Now the BPTC, just like the LPC, can be a scary next step in the legal ladder. You do not want to find any new surprises, so here are 10 things I wish I had known before starting the course.
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I am sure we all know how hard it is to get a 1st on your degree, and how much employers value it. What about law schools? The fact is many offer unconditional tuition scholarships of £2,500 to conditional£ 5,000 academic awards for having a first.
You can also apply for grants and scholarships from other organisations for academic excellence. With a first it is definitely worth the effort.
In reality it does not seem like a person can learn much in 2-3 days following around lawyers. However the effort of doing this at least 3 times demonstrates a high level of commitment to the legal industry. This cannot be quite matched by other forms of legal work experience.
You can start getting this experience from A level through certain competitions or schemes by the inns of court to help in social advancement.
These bad boys are rare to come by and have a reputation of being offered to students of Russel Group universities (but by no means exclusively).
These awards are essentially chambers saying we think you are good enough to work for us. They’ll give you an indication of what your salary could be and here is an advancement to cover the cost of your course.
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Inns, like pupillage awards, have the potential to cover all the costs of study. If you want one, they have 1 in 3 attainment rate after study.
Be careful though each inn has its own way of accessing merit. All have a 15 minute interview and a closing date of early November, so have a plan ready second year.
#5 Fee costs rise 10% per year
Ever wondered why around 4 years ago the BPTC cost 15,000 and now it costs around 20,000? It appears the Bar Council in a move to improve standards allowed for course fees to increase by 10% a year which means between 1,000 and 2,000 increases annually.
Whether the courses have seen incremental improvements we will see. What this does mean for students is the longer you wait the more it will cost.
#6 Master loans can only be taken once
Thinking of doing the BPTC or LLM, but wondering if to improve your job prospects you should take another masters first? It might be a good idea but keep in mind the masters loan is a one trick pony. After using it once the next loan will need to come from the bank or a company like ‘Future loans’.
#7 Not guaranteed employment
At the start of the course you will be asked to sign a contract which in effect informs you that only 1 in 5 become barristers. The university has no responsibility to improve your chances therefore be aware that a position of completion is not guaranteed.
#8 You will need a suitcase on day 1
The university will present you with all the reading on day 1. Be prepared as it weighs an absolute tonne! It has been know for pupils to take a suitcase just to carry all their reading home.
You will be informed from day 1 that this is impossible! This is not true- many of the successful barristers appear to have managed to maintain a social life whilst continuing extra-curricular activities and spending time with family.
If all you do is study, in the long run you may find this counter-productive.
This is two in 1, basically when you apply for the BPTC as well as getting accepted into a university, you will also need to get a passing grade on a judgement-based test ‘BCAT’ and get accepted to an inn of court. It pays to do both of these earlier rather than later.
Want to read more about the BPTC? Read the following pages:
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