern, well-equipped and a good space to learn in, and that there are even special advocacy rooms on site for students to record and replay advocacy performances, as well as a swish mock courtroom boasting floor to ceiling windows. The real world may come as a step down after this. Overall, the facilities, we’re told, are all round “modern, organised and spacious.”

After closing the prep books for the day, or during a lunchtime break, the Law School’s location also offers a great deal of practicality. Located in Clerkenwell, on the north edge of the City of London, between Farringdon and Islington, there is a local Starbucks, every supermarket imaginable, and a plethora of Pret a Mangers, all within a short walk. This is in addition to the well-stocked canteen and sandwich shop on site that students apparently can’t stop raving about. Whilst we’re told that the local ‘Spoons has shuttered, one student, fighting back their tears, did let us know that there are still plenty of local spots around for grabbing cheap food and drink. If you needed any more persuading, there is also a cinema nearby, and a well-equipped uni gym & sports facilities.

Once you’ve grabbed a snack, The City Law School has its own socialising spaces for students. These we’re told are great and multifunctional, and serve as a good place to socialise with friends, eat, or engage in some casual working. The atmosphere is reported to be buzzing and enjoyable, giving students a place where they can unwind from the rigours of studying.

An added bonus of this location, both for studying and socialising, is its accessibility, being connected to a number of tube lines for those living within the capital, and just a short walk away from both Angel and Farringdon stations for those commuting in.

Outside of the classroom, the law school runs a plethora of events for its budding barristers and soon-to-be solicitors. Students have told us of networking events with different law firms and chambers from across London and elsewhere, as well as advertised work experience and job opportunities – ideal for that all-important qualifying work experience! This is in addition to the mentorship scheme that students can’t seem to get enough of, pairing students with a practising lawyer to offer career and application guidance.

All of this is in addition to the City’s LawBore information site, Future Solicitor Advisory Service (FSAS), PAS and opportunities run through the school’s ‘Law in Real Life’ programme. The latter includes several pro bono clinics, namely the Company Insolvency Pro Bono Scheme, and the City Community Legal Advice Centre, as well as pre-arranged court visits and mock trials. Whatever your cup of legal tea, then, there’s something for everyone! Perhaps most uniquely, also on offer is the School Exclusion Project, allowing students to represent parents challenging their child’s permanent school exclusion before appeal hearings.

As for the learning environment and peer groups, students have assured us that the cliquey atmosphere that can be found at other providers is nowhere to be seen. “Really it’s not a thing at City” one recent grad explains. “Everyone just gets along really well, and some people and classes become such good friends that they end up going on holiday together!”


Law conversion courses

Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)

This course is for non-law students who wish to qualify as a lawyer in the UK. It covers the seven foundation subjects including public law, contract law, criminal law, equity & trusts, EU law, land law, tort law, as well as a general module entitled ‘foundations of law’. A strong emphasis is placed on developing analytical and research skills to fully prepare students for legal practice.

• Full-time: 1 year
• Cost: £13,590

Graduate Entry Law LLB

This course enables non-law students to secure a senior status law degree in just two years. It is comprised of seven core modules, as well as a further six elective modules, such as media law, competition law, child law, labour law, cross border commercial law, international human rights law, or international economic law. Students are also required to study and pass a test in the English Legal System, worth 15 credits, and complete a dissertation, worth 30 credits.

• Full-time: 2 years
• Cost (Home fees): £9,250

Bar courses

Master of Laws (LLM)

Students who opt for this route are required to study the 10 compulsory modules set by the Bar Standards Board, as well as two elective modules from a ‘specialist practice’ area of their choice. This route also includes a practice-focused dissertation and a clinical legal project with a real client (only available to full-time students).

Full-time: 1 year
• Part-time: 2 years
• Cost: £20,220 full-time, £10,110 part-time per year

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)

Students who opt for this route are required to study the 10 compulsory modules set by the Bar Standards Board.

• Full-time: 8 months
• Part-time: 20 months
• Cost: £17,090 full-time, £8,540 part-time per year
• Start date: September

Postgraduate Diploma with Specialism (PGDip with Specialism)

Students who opt for this route are required to study the 10 compulsory modules set by the Bar Standards Board, as well as two elective modules from a ‘specialist practice’ area of their choice.

• Full-time: 10 months
• Part-time: 22 months
• Cost: £19,180 full-time, £9,580 part-time per year
• Start date: September

SQE courses

Solicitors’ Practice Programme (LLM/PGDip)

This course is designed for those preparing for the SQE route to qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales. Students have the option to take this course as a Master of Laws (LLM), or a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip).

Master of Laws (LLM)

This route includes seven core modules (professional legal knowledge 1 + 2, written professional skills, preparation for practice, analytical professional skills, interpersonal professional skills), as well as two elective modules chosen from a variety of options.

• Full-time: 1 year
• Cost: £16,500

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)

This route includes six core modules (as above).

• Full-time: 9 months
• Cost: £11,500

Postgraduate law courses


City’s Master of Laws (LLM) programme enables students to choose from over 35 modules covering a diverse range of subjects, such as admiralty law, arbitration, carriage of goods by sea, international banking law, law and war, marine insurance, mergers, oil & gas law, world trade law, project finance and law. The full course consists of 180 credits, including 150 credits of elective modules as well as a research dissertation or project worth 30 credits.

If students successfully complete 150 credits, they have the opportunity to graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDip).

If students successfully complete 30 credits, they have the opportunity to graduate with a Postgraduate Certificate in Law (PGCert).

• Full-time: 1 year
• Part-time: 2 years
• Cost (Home fees): £14, 930 full-time, £7,470 part-time per year;
• Cost (Overseas Students): £21,490 full-time, £10,740 part-time per year
Start dates: September or January
Study options: Hybrid: online/on-campus


City’s law courses are available at the university’s campus, situated in the heart of London. LLM courses are also available to take as hybrid modules, where students can attend synchronously online, in person or watch the lectures at their own pace.


The City Law School Dean’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence

This scholarship is offered to the most outstanding candidates across all postgraduate and professional programmes.

Value: full fee

The City Law School Scholarship for Academic Excellence

This scholarship is offered to students on the basis of academic excellence.

Value: £3,000-£5,000 depending on programme of study:

Master of Laws: £5,000
Bar Vocational Studies: £3,000-£4,000
Graduate Entry LLB or Solicitors’ Practice Programme: £3,000
Graduate Diploma in Law: £2,000

The City Law School Solicitors’ Practice Programme Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to applicants for the Solicitors’ Practice Programme with outstanding qualifications.

Value: £2,000

The City Law School Bar Vocational Studies

A partial fee scholarship of £2,000 awarded automatically to all students who accept a place on the course who have a first-class undergraduate degree or international equivalent. There is no need to apply. The fee waiver will automatically be applied.

In City's own words