The pointlessness of a law degree

  • Print
  • Comments (93)

Readers' comments (92)

  • As David is not a LLB graduate or lecturer himself, it's interesting, but perhaps not surprising, that he feels free to weigh in regardless.

    Please can we have David explain how to be an astronaut next.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Another pile of diarrhoea from David Allen Green. Only a non-LLB graduate would come out with such tripe.

    What next? Studying medicine is a waste of time if you want to become a doctor?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @Lord Denning.

    Diarrhoea is an illness. You can't thereby have a "pile" of it. What you mean is that it is a "pile of shit".

    The meanings of words matter, even for LLB graduates ;-)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I also disagree with the reductionist approach taken by the author. Studying law for a degree is not the same as doing a course on car mechanics at the local tech.

    It isn't designed to train you to draft sales agreements or negotiate personal injury claims. The purpose of studying law at university is to train the mind to deal with abstract concepts and principles, to express these coherently and to apply logic to situations.

    Unfortunately, it would seem that the concept of studying a subject purely for the sake of it is alien to the author.

    He also displays a depressing level of ignorance about the practice of law if he thinks that practising lawyers never look at law reports or articles in `learned journals'. Every competent lawyer, whether engaged in contentious or non-contentious work, needs to keep up to date. In any case, many - I would hope most - lawyers are actually interested in the law and legal developments even if they don't directly impact on their own field of practice.

    This attitude that all academic study must be justifiable by reference to a practical skill attained at the end of it is frankly crass, and exhibits a sad lack of understanding about the basic purpose of education.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Completely agree. Pointless

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • A few sensitive souls who clutch their LLB protectively have been offended by David Allen Green I see! I think Green has an both an LLB and a non-law degree so perhaps he is in a position to comment.

    Obviously this is intended to be an amusing article but it also raises good points, and not just many non-law degrees can equip one for a career in law just as well as a law degree. Most law degrees seem to have no regard whatsoever to the reality of legal work, except to an extent the reality of legal work as a barrister in independent practice. Since hardly any law graduates in England become practising barristers (check the statistics) it doesn't make sense for LLBs to be seen as gold standard in education for aspirant lawyers. Nothing wrong with academic study as an end unto itself but LLB providers love to market their courses as the gateway to a lucrative career in love to prospective students - and as Green says, the only advantage in this respect that an LLB provides is by saving a year of time and expense. And the LLB in its current form is the excuse for why we all had to sit LPCs or BVCs which are pretty badly designed courses which leech money from us.

    Of course many lawyers, somewhat vainly, regard law as the ultimate intellectual challenge and believe an LLB reveals intellectual ability and that is why they think LLBs have value...

    Do LLBs have value? Unless you plan to be a barrister, about as much as other academic degress. No more.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I don't agree. I have found my LLB quite useful in practice. I feel that my legal knowledge is ahead of other junior associates and trainees who converted. As a trainee it took me a lot less time to get my head around the company law involved with corporate and finance practice and my work in litigation was rated extremely well. I definitely give some credit to my LLB.

    Doing an LLB gives you legal reasoning ability that other degrees don't. You learn to draw fine distinctions, you learn about how cases are decided and you learn about how and why things go wrong. You simply don't and can't get this on a course as short as the GDL.

    It does depend what field you are doing. If you are doing residential conveyancing or asset finance, an LLB isn't very useful. If you want to become a litigator then an LLB is extremely useful, because you need a good knowledge of complicated legal concepts, you need legal reasoning skills and you need the "lawyer's instinct" for how cases get decided in this jurisdiction. You also have a much better understanding of how the various parts of law fit together; someone who did the GDL is not going to understand the importance and operation of Agency law and Partnership law when drafting a Partnership Agreement because they only studied contract, without experience this will lead to more mistakes. There is no reason why GDLers can't develop this knowledge, but LLB students are definitely ahead both in their knowledge of different areas of law and legal reasoning skills.

    Its worth noting that LLBs are more recognised in other jurisdictions. The UK is one of the only jurisdictions that allows people to convert, most places in Europe/US/Canada/Asia require law degrees to train in that country.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @ Rural Bliss - I agree with your sentiments.

    It is breathtaking how little "raw" legal knowledge is embedded in young lawyers by the time they are qualified. A degree in History, English or Modern Languages plus a 9months cram course (GDL) should not be an acceptable pre-requisite for entry onto a t/c.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Students go to university to study academic degrees shock!
    Seriously - you might as well opine on how unprepared politics graduates are for running their local council.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Criminal lawyers do tend to read learned journals and cases due to the abundance of law and new law in this area. Otherwise I agree.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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

Have your say

Mandatory Required Fields


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 (93)