The pointlessness of a law degree

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  • Any degree is a good degree if you do it till yer bum hurts...Going to court for six weeks last summer brought it to life for me. Now I see the connections, the relevance, the application, the fault lines, the good advocate vs the incompetent one.
    It's like most things in life you only get out of it what you put into it. Go LLBers... (2nd Yr LLB)
    Yerravvinnerlarrff DAG - whats yer real motive for writing this banal insulting drivel?

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  • I think what your column is actually saying is that there is not much law in the commercial practice of a law firm. Having practiced as a barrister and in an public sector role the meaningful understanding of how law is made, developed and interpreted, the relationship between different disciplines and their common themes that you (should) get from a law degree and in my experiance is not as evident from the GDL is vital to an advisory practice and would have quite neatly informed some of the commercial contracts that I have had to deal with in the past. I will note that one of the best lawyers I know was a GDL graduate but he also has a real appetite for the law and freely admits that he made up for gaps in his foundation through the most comprehensive and well maintained development of his skills through those law reports and journals that you suggest are meaningless.

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  • This article doesn't reflect my experience of practice. I have and continue to have quite regular recouse to legal research in my work.
    The problem with this article is it treats all areas of law as the same. Sure, if you're working in particular transactional areas where you are doing the same thing over and over again you probably don't need great research skills. But if you work in (as I do) construction disputes, you quite regularly find yourself having to research answers to complex areas of fact and law. I'm sure that applies to a lot of other contentious areas of practice as well.

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  • heaven forbid studying a subject where you have to think and question why we abide the rules we live by, why we punish people the way we do, why our legal system is structured the way it is, why you will be liable for causing others harm or losing them money and in which circumstances.
    The saddest thing about a law degree is personified in this article - all it is now perceived as is a rung in the ladder to city slicker success.

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  • A Law Degree would be even better if all the lecturers could speak and understand English. Time to investigate just what nonsense is being taught in some of the universities who should know better. why don't the inspectors sit in on some of the lectures.

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  • “If one really wants to draft complex contractual documents then learn to write computer code, which is a very similar activity” – this is where the pointlessness of his article had me. Is he talking about programming? That drafting a complex contractual document is similar to the symbolic arrangement of the data & instructions in a computer program?
    The breadth of knowledge in the LLB helps to develop skills and Lawyers have the abilities to work in different sectors

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  • This may be true for non-contentious lawyers but as a litigation NQ at a City firm I very much disagree.
    I regularly look up law reports. I have read numerous articles.
    Skills gained during my law degree have been invaluable when drafting compelling legal arguments. Friends who've sat in contentious and niche departments have complained of feeling disadvantaged by having not done a law degree.
    Above all else though, my law degree was incredibly interesting and stimulating. I couldn't disagree with the author more.

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  • As a LLB student, and someone who took law at A Level, I feel get so annoyed the firms and chambers take on such a high percentage of non-law graduates.
    How can a non law graduate know that they will enjoy or excel in a career in law if they have never studied it?
    Maybe a LLB doesn't prepare you much more for a career in law than any other degree, but I think recruiters are blind if they think that the majority of non-law graduates have only applied for training contracts on the basis that they didn't really know what to do with their history degree and they saw a nice starting salary accompanied by sponsorship for postgraduate study.
    I understand the need for diversity, but why such a huge percentage of non-law grads?
    I have studied law for 6 years now (am now at the tail end of 4 year joint honors LLB) and I think I am in a much better position to start a legal career than a non-law grad. Even if only for the fact that I know it's definitely what I want to do with my life.

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  • It is especially unfair to put law degrees on the same level as other degree subjects when some degrees, such as maths, result in 30% of students getting first class degrees. For law (as far as I am aware) only around 6% of students get firsts. You cant really compare them.
    As I said, I do a joint honors LLB and I can get grades in my philosophy modules of around 80 without trying very hard at all. I can spend months on a law essay and just scrape a first. For me at least, some subjects are easier. I have no doubt that had I done a BA in philosophy I could have got a first. Whereas add law and an LLB into the mix and despite my best efforts, I will probably still come out with a 2:1.

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  • You could say that about any degree... but when you say do a history degree for this and a language degree for that... then you would be doing two degrees which would be a even bigger waste of time. Surely if you are going to argue this you should at least back it up with something like "law firms are more likely to consider someone with other degrees" which you have not. I'm sure most of the skills you learn and knowledge you gain is very useful and not pointless at all. What a very strange thing to say.

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  • I can't say I have scrolled through the 5 pages of comments so I apologise if I am about to repeat what has already been said.
    As an individual who took the GDL/LPC route as opposed to an LLB, I disagree with this articles' extreme degradation of an LLB. As a final seat trainee I have had a good number of appraisals, and a common theme certainly in the earlier ones was that my underlying understanding of certain "basic" legal concepts was not perhaps as thorough or as deep as my peers who had completed an LLB. I would hasten to add that this isn't due to a lack of intelligence in my part - I hope - having a first class degree and commendations/distinctions at GDL/LPC. I am happy with the route I took, and don't think that in the long term there will be a significant difference as my exposure to legal concepts continues, but I do not think it's fair to state that LLBs are "less than useless", certainly as a trainee I can see the benefits that my colleagues are reaping from having done an LLB.

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  • This is a welll worded debating piece. BUT
    1. Costs issues are significant to the choice
    2. The foundations laid down in a good law degree ARE very useful skills, easy to undervalue
    3.As someone practising commercial lit and employment but who has had to swop specialisms within those fields it provides confidence to swop fields within the legal sector
    4. I regularly read cases and articles. It is critical for what I do. I'm an advocate. My law degree was invaluable
    5. I loved the study of law (decades ago) and it confirmed my decision to join the profession

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  • I did the 1 year postgrad diploma and, apart from constitutional and jurisprudential aspects, found the whole thing deeply tedious as none of the statutory, caselaw and legal categories covered and crammed for were put into any kind of context (whether legal, political, social, economic, historical, or practical)...I'd like to think the full law degree gives more scope to do this..but probably not.

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  • By this rationale, it would be better to take on the sex workers with the LLBs. There would be a natural synergy when it comes to billing in £200 ph in blocks.

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  • Obviously written by someone with below-average intelligence.

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  • I think this gentleman overstates his case. Certainly being a good lawyer is not about whether you have a law degree or not. However, it is alarming how little many lawyers in this country know about the basic principles of law from jurisprudence to civil, criminal, tort, wills and probate etc. You may also note that UK non-law graduates are not automatically accepted in many jurisdictions for exams such as the New York and California Bar exams. In many common law countries, NZ, Australia, Nigeria a law degree is a must- and they make better, more grounded and more knowledgeable lawyers.

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  • After reading this ridiculous article, I can tell a couple of things about the author. First, he has not read law at university. Second, he has not practiced law. The big flaw in his argument is when he outlines all the different elements and then recommends an alternative degree. What if an aspiring practitioner wants to do all of those things outlined whilst studying for a degree. In which case, the LL.B. is the only degree that can fulfil such an aspiration. Herein lies the worth of the Law Degree. It is the culmination and the diversity of skills that can be developed where the LL.B. shines.
    On a final note, I'd love this prat to inform Oxford or Harvard that their law degree is pointless.

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  • "As a LLB student, and someone who took law at A Level, I feel get so annoyed the firms and chambers take on such a high percentage of non-law graduates.
    How can a non law graduate know that they will enjoy or excel in a career in law if they have never studied it?"
    From personal experience, I've found that firms who take on non-law graduates prefer those who've had legal work experience, thus demonstrating that they do in fact know that a career in law is what they wish to enter into.
    Also, the expense which graduates put them through to complete the GDL and then the LP/BPTC shows dedication in my opinion - they're unlikely to invest so much time and money without really considering whether this is the career that they wish to pursue....
    Most other graduate career paths don't have an associated degree, so people have no experience of those either....

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  • What a load of tosh.
    The knowledge I gained on my law degrees is something I have constantly used in practice - over 20 years.
    It is occasionally noticeable that those who have qualified through cramming their way through a conversion course have sometimes quite astonishing gaps in their legal education. It wastes my time and my clients' money having to complete these second grade practioners' legal education.
    As for never looking up a law report - how else could one understand a key judgment?

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  • Is this a bit of a sweeping accusation? Perhaps this is true of many 'traditional' law LLBs, however, there are certainly LLBs available which do teach many of the more 'practical' elements which lawyers use on an everyday basis. The relatively new York Law School is a good example of this.

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