One way in which the BPTC differs from studying Law at university is that there is a lot more advocacy practice. You get to learn more about how the law is actually applied in real life. You practice how to present the theoretical law in a court or trial hearing scenario.
The best bit about the BPTC is that it gives you experience of speaking in front of a crowd in the same formal way a barrister would have to in court. You learn more about the role of a barrister instead of learning from a textbook. The BPTC also helps you to become familiar with the formalities of how to address people in court. It also teaches you how to make submissions and objections for your future career, which is great!
A challenging part of the BPTC is building up your confidence to speak in front of your peers and be recorded giving your practice speeches in class. This is necessary if you want to be a successful barrister though. I am also studying on the part-time course. It can be challenging to find time to work as well as prepare and study for the course.
I am on the part-time BPTC, so I work during the day. I then have lectures from 6-9pm after work on Mondays and Wednesdays. This is quite challenging because I have to fit in my university work either in the evenings or at the weekend. The most important thing is to keep ahead of your timetable. Make a note of the work you have to do and try to get any preparation done before the week of lectures.
On the part-time course, my lectures or classes start at 6pm and end at 9pm, so I go after work. I usually have two large group lectures a week, and two small group tutorials. All of the course timetabling, materials and preparatory work is on the university intranet, so it’s always clear what I have to get done before my classes. I have lectures or classes in criminal advocacy, criminal litigation, sentencing or evidence, and also in professional ethics. Sometimes we have personal tutor sessions. In these we have to practice and record a hearing or submission and take it to class for review.
The university provide and encourage you to attend pupillage fairs. These are made up of a number of chambers and their representatives. They offer support on mini-pupillage and pupillage applications. They also offer insight into life at the Bar. It is a great way to find out more about what area of the Bar you might want to practice in. It’s also a great opportunity to meet people and make important connections that might help you in the future.
My university also runs a careers service, and a Pupillage Advisory Service, which aims to help you with your application forms. It also helps you perfect your CV and covering letters, and you can book interview practice sessions. It is so important that you think ahead of applications, as each one takes hours, and you might have a lot to complete before the deadlines.
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