In defence of the GDL

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  • What difference does it make? What matters is that it gives everyone an opportunity to choose their best mode of study.

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  • To be quite honest, all those who are claiming that the GDL is not as good as an LLB need to get over themselves. Why would law firms hire GDL students if they were not as qualified? Get real and stop all this rubbish.

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  • Quite a lively debate. I am a GDLer. I got a very good undergraduate degree from a very good University and a good Masters from an even better University. In addition, I am lucky enough to have a TC in the Magic Circle.

    I am going to side with the LLB students here.

    As somebody who has lived on the continent, I can confirm that when I was first approached by a recruiter who told me about the conversion course, I thought it was the most preposterous thing I had ever heard about. Law in 9 months seemed ridiculous and not only that, it also seemed to make a mockery of what, in my view is, one of the most noblest professions.

    Nevertheless, as I was truly interested in studying law, I decided to apply and later accept the offer to do the GDL. Now, having completed the GDL, I also think that the course is borderline ridiculous. In fact, I think in many ways it is misleading the call it a law course as you do not really "study law". What you are asked to do is memorize the law and apply it by following a pre-defined, ready to use structure. Now as everybody who has studied the GDL here will confirm, all you have to do is memorise and use the structure they give you. No independent thought is necessary. In fact, if you dare to change the order of the structure you will be punished with very low marks and remarks reading: "structure!!".

    Consequently, as somebody has already said, the GDL is about quantity not quality. There is nothing in there that is conceptually difficult to grasp and even if you do not get something it does not really matter, just learn what you do in such a situation and memorize it and you will be fine. As a lecturer said to us once about a potentially tricky bit in a specific area: "We are not going to be subtle about it in the exam - if it comes up, it will be obvious and this is what you have to do"

    Now, and call me an academic snob, but as somebody who is used to a very high academic standard, I was very disappointed with the whole experience of "spoon feeding" me what I need to know to pass an exam.

    There is so much more to law than just learning 5 torts and knowing how to recognize them. I can totally understand that LLB students are annoyed by GDL'ers who claim their degree is equivalent because it simply is not. Just because it qualifies you to do the same thing afterwards it does not mean that it is of the same standard or quality (sadly as this is how it should be).

    And the whole argument that you get an LLB as a GDLer after you do the LPC is absolutely pointless. These LLB degrees are not worth the paper they are printed on. First of all they are not recognized by the SRA nor can you apply with them to any serious University.

    I actually doubled checked this with a law professor at my old University (LSE) whom I have a good relationship to and my question was: "if I get a distinction in my GDL and my LPC and consequently in the CoL awarded LLB, could I apply with this to do an LLM?" and his answer was: "even with my recommendation letter - no chance - if I were you I would not mention these "qualifications" and just apply on your first degree and masters. Even though both are non law degrees, you would have a better chance of getting in with them"

    I think that says it all

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  • GDLers, absolute degenerates whom cannot make decisions in your life.
    please quit your life as quietly as possible, i will supply a noose were it is necessary.

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  • The GDL is shorter because it's assumed the students studying it have already mastered basic essay and research skills during their first degree. They don't need another year and a half of being taught the same.

    I agree it's not the equivalent (in terms of modules studied) of an LLB. It isn't meant to be. However, both are meant to give a good grounding in the principles of law and arguing your point (with evidence) if need be.

    As for it's worth - depends if you shine in other areas of your CV (i.e. volunteering at a local aw centre, shadowing, mini pupillage etc...).

    A 2:2 first degree with a competent GDL isn't going to get you far in London. A 2.1 first degree with a distinction/commendation with some experience is likely to twig someone's interest.

    Thank you - good night - much love.

    P.S @ Lord Denning (GDLers this is a Law Lord!) = save the noose for degenerates like yourself.

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  • You cannot take an art degree, complete a year at medical school and suddenly become a doctor. It is about time the GDL is abolished, it would solve the problem of all the appalling lawyers out there and bring the over subscription of legal graduates down. By the same token I cannot take a one year conversion course from my no mark LL.B and come out with a degree in politics, art or any other subject, this notion is ridiculous!

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  • I am a GDLer. I agree the GDL is not the full equivalent of an 3 year LLB (in terms of modules studied). That in itself is evident if you take account of around 18 modules normally studied in an LLB and seven core modules studied under the GDL.

    The GDL does not need to be a copy. The workload and rate of learning is much greater over the shorter period of a GDL based on the premise that 'GDLers' have already mastered (amongst others) basic essay writing and critical thinking skills. The same being necessary to graduate with least a second class honours first degree which is the prerequisite of the GDL.

    Presumably, the Bar Standards Council and Solicitors Regulation Authority are in agreement that it does not need to be a copy of the LLB as they regulate it.

    In so far as it being recognised by Employers - I would submit ;
    1) If you get a distinction, have some experience applying your learning , and have engaged actively in the Law (i.e by undertaking mini-pupillages, shadowing, work experience, mooting) - employers will consider you to have the relevant knowledge of a law graduate.
    2) If you scrape through with a pass, can barely recall legal arguments and you've done little to show any interest in Law - other than comparing salaries - you might want to consider saving your potential clients/employers from yourself.

    Good night, much love...

    PS: @Lord Denning (GDLers this is a Law Lord!) - Your comment is offensive.

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  • "You cannot take an art degree, complete a year at medical school and suddenly become a doctor"

    What a ridiculous analogy! Medicine and law are entirely different careers, with the former requiring a considerably more study and training.

    In fact, everything this commenter says is ridiculous. The GDL is not the same as an LLB, and no sensible person thinks it is (despite CoL and BPP's best efforts). Certainly no employer does.

    What employers do think, however, is that a candidate with a GDL is generally no better and no worse than a candidate with an LLB. And what employers think is all that matters here: they are the reason we study for LLBs or GDLs.

    If candidates with the GDL were so terrible, employers would steer clear of them. The fact that they don't tells you everything you need to know.

    Some LLB students have some mighty big chips on their shoulders.

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  • "What a ridiculous analogy! Medicine and law are entirely different careers, with the former requiring a considerably more study and training".

    Yes and by the same token, what ever sub-par degree you have is completely different to a career in law.

    In fact, it is ridiculous to think that these sub-par degrees teach students about essay writing and critical thinking skills up to the same standard of the most challenging degree available. The fact that just 6% of LL.B graduates come out with a first (the lowest percentage of any degree programme) proves this.

    It is also ridiculous for any GDL graduate to argue that they have shown dedication to a career in law. The biggest question is why on Earth would anyone who genuinely wanted to become a Lawyer take a subject other than law?

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  • The previous poster has failed to address my main point, namely that employers don't regard GDL candidates as "sub-par" to LLB candidates, despite their "sub-par degrees". Perhaps they do not have access to the same compelling evidence you have that no other degree besides an LLB provides candidates with satisfactory critical thinking and essay-writing skills (the latter being especially useful to a career in law, of course).

    As part of the recruitment process for my training contract I had to take two written tests. These tests required me to apply law to complex scenarios in a concise and well-organised manner. I took the exact same tests as candidates with LLBs. Miraculously, and despite my "sub-par" skills, I did well enough in them to receive an offer.

    But why would I, or any other GDL graduate, not do an LLB in the first place? Well, personally, I didn't know what career I wanted to pursue at the age of 17 when I applied to university. Not everyone does. Fortunately for me, wanting to become a solicitor since the age of 3 does not actually make someone a better solicitor.

    Others perhaps have your view that LLBs are extra hard, so decided to do a "sub-par degree" to get that easy-peasy 1st, and then convert via the GDL, realising that it probably won't affect their chances in the training contract market. Seems quite sensible, actually.

    And yes, some people on the GDL are doing it because they can't think of anything else to do, not because of some deep desire to practise law. However, judging from the number of people I knew who started an LLB because their parents pressured them into it, the GDL isn't unique in having students who are there for the wrong reasons.

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