In defence of the GDL

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  • It's not surprising that those who have completed the LLB want to see themselves as objectively superior - it must be galling to start at the same line as those who have only done 1 year instead of 3. Usually older students with more life and work experience (and confidence) - essential attributes for a succesful lawyer.

    It's the same attitude with most conversion courses or masters. My girlfriend did an IT conversion from engineering and although this is routinely sneered at by some who did the 'full' degree, her employers certainly don't see it as inferior in any way. It was almost regarded as a fast-track for high fliers.

    The fact that the GDL is taken at an ex-polly is irrelevant. They're simply the places which do most of these courses now. E.g: You can do the GDL at Manchester Met but not at Manch Uni - it just isn't available... the upshot of this is that you get some serious quality people on the courses at these 'pollys'. The current GDL year at Manchester Met has ex-broadcast journalists, the former deputy chief constable of Cheshire (no less) and many other high fliers (in former careers) studying there... 2.1s from good Unis are ten a penny. LLBers can hardly string a sentence together (as much of the grammar and spelling above would attest)

    To any GDL students out there, don't take any notice of a few bitter LLBers slagging off the GDL - after all, they would, wouldn't they?
    The employment statistics tell a very different story

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  • Everyone knows that 2 years out of a 3 year degree are spent getting pissed and trying to get laid. Students know this and employers who were students themselves know this. All degrees could really be 18 months if students were expected to work rather than ponce about having a party.

    That's all the GDL is, a law degree without the piddling about. It's a more mature qualification.

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  • Anyone who suggests that the GDL is in any way easy or inferior to a law degree is clearly deluded. I studied the GDL after completing a degree at the University of Durham. I can honestly say the year spent studying the GDL was by far more intense than the whole three years of my degree course combined.

    Not only did it require several hours solid work ,every day of the week, the financial pressures meant I had to squeeze in a part time job as well.

    The level of persistance and endurance needed to complete this demanding course will never be understood by someone who has not studied it.

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  • “Usually older students with more life and work experience (and confidence) - essential attributes for a succesful lawyer.”

    Unlikely. Most people take the GDL immediately after their degree, although a tiny number do have some experience that doesn’t amount to working in a shop.

    “The fact that the GDL is taken at an ex-polly is irrelevant.”

    That’s not how employers see things.

    “The employment statistics tell a very different story”

    Please elaborate on this.

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  • I've worked in recruitment and I can tell you that a significant number of firms specify a preference for GDL students. A lot of them already have work/life experience and are much better for commercial employers because they hit the ground running.

    Experience of another career is a definite plus. There's nothing more off-putting for a client than some clueless fresh-faced kid.

    The undercurrent in law these days is to recruit experienced people from outside the profession. Law is one of those areas (unlike meeja) where gravitas and experience inspire client-confidence.

    Anyone who thinks that GDL students are viewed as inferior is deluding themselves, the opposite is the case.

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  • My word! Some people are unbelievably sour! As the person above said, it really doesn't matter what we all think about GDLs, LLBs (I love how one individual was anal enough to write "LL.B"), "pre-1992 uni's" (what a snob!) and ex-pols...the facts in recruiting speak for themselves, it's always 40/60 or 50/50 and that continues right up the management chain. Think about it, do you want a firm where everyone has the same perspective, or one where peoples' differences enable them to engage with a problem from multiple viewpoints?

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  • Heh. Yes, you can tell which group feels most threatened with all their 'poly' inferior stuff.

    This shrill prejudice isn't reflected in recruitment... no indeedy... GDL is harder to get by far... firms know this.

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  • Some people are completely missing the point: GDL students aren’t people that just walk of the street, they already have a degree. They have spent the 3 -4 years as an undergraduate learning the skills and academic procedures absent from the GDL.

    For example, the reason the GDL ‘spoon feeds’ you where an LLBer would have had to research is because the majority (if not all) degrees involve a substantial amount of research, essay writing, requirement to master ‘technical terms’, etc. It does not take 3 years to master using lexis or any other law-specific search engine.

    The purpose of the GDL is to provide the fundamental legal knowledge required to practice law; it already (correctly) assumes they have the more in-depth academic skills and procedures that those with an LLB are meant to possess.

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  • Here is what the great Peter Birks (if you didn't do a law degree you'll have to google him) wrote about conversion courses:

    "You get what you pay for. You get a large number of lawyers, all of whom have studied, at breakneck speed, just six subjects and always exactly the same six, currently contract, tort, land law, trusts, criminal law and constitutional-cum-administrative law. The six-disease, one-year doctor is unthinkable. The six-subject, one-year lawyer is unknown anywhere else in the world. In Germany, where the competition will ultimately come from, a two-year vocational stage is preceded in the over-whelming majority of cases by five years' academic study of the law, and there is no way at all of reducing that five years to less than four.

    Advocates for the one-year course should be made to list the subjects to which they attach no importance: Comparative Law, Company, Competition, Computers/Information Technology, Conflicts of Law, Consumer Law, Environmental Law, European Law, Evidence, Family Law, Insolvency, Intellectual Property, International Trade, Labour Law, Legal History, Legal Philosophy, Public International Law, Race Relations/Ethnic Minorities, Remedies, Restitution, Sentencing/Penology, Succession, Taxation, Welfare and Social Security.

    A person knows nothing of any of these cannot be called learned in the law. And a practising profession which welcomes people who know nothing of any of them is neglecting its long-term, perhaps even its medium-term future..."

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  • "This shrill prejudice isn't reflected in recruitment... no indeedy"

    Rubbish - look at the Bar

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