Lawyer 2B shows A-level students the way

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    "Seventeen-year-old Danielle Nash from St Charles Sixth Form College in West London said: “I was surprised to find out that you don’t need to study law to become a lawyer. It’s better because if you don’t actually want to study law you can study something that you enjoy and then get a really good grade.”"

    In other words you can study something easy, probably golf course management, to get a first or two one then take a pathetically easy conversion course (no doubt funded by a law firm that thinks having someone with a degree in knitting will show their diversity) and become a lawyer, overstepping people who studied law.

    And if you want to study something 'you enjoy' instead of law, hence suggesting you don't enjoy law, then why should you want to be a lawyer?

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  • Re Blatant Abuse

    Firstly, you show your ignorance by assuming that studying law at degree level in some way prepares you to become a lawyer. Comparing the academic study of law at degree level and practising law as a professional is like saying being able to write prepares you for a career as a journalist. Academic study and the practical professional experience are two totally different things.

    In addition even if you did Golf Course Management and then managed somehow to pass the CPE, trust me you will have earned your right to go on and study the LPC or BVC as its an horrendous exam, I should know I took it and I am now a solicitor.

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  • BlatantAbuse

    I found the academic study of law tedious, but thoroughly enjoy being a lawyer in practice. I know many who feel the same. With the benefit of hindsight, I would probably read modern languages or PPE and convert, though I'll grant that Knitting has it advantages...

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  • GDL v LLB

    I have to say that I agree with blantant abuse. Tis a tad ridiculous that somebody who wants to supposedly do law would rather do something more enjoyable first. I think anybosy who is actually committed to law would first of all do a law degree. And yes, although an academic law degree is not the same as practice, doing one is harder and more challenging that the GDL. I have an LL.B but I am currently doing land law on the GDL as I studied in N.Ireland and need the english land law as our law is too different. Quite honestly, the GDL does not come close to an LL.B. It lacks detail and is more a general synopsis than an in depth study. Anybody who really wants to do law, will do an LL.B at 18. To succeed at law, you need to be committed and dedicated, and I would kind of doubt how committed GDL types actually are. Seems they realize that that their classics, english degree can't actually get them anywhere, so decide to take shelter under law and bypass those who have done a law degree

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  • RE: Stuart

    And Stuart, are you seriously trying to make out that the GDL exmas are worse that than those for an LLB?????????????? Come on, you have far less to get onto the LPC than those with an LLB. I am sure you are an excellent solicitor, but the GDL is easy and would not have challenged you as much as an LLB.

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  • Choosing careers at 18

    Unfortunate comment by Danielle, but demonstrates the naivety of people at that age. What about the many people who don't know what they want to do for a career at age 18, and make the choice to become a lawyer later, after having done a more general degree? Does that mean they are a worse lawyer?

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  • GDL v LLB

    Valid as the arguments on here are, unless you have done both the GDL and LLB there will always be an element of snobbery and no one will ever be able to compare the two objectively.

    However as someone who did the GDL after qualifying in another profession (surveying) and am now a successful construction lawyer one could argue that 'other routes' into law create more rounded and commercial lawyers.

    Even if the GDL is supposedly an 'easier' route into law, Blatant Abuse's argument that I did 'an easy degree' and then a 'pathetically easy conversion course' is quite simply talking rubbish. Try working, raising a child and completing the GDL to Distinction standard - not easy by any means. Does the client or the senior partner ever ask if you have an LLB or GDL as long as you provide a top service - getting the law right is expected of ALL lawyers - it's what else you bring to the job that distinguishes the top lawyers.

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  • Now Oxbridge need to reach out

    Daniel Harris from Harrow College said: “I always thought that you had to go to Oxford or Cambridge to become a lawyer, but the law firms explained to us that you can go to a normal university and, as long as you do well, you can then go on to become a lawyer.”

    Based on Daniel Harris from Harrow's comment, it sounds like Oxford and Cambridge now need to reach out to show that they are "normal" universities. If these are gifted and talented state educated pupils - isn't this the demographic which Oxford and Cambridge are seeking to attract?

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  • Get real

    I went to Harrow College and did law there and went on to do a law degree. 6 years after leaving with decent A-levels (and 2 years after getting a 2:1), I still have no training contract. My advice to these kids is, get real.

    Going to Oxbridge it is an automatic route to a training contract and I can tell you how hard it is trying to get good grades when there are 30 people in you’re a-level law class – almost impossible. The recruiters shouldn't be telling people that they want a diverse socio-economic intake when there's no way of telling someone's background from the application form and really, they don't want it, they just have to say it.

    At the firm I work in now, there is not one trainee in my department who didn’t go to private school and I'm the only paralegal who went to a state school. Maybe someone should be telling them those facts to save them the bother.

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  • Re: previous posts

    What a lot of nonsense. I could not agree more with Danielle's comments - why study law for three years when it bears absolutely no resemblance to the work you'll do as a lawyer?

    If you are interested in a different area why not study that, simply to become better educated - after all, that is the purpose of a university education.

    I took the PGDL, so must declare an interest - but far from studying golf course management I studied biochmistry at a top 10 rusell group university. I spent many long hours researching, reporting, writing essays, attending lectures and seminars, carrying out my own research - all of which skills have stood me in very good stead as a commercial lawyer of 7 years PQE.

    Of course a degree in leisure and tourism won't ever compare to a more academic discipline - but no-one is claiming that. And HR teams are sophisticated enough to rank a 1st in whatever honours school from a 'new uni' in a very different category from a 2:2 from Oxbridge.
    And in applying for a training contract no-one oversteps another, because no-one is entitled to a job anywhere. If you're a good candidate from a good uni you'll get a TC, whatever subject you studied and whatever classification you achieved.

    Speaking as one now involved in recruitment and assessment of candidates for TCs, it is by and large the students with the PGDL who stand out, partly because they've been motivated enough to swim against the tide of their honours school, instead of simply plodding along the treadmill of law. HelloKitty - not sure it is fair to compare LLB and PGDL exams, after all PGDL is simply a crammer of the key elements. But remember that each entrant to the PGDL has already completed an undergraduate degree themselves, no less challenging and in many cases far more challenging than an LLB, so is no less qualified or equipped to take the LPC.

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  • Don't kid yourself

    Hellokitty and Blatantabuse are slightly deranged... There are a million and one different fields in law and what purpose does Roman Law or Property Law have for a capital markets lawyer?

    The transferable skills learned doing other degrees apply equally well to a legal career, regardless of the actual subject matter, and 99% of what goes on during a law degree or GDL is completely irrelevant when you're in practice...

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  • Why the anti-GDL feeling guys?

    Why do some law graduates resent people coming to the subject a bit later so much? Surely if you like the subject you'll be happy for people to study it (even if it is in the less degree style GDL) - if you are committed and bright surely you'll find a training contract anyway, whatever your background? Surely even if it's not an advantage, it's not a disadvantage to do a LLB?

    Also, I'm sure many of those who have studied an LLB have not gone into practice (most people I know in fact), just as I did a maths degree and (much as I loved it) didn't go into any of the fields typically associated with it. As I temped in different places, and realised my skills, I realised what I wanted to do. Not many people know exactly what they want to do at 18 and why should they?

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  • I have a dream

    Here's to the day when law is taught in primary schools and secondary schools across the land. Then one can know at the age of 16 with absolute certainty that they 'enjoy law'.

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  • Hellokitty

    Hellokitty said she "would kind of doubt how committed GDL types actually are." I did the GDL part time in the evenings while I also had a full time job, and have found that in general, legal employers viewed that as a demonstration of committment to a successful career in law rather that something that cast doubt on it.

    And as for the comment "anyone who really wants to do law will do an LLB at 18", the assumption that everyone's circumstances will allow them to do that demonstrates just the sort of attitude that has limited diversity in law firms in the past.

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  • There is a world outside the law

    Blatantabuse's attitude is extraordinary to anyone outside the law. The rest of us know that there's more to life than law, so a university education can reasonably reflect other interests, saving the vocational aspect for later. Blatantabuse's approach is one reason why so many lawyers find it impossible to relate to, or even communicate with, non-lawyers.

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  • What the hell's the LPC for?

    If one was to follow the fussy logic of the two posters who have come out as so anti the GDL route then surely they, with their advanced LLB understanding, would trounce the poor GDL clowns on the LPC and henceforth proove their point.

    Unfortunately for them this isn't the case: those who do the GDL achieve exactly the same results on the LPC as those who have done a 3 year law course. The fact is that law at Uni is pretty easy, the GDL isn't too tricky and if their was any disparity between the two our friends in HR would be smart enough to notice. I did the GDL route and will accept that a law degree has a greater breadth of experience but in practice the two routes have little to do with the actual 'job'. Now if you will excuse me I'm off to work on my swing- these golf course management essays don't write themselves you know!

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  • non-law first degree

    Go to the US and do a JD. Then earn USD160K base plus USD30K bonus right out of school. You will get cost of living adjustment if you work outside the US of up to USD60-80K. All in this means USD270K for a fresh grad with a JD. Forget about the stupid GDL or a LLB, JD is the way to go and you'll get paid 3 to 4 times what pathetic trainees are being paid

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  • Barristers are lawyers too!

    As I understand it, the GDL is designed to give an overview of the key areas of the law quickly, whereas the LLB is designed for in-depth study and analysis. On this understanding, I would say that the LLB would be more beneficial to a future barrister, rather than a future solicitor. Barristers require the ability to gain a deep understanding of a particular area of the law; the policy considerations underlying legislation, the principles an aspect of tort law is based upon etc, very quickly, which is something, I would say, a solicitor doesn't have to deal with as frequently. Also (and I apologise if this is incorrect) jurisprudence is a subject of enormous importance to a barrister for the reasons above, and is not available on the GDL.

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  • Re "Now Oxbridge need to reach out"

    Re: "Now Oxbridge need to reach out
    Date: 10-Mar-2009 @ 16:09
    From: Anonymous"

    What rubbish. School pupils who can't work out that you don't need to go to Oxbridge to study law surely aren't exactly what the profession is looking for... We all have the similar opportunities and people should not get special treatment.

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  • LLB Route

    Being a Second Year law student studying the LLB I am quite appalled at Tiger Woods' comments that reading law at universiy is 'pretty easy'. In comparison with my peers my degree is far more difficult and challenging, especially managing coursework, tutorial work and vac scheme applications simultaneously. I think it is offensive to all LLB students to say our degree is 'easy'. If it was perceived so by reputable law firms why would they not ask for a First Class Degree instead of a 2:1? Surely if the content is that easy and we all work hard a First should be manageable? I don't think so, not if you want to have a life. Really disrespectful of Tiger Woods.

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  • LLB

    This debat is all very well, it does however ignore the very variable quality of LLBs drom diferant insttutions

    When recruiting for TCs I have a slight preference for LLB but only if (a) they enjoyed it (b) it was of excelant quality

    My esperience has been that if (a) and (b) are not met the advantage of the LLB is ilusory

    I would rather recruti someone with a pass degree than a 2.2 because you don't often get a 2.2 without doing some work , and if you are bright with that amount of work you should have got a 2.1 thus you are likely to be pedestrian

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  • Career bashing

    Having graduated with a 2.1 in classics more than 25 years ago I went on to study a CPE (the forerunner of the GDL) and then qualified as a solicitor in city firm. I have been a partner for over 17 years and never once have I had cause to regret studying classics instead of law. Indeed in my experience the ability to solve a legal problem through careful analysis and to communicate in well structured and grammatically correct English (along with a heavy dose of pragmatism) have been more useful in my career than a detailed knowledge of the English penal system (or any of the other more archane areas involved in the academic study of law). Perhaps the arguments of some of the posters would have been more persuasive (and certainly better expressed) had they had a broader education.

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  • So damn militant

    Look, why can people doing the GDL not realize that this course is not as good as an LL.B. That is a fact! I considered doing history and ancient history at uni, and if I had then subsequently done the GDL, I would openly admit that the GDL isn't the same. Why are these gdl types so damn militant about this course? Why can they not admit that a GDL cannot equal a LLB? I really do not think it is fair that the GDL students can bypass LLB sudents in terms of training contracts. I have a friend who did the BVC, he studied law with German at Oxford and got a 2.1 and cannot find a pupilage. Yet a friend of his who was on the BVC with him, a GDL type who studied french, who did not have a clue what the difference between ABH, GBH, common assault etc was, managed to secure a pupilage. Oxford is one of the best uni's in the UK. Law is one of the best degrees. How therefore can a GDL type bypass somebody of this calibre, and also somebody who has done so much mooting and work experience. It just doesn't seem to make sense. I think that if somebody is wanting to convert to law they should do the LLB in two years thing, not the gdl.

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  • LLB v GDL

    I completely disagree that not studying a law degree shows a lack of commitment to a career in law. I am sure there are hundreds of 18 year olds who choose to study law at university simply because they do not know what they want to do with their lives and law sounds like a good bet, or are pushed into it by overbearing parents. In my view, electing to study the GDL, having already studied for a first degree, shows an equal if not greater level of commitment. In any event, I think that graduate recruiters look for much firmer evidence of commitment to law, e.g. work experience or related voluntary work. With no disrespect whatsoever to those who studied law at university (which I wil admit did entail far greater input than my modern languages degree), lawyers with a non-law background can bring additional skills to the job, for example languages, as in my case. All of my colleagues know the law, but not all of them are able to communicate with non-English speaking clients. I understand the frustration of law graduates beaten to jobs by those who may have studies a less challenging degree, but I seriously doubt that the top firms would consider an applicant with a so-called "Mickey Mouse" degree.

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  • -

    I'm going to come and say it, I know it's painful for you all to hear it but (having studied part of the GDL due to the problem with the Land Law offered by QUB in NI) the GDL is a joke. It's a Mickey Mouse course dreamed up to, by and large, give a chance for employment to unemployable people who wanted to study a painfully easy course so they could spend three years of their life drunk and still come out with a first.
    The averge GDL student hasn't studied economics, business, or any other remotely relevant or academically rigorous course, they've studied nonsense like Byzantine Studies, Golf Course Management or Dog Turd In The Street Studies (Classics).
    There's no quick fix conversion courses for virtually every other profession so there's no reason why there should be one for law.
    If you're not of a high enough academic calibre then you shouldn't be a lawyer, it's not that hard to get the minimum A Levels for most unis. It's not as if most GDL students have any reason to want to be a lawyer, such as having worked as a paralegal or similar position for a while; the average GDL student wants to be a lawyer because there's no demand for people with joke degrees (except maybe in the circus).
    And as for peoples' circumstances, if they can afford to study a degree then there's no reason why they can't study a law degree - law attracts the same fees as every other course at a uni.

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  • GDL v LLB

    1. Commitment – many law students choose to pursue non-law careers after studying law. Equally, many non-law students choose to pursue legal careers after studying a non-law degree. This ‘commitment’ idea is nonsense – there are plenty of committed people from both sides, and equally plenty who lack commitment. In any event, one could easily make the argument that a non-lawyer who researches the law and commits to a career that means starting from scratch and studying for a further 2 years is at least as committed as a law student. Perhaps the average law student has been commitment to a legal career for longer, but so what? Candidates are not measured on how long they’ve wanted to be a lawyer, but on their intelligence and potential.

    2. Quality – no one here is seeking to claim that the GDL provides a more rigorous legal education than an LLB. In fact, the purpose of the two courses is different. A GDL seeks to provide a basic level of legal knowledge that will enable students to understand the LPC. The LLB seeks to develop various skills including research, analysis, persuasive writing etc in addition to providing students with legal knowledge. Graduates on the GDL have already developed the skills part of the LLB on their undergraduate courses. In terms of how 'difficult' the courses are, I found law required little work. By way of comparison, the GDL involves studying 7 subjects simultaneously, as well as learning about legal research and doing coursework, whereas the first year of the average LLB involves 3 subjects plus and ‘introduction’ worth 30-odd credits, and it doesn’t even count!

    3. TC recruitment – let’s apply a little common sense here. Law firms are professional organisations with plenty of experience in selecting candidates with the necessary skills and potential to meet the needs of the business - ie good future lawyers. If the LLB made for better lawyers, firms simply wouldn’t recruit non-law students. It costs firms more money to recruit non-lawyers as they have to sponsor an additional year of study and pay for an extra course, so they must (based on their experience, one has to assume) believe that non-law students represent a good portion of the candidates with the greatest potential to make good lawyers. I have yet to come across a GDL convert at my firm who did anything other than a respectable undergraduate course, be it sciences, politics and philosophy, languages or history.

    4. JD in the USA – the fees alone cost upwards of $30k/year, so you’re looking at taking on $120k+ of debt to fund the course and living expenses for 3 years. Firms don’t sponsor you for this, whereas UK trainees (at least law grads) can get sponsorship and start earning after the first year. I discussed this recently with a US qualified friend (who gots the relocation allowance and fat salary etc before moving inhouse), who said that a) the billable targets (ie the minimum!) in New York can be upwards of 2400hours/year compared to 1600-1700 at many City counterparts, b) you don’t necessarily get paid holiday – you can take time off, but that just makes it harder to meet your billable targets, and consequently hit bonus levels, c) 3 years on from starting the LPC or JD, a UK NQ has 2 years of practical experience of law across several different areas, whereas a US counterpart has no experience and doesn’t get to try out different areas of law when they start. Yes, the US guys earn more, but you don’t get the breadth of experience, training, support services (IT, secretarial, professional support lawyers etc), benefits (canteen, onsite gym etc) or work/life balance that you get in a UK firm. That’s fine if you’re only interested in the cash, but the reality of actually working 9:00-23:00 and two full weekends a month is not pleasant and leaves little time for actually enjoying your 20s.

    PS – As someone who went the LLB route, I found it immensely irritating that non-l

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  • Well done Lawyer 2B

    I am a solicitor at a top 15 firm and subscribe to The Lawyer. I have just read the Backchat comments and am disappointed by many of the comments I read today.
    I was state school educated then went on to university to study Politics. After a few years working in the world of politics I decided to do what was then the PGDL. The first time I realised that my ex poly university was not “good enough” was when I decided to apply for training contracts.
    My parents are immigrants who did not study in this country and did not go to university. They were unable, therefore, to offer me the necessary guidance on university selection etc. Any guidance to assist those like me is greatly appreciated. My path to the firm I am currently at would have been so much easier had this guidance been available when I was doing my A levels.

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  • General views/banter

    That kind of blank eyed ignorance from City Lawyers makes my point entirely. Get out in the real world!

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  • Are Hello Kitty and Blatant Abuse the same person? Or is it just law students at Queen's with their wayward land law subjects that are venomously opposed to the GDL conversion route?

    Hello Kitty was in previous discussions on Legal Week bemoaning the fact that GDL types were 'overstepping' law students. Hello Kitty couldn't get a training contract, bless! How frustrating - to reach the dizzying heights of academic achievement (or, if you are to apply the same intellectual snobbery exposed above, getting into the UK's 31st (Sunday Times), 46th (Guardian) or 34th (Independent) ranked university) and then be turned down by recruiters.

    Perhaps it is because despite that poster's outstanding academic achievements (with an MA in Human Rights Law, no less) recruiters are looking for academic ability as a basic entry condition, and, once this box is ticked, are more concerned with a whole range of other personal, practical, commercial and legal skills.

    The idea of spending time with someone who can get so ludicrously animated by the different routes to the profession's entry may have tainted the success of their applications and/or interviews.

    To qualify the above I confess to GDL entry. I agree that it is not as academically rigorous as a three year law degree - to claim anything of the sort would be ridiculous. It is a single year crammer course. But I thought my 1st class honours from the LSE combined with a commendation in the GDL and a distinction in the LPC were sufficient to demonstrate academic ability. I then differentiated myself with a plethora of work experience, outside interests and positions of responsibility. The multiple magic and silver circle TC offers I picked up suggest recruiters agreed.

    If people with LLBs are being 'overstepped' perhaps they should concentrate on improving their CVs rather than wasting time pouring bile on comment sites and snarling at others who have managed to get TCs and actually practice law.

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  • absolutely get real these people speak absolute nonsense they do not accept people from poorer backgrounds or from ethnic minority camps. I know 2 students, one has much better qualifications and education but she was ethnic minority and she was rejected yet a white girl from he same year worse grades no experience and she was accepted. Funny that!

    These law firms need to stop suggesting that people from ethnic minority camps will be accepted into law firms if they have the necessary qualifications this is simply not true... kids go out and seek a profession in medicine or psychology or teaching where there really is no discrimination.

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  • I think many people are missing the point here.
    Whether a person has studied the GDL or the LLB is totally irrelevant. What are important are their abilities and skills.
    The law firms are looking to recruit someone special, someone with extraordinary abilities. The reason some applicants are successful, despite not studying the LLB, is that they are able to demonstrate to the recruiters, via the application process, that they possess the right skills for the job, and that there is something "special" about them as a person, something that should make the recruiters WANT to hire THEM and not any other applicant.
    Those applicants who have not been successful at finding training contracts, even though they have gone to Oxford, got amazing A-levels, got a 2.1 in the LLB, are so because despite being able to demonstrate excellent academic ability - or at least the ability to jump through the hoops of academic education - they have not demonstrated the other skills that are integral to a successful solicitor.

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