Richard Ridyard and Daniel Reilly, LLB students

In defence of the LLB

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  • A well written article that shows what the GDL really is, inferior! We LLB graduates already knew that though.

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  • Here are the links to the two articles we cited.

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  • Having read both articles i have to agree with a previous comment made.

    a doctor cannot study basket weaving and then convert in a year to becoming a doctor.

    this should be the same in the legal profession.

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  • No article containing the quote below can be taken seriously:

    "We believe the higher entry requirements indicate that an LL.B requires higher levels of intellect."

    So I suppose the fact that a BEng in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Manchester only requires ABB means that it's a doddle compared to the LLB? Or maybe the entry requirements better reflect the level of competition for places . . . .?

    I should also point out that GDL grads usually already have a degree, not always in "basket weaving". Mine even required AAA!

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  • Entry requirements for courses are all about supply and demand, not about the difficutly of the course.

    A number of years, I taught a non-law subject at a Russell Group university. My department was making a decision to raise the entry requirement from AAB to AAA. I asked whether people thought the students we were seeting with AAB were not up to the course. The reply was that there was no problem with the students, but we had too many applicants, so it would be easier to just raise the entry requirements.

    There are far more applicants for the LLB than places, so it stands to reason that the entry requirements are correspondingly high. There are plenty of places on the GDL for anyone who will pay, so it stands to reason the entry requirements are relatively low. But neither of these facts has any bearing on the ease or difficulty of the course.

    Laying my cards on the table, I am a mature student who studied the GDL part time while working full time. I could have done a senior status part-time LLB, but I didn't see the point when I could study the GDL and get to the same point faster. My course was being partially funded by my employer, so my funding was contingent on full time work. I did not have time to do a full-time course.

    Most of the other students on my part-time GDL were also working full time. Others were raising small children. Many of us had spouses and/or children to support; most had mortgages and other financial responsibilities. We could not have undertaken the course on a full-time basis with a part-time job. A part-time course was the only viable option for us, which is why we were there.

    For the record, about half my GDL classmates were lawyers fully qualified in non-common law jurisdictions. What would be the point for them of taking another LLB?

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  • I feel compelled to write having read the article from Danny and Richard above. I am surprised by the strength of feeling expressed by two aspiring lawyers and their narrowed minded opinion. Surely allowing people from as wide a spectrum of society as possible into the legal profession will bring new skills, knowledge and experience.
    Are you frightened of a little healthy competition?
    I was particularly concerned about the apparent lack of willingness to allow artisans such as me to study law.
    Yours sincerely James Riley, Member of the Worshipful Society of Basket Weavers !!!

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  • A well written article that identify s the issues that surrounded the GDL. It definitely shows that people should not be aloud to convert to law after doing a alternative degree first. As I could not do a degree in Management and then convert to a degree in medicine so why is it the same in law its not right! As a friend pointed out to me I might as well do a philosophy degree at Oxford what requires BBC then just convert to the GDL and still have a degree from one of the best university's in the world and still be able to become a lawyer by doing a GDL it just does not sound right to me that.

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  • The fact that you can't use the basic rules of grammar in an article suggests that your course may not be all you think it is.

    The ultimate question you have to answer though is why top firms take on GDL students if they are so academically substandard? Many top firms take a roughly 50/50 basis. Chambers don't but that might be generally because they don't offer funding for the GDL. In contrast almost any firm of solicitors worth it's salt offers tuition fees and a maintenance grant.

    Finally only ex-polys offer the GDL. Fine. Generally true. But which of your top universities offer the LPC or BPTC? Errr... about the same as offer the GDL. By your logic the LPC is offered by substandard institutions. As everyone in the legal profession will go to ex-poly/CoL/BPP everyone is therefore getting what 'academics perceive to be a substandard education.'

    Quite frankly this whole argument is a bit bogus. If firms felt that one particular route was much more valuable than any other you would see ratio of lawyers to non-lawyers change substantially.

    Disclaimer: 1st class honours AAAAA A-levels. Got a training contract with top firm. Chose law after university because I changed my mind about what I wanted to do. None of the firms I looked at wanted anything more than a GDL (nor would they pay for an LLB) so I've chosen that route.

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  • To get the train to London I can go many routes but still end up in the same place... Sometimes the journey is longer, sometimes I stop off for coffee with friends and other times I get stuck in delays. So long as I get there why worry.

    Surely the same principle should be applied here.

    We should not be judged on the route we take but the competence and skills we demonstrate once qualified. Keep an open mind - you never know who you will end up working with so why be so narrow minded now?

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  • Jonathan Pugh - all subjects at Oxford require AAA these days. There are also fast track medical degrees you can do as second degree that are shorter than a standard medical degree.

    The question that still needs an answer is if the GDL is so inferior then why do almost all top firms offer funding for it and take on a substantial people with GDLs. All the magic circle, silver circle and top American firms fund GDLers.

    Funding the GDL is more expensive than only taking on undergrad law students (who only need one year of course fees and maintenance grants) yet they continue to do it.

    The point about lawyers being on a more demanding course might be true but firms run their own psychometric testing or case studies. If the law prepared you much better than another undergraduate degree no students would make it through those hurdles. Law firms aren't simply looking for raw intelligence either. You can be academically brilliant but if you don't come across as professional, likeable and ambitious you won't get a place.

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