The pointlessness of a law degree

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  • It is quite interesting...

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  • The best reason for doing a law degree in the current economic climate is that it cuts out an expensive year of having to do the conversion General Diploma in Law.I agree, it's also - speaking from experience - a hard-core cram of 2/3rd of a law degree in a year.
    Although it's actually known as the "Graduate Diploma in Law".

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  • I suspect your general point about the fitness of the law degree is valid. You've stretched your point a little far though. I very much doubt that my history degree (I took the GDL route) is of more use than a law degree would have been. And of course, as you say, the law degree would have been quicker and cheaper.

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  • Spot on.
    Can someone also please let the students whose parents aren't equity partners already know quite how excessive the hot housing and cramming has become before during and after the terms - there is no level playing field here either.
    There are more law graduates now outside the profession than inside it - and guess what - they're busy having even more fun...

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  • I was for years a court practitioner and a part-time judge (as well as being a law professor). I found what I learned in my law degree very useful in practice (and I found myself reading law reports and learned articles in the course of that practice virtually daily). But that may be because I'm qualified in the Scottish system rather than the English, and am an advocate rather than a solicitor.

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  • I agree with many of your points here, but I'll take one piece of bait...
    Surely, learning how to read a case carefully and extract the various principles and arguments is a valuable skill for solicitors and barristers, and one not readily obtained by, as you suggest, doing a history degree.
    I realise that that skill isn't going to be used daily by most lawyers, most obviously non-contentious lawyers, but trainees are often required to research case law, and I can't imagine budding barristers will get very far without it.

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  • I'm in the final year of my Law degree and have long suspected the pointlessness of it in relation to a career in law. This is especially so since I did a few vacation schemes - there, the students on non-law degrees were just as capable of doing the work given to us as those of us on law degrees.
    In the same way that A-Levels are little more than a stepping stone to university, a law degree is only a stepping stone to a career in law and certainly not a foundation for it.

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  • I also can appreciate the underlying point here, although it does depend upon the area of law that you are working in.

    As someone that does a lot of commercial contracts, it is often surprising/alarming to see how few lawyers actually have a solid grounding in fundamental contract law principles, which can leave their client very exposed in a negotiation.

    The prime offenders are often non-law graduates who have missed some of the basics in the deluge of information in the one year crammer...

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  • This guy totally misses the point. Sure I could have studied any degree, topped it up with a GDL and still bagged a training contract.. but I didn't, because -believe it or not- I'm actually interested in law as a subject.

    Law degrees aren't pointless, they just rank equally with any other degree. Firms don't care what degree you have as long as it shows the skills they're after. Take whatever you enjoy. Hell you're spending enough money on it.

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  • Law degrees are not solely intended to teach students how to be lawyers. Unlike the GDL or other comparable courses, a law degree should seek to place the law in its political, social, historical, and economic context, so naturally it imparts information that is not directly relevant to practice as a lawyer. Many would consider that to be a good thing (especially given how early a student can begin to specialise in the English education system). Sometimes, the extra breadth and depth of knowledge provided by a law degree equips a lawyer with a greater degree of versatility in his/her dealings with the law, but that's a point on which it will be almost impossible to find a consensus. The article raises some interesting wider questions: Should university-level degrees be more vocational? Should they exist at all? And are universities here to provide education, or training?

    Unfortunately, as usual, DAG overstates his case in an attempt to be controversial. I don't think of my law degree as "worse than useless" and, I suspect, DAG is not similarly dismissive of his own.

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