Nottingham Law School Notes from the Autumn 2012 Presentation in St Andrews

Welcome to the Autumn edition of Nottingham Law School Notes!

As we start the new term with the usual heady enthusiasm that comes with the return to the academic fray, all of us here at Nottingham Law School would like to wish you every success for the year ahead.  We would also like to congratulate our eleven, 2012 scholarship winners who have come from a range of universities (including Durham, Nottingham, Oxford, Manchester, Leicester, Warwick and UEA) and who have now joined us on our professional courses – well done!

At Nottingham Law School (which is part of Nottingham Trent University), we run the full range of courses for graduate students who wish to become professional lawyers including the Graduate Diploma in Law (“GDL”), the Legal Practice Course (“LPC”) and the Bar Professional Training Course (“BPTC”).  So if you have ever considered becoming a solicitor or a barrister, or have thought about a career in Law but don’t have a Law degree, you can come to us as experts in this field. This edition includes details of our Open Day on 3 November, some information about the LPC and BPTC and our Pro Bono project plus a GDL student profile.

GDL, LPC and BPTC Open Day – Saturday 3 November 2012

The Open Day runs from 09.30 – 16.00 hours.  We recognise that not everyone is interested in all three courses, so we suggest that you tailor your arrival time to fit the presentations that you want to attend.  The suggested times will also allow you enough time to take in a campus tour and to mingle with our course leaders, tutors and some of our current students over lunch (which is free!):

09.30 for the GDL presentations.  These will kick off with a half hour presentation from the GDL course leader, Gail Cunningham, and be followed by a careers workshop delivered by Melanie King, our GDL Careers consultant and Sharon Miller, our GDL Careers tutor.

11.00 for the LPC presentations.  Helen Hudson, the LPC course leader, will talk you through the LPC and then give you an opportunity to participate in an LPC “taster” teaching session.  After lunch, there will be a presentation from the LPC Careers team delivered by Sue Clarke, our LPC Careers tutor along with the LPC Careers consultants, Andrew Slim and Philippa O’Reilly.

11.30 for the BPTC presentations. Ian Fox, the BPTC course leader, will provide an overview of the course before handing over to a practitioner from the local bar who will talk about the process of getting a pupillage.

Please visit www.ntu.ac.uk/nlsevents to book your place – lunch is provided! 

Get a free bus from Keele, Warwick, Derby, Hull, De Montfort, Leicester, Sheffield Hallam, Lincoln & Coventry: speak to your University careers team for details!

Helen Hudson, LPC Course Leader, tell us about the NLS LPC

“Here at NLS our courses are taught by people who care.  A recent article in the Times Law Student says of the LPC at Nottingham Law School that ‘Nottingham, which for years consistently achieved the regulator’s gold-standard ranking of “excellent”, promotes a smaller more individually focused course.  It is also the only one of the major players to offer a traditional university environment.”

At NLS, your tutors will know your name and will be interested in your progress and well-being.  We use IT and e-learning where it enhances the course but we don't believe you should spend hours on end in front of a computer.  We care about the quality of our course, and the people who design it are the people who teach it.

We have a first class, dedicated careers team within the Law School and which is supported by the University’s careers service and our careers tutors and careers consultants have superb contacts in the legal profession.  You will be assigned a named careers advisor during the LPC and we will do all we can to help you get a job.  Our employability rates are consistently very high and firms view the NLS LPC as one of the best.  88% of graduates from our 2010-11 LPC full time course are now in legal employment.”

An update on the BPTC from Course Leader Ian Fox

If you are thinking of applying for the BPTC, commencing in 2013, you will probably know that BPTC Online opens for first round applications on 5 November and closes on 10 January.  Further details on how to apply, together with our entry requirements, can be found on our BPTC web pages at http://www.ntu.ac.uk/apps/pss/course_finder/60572-1/3/BPTC_Bar_Professional_Training_Course.aspx

In the last edition of Nottingham Law School Notes we mentioned the Bar Course Aptitude Test (‘BCAT’).  The test has now been approved by the Legal Services Board; however, it is anticipated that it will now be introduced in early 2013 rather than autumn 2012.  As previously indicated, it will be an online test comprising a number of questions which cover inference, recognition of assumptions, deduction, interpretation and evaluation of arguments.  You can find more information and a link to sample questions on the BSB website at: http://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/qualifying-as-a-barrister/bar-professional-training-course/aptitude-test/.  At the time of writing there are no online practice tests available, either in respect of the BCAT or the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Test (on which the BCAT is based); however, it is suggested that it may be helpful preparation to read texts on critical/verbal reasoning (type ‘Watson Glaser practice test’ into a search engine).

Nottingham Law School Pro Bono Project

The project is now in full swing following the start of the autumn term and we have recruited for the Legal Advice Clinic and Innocence Project from graduate and undergraduate students.  Both projects are based in specifically converted space in Chaucer building and continue to provide students with the opportunity to gain direct experience in a wide variety of areas of law.

On 12 October, we welcomed the Free Representation Unit who came to deliver our annual Employment FRU training session. Nottingham FRU, which provides the opportunity for NLS graduate students to represent clients in the employment tribunal, is the only FRU office outside London and continues to deliver excellent results for clients and great opportunities for students to represent clients in Tribunal.

And for those interested in law further afield, we’re hosting a lecture by Mark George QC of Amicus-alj during National Pro Bono Week. Amicus-alj provides support to those on death row in the States and often sends volunteers on internships to work directly on such cases. A number of NLS students have done this over previous years and our continued connection with Amicus (including through the NLS Amicus student society) makes this a great opportunity to find out more about the charity’s work.  Visitors are welcome to attend on:

7th November at 6.30 pm in Newton Building, NTU City campus.

Contact Nick Johnson (nicholas.johnson@ntu.ac.uk) to confirm a place.

Employability initiatives and funding help

Here at NLS, we try to “add value” to the student experience by helping students to prepare for post-graduate employment in the highly competitive legal work place.  We can’t get a job for you, but we can try and help you to put together the best applications that you can.  As Helen Hudson has indicated, we have bespoke Careers Teams for each of the GDL, LPC and BPTC and run some initiatives for those students who accept places on our courses.  We also recognise that the cost of post-graduate education can be very high.  Here are some of the things we offer:

  This is designed specifically for the post-offer BPTC students who can work with barristers and judges to hone their skills when being interviewed for pupillage.

  You may apply for a scholarship whether you intend to be a full-time, part-time or distance learning student. Five scholarships worth £2,000 are available for each of the GDL, LPC and BPTC courses (so fifteen scholarships in total).  For more details, log on to www.ntu.ac.uk/scholarshipsnls

  There is flexibility to move from full-time to part-time and vice versa.  LPC students can also choose whether to attend morning or afternoon classes.

Inns of Court Scholarships for the BPTC: the closing date for applications for BPTC scholarships for 2013-14 is Friday 2 November 2012.

Inns of Court Scholarships for the GDL: it is possible to obtain a scholarship for your GDL year if you apply to one of the four Inns of Court which are: Lincoln’s Inn, Gray’s Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple.   If you are thinking of starting the GDL in 2013, then you will need to apply for a scholarship in March 2013.  The closing date is Friday 3 May 2013.

Other opportunities: last year, a BPTC students received a £6,000 scholarship for a scholarship from http://www.family-action.org.uk/section.aspx?id=1037

The Educational Grants Advisory Service: a limited amount of financial help may be available from, depending upon individual circumstances.

Student Profile: Nicholas Allan, BA (Hons) Classical Civilisation and German, Nottingham University

I knew I wanted to work at a City firm, but wanted to avoid the high living costs in the capital while studying.  Before applying for my GDL, I researched which law schools had a favourable reputation among City firms and attended open days at a few regional schools. Having graduated from the University of Nottingham, I chose to stay in the city because I had enjoyed living there and was very impressed by the staff, resources and atmosphere at Nottingham Law School’s open day.  Shortly before beginning the GDL I secured a training contract to start in 2012 as a trainee solicitor with Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP.  Nottingham Law School enjoys a good reputation for the GDL and my firm was perfectly happy for me to study law there.

There is a definite focus on developing vocational skills as well as academic knowledge; ‘problem questions’, for example, can be intellectually demanding, but also focus on the professional skills you’ll need in your legal career.  NLS also organizes plenty of legal extra-curricular activities: I got involved in the pro bono legal clinic and mooting competitions.  Aside from being useful experience to talk about with prospective employers, you can learn some useful skills and research additional areas of law.  At the NLS Legal Clinic I practised interviewing clients and learned about employment law, which is not taught on the GDL; in the mooting competition I reached the semi-finals, learning both advocacy skills and how to engage better with the primary sources of law rather than relying overly on textbooks.

NLS – Coming to a University Near You…

NLS will be represented at all the major law fairs this year, so please do come and say hallo!  In addition, Paula Moffatt or one of her colleagues will be running events in conjunction with University careers teams at:

  • Nottingham University               24th October
  • Sheffield Hallam University:               7th November
  • Nottingham University:             7th November
  • Derby University:                     14th November (tbc)
  • Leicester University:                          21st November
  • Sheffield Hallam University:               28th November
  • Warwick University:                           6th February 2013
  • Hull University:                        13th or 14th (tbc)  February 2013
  • Keele University:                      27th February 2013
  • Oxford University:                    dates tbc
  • Lincoln University:                    date tbc

Other LPC and GDL Open Days being held at NLS this academic year…

  • Wednesday 20 February 2013 (10.00 – 15.00)
  • Wednesday 24 April 2013 (16.00- 18.30)

Do you want more information about Nottingham Law School?  Go to http://www.ntu.ac.uk/nls/ to find details of our courses and admissions criteria. 

Alternatively, you can email either paula.moffatt@ntu.ac.uk or june.gorton@ntu.ac.uk who will be delighted to help you! 

Programme Leaders of the full-time courses are:  BPTC - Ian Fox: ian.fox@ntu.ac.uk; LPC - Helen Hudson: helen.hudson@ntu.ac.uk; and GDL - Gail Cunningham: gail.cunningham@ntu.ac.uk