Course Feature: LLB (Hons) Law

Birmingham City University’s LLB (Hons) Law programme is a well-established course with a range of features that can really add value to a student’s experience whilst studying with us.

Key Points

  • The University was the first UK University to develop clinical legal education – with students practicing law as part of their degree.
  • There are around 680 students currently studying across the three years of the LLB course.
  • The School of Law boasts both a mock courtroom and a mock solicitor’s office.
  • Students are very much encouraged to become involved in Mooting – with past and current students performing very well in national competitions. Birmingham City University law students were finalists in the 2008 BPP Law School National Mooting Competition.   
  • Routeways in Business Law, Law and Practice, American Legal Studies, Criminology and Human Rights.
  • Students are actively encouraged to become involved in a wide range of activities (e.g. mooting, sports and societies) from day one of the course – many employers want well rounded employees with a proven record of interest in extra curricular activities as well as an excellent legal knowledge/ academic ability.
  • Students have visited Lincoln’s Inn and Middle Temple (two of the four Inns in the country)
  • Whilst students who have a qualifying law degree may go onto become solicitors or barristers, graduates of the course have also entered a wide range of other careers e.g. civil service, journalism, education, probation service.
  • Birmingham City University was the first University to offer evening study as a mode of study for the part-time course.

Features of the LLB Provision at Birmingham City University

Criminal Clinic

  • ‘Hands on’ workshops designed to develop students’ practical legal skills through a range of exercises:
  • Advocacy – looks at communication skills, confidence, verbal ability, using language to persuade, etc. The student’s task is to make a mock bail application to a judge. This will be videoed and critiqued.
  • Mock trial – students are taken through the different stages in preparing for and being involved in the mock trial (held in the specially built Mock Courtroom which was funded by Shakespeares Solicitors). The mock trial allows students to develop skills in interviewing witnesses, taking statements, preparing documentation and attending court. Once the mock trial has been completed, students write a reflective essay on their experiences.

Free Representation Unit

  • Offers free legal advice and assistance.
  • Founded in 1987 – Birmingham City University was the first University to do this.
  • The Free Representation Unit is an optional module in year 3 of the course.
  • Some students are on placements in Citizen’s Advice Bureaus/ solicitors practices/ community legal centres.
  • Students handle real legal cases (under supervision of academic staff) – covering issues like employment law, welfare benefits appeals, some housing matters, consumer law, criminal injuries compensation appeals.
  • FRU students are assessed on the following:

          Interviewing
          Writing and drafting
          Research
          Negotiating
          Advocacy
          Client care and case file management

  • The FRU option is a great way for a student to improve their chances of securing a training contract/ pupillage – by demonstrating unique hands-on experience.
  • The FRU is run in the style of a traditional law firm.
  • Students get academic credit for the work done in the FRU – it is not just an added extra.
  • Universities are turning out more law graduates so competition for training contracts is tough. Any added experience students can offer is very useful.
  • The FRU bridges the gap between education and vocation.

American Legal Studies (Minor)

  • American Legal Studies is a minor routeway that can be taken in the 3rd year of the degree programme.
  • Birmingham City University is one of a very small number of Universities who offer this specialism.
  • Internships are available to the US to work on real cases – adding enhancement to a student’s CV.
  • Some graduates of our LLB have gone on to work as practicing lawyers in the States.
  • Birmingham City University offers the largest American Legal Studies programme in the UK.
  • We send up to 45-50 students per year to the USA.
  • The work is not paid but students do receive academic credit for it.
  • It’s a life changing experience. Students often change their view on the death penalty. The work they do will have an impact and effect on people’s lives and is rewarding.
  • The cost of accommodation and flights is funded by students themselves.

Mooting

Competition to become a barrister is particularly intense and employers will look at the student’s non-academic profile. Getting involved in mooting can be a way of improving this. Mooting is a formalised legal debate. It is offered to students from Year 2 onwards. There are opportunities for taking part in mooting both internally, within BCU, and externally against other universities. It is important to get involved in this type of activity if you want to go on to become a barrister.

LLB or LLB with Minors?

The core elements of all courses are the same. (22 out of a total of 30 units). There are 8 optional units in Year 2 and Year 3. Students don’t need to decide on their route until after Easter in Year 1, so you can still do a minor even if you don’t opt for one on your UCAS form.

What do our students say about the course?

Find out the views of some of our LLB students at http://www.bcu.ac.uk/elss/law/llb/student-profiles.

Career Opportunities in Law

If you’re thinking about becoming a solicitor or barrister, it can be difficult to obtain a training contract or pupillage so extra curricular activities are becoming an increasingly important way of ‘adding value’ to your degree and CV – reflected in the range of opportunities offered by the structure of our LLB course.

Those embarking on training to be a solicitor undertake the Legal Practice Course following on from the LLB, and once completed then need to complete a training contract. There are approximately 3 applicants for each training contract to become a solicitor and, once completed, you are then qualified to practice as a solicitor.

The Bar Vocational Course (1 year full-time) is offered at only 8 UK institutions (5 in London and 3 regional). There are around 4 applicants for each place. After completing this students go one to complete two six month pupillages. They will then apply to obtain a tenancy with a set of chambers. There is a lot of competition if you want to become a barrister. The key elements needed are determination and an excellent level of academic achievement.

Many students from Birmingham City University go on to become Lawyers. Others go on to find work in the civil service, journalism, legal departments within large firms, specialist enforcement agencies such as the Health and Safety Executive, the Probation Service, Education. Law degrees are also widely regarded within the business community and the skills offered by law graduates will be attractive to many employers.

More information

Birmingham City University website

Faculty open days

Contact a course adviser

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