To become a Corporate Lawyer is an economics degree better or law?

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Dahir123
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#1
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#1
I've been arguing with a friend that I could do a conversion course in my third year and do my GDL in one year. However, I was wondering whether because I haven't done a law degree would that reduce my chances of getting onto a top firm? Also, what are the advantages of doing a law degree or economics degree in comparison to each other when applying for a training contract at a top firm?
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Tortious
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(Original post by Dahir123)
I've been arguing with a friend that I could do a conversion course in my third year and do my GDL in one year. However, I was wondering whether because I haven't done a law degree would that reduce my chances of getting onto a top firm? Also, what are the advantages of doing a law degree or economics degree in comparison to each other when applying for a training contract at a top firm?
I don't think it matters much between law and economics because firms are more interested in your skills and "personality" (whether you're commercially minded etc.) when it comes to offering TCs. For what it's worth, a large number of firms have a non-law intake of about 40%.
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Dahir123
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Alright I understand where your coming but because I'm going into corporate law would an economics degree put me in a better position?
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Tortious
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(Original post by Dahir123)
Alright I understand where your coming but because I'm going into corporate law would an economics degree put me in a better position?
I can't comment definitively because I haven't studied any economics whatsoever. However, my gut feeling would be "no".

It probably makes more sense to talk in terms of a law degree, since I'm a law graduate and corporate law is primarily law but with an economics-based twist. One would expect a law graduate's degree to be the "most relevant" to a career as a lawyer.

Firms tend to use academics as an autofilter; if you don't have AAB at A Level and a 2.1 or above your application might not even be looked at by a person. However, in the context of corporate law I don't believe any weighting is given to particular subjects. Your 2.1 is evidence of your academic ability and your hard-working nature, regardless of your discipline.

We then get into the open questions on the application form, where your writing ability and soft skills show through. At this point the firm is most interested in your commitment to a career in law (they're about to make an investment in your future so they want to see an informed decision!), your ability to express yourself clearly, and sometimes your understanding of the wider business context in which the law operates.

At interview, these skills are tested in more detail, with more in-depth commercial awareness exercises and a general assessment of your "fit for the firm" in terms of its culture and ethos and your particular strengths.

At no point was I required to show detailed knowledge of the law, even though practising solicitors will be using the law every day. Similarly, I suspect that the level of detail in your economics degree far exceeds anything that would be expected at interview. I was applying for TCs in summer 2012 and the only vaguely economics-related content I was expected to understand and explain the basics of interest rate swap misselling/LIBOR (especially since I'd mentioned work experience focusing on those areas in my CV) and the Eurozone crisis.

I can certainly call in Freshfields' graduate recruitment for a second opinion, although I'd hope that I'm not too far off the mark!

(Original post by [email protected])
:wavey:
If you have anything to add to the above, Jess, I'd be interested to hear it. Thanks.
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cambio wechsel
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#5
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Economics is a social science. It would be of no obvious relevance at all, except perhaps as proof of numeracy.

If you were talking about a degree in accounting...
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StarkRob
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(Original post by Tortious)
I can't comment definitively because I haven't studied any economics whatsoever. However, my gut feeling would be "no".

It probably makes more sense to talk in terms of a law degree, since I'm a law graduate and corporate law is primarily law but with an economics-based twist. One would expect a law graduate's degree to be the "most relevant" to a career as a lawyer.

Firms tend to use academics as an autofilter; if you don't have AAB at A Level and a 2.1 or above your application might not even be looked at by a person. However, in the context of corporate law I don't believe any weighting is given to particular subjects. Your 2.1 is evidence of your academic ability and your hard-working nature, regardless of your discipline.

We then get into the open questions on the application form, where your writing ability and soft skills show through. At this point the firm is most interested in your commitment to a career in law (they're about to make an investment in your future so they want to see an informed decision!), your ability to express yourself clearly, and sometimes your understanding of the wider business context in which the law operates.

At interview, these skills are tested in more detail, with more in-depth commercial awareness exercises and a general assessment of your "fit for the firm" in terms of its culture and ethos and your particular strengths.

At no point was I required to show detailed knowledge of the law, even though practising solicitors will be using the law every day. Similarly, I suspect that the level of detail in your economics degree far exceeds anything that would be expected at interview. I was applying for TCs in summer 2012 and the only vaguely economics-related content I was expected to understand and explain the basics of interest rate swap misselling/LIBOR (especially since I'd mentioned work experience focusing on those areas in my CV) and the Eurozone crisis.

I can certainly call in Freshfields' graduate recruitment for a second opinion, although I'd hope that I'm not too far off the mark!



If you have anything to add to the above, Jess, I'd be interested to hear it. Thanks.
I heard it's only the top firms that require AAB and most others have their filter set at ABB. Is this correct?
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Tortious
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#7
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(Original post by StarkRob)
I heard it's only the top firms that require AAB and most others have their filter set at ABB. Is this correct?
It sounds about right but I couldn't swear to it. The best places to check are the Chambers Student Guide site and, if you can get your hands on a hard copy of CSG, the "blue pages" at the back. The "blue pages" contain tables summarising entry requirements/application process/vacancies etc., and I haven't found them online yet.
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StarkRob
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(Original post by Tortious)
It sounds about right but I couldn't swear to it. The best places to check are the Chambers Student Guide site and, if you can get your hands on a hard copy of CSG, the "blue pages" at the back. The "blue pages" contain tables summarising entry requirements/application process/vacancies etc., and I haven't found them online yet.
do you reckon ABB is a good set of grades to get a training contract? I'm currently studying economics at Queen Mary.
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Profesh
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(Original post by Dahir123)
Alright I understand where your coming but because I'm going into corporate law would an economics degree put me in a better position?
Than a graduate of say, Bristol, among whose optional modules were up to three of the following:

Company Law
Issues in Corporate Governance
Intellectual Property
Commercial Law
Shipping Law
Banking Law
Insolvency Law
Employment Law
Environmental Law
Transnational Business Litigation
Regulation of Financial Markets and Institutions

Interspersed with compulsory units in Contract, Trusts and Land Law over the course of an intensive, three-year curriculum?

Well, no; I daresay it wouldn't.
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Key123
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My response to this question is always the same..

"I just don't think the degree subject generally matters"


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MadeThisUp
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#11
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(Original post by Key123)
My response to this question is always the same..

"I just don't think the degree subject generally matters"


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Do you withhold this view even in the case of a mickey-mouse subject like psychology?
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Key123
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(Original post by MadeThisUp)
Do you withhold this view even in the case of a mickey-mouse subject like psychology?
Pretty much.

If you're a good candidate everywhere else, why would it matter?

I've known trainees who studied Music, Art, Sports Science, Psychology, Sociology....


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[email protected]
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(Original post by Tortious)
If you have anything to add to the above, Jess, I'd be interested to hear it. Thanks.
Hello

The degree subject that someone studied is immaterial. Although some people could think that having a law degree or a economics/business degree could be preferential, it really will not be the case with most large commercial law firms.

Either degree might help the person in terms of their motivation for the career where they have enjoyed learning the subject, but this is the only area I could see where someone might benefit from when compared to someone who studied languages/sciences/humanities/art subjects.

There is often an assumption that learning legal or economic theories will help you in the day job, but the reality is that the day to day workings of a law firm are very different to the academics that students have learnt. Even if this wasn't the case, the GDL/LPC would level the playing field anyway!
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AW1983
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I think we need to be careful to distinguish Economics from other 'business' related degrees. It is certainly a good degree to have but I don't think the subject content would be more useful to a corporate lawyer than law. I also don't think the subject content would be as relevant to the role as Accounting, Business Studies or Management. Economics will cover a lot of mathematics and theory whereas, say, accounting degrees will normally cover financial reporting, audit and corporate law. However, I would distinguish these as vocational subjects (so it becomes a no brainer that they're more relevant in the workplace - so is a typing course) but Economics is an academic social science. With that in mind, I would suspect Economics to be more respected; there's only 3 years to prove your academic grit, and 40 years to be a great lawyer!
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