Jennifer Harris, BPP Law School

BVC aptitude is an unnecessary obstacle

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  • Less than 45% of BVC students are successful in obtaining a pupillage. I

    Too many students are seduced into the 'sexy' portrayals of becoming and practising as a Barrister. Too many students see the BVC as a natural progression after completing a law degree.

    I think anything that causes a student to think twice about their chances is a very good idea.

    However, I would prefer the Providers to offer guidance on the test/interview results---with it being the student who ultimately decides on whether then to still take the BVC

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  • Northern Ireland has a system like this for applicants to the solicitor and barrister course. It doesn't work. All it does is weed out people who can't afford to pay for ludicrously overpriced private tuition.

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  • A good barrister requires a certain combination of abilities. The successful completion of a law degree only tests for one of these abilities and that is the ability to learn the law. It seems quite reasonable for BVC providers to ask prospective students to take an aptitude test which will give some guidance to the applicants and the providers as to whether they have a realistic chance of becoming a barrister.

    The response from IHateBPP (which name perhaps gives some indication of where he or she is coming from) gives no rational reason as to why they hold the opinion that the system in Northern Ireland does not work. Presumably what the system does is prevent people who have no chance of becoming a barrister from wasting their money, regardless of whether they can or can't afford to pay. Indeed it might be said that the system is of greatest benefit to those who can't afford to pay as it will prevent them from wasting money on a course that will not lead to the lucrative career that they hope.

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  • I don't really think the Northern Ireland system does stop people wasting their money- it's compulsary for would-be solicitors as well as barristers, and all that seems to happen is that people retake the test as many times as they need until they finally get in to the institute. Scores work by combining a score from your degree classification with your test result, I think for barristers every year it's only something like the top 25 people.

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