Our objects are to inform and to provide an opportunity to you to ask questions regarding the study of and work in the Law

  • I could never be a lawyer – I couldn’t stand up and speak in Court
  • I’d like to be a Barrister because I want to stand up and speak in Court
  • I want to be a lawyer because they are all rich
  • Being a Solicitor is not as good as being a Barrister
  • You have to be rich/posh/white/male to be a lawyer
  • How can you defend people you know are guilty?
  • I’d like to be a lawyer but I don’t want to study Law at University
  • I’d like to study Law at University but I don’t want to be a Lawyer
  • I don’t know what I want to do when I leave school – maybe I should study Law?

How many times have you heard people say things like this? How many times have you said something like this? How many times have you thought how good it would be to have a career in the Law but fear that it is not for you, for some reason or another?

It is because we feel that school students, approaching the time when they have to decide what to study at university – or, indeed whether to go to university at all - should have an opportunity to learn about the study of and careers in the Law that we have put this course together. Our objects are to inform and to provide an opportunity to you to ask questions regarding the study of and work in the Law so that you can make a decision which is right for you.

We will start by introducing you to the Law. We will tell you about the Court system, and about the Law which is applied in the Courts. We will tell you about Barristers and Solicitors and Legal Executives and how you can become one – by going to university or by way of an apprenticeship.

You will hear from the Head of Bradford University Law School about studying at University and about people who go on to teach Law. You’ll hear from lawyers working in different areas of the Law, although there are so many different areas of Law we can’t possibly tell you about all of them, but we can make a start, certainly. But you will hear from Barristers and Solicitors working in criminal law, civil law and family law, from a Solicitor working on non-contentious work (probate, wills and conveyancing), from an in-house lawyer at Morrisons and from the President of CILEX (the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives).

We will talk about diversity – lawyers come in all shapes and sizes and from all sorts of different backgrounds. We think it important to help you understand that there is a place in the Law for you, whoever you are and whatever your background, and that your race, your religion, your gender, your place of study – none of these matter. What matters is whether you are interested, whether you are prepared to work hard and whether you want to succeed in the years ahead of you, in your studies and in the working life which will follow. It doesn’t matter if no one in your family is a lawyer, or if no one in your family went to university, or if you go to Oxford or Cambridge University or to Manchester, Leeds or Bradford University. The days when Solicitors, Barristers and indeed Judges all came from wealthy families and attended private schools are over, and the modern legal profession is open to anybody with the drive, commitment and willingness to work hard, irrespective of their background. A number of ‘Graduates’ of previous SPRUCE courses are now studying for degrees, including Law degrees, destined for careers in the Law or are already in such careers. What matters is how hard you are prepared to work now and in the future.

I hope you enjoy and are inspired by SPRUCE.

Jonathan Rose

His Honour Judge Jonathan Rose

Course Director, SPRUCE

In 2015 SPRUCE was set up and run for the first time for people like you. In that year 22 students gathered in a (too-small) room in Bradford Crown Court for the first edition of the course. But after that, year-on-year our numbers grew until that room could not hold any more. So we worked with Bradford Council and through their generosity we moved to Bradford City Hall in 2017, where the beautiful and spacious Council Chamber could hold as many people as we could get to come. Although we had to pause the course during the Covid pandemic, in 2020, in 2021 we ran the course online and then in 2022 we returned to City Hall with some 80 students taking part. And there is something very special in City Hall. It is the building in which Bradford Crown Court was located until the new building in Exchange Square opened, and there is still a Courtroom in City Hall, with a dock and a jury box and a public gallery and a Judge’s chair. And so we use that Courtroom for one morning, with students becoming advocates for the day, presenting cases for the Prosecution and the Defence and then we discuss what sentence should be passed in that case, and why.

SPRUCE is not an easy course. The days may seem long, but that is only because we try to cram as much as possible into each day to give you as much information as possible in a relatively short period of time. It is an interesting course but it does make demands of the students who take part – though nowhere near the demands which will be placed on those who go on to become a working lawyer!

Each session will last for an hour and will include an opportunity for you to ask questions of each speaker. We believe that asking questions – the sort of questions which will assist you in understanding how the Law works in practice and whether it is something you would wish to study and/or a career you want to work in – is absolutely essential for students participating in the course. You will also be able to speak to those who are involved in running the course during the breaks or at the beginning or end of the day.

23 students attended the first SPRUCE Course, in 2015. In 2022 some 80 students took part. Over the years since that first course many of our ‘graduates’ have gone on to study Law and to enter the Legal Profession – indeed, some of them have returned to speak to SPRUCE participants in recent years.

If SPRUCE seems interesting to you, if you think it will help you make choices about what to study at University and whether the Law and a career in the Law may be for you, if you have already decided that you see your future in the Law and would like to kick-start your future right now, then please do sign up and join us in Bradford City Hall this June.