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Please can someone talk me through a law conversion? Watch

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    For some reason I'm having a mental block when it comes to understanding this stuff. Please be patient and answer as if I'm a really thick person. Or a child.

    -What are the main places one would look at to do a GDL/CPE in London? Are there any major differences between the courses?

    -When does one try and get a training contract, and what does it mean if you get one? Do they sponsor you some of your fees?

    -How hard is it to get a training contract?

    -Main difference between a barrister and solicitor? (remember, answer like I'm a child/very stupid adult)

    -I want to eventually go into international development and human rights. Would becoming either a barrister or a solicitor be more appropriate for this, or does it not matter?

    cheers.
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    Don't forget the QLTT transfer as well. I would describe it more but I am flued up and unable to think
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    You'll also find a number of universities offer the GDL conversion in London. These are often a cheaper option, and law firms usually do not care where you study the GDL. The difference in cost can be considerable, often many 1000s of pounds. Where you studied your undergraduate degree is usually of more importance.
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    Also with regard to Human Rights law - loads of people seem to set out with the idea of going into this but in reality almost none do. You would rarely if ever see a post for a 'human rights lawyer' advertised.

    However, some aspects of what you seek may be found when practising Criminal law (can deal with things you might consider a criminal breach of HR) or Employment law (dealing with things like discrimination - especially for firms that deal with the individuals filing the claim, rather than defending large companies against these).
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    (Original post by tony_ron)
    Also with regard to Human Rights law - loads of people seem to set out with the idea of going into this but in reality almost none do. You would rarely if ever see a post for a 'human rights lawyer' advertised.
    Mmm, I'm aware, which is why I said 'human rights' in general, not human rights law.
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    (Original post by missygeorgia)
    Mmm, I'm aware, which is why I said 'human rights' in general, not human rights law.
    Apologies for posting then...
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    (Original post by hmaus)
    -What are the main places one would look at to do a GDL/CPE in London? Are there any major differences between the courses?

    BPP or College of Law are the main providers. There are also some others like Kaplan. I use BPP and find them fine. I think CoL have open book exams so that's probably the main difference.

    -When does one try and get a training contract, and what does it mean if you get one? Do they sponsor you some of your fees?

    Apply now for a TC starting in Sept 2013/March 2014. A few places still offer TCs for 2011 or 2012 but this is quite unusual. Most commercial firms pay all of your fees plus a maintenance grant. Some pay fees but no grant, some only pay LPC but not GDL. You need to apply early so that you have time to do GDL + LPC before starting.

    -How hard is it to get a training contract?

    Depends on your academics, work experience, commercial awareness etc. It is generally not that easy and you will probably have to make quite a few applications. There are far more candidates than places.

    -Main difference between a barrister and solicitor? (remember, answer like I'm a child/very stupid adult)

    Solicitors do training contracts for 2 years and they are employed by a firm. Barristers do pupillages and then if they get a tenancy at a chambers are self-employed. Barristers are advocates and can appear in all courts, solicitors do a mixture of things depending on their practice area but mostly spend much more time in their office than in court, and most don't have higher rights of audience. Solicitors do the LPC and barristers do the BPTC. It's harder to become a barrister.

    -I want to eventually go into international development and human rights. Would becoming either a barrister or a solicitor be more appropriate for this, or does it not matter?

    Maybe barrister but if you want to go this route then I think you need to look into it a lot more carefully. Have to admit I don't know much about human rights work etc. Most people going into law become commercial solicitors.
    CoL don't have open book exams for the GDL, only on the LPC
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    (Original post by missygeorgia)
    For some reason I'm having a mental block when it comes to understanding this stuff. Please be patient and answer as if I'm a really thick person. Or a child.

    -What are the main places one would look at to do a GDL/CPE in London? Are there any major differences between the courses?
    There are many

    The differences aren't huge.

    If you get a TC with a large firm you will typically have to do it at a provider they have a deal with. Otherwise you can choose.

    -When does one try and get a training contract, and what does it mean if you get one? Do they sponsor you some of your fees?
    Your law school fees will be paid (typically 6-12k for the GDL and same again for the LPC). You'll often get a maintainance grant during the GDL/LPC. Most importantly, you will actually have a job at the end of it...

    -How hard is it to get a training contract?
    How long is a piece of string kind of question

    At the top commercial firms dooing very high value work, very difficult. Less difficult at regional firms, less difficult again at high-street type places - but still reasonably competitive in each case.

    -Main difference between a barrister and solicitor? (remember, answer like I'm a child/very stupid adult)
    Barristers specialise in advocacy and are likely to spend a lot more time in court and are generally involved in contentious or potentially contentious areas of law. Barristers are specialists and are involved only at specific stages of a matter, if at all.
    Solicitors will be involved right the way through from a client's first instruction to the end of the matter. Solicitors do a lot of non-contentious transactional-type work (such as land conveyancing, finance, tax, drafting contracts, mergers & acquisitions etc.) that barristers generally don't.

    Importantly: there is much more need for solicitors than barristers, and are a lot more TCs than pupillages. But there are still a lot of people who want to become barristers. This means that becoming a barrister is generally INSANELY, RIDICULOUSLY, INCREDIBLY competitive. The majority of people on the BVC don't get pupillage.

    -I want to eventually go into international development and human rights. Would becoming either a barrister or a solicitor be more appropriate for this, or does it not matter?
    Difficult to advise because "I want to go into international development or human rights" is extremely vague. If your burning ambition is to, say, become a judge at the internatinoal criminal court or whatever, then barrister. Otherwise, then probably solicitor since you are presumably interested in helping people all the way through rather than just representing them at court. Human Rights in the context of domestic law is completely different to international development. HUman Rights specialists (though they would usually be specialists in the context of another area of law - e.g. the application of the Human Rights Act to Employment law, and you wouldn't become so specialised until much later in your career) are lawyers, but this is very different to working for an NGO abroad. This is an extremely crude analysis, you need to do some research to add more flesh to these vague bones.
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    (Original post by missygeorgia)
    For some reason I'm having a mental block when it comes to understanding this stuff. Please be patient and answer as if I'm a really thick person. Or a child.

    -What are the main places one would look at to do a GDL/CPE in London? Are there any major differences between the courses?

    -When does one try and get a training contract, and what does it mean if you get one? Do they sponsor you some of your fees?

    -How hard is it to get a training contract?

    -Main difference between a barrister and solicitor? (remember, answer like I'm a child/very stupid adult)

    -I want to eventually go into international development and human rights. Would becoming either a barrister or a solicitor be more appropriate for this, or does it not matter?

    cheers.
    I suggest you have a think about going on BPP's summer school. It's an excellent introduction into the type of studying you will be doing on the GDL and provides a good insight into the key real differences between barristers and solicitors are. It will also give you the chance to ask practitioners as many questions as you can.

    The course lasts for a week and includes all books etc, it costs £385 and you get 20% back if you sign up for any BPP course - it's definitely worth it.

    http://www.bpplawschool.com/programmes/summerschool/
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    (Original post by LibraryHomeCinema)
    I suggest you have a think about going on BPP's summer school. It's an excellent introduction into the type of studying you will be doing on the GDL and provides a good insight into the key real differences between barristers and solicitors are. It will also give you the chance to ask practitioners as many questions as you can.

    The course lasts for a week and includes all books etc, it costs £385 and you get 20% back if you sign up for any BPP course - it's definitely worth it.

    http://www.bpplawschool.com/programmes/summerschool/
    What? £385 is an awful lot of money. I doubt anybody would get out of that anything that they couldn't get for free! lawcareers.net for difference between sol and barrister, same for what the GDL is (or ask a GDL-er) and as for asking practitioners-law fairs, presentations, open days etc etc.
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    (Original post by Lell)
    What? £385 is an awful lot of money. I doubt anybody would get out of that anything that they couldn't get for free! lawcareers.net for difference between sol and barrister, same for what the GDL is (or ask a GDL-er) and as for asking practitioners-law fairs, presentations, open days etc etc.

    I disagree. The summer school gives information and experience that you simply can't get via the Internet. Going to law fairs doesn't show you what the GDL is like in real life either. I recall being on the summer school with a girl that was adamant that she wanted to be a solicitor. She took part in an advocacy exercise and then realised that the solicitor route would not have been right for her.

    I'd rather spend £385 on the summer school an work out it wasn't for me than spend the full fees on the GDL only to realise I'd made the wrong decision.
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    I really don't think it's necessary to spend £385 on a summer school for this. I didn't, I used other avenues to find out what I wanted to do-work experience, research, contacting people within the profession etc etc. In fact, I don't know anybody who used any kind of summer school costing hundreds of pounds to help them make their career decisions...

    As for finding out what the GDL is like-you can't really know until you are actually on the course, like most things. Hence-ask a GDL-er what it's like. Free.

    Anyway if you want to spend your money on it that's for you to decide, just letting OP and others reading who are thinking of a career in law that you really don't need to spend money on these things at all.
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    'How long is a piece of string kind of question

    At the top commercial firms dooing very high value work, very difficult. Less difficult at regional firms, less difficult again at high-street type places - but still reasonably competitive in each case.'


    I have also been trying to find out the answer to this question - an answer that is more accurate than how longs a piece of string!
    Do law schools not publish how many of their pupils have/get tc's over their time there? Is there not a rough estimate of how likely the average person is to get a TC?
    Also I believe people with a TC taking the GDL are in the minority. I know someone doing the GDL and he says only 3/21 people on his course have a tc. Is this accurate representation?
    Also...a question that many websites just don't seem answer...what happens if you never get a tc (this is my big worry). Law career websites write as if they presume you will eventually get one, but if you don't then I assume you have to carry all the fees on your own shoulders and then what...
    Also how important is work experience??? I am going travelling for 6 months before I may start the GDL so have no time to organise a proper work experience with a large company. However my family knows several high street solicitors where I could get experience at, I assume this is alot better than nothing?
    Thanks for answering any of above questions...
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    (Original post by sam1803)
    'How long is a piece of string kind of question

    At the top commercial firms dooing very high value work, very difficult. Less difficult at regional firms, less difficult again at high-street type places - but still reasonably competitive in each case.'


    I have also been trying to find out the answer to this question - an answer that is more accurate than how longs a piece of string!
    Do law schools not publish how many of their pupils have/get tc's over their time there? Is there not a rough estimate of how likely the average person is to get a TC?
    Also I believe people with a TC taking the GDL are in the minority. I know someone doing the GDL and he says only 3/21 people on his course have a tc. Is this accurate representation?
    Also...a question that many websites just don't seem answer...what happens if you never get a tc (this is my big worry). Law career websites write as if they presume you will eventually get one, but if you don't then I assume you have to carry all the fees on your own shoulders and then what...
    Also how important is work experience??? I am going travelling for 6 months before I may start the GDL so have no time to organise a proper work experience with a large company. However my family knows several high street solicitors where I could get experience at, I assume this is alot better than nothing?
    Thanks for answering any of above questions...
    Few people on my GDL intake had TC at the start of the course. Plenty got TCs during or shortly afterwards.

    That included a mix of everything from MC to small regional firms.

    I'd say that most of those who did get TCs had a 2.1 or better from top 20 unis. Some people went straight on to the LPC without TCs, although I think they were largely funded by the bank of mum and dad.

    It's a big step to take out a loan for the GDL without a TC. Not all firms reimburse fees or full maintenance (Lovells springs to mind). I had had some success with work experience at large City firms, so felt that was evidence that I had a reasonable chance of getting a TC somewhere eventually. It does help show your commitment to law but it is a risk.

    The colleges are shy about their success rates but the law society figures show that there are a lot more places on the LPC (which includes law grads) than there are training contracts in any one year.
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    Few people on my GDL intake had TC at the start of the course. Plenty got TCs during or shortly afterwards.
    It's a big step to take out a loan for the GDL without a TC.

    Don't these two statements contradict each other?? Surely people who got the TC after starting the GDL originally took a loan out and gambled?

    Also can anyone please answer this hypothetical questions:
    I take the GDL next year (I have a 2:1 history degree from Leeds Uni and some high street solicitor work experience, but no VS or city work experience and will not have chance to get any as am going travelling now for 6 months).
    I pass the GDL but despite trying get no training contracts. I then gamble and pay more of my own money to take a LPC which I again pass but once again despite trying fail to get a training contract from anywhere.
    What happens at the end of that year??? I assume this must happen to a fair amount of people?? Is that 2 years/loads of money wasted, does one keep applying for TC, how likely is this to happen??
    If anyone can give me info of how likely this is to happen/if they know anyone this has happened to then PLEASE reply because this is crucial towards me deciding whether to do law or not!
    thanks!
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    (Original post by sam1803)
    Few people on my GDL intake had TC at the start of the course. Plenty got TCs during or shortly afterwards.
    It's a big step to take out a loan for the GDL without a TC.

    Don't these two statements contradict each other?? Surely people who got the TC after starting the GDL originally took a loan out and gambled?

    Also can anyone please answer this hypothetical questions:
    I take the GDL next year (I have a 2:1 history degree from Leeds Uni and some high street solicitor work experience, but no VS or city work experience and will not have chance to get any as am going travelling now for 6 months).
    I pass the GDL but despite trying get no training contracts. I then gamble and pay more of my own money to take a LPC which I again pass but once again despite trying fail to get a training contract from anywhere.
    What happens at the end of that year??? I assume this must happen to a fair amount of people?? Is that 2 years/loads of money wasted, does one keep applying for TC, how likely is this to happen??
    If anyone can give me info of how likely this is to happen/if they know anyone this has happened to then PLEASE reply because this is crucial towards me deciding whether to do law or not!
    thanks!
    It's a distinct possibility.

    Most larger firms recruit 2 years in advance - so if you do the GDL without a TC, you'll be doing a gap year at some point. I don't understand why you have to go travelling now, when you could be building up your legal work experience?

    Incidentally a 2.1 from a decent uni merely ticks one of the boxes. You also need to consider what you have to offer in terms or extra curriculars, volunteering and other work experience that demonstrate the skills and competences firms are looking for.
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    thanks for your help PM, I arranged to go travelling a while ago so can't get out if now.
    still if anyone can answer what one would do if you never gained a training contract (despite trying) after 2 years of study that would be greatly appreciated???
 
 
 
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