The Student Room Group

Does anyone have any words of wisdom/tips before taking the BPTC?

Recently got accepted into the BPTC course but for some reason I’m scared of committing lol. I know it would 100% teach me a lot of valuable skills but I’m not sure how useful it would be for career progression as being a barrister in the UK is insanely competitive and it can take a year or so to even get a pupillage, and in this economy I just need a job as I hope to stay in the UK after the Bar (I’m an international student and taking the BPTC makes it easier to qualify in my country hence why I applied in the first place) 😭
These are the sorts of issues that anyone who is considering taking the Bar course and aiming for pupillage should be considering. Whilst I do appreciate the additional factor of you being an internal student, fundamentally there's nothing unusual in this sort of situation. The one thing I would say is that the BPTC isn't really valuable in and of itself. Whilst its vocational approach is very different to a law degree, it doesn't suddenly make you a good advocate or a good barrister. There is a decent gap again between the Bar course and actually practising. So I wouldn't do it for the sake of learning what it teaches. It needs to be a stepping stone either to pupillage or, in your case, career progression back in your home country.

If you intend to stay here that means you just have to critically assess your prospects of securing pupillage, which again is something that everyone in your position should be doing. Getting a job in the interim shouldn't be overly difficult if you're a strong candidate. Plenty of candidates become paralegals or secure other advocacy roles. Getting pupillage before you end the BPTC or within a year or two of finishing it can't be guaranteed and may be difficult, but securing other work in the mean time shouldn't be, and indeed for a lot of candidates getting that alternative role and gaining practical legal experience is an important part of improving their application and ultimately securing pupillage.

So I can't so much offer direct words of wisdom other than to say that if you want to be a barrister and have the sort of profile and experience where securing pupillage is realistic, there's no reason why you shouldn't push on and do the BPTC.
Wow, thank you so so much for your response! I truly appreciate it. What would you say about the SQE? I’ve also been considering it as I feel securing a training contract would, of course, be very difficult but marginally easier than getting a pupillage. If I do do the bar, I think I would most likely apply for the graduate visa after and try to get a job in something like compliance or HR if I’m unable to get a Pupillage. I’m basically trying to escape a very toxic situation at home so doing a postgrad course is kind of an attempt at getting out of it 😕
Original post by thisfraintit
Wow, thank you so so much for your response! I truly appreciate it. What would you say about the SQE? I’ve also been considering it as I feel securing a training contract would, of course, be very difficult but marginally easier than getting a pupillage. If I do do the bar, I think I would most likely apply for the graduate visa after and try to get a job in something like compliance or HR if I’m unable to get a Pupillage. I’m basically trying to escape a very toxic situation at home so doing a postgrad course is kind of an attempt at getting out of it 😕

Purely as a matter of practical advice, if you're escaping a toxic situation at home there's merit in simply coming here with a plan and then adjusting that plan later if you need to. A career in compliance or HR is it doesn't work out in law sounds like a perfectly good backup option to me.

In terms of the decision you're making the SQE isn't an awful lot different to the BPTC, as in it's part of a qualification path to something else. As you know, just statistically securing a training contract is easier than securing pupillage. Again, I don't know anything about how strong a candidate you are, and that should factor into your decision. Not necessarily that you should go the SQE route if you're not as strong a candidate as you might be, but solicitor and barrister are two different career paths, and you may well be more suited to one than the other in terms of your experience and skills. You should also factor in which of the two roles you're most likely to enjoy. Escaping a toxic situation is a matter of necessity, but it doesn't mean you can't set yourself up for a career that you'll find satisfaction in while you're planning that escape.

The final thing I would say is that this isn't fixed. There are those who do the BPTC, and then become paralegals and actually go onto qualify as solicitors or legal executives as an alternative to the Bar. Equally, there are solicitors who convert to the Bar. Whilst the SQE and BPTC are quite specific post graduate courses, that doesn't mean you don't have some flexibility further down the line.
Original post by thisfraintit
Recently got accepted into the BPTC course but for some reason I’m scared of committing lol. I know it would 100% teach me a lot of valuable skills but I’m not sure how useful it would be for career progression as being a barrister in the UK is insanely competitive and it can take a year or so to even get a pupillage, and in this economy I just need a job as I hope to stay in the UK after the Bar (I’m an international student and taking the BPTC makes it easier to qualify in my country hence why I applied in the first place) 😭

Hi @thisfraintit

I have just completed the BPC and was lucky enough to obtain pupillage this application round. Having done various advocacy exercises (such as mooting) before the BPC, I don't think the course taught me a lot more than other activities did and, often, the pupillage interviews required me to do an advocacy exercise that isn't taught on the BPC. Therefore, I am not sure that the skills taught are that unique or more helpful than those you can obtain from other routes. Of course, you do learn UK litigation but that may not be that helpful for you anyway if you are pursuing a career elsewhere. Basically, this is a long winded way of saying that the BPC is necessary to obtain pupillage and it is not without merit. However, it is expensive and takes a lot of time/effort so, if you aren't sure about completing it or pursuing a career at the bar, then it may be better to wait before commencing and consider all of your options.

I would recommend seeing if you can go to any open days or online events that explain the course in more detail and can help answer questions about any of your concerns in more depth. I would also recommend speaking to barristers in your country and in the UK to determine if it is a career you are willing to dedicate your time to obtaining or if another path would suit you better.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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