la95
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Hello!

I'm considering doing a law conversion course following a BSc Biology degree with a view to pursuing a career as a barrister, but I have a few questions.

1) How long does it take to qualify?

2) Roughly how much would it cost to do a law conversion course and train as a barrister? Is there funding available?

Thanks in advance!
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arguendo
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http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/becomin...e-a-barrister/

law conversion route is this

do non-law undergraduate degree (3/4 yrs) ---> gdl (1 yr) ---> bptc (1 year) ---> pupillage (1 year) ---> tenancy

unfortunately what that omits to explain is that getting pupillage is extremely competitive and most people do not obtain pupillage in their first year of applying - so you can expect some time between that. then getting tenancy is again competitive. (pupillage is effectively the professional on-the-job training for the bar; tenancy is being a fully qualified practising barrister). there isn't a set time to qualify, because you don't know how long it will take you to get pupillage, and then to get tenancy. all said, if you managed to do it first time around and without any gap years, it'd be 3 yrs undergrad + 1 yr gdl + 1 year bptc + 1 yr pupillage + then tenancy - a minimum of 6 years.

currently (basing these figures on london and at one provider, the UoL, because i don't have the time to look up every provider for you and every region):

- GDL - 10,200 (this is the one year conversion course)
- BPTC - 18,175 (including BSB registration fee)

the main source of funding is from the inns of court, who award a small amount of gdl and bptc scholarships. there are not enough to go around, and the scholarships vary in amount based on merit/need. these are also very competitive. these days, it is unlikely for an award to exceed (or often reach) the course fees, meaning that you have to cover living costs yourself.

oh, and to be clear - there is no form of student loan (like the undergraduate kind) for this. you can take out bank loans, but not student loans (i.e. you will have to begin repaying them after you finish the course).

some providers offer scholarships, but these are again competitive, exceedingly few, and usually cover a small portion of the fees
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hanna_hars
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Hi there,

I am thinking about doing the GDL course. By the way la95! in Bristol, at UWE it 'only' costs £6600 per year, full time..
So my question is: to become a solicitor after completing the GDL and then LPC.. will I be fully qualified or will I need to make another 2 years of 'traineeship' with a company before becoming fully qualified?! I am a bit confused...
Thanks for any help!
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Crazy Jamie
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(Original post by arguendo)
then getting tenancy is again competitive
This depends on where you get pupillage. Some Chambers still operate a 'competitive pupillage' system where, for example, four pupils are taken on but only two will secure tenancy. Clearly in that sort of situation there is still obvious competition for tenancy. However, most Chambers take pupils 'with a view to tenancy', which basically means that the Chambers has taken you because they expect you will make a good tenant. In other words, providing you apply yourself properly and work hard during your pupillage year, you shouldn't really have any issues securing tenancy. Generally speaking securing pupillage is seen as the hard part, and rightly so. The vast majority secure tenancy after that, as even if you are not taken on by the Chambers that offer you pupillage, finding a third six or tenancy elsewhere is then much easier than getting pupillage was to begin with.

That's a minor correction on the whole though; generally speaking your post is a very helpful one.

So my question is: to become a solicitor after completing the GDL and then LPC.. will I be fully qualified or will I need to make another 2 years of 'traineeship' with a company before becoming fully qualified?! I am a bit confused...
You need to complete a training contract after the LPC to be fully qualified, the training contract being the two year period that you're referring to.
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hanna_hars
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You need to complete a training contract after the LPC to be fully qualified, the training contract being the two year period that you're referring to.[/QUOTE]


Hi, thanks for the quick answer. Also, I am just realising that as a trainee solicitor I would only be paid the minimum wages..so, I would still need to keep my other part-time job in order to keep financially 'afloat': would it be possible to apply for a part-time training contract after the LPC? Are law firms willing to give out part-time contracts?!
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Doc.Daneeka
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(Original post by hanna_hars)
You need to complete a training contract after the LPC to be fully qualified, the training contract being the two year period that you're referring to.

Hi, thanks for the quick answer. Also, I am just realising that as a trainee solicitor I would only be paid the minimum wages..so, I would still need to keep my other part-time job in order to keep financially 'afloat': would it be possible to apply for a part-time training contract after the LPC? Are law firms willing to give out part-time contracts?![/QUOTE]
Trainee salaries go from the mid-teens in the regions right up to £40k+ in London so it's not really minimum wage whichever end of the spectrum you start at.
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Crazy Jamie
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(Original post by hanna_hars)
Hi, thanks for the quick answer. Also, I am just realising that as a trainee solicitor I would only be paid the minimum wages..so, I would still need to keep my other part-time job in order to keep financially 'afloat': would it be possible to apply for a part-time training contract after the LPC? Are law firms willing to give out part-time contracts?!
You're not paid minimum wage during a training contract. It is a full time job and you should certainly be paid enough to live off.
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