Bucky Barnes
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I’m really unsure about whether to do a Law degree or do a degree in another subject and then do a conversion course. I’m really interested in doing a degree in Theology and Religious Studies as this is one of my favourite subjects and I would really like to study it further - However, I’m sure that I eventually want to go into a career in law. Would doing a conversion put me at a disadvantage to students who have done law degrees?
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Brownclown
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(Original post by Bucky Barnes;[url="tel:57143833")
57143833[/url]]I’m really unsure about whether to do a Law degree or do a degree in another subject and then do a conversion course. I’m really interested in doing a degree in Theology and Religious Studies as this is one of my favourite subjects and I would really like to study it further - However, I’m sure that I eventually want to go into a career in law. Would doing a conversion put me at a disadvantage to students who have done law degrees?
Absolutely no disadvantage at all.
GDL Is viewed exactly the same as an LLB (if what my lawyer friends have told me is right)

You might want to consider that GDL is quite expensive. That + your religious studies student loans + LPC/BPCT costs means it will be very expensive indeed
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Spacecupcake
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As we are on the same topic, will employers look at your first degree classification then your law conversion course when employing you?
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zigglr
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(Original post by Brownclown)
Absolutely no disadvantage at all.
GDL Is viewed exactly the same as an LLB (if what my lawyer friends have told me is right)

You might want to consider that GDL is quite expensive. That + your religious studies student loans + LPC/BPCT costs means it will be very expensive indeed
How is GDL considered the same as LLB? If a company is choosing between someone who's done 3 years of Law vs someone who's done a random course and 1 year Law... They choose the LLB law student
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cambio wechsel
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(Original post by zigglr)
How is GDL considered the same as LLB? If a company is choosing between someone who's done 3 years of Law vs someone who's done a random course and 1 year Law... They choose the LLB law student
any evidence for this?
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Birkenhead
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(Original post by zigglr)
How is GDL considered the same as LLB? If a company is choosing between someone who's done 3 years of Law vs someone who's done a random course and 1 year Law... They choose the LLB law student
Yeah this isn't true at all. The only whisperings of a rumour of preference that I've heard have been for those that study non-law degrees at undergrad because they add colour to the profession, but basically there is no preference at all.
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zigglr
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(Original post by Birkenhead)
Yeah this isn't true at all. The only whisperings of a rumour of preference that I've heard have been for those that study non-law degrees at undergrad because they add colour to the profession, but basically there is no preference at all.
That makes no sense... Why would they prefer someone who has done only one year of Law rather than someone who's done 3 years... The person with three years will be much more likely to get the job because they have studied the Law way more in depth. You really can't fit that much into a one year rush course
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Birkenhead
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(Original post by zigglr)
That makes no sense... Why would they prefer someone who has done only one year of Law rather than someone who's done 3 years... The person with three years will be much more likely to get the job because they have studied the Law way more in depth. You really can't fit that much into a one year rush course
This would be a valid argument for legal academia, but the only stuff that is really relevant to legal practice in a law degree is covered in the GDL - strong completion of which is also highly desirable precisely because it is so intense. Ask any barrister or solicitor: most will tell you that it doesn't matter; a small number will say they prefer GDLers - at least, that has been my experience and what I have gleaned from others. Law is an academic degree, not a vocational one - that's why you also have to do the LPC/BPTC to be able to do a TC/pupillage. Most of a law degree is completely unnecessary for legal practice.
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callum_law
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I don't know the answer, to be honest. Rationally one might say the 3-year LLB grad must know more than the GDL student or 2-year LLB grad. Is that necessarily true? I don't think it is. Really, a Law degree is transient and fast-paced. You learn so much and you forget so much. When it comes to TCs, someone who last studied criminal law in their first year of their 3-year LLB might have a lesser command of criminal law than the GDL who studied it that year. If you apply that argument to other modules, then it starts to count. Also having studied more modules is not necessarily an advantage. If two people got 72% in commercial law and both are applying for TC in commercial practice, what does it matter that one studied the law of evidence and the other one did not?

However, and this is most anecdotal so bear that in mind, researching firms I have found most people who do GDL and succeed to practice were Oxbridge undergrads, whereas there are a lot fewer people who have done GDL and are non-Oxbridge who succeeded to practice. I am not sure what you can take from this! Perhaps it means Oxbridge grads are more likely to get into firms and they are also more likely to be polymathic (hence studying another subject at undergrad), whereas non-Oxbridge grads are more likely to go for the pure LLB route; or perhaps it means GDL students who are not Oxbridge calibre are at a disadvantage to other applicants who are also non-Oxbridge, and that's why they rarely show up. It could mean a multitude of things.
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cambio wechsel
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(Original post by zigglr)
That makes no sense... Why would they prefer someone who has done only one year of Law rather than someone who's done 3 years... The person with three years will be much more likely to get the job because they have studied the Law way more in depth. You really can't fit that much into a one year rush course
the other wasn't sat on his hands in the university years, mind. In IP Law, for example, there's a strong liking for degrees in sciences and especially biosciences.

Look at the profiles here: http://www.8newsquare.co.uk/members-...ers/index.html and especially for the more recent calls. There's practically no-one without a sciences degree and law conversion course: the mostly recently hired with an LLB would appear to have been taken on 17 years ago...
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by zigglr)
They choose the LLB law student
This is not the case

This is a posting that I made a couple of years ago.


Whether the best lawyers do law degrees is a matter of opinion. In the dim and distant past (pre-war particularly) the strongest students did not read law. That is where the idea originally comes from.

Jonathan Sumption (a Supreme Court justice and professional historian) is strongly of this view but his career (first man in 60 years to go straight from the bar to the highest court) is so untypical that one can ignore it.

My own experience is that non-law degree graduates know less black letter law and this remains the case for a very long time. However, black letter law is only one component is being a lawyer.

To say that someone with a non-law degree stands a better chance of becoming a lawyer is just a mishandling of statistics.

The city law firms frequently quote that they take 50/50 law and non-law graduates. I used to answer that by pointing out that well over 70% of new solicitors who had done training contracts were law graduates. Later figures showed a substantial drop in this. March 2011 to Feb 2012 admissions were 64% law graduates and March 2012 to Feb 2013 were 63% law graduates. Therefore one can say just under two thirds of people completing training contracts had law degrees.

The fallacy in the statistics is that people usually compare at different parts of the process. The comparison is made between the proportion of law graduates who become solicitors and the proportion of GDL graduates who become solicitors but nobody counts (because there is no way of counting) all the thousands of non-law graduates who would like to be solicitors but due to academic performance or lack of money never do a GDL. Therefore one counts the thousands of financially or academically non-viable law graduates but one doesn't count the thousands of non-viable non-law graduates. A sensible comparison only exists once people have embarked on the LPC and I am not aware of any statistics which show that non-law LPC students are more likely to qualify as solicitors than law graduate LPC students.
Since then I can update the statistics. For those qualifying in 2013/14, so those starting training contracts in 2011/2, the proportions (I am ignoring the substantial number who qualify by other routes) 61% were law graduates which is probably the lowest number since qualification by 5 year articles was phased out in the 1970s.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by cambio wechsel)
the other wasn't sat on his hands in the university years, mind. In IP Law, for example, there's a strong liking for degrees in sciences and especially biosciences.

Look at the profiles here: http://www.8newsquare.co.uk/members-...ers/index.html and especially for the more recent calls. There's practically no-one without a sciences degree and law conversion course: the mostly recently hired with an LLB would appear to have been taken on 17 years ago...
As one of the more senior of those barristers without a science background explained to me, when he started the patent bar was struggling to recruit.
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callum_law
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
This is not the case

This is a posting that I made a couple of years ago.




Since then I can update the statistics. For those qualifying in 2013/14, so those starting training contracts in 2011/2, the proportions (I am ignoring the substantial number who qualify by other routes) 61% were law graduates which is probably the lowest number since qualification by 5 year articles was phased out in the 1970s.
I made a post just above about partially concerning the prospects of non-Oxbridge GDLs. Do you think there is anything in that?
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zigglr
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(Original post by Birkenhead)
This would be a valid argument for legal academia, but the only stuff that is really relevant to legal practice in a law degree is covered in the GDL - strong completion of which is also highly desirable precisely because it is so intense. Ask any barrister or solicitor: most will tell you that it doesn't matter; a small number will say they prefer GDLers - at least, that has been my experience and what I have gleaned from others. Law is an academic degree, not a vocational one - that's why you also have to do the LPC/BPTC to be able to do a TC/pupillage. Most of a law degree is completely unnecessary for legal practice.
Sorry but this makes no sense, someone who has studied Law for three years and has become specialised in that subject, they have studied it much more in depth and have a deeper understanding of the differenent aspects of the Law, as well as much more time to practice it, such as with mooting societies etc. compared to someone who has simply rushed through the subject in 1 year. It seems much more likely that the former would be much more sought after as a job applicant, especially if they did a work experience year during their degree (which isn't possible the the GDL). GDLs are also often seen as something which people take because they want to make something out of a useless degree that they have taken, not because they have an interest / passion for becoming a Lawyer.
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zigglr
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(Original post by cambio wechsel)
the other wasn't sat on his hands in the university years, mind. In IP Law, for example, there's a strong liking for degrees in sciences and especially biosciences.

Look at the profiles here: http://www.8newsquare.co.uk/members-...ers/index.html and especially for the more recent calls. There's practically no-one without a sciences degree and law conversion course: the mostly recently hired with an LLB would appear to have been taken on 17 years ago...
What do you mean sat on his hands? Someone doing GDL doesn't really have any opportunity to get a lot of practice / experience such as with mooting societies etc. simply because they have no time as they rush through the course. They aren't able to study the aspects of Law in depth, they simply get an outline of it.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by callum_law)
I made a post just above about partially concerning the prospects of non-Oxbridge GDLs. Do you think there is anything in that?
I think it is a multitude of factors.

As I said, the people who are academically or financially unable to do the GDL don't appear in any statistics. Plainly a smaller proportion of Oxbridge graduates fall into either category.

Oxbridge elitism at school level plays a significant part in this as well. VIth formers are not persuaded out of subjects with poor employability when they are Oxbridge candidates (and indeed may be persuaded into them in order to secure more Oxbridge successes) in the same way they would be with other good universities. There is a clear correlation between subject choice of applicants to Oxbridge and social position of applicants. The poorer the applicants the more likely they are to choose subjects with high employability. Those particular chickens come home to roost with the number of Oxbridge GDL applicants.

Not to put too fine a point on it a greater proportion of Oxbridge graduates are brighter than at other universities. Other universities have equally bright students but there are far fewer dim ones at Oxbridge.

However, it is by no means the case that all GDL students or all GDL students who succeed in having a legal career careers are Oxbridge graduates. My much younger partner in the next office has a degree in music technology from somewhere like Kingston or Middlesex.
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callum_law
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(Original post by zigglr)
What do you mean sat on his hands? Someone doing GDL doesn't really have any opportunity to get a lot of practice / experience such as with mooting societies etc. simply because they have no time as they rush through the course. They aren't able to study the aspects of Law in depth, they simply get an outline of it.
That's not true. If someone knows that they want to do the GDL whilst they are doing their UG, they are perfectly able to get involved with their uni's law society and get involved with mooting. It's not just open to law students.
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Samuraix
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Lord Sumption is a brilliant judge and former QC.
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christianlaw
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(Original post by zigglr)
What do you mean sat on his hands? Someone doing GDL doesn't really have any opportunity to get a lot of practice / experience such as with mooting societies etc. simply because they have no time as they rush through the course. They aren't able to study the aspects of Law in depth, they simply get an outline of it.
I am sorry but your assumption is not accurate. The GDL covers the seven core foundation as defined by the SRA and the BSB. In others words, the professional regulator recognise that these are the essential areas and, much of the vocational and practical part of the profession will be covered anyway in the LPC or BPTC + the relevant training contract or pupillage.

The longer period spent by LLB students is therefore outside the foundation areas: e.g. studying an elective in medical law will not turn you into a specialist in that field. Similarly, roman law or jurisprudence might not be that relevant in your profession.

Having completed more legal subjects outside the level foundational areas is irrelevant for the purpose of moving on to the next stage, the vocational one.

This said the LLB could present a number of advantages:

a) If you intend to re-qualify outside England & Wales e.g. to sit for the New York Bar Exam the GDL + LPC + Qualification will still require an extra year in a U.S. Law school. Similarly, many other jurisdictions in the caribbean and members of the commonwealth will consider an LLB but might not see the GDL as equivalent. For instance, if you plan to re-qualify in Australia the LLB will grant you more exemptions than the GDL and other jurisdictions specifically require a three year law degree (e.g. California);

b) If you do not find a training contract/pupillage the law degree is likely to be more useful but, GDL graduates can easily complete a top-up programme (normally 1 year) and receive an LLB so this is not a big issue;

Professionally and in the UK a GDL doesn't present with any major disadvantage.

The issue with the GDL is how intense it is vs. the LLB so, in my view, if someone is passionate about studying law should consider an LLB or, even better, an exempting MLaw. Seen that the OP wrote "I’m sure that I eventually want to go into a career in law." I would recommend considering the LLB/MLaw path seriously.

There are now exempting LLB that can be completed in just 3 years (http://courses.southwales.ac.uk/cour...tice-exempting) I found this idea very attractive as it would save 1 year of studies (and loans!)
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