The College of Law in Bloomsbury has launched a major drive to recruit practising barristers and judges to give valuable support and advice to its current Bar Vocational Course (BVC) students.
It is particularly targeting its former BVC students and recently held a reunion for ex-students and staff, which was attended by more than 100 guests, to publicise the scheme as well as to celebrate the last year of the BVC before it changes to the Bar Professional Training Course in 2010.
The College’s BVC team this year plans to move the location of its regular mock trials to various London Crown Courts to give students a taste of performing advocacy in a real court. It is now appealing for practitioners to volunteer to sit as judges on the bench.
Former College of Law BVC students talk about old times at a reunion held at the Bloomsbury centre
In addition the College holds a number of practitioner evenings throughout the year, including one in which each student performs a bail application in front of a current criminal practitioner. At a similar event involving civil practitioners students perform an application for summary judgment. In each case they receive feedback on their performance along with advice on how to improve.
Practitioners, ranging from pupils and junior tenants to judges, also regularly give talks to students, adjudicate in advocacy competitions throughout the year and take part in the College’s mentoring scheme.
High profile barristers and judges, who have assisted The College of Law’s BVC students in these ways, include Cherie Booth QC, Jeremy Dein QC, His Honour Judge Philip Statman, Rudi Forston, Ali Bajwa, Colin Wells and former BVC tutor Malcolm Knott, who now sits as a Recorder.
Nick Ross, Senior BVC Tutor with the College, said: “While all of our current tutors on the BVC are either judges, still practise or have recently practised, it is still very important to involve current outside practitioners as much as possible in teaching the BVC. The students gain a greater depth of knowledge through discussing issues with as many different practitioners as possible and obtaining a wide range of feedback.
“From the practitioners' perspective, my experience is that they very much enjoy talking to students and giving feedback while gaining Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points. This year’s pilot scheme of mock trials in Crown Courts will be of particular interest to those wanting to gain experience for a future career on the bench.
Practitioners keen to take part in the scheme should contact Nick Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.