Dr Chee Ching Chan studied for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at City, University of London from 2015 to 2016.
My name is Dr. Chee Ching Chan and I come from Malaysia. I studied two courses at The City Law School: the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) from 2015 to 2016 and the LLM in Professional Legal Skills. Upon completing my BPTC, I was called to the Bar and I was admitted as a member of the The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn in July 2016.
I was inspired to become a lawyer when I was a fourth year medical student at University of Edinburgh. My inspiration came from Edinburgh alumnus Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I graduated from the University of Edinburgh gaining a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) in 2006. After working for six years as a surgical doctor, I decided to pursue my career in law starting with the three year law degree.
Why did you choose to study the BPTC at The City Law School?
I chose to study the BPTC at The City Law School for three main reasons. Firstly, I know that The City Law School has a team of professors and lecturers who are experienced in providing Bar training. Its history as a legal education provider went all the way back to when it was called The Inns of Court School of Law. Some of the lecturers are also practising barristers who provided insight to the real legal world. During my BPTC, I benefited greatly from the support of the lecturers in preparing for the BPTC centralised assessments and the professors and lecturers from City gave me a lot of guidance on the methods to study as well as the topics that I should focus and pay attention to. This showed their understanding of the system based on their vast experience.
Secondly, the school is located at the most strategic location as it can be, either legally or socially. I stayed at a student accommodation just within 10 minutes walking distance away from the school which meant that I could go utilise The City Law School library on a daily basis. Furthermore, all the Inns are located within close proximity from The City Law School. I could just walk and arrive home within 10 minutes after dining at Lincoln’s Inn. The High Court and many chambers are also around the corner. When I did my mini-pupillage at 42 Bedford Row, I literally just needed to walk below 10 minutes to arrive at the chambers.
Finally, The City Law School provided me with the opportunity to convert my BPTC into an LLM. The City’s LLM in Professional Legal Skills allowed me the chance to focus on an area of professional legal practice of my choice. In my case, I focused on the procedural law of medical negligence, specifically on whether medical expert witnesses are required to be accredited.
What did you enjoy most about studying the BPTC and studying at City?
I most enjoyed attending Professor Stuart Sime’s Civil Litigation Large Group Session. It was stimulating to have a professor so keen standing and talking in front of me showing his years of knowledge. The content was undeniably heavy but Professor Sime gave us hope and courage, tips and techniques that made me believe it was possible to pass the examinations and do well in it. Furthermore, City has about 300 BPTC students in each intake and I am glad that I met many talented people from all walks of life during my BPTC at City.
Did you take part in any extracurricular activity?
City provides a number of unique pro-bono opportunities because they can be undertaken as final clinical Options on the BPTC such as domestic violence, FRU Social Security and FRU Employment. The Free Representation Unit (FRU) provides free representation in a number of tribunals to those who could not otherwise afford to be represented. It provides a valuable service to many clients every year. These unique opportunities enable students to undertake FRU Social Security Tribunal work as part of the BPTC and the students receive credit for the quality of the representation of a real client. I passed the FRU Social Security qualification process however I did not choose FRU as an option because I was very keen in the professional negligence option. As can be seen, there are many options on what a BPTC student can choose at The City Law School. Other BPTC option modules include Advanced Criminal Litigation, Commercial Law, Company Law, Employment Law, Family Law, Fraud and Economic Crime and Landlord and Tenant.
My most unforgettable experience will be jogging around the City of London. Due to the fact that I stayed near The City Law School, I could jog and visit places like St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye, Big Ben and etc. They are all within 30-minute jogging distance. It is really a once-of-a-lifetime experience for me to jog pass so many well-known landmarks.
Did you use the Pupillage Advisory Service?
I did use the Pupillage Advisory Service although I did not apply for the pupillage in England and Wales as my plan was to go back to my home country, Malaysia and serve there. However, the service provided me valuable and detailed advice on how to improve on my CV. I successfully secured my pupillage in Malaysia as a result.
What did you do after completing the BPTC? What are you doing now?
I successfully passed the BPTC in my first attempt and I had been graded as Very Competent (VC). I obtained full marks for my BPTC Civil Litigation MCQ (50/50) and 44.5/50 for my BPTC Civil Litigation SAQ, which gave me an overall result of 95/100 (Outstanding) in Civil Litigation. After completing the BPTC, I enrolled into The City Law School’s LLM in Bar Professional Training as a continuation of the BPTC. I have strong interest in the area of medical negligence and I therefore approached Dr. Evelyn Pollock as my supervisor for my LLM in Professional Legal Skills. She was approachable, kind and provided me a lot of guidance throughout the tough six months. I wrote a 20,000-word dissertation at the end of the course entitled “Should medical experts be accredited?” and I obtained my Master’s degree with Commendation. This was my third Master’s degree (Master of Science in Surgical Sciences, Master of Sciences in Medical Sciences, Master of Laws in Professional Legal Skills).
Currently, I am undergoing my pupillage in Messrs Raja, Darryl and Loh (RDL) in Malaysia. My main area of practice is in the field of medical negligence because my Master, Puan Maidzuira Mohammed is a partner in RDL who mainly practises in the field of medical negligence defending doctors. Upon completing my pupillage, I will then be admitted into the High Court of Malaya and become a full-fledged advocate and solicitor.
Do you have any advice or tips for anyone who wants to study the BPTC and/or choose The City Law School?
When I was studying BPTC, I made a sensible timetable for myself and I followed it strictly. I attended all Large Group Sessions (LGSs) and Small Group Sessions (SGSs). For all the centralised assessments (Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation and Ethics), I made my own mind maps and notes during preparation for SGSs. My study advice would be to study consistently and try to cover every topic at least once, then try to study smart by focusing on certain topics and memorise the key concepts on those important topics. However, to know which topics are more important than other topics, I had to pay attention during LGSs and SGSs.
The City Law School was my first choice to study the BPTC. If you want to meet well-known professors and lecturers, want to meet interesting people and make more friends, want to get more exposure on the practical sides of the legal world and want to see more of the City of London, The City Law School will be the place for you to study your BPTC. In my opinion, it is a structured programme and City’s supportive teaching staff are the gems of The City Law School.
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