Lawyer 2B shows A-level students the way

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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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