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Explain the "BA in Law" degree to me as far as getting a job.

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    Aloha all,

    I have a question for all you Barristers, Solicitors, and legal graduates working in the UK. After attaining a BA in Law from a UK university, what's next as far as landing a job? Can you go and take the bar exam, get licensed, then enter practice, or do you need to get a graduate-level degree?

    It's a bit confusing, as here in the USA, the usual route is Bachlors/Undergrad degree, then graduate-level Law School (Juris Doctorate, the standard 3 year law degree), then finally just take and pass the bar in the state you intend to practice in.

    What is the sequence of events to become, say, a solicitor working in a London firm after getting your BA in Law?
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    If your BA has covered compulsory modules (as a Cambridge BA would, for example) then your next step is the LPC (Solicitor) or BVC (Barrister) at law school and then a training contract or pupillage. If it hasn't covered the compulsories then you would have to do the GDL (or at least some parts of it) first, I believe.
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    Most people will take an LLB as their undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Laws) though some universities award BAs in Law. The important thing is that the degree is qualifying - it must cover the 7 foundational modules of tort, criminal, contract, property/land, equity/trusts, constitutional, EU. Then you will have the opportunity to study electives as well.

    After 3 year degree, you must take a one year vocational course. If you want to be a solicitor, you take the LPC (Legal Practice Course), if barrister, the BVC (Bar Vocational Course).

    Then you must complete a two year training contract with a firm (for solicitors) or a one year pupillage with a chambers (for barristers)

    Alternatively, you can take a undergraduate degree in something other than law, and then do an additional year before your LPC called the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) which covers the seven foundation modules but often no electives.

    Most London firms recruit their trainees two years in advance i.e. in the summer in between your second and third year if you are doing a law degree, or in the summer after your third year for a non-law degree. They will then pay for your fees on the LPC and sometimes throw in a maintenance grant as well. However, many do not secure training contracts in advance and will begin the LPC without one lined up, which is obviously quite a financial risk.
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    (Original post by emmings)
    Most people will take an LLB as their undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Laws) though some universities award BAs in Law. The important thing is that the degree is qualifying - it must cover the 7 foundational modules of tort, criminal, contract, property/land, equity/trusts, constitutional, EU. Then you will have the opportunity to study electives as well.

    After 3 year degree, you must take a one year vocational course. If you want to be a solicitor, you take the LPC (Legal Practice Course), if barrister, the BVC (Bar Vocational Course).

    Then you must complete a two year training contract with a firm (for solicitors) or a one year pupillage with a chambers (for barristers)

    Alternatively, you can take a undergraduate degree in something other than law, and then do an additional year before your LPC called the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) which covers the seven foundation modules but often no electives.

    Most London firms recruit their trainees two years in advance i.e. in the summer in between your second and third year if you are doing a law degree, or in the summer after your third year for a non-law degree. They will then pay for your fees on the LPC and sometimes throw in a maintenance grant as well. However, many do not secure training contracts in advance and will begin the LPC without one lined up, which is obviously quite a financial risk.
    Thank you for the great info.

    The BA in question is coming from the London School of Economics. I already have a 4 year U.S. BA from an American University (non Law related), so I'd be going back to school for a 2nd undergraduate degree. Assuming worst case scenario I do NOT get recruited in advance from LSE, the normal course of action would be to take the LPC course for a year, whilst hunting for a job?

    Additionally, if people go back to school in the UK for a graduate level Law degree like the Oxford BCL, does this have more advantages as far as securing a better job as a practicing attorney or more for getting into the academic side of Law? (ie University professor?)
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    (Original post by HawaiianDelight)
    Thank you for the great info.

    The BA in question is coming from the London School of Economics. I already have a 4 year U.S. BA from an American University (non Law related), so I'd be going back to school for a 2nd undergraduate degree. Assuming worst case scenario I do NOT get recruited in advance from LSE, the normal course of action would be to take the LPC course for a year, whilst hunting for a job?
    Why not just do the GDL? Surely you're taking an additional unnecessary degree, and for a foreign student such as yourself, surely that's a huge financial burden, that you could do without?
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    (Original post by Jahmez23)
    Why not just do the GDL? Surely you're taking an additional unnecessary degree, and for a foreign student such as yourself, surely that's a huge financial burden, that you could do without?
    I agree. Unless you have a burning desire to read a Law degree for three years, then the best thing to do is just take to GDL. As has been said, this is just a one year course, and then you can go straight into the LPC or BVC.

    This would save you a lot of time and money - especially considering how high fees are for foreign students!
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    Yep, and that way you can start looking for jobs immediately!
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    (Original post by pcok)
    I agree. Unless you have a burning desire to read a Law degree for three years, then the best thing to do is just take to GDL. As has been said, this is just a one year course, and then you can go straight into the LPC or BVC.

    This would save you a lot of time and money - especially considering how high fees are for foreign students!
    I respect that advice. However, do you think one can learn enough about British Law to be a practicing attorney from a one year LPC? The costs to attend LSE as a foreigner is REALLY insane, especially when you consider our near-worthless American dollar to your pound. I estimate I will have to take out nearly $200,000.000 in loans to study, live, and survive in London for 3-4 years, a loan which I may have to pay over a lifetime (unless I strike it rich).

    Now, what makes me still consider going to LSE is not the cost or the piece of paper, but the education and CONNECTIONS. Would it be possible to attain these during the one year LPC? If so, then that would be great; if not, I can't see how I can learn more about UK Law than to attend a UK Law school in order to be a working attorney there.
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    (Original post by HawaiianDelight)
    I respect that advice. However, do you think one can learn enough about British Law to be a practicing attorney from a one year LPC? The costs to attend LSE as a foreigner is REALLY insane, especially when you consider our near-worthless American dollar to your pound. I estimate I will have to take out nearly $200,000.000 in loans to study, live, and survive in London for 3-4 years, a loan which I may have to pay over a lifetime (unless I strike it rich).

    Now, what makes me still consider going to LSE is not the cost or the piece of paper, but the education and CONNECTIONS. Would it be possible to attain these during the one year LPC? If so, then that would be great; if not, I can't see how I can learn more about UK Law than to attend a UK Law school in order to be a working attorney there.
    You wouldn't be able to JUST take the 1 year LPC. You would have to do 1 year GDL and then the 1 year LPC (so 2 years in total).

    Out of interest, where did you study in the US? If it was a good school, then I wouldn't think that LSE's reputation would make too much of a difference (although it is v well respected).

    My university doesn't really help that much with careers, and apparently the College of Law and BPP etc (i.e. the places where you would take the GDL and LPC) have really good careers advisors. You might find that they have more information on and connections with the firms than the unis.

    Hope this helps.
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    (Original post by HawaiianDelight)
    I respect that advice. However, do you think one can learn enough about British Law to be a practicing attorney from a one year LPC? .
    Yes!
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    Around 40-50% of trainee solicitors took a non-law degree and then did the GDL.
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    You can be a solicitor, not an attorney .
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    (Original post by Damn, I was going for thoughtful.)
    You wouldn't be able to JUST take the 1 year LPC. You would have to do 1 year GDL and then the 1 year LPC (so 2 years in total).

    Out of interest, where did you study in the US? If it was a good school, then I wouldn't think that LSE's reputation would make too much of a difference (although it is v well respected).

    My university doesn't really help that much with careers, and apparently the College of Law and BPP etc (i.e. the places where you would take the GDL and LPC) have really good careers advisors. You might find that they have more information on and connections with the firms than the unis.

    Hope this helps.
    Thanks for the tips. No, I did not go to a "top" undergrad uni (at least according to the US News And World Rankings), in the interests of saving time and money. I went to the University of Hawaii at Manoa in my home state of, well, Hawaii. I learned ALOT, got two years of full ride scholarships, and saved enough money to graduate with ZERO debt. But no, I didn't go to Harvard or anything, which is why going into LSE for Law was kind of a cool thing for me.
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    (Original post by Lewisy-boy)
    You can be a solicitor, not an attorney .
    haha, but isn't a solicitor a legal professional who deals with mostly business law? I was always equating the UK Solicitor to the American Corporate Lawyer...but correct me if my definition is a bit off
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    No, our lawyers are solicitors or barristers (or judges etc, but they're not really in question at the moment so meh). Solicitors might be corporate, they might be high street, they might specialise in family law or commercial litigation, they're still solicitors, they're the ones who build the files and have contact with the client throughout.
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    (Original post by HawaiianDelight)
    haha, but isn't a solicitor a legal professional who deals with mostly business law? I was always equating the UK Solicitor to the American Corporate Lawyer...but correct me if my definition is a bit off
    Which one are you doing Ba law and anthropology or LLB Law. If you are doing the BA you have to do the GPDL Im afraid my advice is to do the LLB instead. Doing 3yrs of law and athro then doing another extra year of learning law does not make any sense to me as I think it is a waste of money
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    (Original post by Chrisateen)
    Which one are you doing Ba law and anthropology or LLB Law. If you are doing the BA you have to do the GPDL Im afraid my advice is to do the LLB instead. Doing 3yrs of law and athro then doing another extra year of learning law does not make any sense to me as I think it is a waste of money
    Who mentioned anthropology? My smilies aren't working, but if they were I would insert a confused one here!
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    Perhaps Law and Anth is the only BA including Law at LSE?
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    (Original post by Nana_Julia)
    Who mentioned anthropology? My smilies aren't working, but if they were I would insert a confused one here!
    (Original post by Charlottie)
    Perhaps Law and Anth is the only BA including Law at LSE?
    He said a Law BA at LSE and like Charlottie said as Law and anthropology is the only BA in Law they have I presumed that that is what he is talking about. Although I may be wrong
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    (Original post by HawaiianDelight)
    Thanks for the tips. No, I did not go to a "top" undergrad uni (at least according to the US News And World Rankings), in the interests of saving time and money. I went to the University of Hawaii at Manoa in my home state of, well, Hawaii. I learned ALOT, got two years of full ride scholarships, and saved enough money to graduate with ZERO debt. But no, I didn't go to Harvard or anything, which is why going into LSE for Law was kind of a cool thing for me.
    Well of course it's up to you, but if money were an issue for me I'd just do the GDL and LPC (2 years) as opposed to the 3 year law degree and LPC (4 years). It's perfectly well respected, and you'll know just as much UK law as all the other trainees with non-law degrees.

    If you manage to get a training contract with a firm whilst doing the GDL they may pay back your fees, and will usually cover the LPC.

    If the academic stimulation and prestige of the LSE is very important to you though then go for that.

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