In defence of the GDL

  • Print
  • Comments (58)

Readers' comments (58)

  • Pure good old fashioned Oxbridge snobbery. Law can't possibly be compared with medicine. A much higher IQ and mathematical ability is required to study medicine. A great deal of legal 'study' is actually on the job during pupillage or training contract. The LLB itself isn't particularly demanding and the final exams taken at LLB and GDL are virtually identical.

    The average LLB graduate wouldn't have a clue regarding most of those subjects ( cited above) away from the core foundations.

    You forgot to add that the GDL isn't just six subjects, it's actually eight. There is an initial English Legal System requirement and an additional legal subject (eg. Family, employment, company.)

    You can do an LLB in a year if you have the brains and the determination. The same is not true in the medical world where practice makes perfect and human lives are at stake, not quite the same as the risk of a clerical error in a firm.

    Birks was typical of his generation and understandably wanted to big up the legal profession by comparing it with medicine - it ain't the same. I'm sure he was also the type who lamented the decline of latin phraseology, there will always be someone gnashing their teeth about a decline in standards - was it ever thus..

    Other countries have similar fast tracks for those who have already attained an academic standard of which (mentioned above) is at least half of the LLB. E.G You can do a Juris Doctor in two years.

    The GDL and the LLB are substantively the same, the only significant difference is that you have a third of the time in the GDL to reach pretty much the same standard. As any tutor will tell you, at LEAST a third of the LLB is spent teaching clueless teenagers the basics of academic study.

    If firms seriously thought there was a difference in quality then GDL students simply wouldn't get hired, market forces would reign, as they almost always do.

    We know that this isn't the case, right the way up the chain - res ipsa loquitur.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Birks just didn't like the profession's focus on the 7 core areas of law. He thought the modern LLB was cra* too. He was one of those academics who thought that law had to be studied for a billion years in a monestary before someone could join the super duper inner circle.

    What rubbish, law is an industry like any other in the modern world not some daft academic utopia from the fifties.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Rubbish - look at the Bar"

    Yes and the shrinking Bar is suffering badly from market forces due to it's anachronistic practices, nepotism and snobbery. Anyone training to be a Barrister now needs their head looking at.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • “Pure good old fashioned Oxbridge snobbery.”

    I didn’t go to Oxbridge.

    “A much higher IQ is required to study medicine.”

    Simply not true, particularly when you compare top Law Faculties with top Medicine Faculties.

    “A great deal of legal 'study' is actually on the job during pupillage or training contract. “

    Again, most legal study is done, unsurprisingly, at the studying stage. Practising teaches you to apply the law.

    “The LLB itself isn't particularly demanding and the final exams taken at LLB and GDL are virtually identical.”

    This is your most absurd statement. Have you ever seen an LLB finals paper?! If you had there is no way you would compare it to a GDL exam. Plus, on the LLB the answers aren’t given to you on a plate so there is a much wider scope you have to cover.

    “The average LLB graduate wouldn't have a clue regarding most of those subjects (cited above) away from the core foundations.”

    They would “have a clue” about at least 3 of them, that is more than a GDL student can claim.

    “You forgot to add that the GDL isn't just six subjects, it's actually eight. There is an initial English Legal System requirement and an additional legal subject (eg. Family, employment, company.)”

    Semantics, it was an old quote, the point stands.

    “You can do an LLB in a year if you have the brains and the determination.”

    Where???

    “Birks was typical of his generation and understandably wanted to big up the legal profession by comparing it with medicine - it ain't the same. I'm sure he was also the type who lamented the decline of latin phraseology, there will always be someone gnashing their teeth about a decline in standards - was it ever thus.”

    What’s wrong with high standards? Birks was not some ancient, anachronistic professor.

    “Other countries have similar fast tracks for those who have already attained an academic standard of which (mentioned above) is at least half of the LLB. E.G You can do a Juris Doctor in two years.”

    This is the case in the most capitalist countries where you can get anything if you are prepared to pay. If you go to the continent where the legal profession is taken seriously such shortcuts are unthinkable.

    “The GDL and the LLB are substantively the same, the only significant difference is that you have a third of the time in the GDL to reach pretty much the same standard.”

    You really do think that the standard required to pass GDL exams is the same as the standard required to pass LLB exams, don’t you..!

    “As any tutor will tell you, at LEAST a third of the LLB is spent teaching clueless teenagers the basics of academic study.”

    Even if this is true (which I doubt) that would account for 1 year of a 3 year LLB. That means the LLB student then has 2 years of studying the law. You cannot say that I have a 2:1 undergraduate degree in, say, history and therefore I have done the “academic” side of law. Law is a completely unique discipline that requires hours of practice and honing in a library. There is no substitute for that.

    “If firms seriously thought there was a difference in quality then GDL students simply wouldn't get hired, market forces would reign, as they almost always do.”

    Not true. Firms simply don’t care. What’s most important is how presentable and commercially aware the applicant is, legal ability comes a distant second.

    Being a good lawyer is a combination of different abilities, fair enough, just don’t say the GDL is “equivalent to” an LLB. It isn’t.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "I didn’t go to Oxbridge."

    I never said you did. Given your post it was obvious I was talking about Birks.

    "Simply not true, particularly when you compare top Law Faculties with top Medicine Faculties."

    Nonsense, doctors have a much higher average IQ than lawyers.

    http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/bulletin/bulletinpdf/newbulletin8.pdf


    "This is your most absurd statement. Have you ever seen an LLB finals paper?! "

    Yes indeed, I have looked at all the past LLB papers for the last three years in prep for my GDL finals, they contain exactly the same kind of problem questions, cover the same areas and are substantively identical. You don't live on the same planet if you think there's any real difference.

    "This is the case in the most capitalist countries where you can get anything if you are prepared to pay."

    Nonsense, such fast tracks enable you to practice in many different countries such as the US and Australia - we're not talking banana republics or internet degrees - your straw man argument falls flat.

    "You really do think that the standard required to pass GDL exams is the same as the standard required to pass LLB exams, don’t you..!"

    Yes because it absolutely is. You could swap one exam paper for another and no one would notice.

    "Law is a completely unique discipline that requires hours of practice and honing in a library."

    Sorry, have you been in cryogenic suspension since the seventies? Ever heard of Westlaw and Nexis? Law isn't unique at all, there are many transferable skills from other areas of study that fit with legal method very nicely. Stop trying to make it sound more important than it actually is, we're not potential clients on here y'know.

    "They would “have a clue” about at least 3 of them, that is more than a GDL student can claim"

    Yeah probably about one more... as the GDL involves english legal system, family and EU law from that list. You can swot up to LLB exam-level standard for family law in about 3 weeks.

    "Semantics"

    Uh... no. I suggest you look up the definition of semantics and then re read the point.


    "What’s wrong with high standards?"

    Nothing, I'm not saying that the GDL is higher or lower standard than the LLB, they're pretty much the same standard it's just that the GDL is completed in a third of the time because those taking it already know how to string a sentence together. If standards have declined then they have declined across the board.

    “You can do an LLB in a year if you have the brains and the determination.”

    "Where???"

    Anywhere there's a GDL course :-)

    "Firms simply don’t care."

    Now you are being absurd.

    "just don’t say the GDL is “equivalent to” an LLB. It isn’t."

    The SRA and the Bar Standards Board seem to think so... no doubt you are right and they're wrong.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I do the GDL now - its not that hard. There's a lot to it (quantity) but content wise its not that hard. Whilst I've had to work harder than I did on my degree, the learning is far easier.

    End of the day, law as a subject is easier and more enjoyable to learn than a science or mathematical degree.

    Neither us GDL students nor 'real law degree' students are amazing. Doesn't mean we can't wiggle our way into a magic circle firm though.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • maturestudent, since you introduced grammatical pedantry to the debate, it's 'poly' not 'polly'

    (greek, not parrots, mate. thanks for your contribution anyway...)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "You really do think that the standard required to pass GDL exams is the same as the standard required to pass LLB exams, don’t you..!"

    Given that some GDL students will study at institutions alongside LLB cohorts, please don't exaggerate and distort any substantive differences between the two; I sit in the same lectures, study the same core syllabus and am examined upon the same papers. There has been no difference in tutorial assistance, marking criteria or requirements to undertake further research into academic debate etc.

    That GDL students do not extend their substantive knowledge into more specialised electives is undeniable but as you yourself appear to acknowledge, legal ability is at least as much about the 'practice and honing' of application as it is about the acquisition of fact and authority. My diploma, examined through the same exams as the LLB, will simply not allow me to be so leniently distinguished from any LLB undergraduate as you ignorantly wish to assume.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Given that some GDL students will study at institutions alongside LLB cohorts, please don't exaggerate and distort any substantive differences between the two; I sit in the same lectures, study the same core syllabus and am examined upon the same papers. There has been no difference in tutorial assistance, marking criteria or requirements to undertake further research into academic debate etc."

    I do not know of any of the top law faculties where LLB and GDL students sit side by side in lectures or sit the same exams.

    If you are referring to an ex-poly then fine, your GDL might be the "equivalent" of your classmates' LLB but everybody knows that there is a huge gap in quality between the standards of a top law faculty and some of the other law faculties around the country.

    I'm sorry if this sounds like academic snobbery, but it's true.

    It's like that car advert:

    "just like a Golf"

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "I'm sorry if this sounds like academic snobbery, but it's true."

    Nope, it's pure snobbery with no evidence to back it up whatsoever. Pure assertion.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page |

Have your say

Mandatory Required Fields

Mandatory

Comments that are in breach or potential breach of our terms and conditions in particular clause 8, may not be published or, if published, may subsequently be taken down. In addition we may remove any comment where a complaint is made in respect of it. These actions are at our sole discretion.

  • Print
  • Comments (58)