Rupert Jones graduated from the University of Birmingham GDL programme in 2009/10 and is currently on the Bar Professional Training Course at the College of Law in Birmingham. He was awarded the Lord Denning scholarship from Lincoln's Inn for his BPTC year. Rupert will be going on to a pupilage at One Brick Court in London who specialise in Media Law and Information Law.
Title: Rupert Jones, Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies 2009-10
When I was looking at where to study the GDLS I found that Birmingham was not only a top ranked Law School but one of the highest Law Schools to actually offer the GDLS programme so that was one of the main reasons and the other was because I wanted the advantages that you get with studying on a university campus.
The GDLS at the University of Birmingham only has 50 students on it and because its quite a small amount, you’re in small groups, you really get the team mentality like your all in it together so you make some really good friends, it’s a really good working atmosphere as well because you can all help each other. You really get to know the lecturers as well you’re not being taught in massive lecture theatres but in quite, sort of, intimate small groups so I think as a result of that you get a much better understanding.
Most of the lecturers were really, really good. A lot of them are leaders in their field so they really have an understanding of their topic and their enthusiasm for it rubs off on the students as well so even when you are dealing with subjects that can be quite dry, if you have a lecturer who makes it interesting it really helps when your learning and going through your notes later on.
You’re really not spoon fed on this course as well, you have to work very hard, it’s a really intense course, and you really have to put the work in but as a result of that I think you get a much better understanding of the subject than perhaps you might otherwise get.
I didn’t really know what mooting was before I came to the Law School. It’s basically a mini trial where in a team of two you tackle a point of law in front of a judge against another team and when you are doing the GDLS you have the opportunity to take part in the postgraduate cup within the Law School and I did that and through doing that I was invited to represent the University of Birmingham in the National competition as well and we reached the final. I got into doing mooting because it’s a great way to develop your experience of planning a case and researching the points of law that you need to present a case and then getting advocacy experience that’s really difficult to do when you’re a student. So actually presenting a case that you have planned in front of a judge and in some cases barristers or actual judge’s play the role of a judge which can be quite terrifying experience but in terms of getting experience of advocacy then it’s hard to beat.
The best things about the GDLS programme are that you get a Law qualification in just a year and as well as that because it’s so intense when law firms and chambers are recruiting they know that if you’ve done the GDLS then you have good personal discipline and time management skills. Studying the GDLS at the University of Birmingham enhanced my career prospects because the Law School’s got such a good reputation and obviously that looks great on a CV. When I was actually applying for pupilages as well my personal tutor really helped me in honing my CV and that eventually helped me get a pupilage just towards the end of the GDLS.
If you want to be a barrister then after the GDLS you have to do the Bar Course which is the Bar Professional Training Course, a year vocational course. But after that you need to do a year of pupilage which is basically where you go into a Chambers and you spend a year shadowing other barristers and at the end of that if all goes well then you secure tenancy. So getting a pupilage is quite difficult but it’s something you have to do if you want to be a barrister. I have got a pupilage lined up at No 1 Brick Court in London which is a set that specialises in media law, so defamation and privacy which is a very fast moving and developing area of law. So I’m really pleased that I’ve got that pupilage lined up.