The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Postgraduate training

the key barrister competencies of advocacy, conference skills, legal research and opinion writing and drafting, with ethics also forming part of the course. Some courses will offer the option to undertake extra electives or a dissertation to add a master’s qualification to the core Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Practice – this may be an attractive option for some students because it grants eligibility for postgraduate student loan funding. If a Bar course graduate seeks to pursue a career as a solicitor, they may be granted exemption from attendance and assessment in several areas of the LPC, including litigation, advocacy, drafting, practical legal research and two vocational electives. Students must have completed the Bar course no earlier than five years before enrolling on the LPC. LLM A master’s degree in law is a popular option as the profession grows more competitive and students seek to add an extra edge to their CV. The LLM is a way of developing your expertise in a niche area of the law, but it is unlikely to make the difference that secures you a training contract or pupillage. This is especially so if you see an LLM as the way around a low undergraduate degree mark in order to get a training contract/pupillage. Few law firms/chambers will take account of an LLM if your undergraduate result falls below their entry requirement and you have no genuine mitigating circumstances. In marketing your LLM to potential employers, you can point out that you have not only gained a thorough knowledge of a particular area of law or legal practice, but also improved your communication and research skills. But do bear in mind that while most firms don’t mind where you have studied the GDL, LLM programmes are as much governed by snobbery as undergraduate law degrees and there is no point pretending

of law and work as a pupil. Students seeking a place on a Bar course must apply direct to their desired institution. The introduction of these new Bar courses is part of a larger overhaul of barrister training aimed at making it more flexible and accessible to a more diverse range of candidates. From September 2020, anyone pursuing a career as a barrister who has not already started the BPTC must complete one of the new Bar courses approved by the BSB. The Bar course may be taught in one or two parts, with formats and learning styles differing among providers. As universities and law schools now have more freedom to decide how their courses are taught and structured, you will find the Bar course advertised under a range of different names (eg, ‘ICCA Bar Course’, ‘Bar Practice Course’, ‘Barrister Training Course’ and more). However, completing any BSB-approved Bar course involves passing centralised assessments resulting in the same required postgraduate diploma. Like those who graduate the BPTC, graduates of one of the new Bar courses are ‘called to the Bar’ – making them eligible to apply for a pupillage, the final stage of qualifying before being able to practise as barristers. Course content The course content for each new Bar course will vary depending on the law school, but they all combine teaching legal knowledge with practical skills. All Bar courses approved by the BSB prepare students to pass the same centralised exams. Depending on which course you choose, you may study the knowledge and skills elements simultaneously or separately. The main areas of knowledge taught on the Bar courses are criminal litigation, evidence and sentencing, civil litigation, evidence and alternative dispute resolution. Students will also learn

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