Universities flee GDL market as students stay away

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  • I spoke to a partner of a large regional firm recently and he told me that 3 out of 4 applications they receive have 1sts.

    When firms stipulate a 2:1 now as a minimum, they mean precisely that. I think you'd be lucky now to get a TC without a 1st and/or Distinctions. And even then firms would want experience also.

    To call this a buyers market would be an understatement.

    Taking the GDL now is especially daft as it is seen as inferior to an LLB.

    To saddle yourself with that kind of debt when your earning potential for several years (or maybe indefinitely) is paralegal wages (i.e: 12-17k). Well, it's just insane.

    The problem is with the perception of law as a career put out by the providers and maintained in the popular consciousness.

    This perception is stuck in the cliches of the last century: Law is a 'Good job' it 'pays well', has 'kudos'. Lawyers are 'rich etc etc.

    Not any more. And with the advent of ABS in October the legal profession will be further downgraded as mostly middling and lower clerical work. After all, a lettings negotiator can easily earn £30k. A binman is on more than most paralegals. How long does it take an average trainee to reach that salary?

    A similar thing happened to the teaching profession in the last century. It went from having real prestige to being a dumping ground for the semi-bright white collar middle and lower middle classes.

    High-end lucrative legal work will always be the preserve of the oxbridge lot. The rest of the 'profession' will end up like teaching - only worse paid, worse hours and more stress and fewer hoildays.

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  • The above comment is false in the extreme. It sounds like the bitter ramblings of someone without a TC.

    Trust me, the vast majority of TC applicants do not have firsts. Likewise, the vast majority of TC awardees do not have firsts, even at the very best firms.

    Ultimately, you need a 2.1 and a decent application to get an interview. Then you need to be good, dare I say it, very good, at interview.

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  • What is false in the extreme is the way some LPC providers encourage applicants into such an oversubscribed profession. I often wonder if their prowl articles such as this to spread disinformation.

    I remember being told by a couple of demoralised junior lawyers at a recruitment fair that it would be better to become a plumber.

    And FYI, I am a top graded student shortly to start a TC but I'm only one of 2 in my entire year intake (100 students) to do so. A few of the rest if lucky are doing dead-end paralegal stuff (by which I mean NO prospect of a TC) and the rest have totally wasted their money and time. Many many have 2:1s etc.

    I would advise anyone thinking of studying law to do something else.

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  • My careers adviser at Uni just sent round one of his bulletins for a legal dogsbody job in Cheshire. These are far from atypical. If there are any actual paralegal jobs then that's a bonus, mostly it's sweatshop stuff. There are hundreds and hundreds of applicants chasing each TC so firms can just keep raising the bar. I think having a first and an LPC distinction is almost a requirement now

    "a part-time legal assistant to assist solicitors across Wills/Probate & Conveyancing work. You should possess a minimum 2:1 degree and have achieved a Commendation for the LPC."

    What hope getting a TC now with just a 2:1? the market is so overflowing with willing grads that employers can even stipulate 2:1s and commendations on the LPC for no hoper jobs assisting at the minimum wage.

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  • To Anonymous | 20-Jul-2011 5:47 pm

    Your English is terrible.
    Please do not do the GDL.

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  • Anonymous @ 10:11 - disagree entirely; ABS ensures that the more innovative law firm's will succeed. Even though it is no a partnership, lawyers will still likely fee-earn on a roughly similar basis (no, I don't mean by-the-hour), and will likely be subject to incentives, bonuses etc due to the need for people to replace Partners in management roles and bring in work. You haven't seen this new market mature so we can't really comment. It could just as easily go the other way.

    I would say I'm bitter about the legal market, for sure. I have a TC. My prospects of getting one were medium, I had no contacts, state-school ed., 2:1 from top 20 uni etc etc, a pretty typical candidate. I don't know how I got it but I did.

    That said, I would NOT encourage ANYBODY to enter the market as it is. I honestly do not know how I got mine, and I have seen far better candidates than myself bang there head against the TC wall. It becomes a matter of life and death and, in the meantime, you'll be sweated as a paralegal for peanuts.

    Someone on here is absolutely correct about trusting the advisors of the LPC providers. Do you really think the commission they earn rewards impartial advice on the state of the legal profession? No. Bums on seats my friend, that's what they want.

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  • It's quite simple: do not start a GDL until you have secured a training contract.

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