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Bar Vocational Course BVC

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  • Course description

    Our well-established and world renowned BVC has been designed to meet every
    demand of the modern Bar. By ensuring that you are fully prepared for professional
    life, our course provides you with transferable skills which can be applied in a variety
    of contexts.

    Our BVC will help:
    - Prepare you to meet the demands of practice and
    professional life
    - Ensure that you are competent to meet the expectations
    of the public and the profession
    - Equip you with the skills to perform a range of legal tasks
    as required in practice
    - Develop effective life-long professional learning patterns
    We are extremely proud of our reputation, the strength of
    our links with the Bar, the quality of our training, the expert
    support we provide to help students secure pupiliages and
    the work done by our Pro Bono Advice unit.
    On successful completion of the course, you will receive the
    City University London Postgraduate Diploma in Professional
    Legal Skills which will enable you to be called to the Bar and
    take your first steps into practice successfully.

    How will I be taught?

    The course is skills-based and replicates the demands and
    disciplines of practice through realistic exercises. You will
    receive training materials which reflect the work you will do
    during the early years of practice which are made available
    to you both in hard copy and online.

    You will also receive:
    - Blackstone’s Criminal Practice
    - Blackstone’s Civil Practice
    - The City Law School Manuals (published by OUP)

    on all the skills and knowledge areas

    You will be given regular feedback on your performances,
    primarily from your tutors but also from other students.
    Regular practice together with guidance through feedback
    ensures that students on the course develop their skills to
    the full potential.

    In order to make sure that our feedback is useful to you,
    we ensure that:

    - All of our staff are fully trained in giving effective feedback
    - The criteria for all skills modules are highlighted for students
    in the introductory stages
    - All skills-based small group sessions focus on one or more
    assessment criteria
    Feedback, including self-assessment and peer assessment,
    is central to the development of your legal skills, and your
    own professional (and even personal) development.
    During the course, you will be taught by professionally
    qualified experts who bring a range of experience and
    specialist knowledge to the BVC.
    Our expert teaching staff are:
    - Directly involved in practice
    - Accredited Advocacy Training Committee (ATC) trainers
    - Leading authors of both practitioner and student texts
    - At the forefront of professional legal skills training
    - Regular contributors to the ongoing development
    of effective legal skills training
    Our unique Practical Training Exercise programme is:
    - Practically focused
    - Comprised of a series of sets of instructions and briefs
    based on realistic cases
    - Written and developed in close consultation with

    Our teaching is practically oriented and has an emphasis
    on learning by doing:
    - Advocacy is taught in a courtroom setting, in groups of six
    - Small group sessions are held with groups of no more
    than twelve
    - Interactive large group sessions are also held frequently
    The BVC marks the start of your legal career, so you are
    expected to attend and work as you would if you were
    in practice.
    However, with optional early evening practitioner sessions
    and an exclusive series of forensic science lectures, we build
    in as much added value as possible for our students.
    Our core BVC timetable consists of:
    - Four days teaching each week
    (equating to around 12-14 hours class contact time)
    - One day for preparation, professional development
    and research each week
    - Twenty plus hours of private study and preparation
    work each week

    Like most others, our BVC consists of a number of core
    and elective subjects, each developed to deliver the relevant
    legal skills/knowledge that all young barristers need or the
    detailed knowledge required for your chosen specialist

    Core subjects:
    - Case Preparation and Analysis
    - Civil Advocacy
    - Civil Litigation
    - Criminal Advocacy
    - Criminal Litigation and Sentencing
    - Evidence
    - Interpersonal Skills, Negotiation and Conferences with clients
    - Legal Research, electronic and paper-based
    - Professional Conduct
    - Written Skills, Opinion Writing and Drafting
    Other important areas covered within the context
    of the main subjects:

    - Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution
    - Costs
    - Human Rights
    - Remedies
    - Risk Analysis

    Elective subjects:

    - Advanced Civil – Professional Negligence
    - Advanced Crime
    - Commercial Law
    - Company Law
    - Employment Law
    - Family Law
    - Fraud and Financial Crime
    - Free Representation Unit work (limited availability)

    How will I be assessed?
    There are 11 skills assessments and two Multiple Choice
    Tests. The assessments are a combination of “unseen”
    and “take away” papers.

    All assessments are based on realistic exercises reproducing
    the demands of practice and reflecting the work done on
    the course.

    This includes: Oral skills assessments which are recorded on
    DVD with actors playing the role of client and/or witness and
    Written skills assessments that require you to write an Opinion
    or prepare a piece of Drafting. You will also be assessed in
    Legal Research Skills and Professional Conduct.

    In addition, multiple choice tests will be used to assess
    competence in Criminal Litigation, Sentencing and Evidence
    and Civil Litigation and Civil Evidence.

    We place a strong emphasis on the individual professional
    development of every one of our students and offer you
    numerous opportunities to participate in “live client” work
    through the Free Representation Unit (FRU) and our Pro
    Bono Advice Unit.

    In addition, there are a number of activities incorporated into
    the course which we regard as an essential part of learning
    how to become an effective advocate.
    These include:

    - Court visits
    - Practitioner classes
    - Self assessment
    - Peer assessment
    - Critical analysis

    Professional conduct and ethics are also central to all
    teaching and learning done on the course. During your
    time with us year we will help you:

    - Become an independent, innovative and confident lawyer
    - Develop your ability to use argument and persuasion in
    oral and written forms
    - Develop high standards of client service and care
    Plus, our BVC students regularly participate in the National
    and International Client Interviewing, Mock Trial and Negotiation
    competitions… students on our BVC have won the National
    Mock trial competition for the last 3 years (2005-06, 2006-07
    and 2007-08).

    Finally, both the course and careers teams are dedicated to
    assisting you with the development of your career. We provide
    a wide range of career-focused support for all students,
    whether or not they intend to go into private practice.
    Services offered include:
    - Pupillage Advisory Service
    - Pupillage workshops & annual pupillage fair
    - Centre for Career & Skills Development
    - One-to-one consultations, CV advice and
    interviewing techniques
    - Alternative Careers Service

    Services offered include:
    - Pupillage Advisory Service
    - Pupillage workshops & annual pupillage fair
    - Centre for Career & Skills Development
    - One-to-one consultations, CV advice and interviewing
    > Alternative Careers Service

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