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How would a non-law degree work out?

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    So I have an offer to study History at a red-brick university this coming September, and I'm just thinking, what can I do with it? It seems like accountancy and financial services (non-high mathematical positions) seem open as well as journalism and teaching as well as law.

    The thing that put me off doing a law degree is that I didn't particularly have a passion for all parts of law, and I felt it closed a few options, as I've read if you apply to regular grad schemes with an LLB you get questioned as to why you didn't pursue the usual steps to become a solicitor or a barrister.

    Anyway, after uni, if I first get there! I get a 2:i or above and wish to pursue commercial/corporate law (that's an area which I'm really interested in tbh if I did ever pursue law), what would I need to do?

    Do you have to pay for your own GDL or will firms pay for that for you and then give you training contacts? (is it? sorry I'm new to this ) Because I understand a GDL isn't cheap and you're taking quite a risk by paying for it with nothing guaranteed at the end.

    Could someone explain the steps after gaining a 2:i in a non-law degree basically, to enter commercial law please?

    Thanks
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    Go on lawcareers.net On the front page there's a great big picture of an owl labelled "Beginners guide to a career in law." Read that.
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    You can apply for and possibly secure a TC at a firm in final year, which will pay for your GDL and LPC. You don't need to do law, but legal work experience and involvement, range of societies, and a decent grade are all important (the higher the better). AAB+ at A Levels would be pretty important too. However, I imagine that in 3 years time grade inflation would make that AAA.
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    (Original post by victoryshinesonus)

    The thing that put me off doing a law degree is that I didn't particularly have a passion for all parts of law, and I felt it closed a few options, as I've read if you apply to regular grad schemes with an LLB you get questioned as to why you didn't pursue the usual steps to become a solicitor or a barrister.

    I'd really disagree with this. I know loads of people with law degrees who found it reasonably easy to get prestigious, non-law related graduate jobs. Firstly, companies are going to understand that people's interests and ambitions can change between 18 and 21 and that what you find academically interesting may be different from what you want to do as a career.
    Secondly, there are less law graduates than graduates from general art degrees and law degrees are often more competitive to get on so may stand out more on your cv (and I say this as a history grad who went on to do the GDL)

    So don't worry about doing a law degree closing off non-law options. On the other hand, there's very little point doing a degree that you don't find interesting. It'll make for a miserable three years and decrease the chance of you getting that all important 2.1 or 1st.

    For law recruiters it makes no difference whatsoever whether you did a law degree or the GDL. The only issue is the extra year of study and the added expense. If you want to be a solicitor, that's not such a problem as most training contract providers will indeed pay for your GDL and LPC and if you can't get one, it's worth thinking seriously about whether to go down the GDL route at all.

    If on the other hand you were wanting to be a barrister, apart from a tiny number of scholarships from the Inns of Court, most of which don't cover the full cost, even good students are probably going to have to be self-funding for the GDL, which is more problematic. Personally, I loved my history degree, but I sometimes wish I'd done law just to save myself the expense.
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    (Original post by ForKicks)
    You can apply for and possibly secure a TC at a firm in final year, which will pay for your GDL and LPC. You don't need to do law, but legal work experience and involvement, range of societies, and a decent grade are all important (the higher the better). AAB+ at A Levels would be pretty important too. However, I imagine that in 3 years time grade inflation would make that AAA.
    To be honest my GCSEs are rubbish to be quite frank, they're C's mainly with a couple of B's, will these Law firms be filtering on a GCSE basis, because if that's the case, I'd probably scrap the whole commercial law thing now. I don't want to get my hopes up.

    I'm on for AAA/AAB (I'd be disappointed to miss if I'm being honest), so for A-levels, it seems I'm fine, but I can understand why they would look at GCSEs. I think it's unfair to discriminate on GCSEs considering how irrelevant they are when you're 20/21. I was just a normal kid who wanted to really have a fun time at secondary school, but college I've been much more organised/focused etc.
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    History graduates can easily get into law or financial services firms.
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    (Original post by Wildman)
    doing an undergraduate law degree is pretty irrelevant to practising law. Its a very dry degree and an academic one; what you study on a law degree isn't necessarily relevant to handling clients and catering for their legal needs. I would actually actively encourage any 18 year old who wants to be a lawyer in the future to study something that they are going to enjoy rather than law. Particularly with solicitors firms, I would go as far to say that having a non-law degree is an advantage when applying.
    Wow really? Yeah, I'm so hooked on History to be honest, and in my opinion no job is guaranteed, whether you do Law, Economics, History, English, even Engineering. So I may as well study something I enjoy as the government is essentially paying for it, and if, god forbid, at the end of it, I can't get a decent job, I'm stuck where I would've been 3 years earlier at the very worst, being a waiter for a restaurant chain

    As I said above, are GCSEs very important for Law firms? I put them above. I suppose wanting to do corporate/commercial law would mean the LPC route to becoming a solicitor after a GDL?
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    (Original post by Nightufury)
    History graduates can easily get into law or financial services firms.
    See, I've heard people saying you can for financial services but when I look at a published list, e.g. Kent, which is a fairly well respected university, there's only maybe 3 or 4 that have landed jobs in financial services, granted it was only a sample.

    'easily get into law'? So it's easy for a History graduate with a 2:i to secure funding for a GDL and LPC, training contract etc.?
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    (Original post by victoryshinesonus)
    Wow really? Yeah, I'm so hooked on History to be honest, and in my opinion no job is guaranteed, whether you do Law, Economics, History, English, even Engineering. So I may as well study something I enjoy as the government is essentially paying for it, and if, god forbid, at the end of it, I can't get a decent job, I'm stuck where I would've been 3 years earlier at the very worst, being a waiter for a restaurant chain

    As I said above, are GCSEs very important for Law firms? I put them above. I suppose wanting to do corporate/commercial law would mean the LPC route to becoming a solicitor after a GDL?
    A coursemate of mine has weak GCSE's compared to the norm (couple of A's mainly B's). It hasn't held her back but she says when she's had interviews it's often been asked why her GCSE's are comparatively weak. However, it seems to be a common tactic to ask about weaknesses in your application just to see how you react (be that lack of EC's, poorer than average GCSE's, poorer than average A levels, a couple of duff modules in first year etc.), so if you do take the law route just have some answers ready to explain this (the best being, I was 15-16 and you're recruiting me at 20 with a proven academic record since then).

    In response to your above post, it's not easy but it's a well trodden path due to the transferable skills. One of the best barristers out there until recently (he's just gone straight in at the Supreme Court) was a history graduate and continued to write books on the Hundred Years War alongside his work at the Bar.
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    (Original post by roh)
    A coursemate of mine has weak GCSE's compared to the norm (couple of A's mainly B's). It hasn't held her back but she says when she's had interviews it's often been asked why her GCSE's are comparatively weak. However, it seems to be a common tactic to ask about weaknesses in your application just to see how you react (be that lack of EC's, poorer than average GCSE's, poorer than average A levels, a couple of duff modules in first year etc.), so if you do take the law route just have some answers ready to explain this (the best being, I was 15-16 and you're recruiting me at 20 with a proven academic record since then).

    Ah, well I could argue that I was restricted by the foundation tier, because when I wasn't I got B's in the 2 out of 3 papers which were non-tiered. Then A-levels had no tier and I'd shown what I could do. Ah okay, so GCSEs aren't a game killer, good to hear
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    (Original post by victoryshinesonus)
    Ah, well I could argue that I was restricted by the foundation tier, because when I wasn't I got B's in the 2 out of 3 papers which were non-tiered. Then A-levels had no tier and I'd shown what I could do. Ah okay, so GCSEs aren't a game killer, good to hear
    Sounds fine, if your school wasn't great definitely throw that in there (conversely if you went to a good private school or a grammar expect more of a grilling). If you get AAA (suspect it could well have moved up from AAB by the time you graduate, particularly given HR will almost definitely not understand the extra requirements around an A*) and a good 2:1 in history from a redbrick you should be in a position to go for most graduate schemes, law or not. You just have to be a bit more careful about your future grades (often firms ask for the grades all of your uni modules not just the overall result for the year) than someone with 10 A*'s.

    And get fully involved in uni life, it'll make your time at uni more enjoyable whilst you're there and grad schemes have plenty of applicants with good 2:1s in solid academic subjects from a good uni, being captain/treasurer/president/secretary or even social sec of a team or society can make you stand out.
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    (Original post by victoryshinesonus)
    So I have an offer to study History at a red-brick university this coming September, and I'm just thinking, what can I do with it? It seems like accountancy and financial services (non-high mathematical positions) seem open as well as journalism and teaching as well as law.

    The thing that put me off doing a law degree is that I didn't particularly have a passion for all parts of law, and I felt it closed a few options, as I've read if you apply to regular grad schemes with an LLB you get questioned as to why you didn't pursue the usual steps to become a solicitor or a barrister.

    Anyway, after uni, if I first get there! I get a 2:i or above and wish to pursue commercial/corporate law (that's an area which I'm really interested in tbh if I did ever pursue law), what would I need to do?

    Do you have to pay for your own GDL or will firms pay for that for you and then give you training contacts? (is it? sorry I'm new to this ) Because I understand a GDL isn't cheap and you're taking quite a risk by paying for it with nothing guaranteed at the end.

    Could someone explain the steps after gaining a 2:i in a non-law degree basically, to enter commercial law please?

    Thanks
    1. In your second or third year apply for a vacation scheme for a commercial firm that your interested in (if your accepted this will make your chances of getting a training contract with that firm or any firm a lot higher
    2. Yes, firms do pay for the GDL's although competition as you probably know is stupidly high so don't hold your breath
    3. No one's really guaranteed anything whether you be a grad from Westminster with a 1st or a grad from oxbridge with a 2:1.

    At the end of the day, its not what you know its who you know

    If you want to know any of the steps in a lot of detail, feel free to ask
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    (Original post by roh)
    Sounds fine, if your school wasn't great definitely throw that in there (conversely if you went to a good private school or a grammar expect more of a grilling). If you get AAA (suspect it could well have moved up from AAB by the time you graduate, particularly given HR will almost definitely not understand the extra requirements around an A*) and a good 2:1 in history from a redbrick you should be in a position to go for most graduate schemes, law or not. You just have to be a bit more careful about your future grades (often firms ask for the grades all of your uni modules not just the overall result for the year) than someone with 10 A*'s.

    And get fully involved in uni life, it'll make your time at uni more enjoyable whilst you're there and grad schemes have plenty of applicants with good 2:1s in solid academic subjects from a good uni, being captain/treasurer/president/secretary or even social sec of a team or society can make you stand out.
    I will probably join a trading/investment society, or a charity to show business skills/responsibility if trading society is too competitive (around 2,000 members). Will that cut it, or does it have to be specifically the Law Society?

    Also, the AAA/AAB thing, does it have to be these grades? From what I've seen 340 UCAS points (AAB) seems the minimum, do you think the smaller firms would accept ABB, or does it get more and more competitive the lower you go down? I have 3 months to ace two papers to secure AAB so I guess this is motivation. I think fear of failure might be the best motivater, and I'd like all options open to me, so I guess AAB would be the minimum. Do you know how many people get AAB+ each year? I read somewhere that 50,000 get it, so it's not too high considering 400,000 take A-levels.
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    (Original post by victoryshinesonus)
    I will probably join a trading/investment society, or a charity to show business skills/responsibility if trading society is too competitive (around 2,000 members). Will that cut it, or does it have to be specifically the Law Society?

    Also, the AAA/AAB thing, does it have to be these grades? From what I've seen 340 UCAS points (AAB) seems the minimum, do you think the smaller firms would accept ABB, or does it get more and more competitive the lower you go down? I have 3 months to ace two papers to secure AAB so I guess this is motivation. I think fear of failure might be the best motivater, and I'd like all options open to me, so I guess AAB would be the minimum. Do you know how many people get AAB+ each year? I read somewhere that 50,000 get it, so it's not too high considering 400,000 take A-levels.
    Trading or investment would be good I'd guess for commercial, if you fancied something more adversarial do debating. I'd still join the law soc from your second year onwards in order to attend the drinks evenings (read schmoozeathons) with firms and the talks they put on about working for XYZ firm. I think any student can usually attend a uni's law fair so you'd still be able to go to that, but all the 'how to get the most out of the law fair' talks etc. beforehand are often law society only. Also, positions of responsibility (usually easer to gain outside of a law/finance soc as not everyone's in the team or society for career reasons) are great for your CV whatever the team or society.

    No, regional firms I've applied for often ask for ABB not AAB as they're minimum, though they'll still get plenty of candidates with higher grades. I'm afraid I've no idea about numbers, but I remember something about 25% of papers being awarded A grades and if you think of the number of uni courses requiring at least AAB it's quite a lot, considering there are only something like 4000 TCs a year. Sadly we can't predict what firms are going to ask for 3 years down the line!
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    (Original post by victoryshinesonus)
    I will probably join a trading/investment society, or a charity to show business skills/responsibility if trading society is too competitive (around 2,000 members). Will that cut it, or does it have to be specifically the Law Society?
    First of all, finance and law are not the only careers out there. Some people sell marine diesel engines for a living; others manage chains of hair stylists. There is no reason why you could not either with a history degree.

    The thing that is important coming from a non-law background is making sure that you can answer the "why law" question in a way that doesn't scream "couldn't think of anything else to do". Think how any activity you decide to undertake and use relates to the "why law" question.

    Also, the AAA/AAB thing, does it have to be these grades? From what I've seen 340 UCAS points (AAB) seems the minimum, do you think the smaller firms would accept ABB, or does it get more and more competitive the lower you go down? I have 3 months to ace two papers to secure AAB so I guess this is motivation. I think fear of failure might be the best motivater, and I'd like all options open to me, so I guess AAB would be the minimum. Do you know how many people get AAB+ each year? I read somewhere that 50,000 get it, so it's not too high considering 400,000 take A-levels.

    A level grades are not an objective truth; they are merely a method of filtering applicants to reasonable numbers. Furthermore they work best with on-line applications processes.

    You won't find firms with low A level filters. What you will find is firms that simply use different filters.
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    (Original post by victoryshinesonus)
    To be honest my GCSEs are rubbish to be quite frank, they're C's mainly with a couple of B's, will these Law firms be filtering on a GCSE basis, because if that's the case, I'd probably scrap the whole commercial law thing now. I don't want to get my hopes up.

    I'm on for AAA/AAB (I'd be disappointed to miss if I'm being honest), so for A-levels, it seems I'm fine, but I can understand why they would look at GCSEs. I think it's unfair to discriminate on GCSEs considering how irrelevant they are when you're 20/21. I was just a normal kid who wanted to really have a fun time at secondary school, but college I've been much more organised/focused etc.
    They won't filter automatically on GCSE's, but it may be an issue in securing an interview. It is unfair that GCSE's are looked at as much as they are, but they can afford to be that picky as law firms are edging towards flawless academic records as requirements. It may be worth sending an email to HR at a law firm asking about their emphasis on them
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    (Original post by ForKicks)
    They won't filter automatically on GCSE's, but it may be an issue in securing an interview. It is unfair that GCSE's are looked at as much as they are, but they can afford to be that picky as law firms are edging towards flawless academic records as requirements. It may be worth sending an email to HR at a law firm asking about their emphasis on them
    Yeah, I'm also looking at accountancy if law doesn't work out, but one thing is certain, I'm not going to pay for the GDL/LPC because I feel it's far too risky to take on so much real debt.
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    Hey, I'm going to (hopefully) doing a degree in History at KCL, but I'd really like to keep my options open for possibly studying law at a later date. Firstly, would a degree from KCL be good enough (with a good GDC/LPC) to enter into a decent law firm? Secondly, how do most students fund the convertion?

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