• College of Law in Birmingham launches part-time Bar training course for potential barristers

  • 2 March 2011

  • Aspiring barristers from the Midlands can now combine study for the Bar with existing work or family commitments following the launch of a new part-time training course at The College of Law in Birmingham.

    The centre in Great Hampton Street will offer the new part-time Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) from September* after successfully delivering the full-time version of the course for the past four years.

    Potential students can find out more by attending open days on Saturday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 30, which include talks about the course, the College’s careers service and its extensive pro bono programme offering the chance to gain real experience of legal work.  Current BPTC students will also be on hand to answer questions along with a local barrister, who will give an insight into life at the Bar.

    Paul Shoulders, BPTC course leader at The College of Law in Birmingham, said: “The new part-time course opens up the potential rewards of a career at the Bar to people who need to work to support their studies or who have other commitments on their time.

    “The course is designed not only to help students achieve pupillage with a barristers’ chamber but also to prepare them for working life at the Bar. All our tutors have practised, or continue to practise, as barristers or solicitors and some even sit as judges."

    The College’s BPTC gives students as many opportunities as possible to hone their advocacy skills and put their learning into practice including mock trials in Birmingham Crown Court with real judges and senior barristers. There are also mooting, negotiation and advocacy competitions plus the opportunity to gain experience of supporting clients in tribunals as part of the pro bono programme.

    The part-time course runs over two years, compared with one year full-time, and features an average of 26 hours of formal training and private study per week including 15 study weekends per year. To apply students need to have either a qualifying law degree, with a minimum of a 2:2, or an undergraduate degree in any other subject, again with a 2:2 minimum, and a Graduate Diploma in Law or CPE.

    The College of Law already runs the part-time Bar training course at its London Bloomsbury centre. Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Ronald Langstaff, aged 55, is now in his second year of the course after completing a law conversion diploma at the Birmingham centre in 2009.

    He successfully combines his legal studies with his full-time medical career at The Hillingdon Hospital and hopes to become a barrister specialising in personal injury and medical negligence cases.
    He said: “It started off as an academic diversion and intellectual challenge for my own enjoyment, however I got more and more into it. I am thoroughly enjoying the course, particularly advocacy which appeals to me as I used to do a lot of acting.

    “As a mature student I am doing it because I want to. I don’t see it as work and prefer to get stuck into my law books rather than play golf like my colleagues. With the Bar you are only as good as your last case. You live or die by your reputation and I like that challenge."

    More information about the BPTC is available at www.college-of-law.co.uk/BPTC and about the Birmingham open days at www.college-of-law.co.uk/opendays

    * subject to validation by the Bar Standards Board

    Further information from Lucy Wray, Press Officer, The College of Law on 01483 216072 (lucy.wray@lawcol.co.uk)