GDL or LLB with a Canadian BSc? (cGPA 2.3 equivalent to 3rd in UK) Watch

Moses Osman
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Hi all,

This is my first post here so I will try to be as concise as I can.

I am 28 years old and currently teach A-level and GCSE Science/Maths at a college in London. I hold a BSc from arguably the best university in Canada (University of Toronto) and a Bachelor of Education from a lesser known Lakehead University (it is equivalent to a PGCE in UK and is NOT considered an honours undergraduate degree by NARIC but rather a post-graduate professional qualification).

My first two years in BSc yielded a GPA of 3.3 (~2:1) but after getting married at 21, I graduated with a cGPA of 2.3 (~3rd). I later completed a Bachelor of Education with a GPA of 3.7+ (~1st) and have been a teacher for 2 years.

I wish to study law part-time in London while I am working. But after reading countless threads outlining the difficulty in securing training contracts with a 3rd class degree, I am also wary of the costs/time commitment/risk.

I recently got accepted into the GDL at ULaw so here are my options:

1) Do the GDL and hope that I get my foot in the door with a foreign third class undergraduate degree.

2) Do the GDL and put down Bachelor of Education as my undergraduate degree (because it is one in UK after all!) & keep my fingers crossed that the firms do not ask for my BEd transcript- I would like to clarify that I will not be lying because it IS called Bachelor of Education and it IS an undergraduate degree in the UK when done in conjunction with another discipline. I simply won't be disclosing my BSc with poor grades and let the recruiters assume that I did my BEd in 4 years instead of 1 year.

3) Do the LLB at ULaw instead of the GDL (4 years part-time vs 2 years part-time).

4) Do the LLB at UoL External on a part-time basis.

5) Do the LLM QLD at Birkbeck, UoL: 3 years part-time

I will be self-funding my fees. I am also aware of the tuition fees for international law students so the part-time LLB at ULaw @ £18,000 (total) was the best bargain I could find for myself. The LLM QLD would cost around £22,000

Here are my concerns:

1) Would UK law firms care about my third class Canadian degree marks? If yes, can I not just only put down my First Class BEd as my undergraduate education and let them assume that it is a bachelor's degree? Would they wish to see transcripts? Because one glance at it suggests that it is a 1 year program.

2) Is it worth the effort to get a 4-year LLB (PT) vs a 2-year GDL (PT) simply for the sake of having a better chance at an interview?

3) UoL's LLB looks attractive but I have read a lot of negative things about their support and admin. I like the price and I have always been an independent learner; is it really that hard? If I am going to get a second undergraduate, I would definitely want a First.

4) What is the reputation of ULaw's LLB? How will I fare against Oxbridge graduates at Magic Circle firms (assuming I get a First in the LLB and after we standardise for extracurriculars/volunteering/work experience)?

5) Will having a Distinction in the QLD LLM (basically GDL with a research component) negate my poor undergraduate GPA while being considered for interviews?

6) Is ULaw's First Class LLB good enough to be applying to elite masters programs such as BCL at Oxford or LLM at Cambridge?

I recently read a survey of all the institutions attended by trainees at big firms and found no sign of ULaw or BPP! I understand that they are for-profit universities but not a single trainee holding LLB from these institutions based IN London is quite alarming. (Only about 400 trainees were interviewed so sample size might not be big enough).

Please don't tell me about other part-time LLB programs because I cannot afford them! And I am also aware of the fact that ULaw and BPP are known for their LPC, BPTC, and GDL rather than their LLB.

Thanks for all your help in advance.
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I can't answer much of that but for what it's worth:

6) Is ULaw's First Class LLB good enough to be applying to elite masters programs such as BCL at Oxford or LLM at Cambridge?
I got the top first from BPP (studying part-time, as you are contemplating doing) and was rejected from both programs. I suspect the ULaw program is about the same standard. Of course, my failure doesn't mean that you or anyone else is going to fail, and you can't draw conclusions from a sample size of one. I ended up doing an LLM at UCL instead.

I recently read a survey of all the institutions attended by trainees at big firms and found no sign of ULaw or BPP!
I know exactly one trainee with a BPP degree at a 'big London firm' (Herbert Smith Freehills). That BPP student got a fairly moderate 2:1, so it wouldn't surprise me if there were a handful of others.

I have no idea about the other questions or what your best option is because I was never interested in becoming a solicitor. I think Option (2) is wrong: whether or not it is strictly 'lying', it is at the least evasive and perhaps deceptive and you may face difficulties if you obtain a training contract and then the firm does find out about the UToronto degree. Option (1) sounds like a virtual impossibility to me - though all of your options may be long shots at best.
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zero_gravity
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(Original post by Moses Osman)
Hi all,

This is my first post here so I will try to be as concise as I can.

I am 28 years old and currently teach A-level and GCSE Science/Maths at a college in London. I hold a BSc from arguably the best university in Canada (University of Toronto) and a Bachelor of Education from a lesser known Lakehead University (it is equivalent to a PGCE in UK and is NOT considered an honours undergraduate degree by NARIC but rather a post-graduate professional qualification).

My first two years in BSc yielded a GPA of 3.3 (~2:1) but after getting married at 21, I graduated with a cGPA of 2.3 (~3rd). I later completed a Bachelor of Education with a GPA of 3.7+ (~1st) and have been a teacher for 2 years.

I wish to study law part-time in London while I am working. But after reading countless threads outlining the difficulty in securing training contracts with a 3rd class degree, I am also wary of the costs/time commitment/risk.

I recently got accepted into the GDL at ULaw so here are my options:

1) Do the GDL and hope that I get my foot in the door with a foreign third class undergraduate degree.

2) Do the GDL and put down Bachelor of Education as my undergraduate degree (because it is one in UK after all!) & keep my fingers crossed that the firms do not ask for my BEd transcript- I would like to clarify that I will not be lying because it IS called Bachelor of Education and it IS an undergraduate degree in the UK when done in conjunction with another discipline. I simply won't be disclosing my BSc with poor grades and let the recruiters assume that I did my BEd in 4 years instead of 1 year.

3) Do the LLB at ULaw instead of the GDL (4 years part-time vs 2 years part-time).

4) Do the LLB at UoL External on a part-time basis.

5) Do the LLM QLD at Birkbeck, UoL: 3 years part-time

I will be self-funding my fees. I am also aware of the tuition fees for international law students so the part-time LLB at ULaw @ £18,000 (total) was the best bargain I could find for myself. The LLM QLD would cost around £22,000

Here are my concerns:

1) Would UK law firms care about my third class Canadian degree marks? If yes, can I not just only put down my First Class BEd as my undergraduate education and let them assume that it is a bachelor's degree? Would they wish to see transcripts? Because one glance at it suggests that it is a 1 year program.

2) Is it worth the effort to get a 4-year LLB (PT) vs a 2-year GDL (PT) simply for the sake of having a better chance at an interview?

3) UoL's LLB looks attractive but I have read a lot of negative things about their support and admin. I like the price and I have always been an independent learner; is it really that hard? If I am going to get a second undergraduate, I would definitely want a First.

4) What is the reputation of ULaw's LLB? How will I fare against Oxbridge graduates at Magic Circle firms (assuming I get a First in the LLB and after we standardise for extracurriculars/volunteering/work experience)?

5) Will having a Distinction in the QLD LLM (basically GDL with a research component) negate my poor undergraduate GPA while being considered for interviews?

6) Is ULaw's First Class LLB good enough to be applying to elite masters programs such as BCL at Oxford or LLM at Cambridge?

I recently read a survey of all the institutions attended by trainees at big firms and found no sign of ULaw or BPP! I understand that they are for-profit universities but not a single trainee holding LLB from these institutions based IN London is quite alarming. (Only about 400 trainees were interviewed so sample size might not be big enough).

Please don't tell me about other part-time LLB programs because I cannot afford them! And I am also aware of the fact that ULaw and BPP are known for their LPC, BPTC, and GDL rather than their LLB.

Thanks for all your help in advance.
Yes, they will care about your grades from your Canadian degree, but they shouldn't hold it in high regard if you get really good grades for your GDL/LLB. If you can provide supporting documentation for your poor performance in your first degree, they should be able to treat it as a special case.

I wouldn't suggest leaving out your grades from your first degree. The graduate recruitment teams for law firms, I'm pretty sure, have experience looking through international qualifications and have knowledge about the Canadian higher education system. To think that you can get a degree in one year would put up a red flag on your records and actually might end up working against you for being dishonest with the intention of hiding your past grades.
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Moses Osman
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I can't answer much of that but for what it's worth:



I got the top first from BPP (studying part-time, as you are contemplating doing) and was rejected from both programs. I suspect the ULaw program is about the same standard. Of course, my failure doesn't mean that you or anyone else is going to fail, and you can't draw conclusions from a sample size of one. I ended up doing an LLM at UCL instead.



I know exactly one trainee with a BPP degree at a 'big London firm' (Herbert Smith Freehills). That BPP student got a fairly moderate 2:1, so it wouldn't surprise me if there were a handful of others.

I have no idea about the other questions or what your best option is because I was never interested in becoming a solicitor. I think Option (2) is wrong: whether or not it is strictly 'lying', it is at the least evasive and perhaps deceptive and you may face difficulties if you obtain a training contract and then the firm does find out about the UToronto degree. Option (1) sounds like a virtual impossibility to me - though all of your options may be long shots at best.
If you don't mind me asking, are you a barrister or in academia or neither?
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(Original post by Moses Osman)
If you don't mind me asking, are you a barrister or in academia or neither?
I'm still doing my LLM, but I have a pupillage lined up starting in 2017.
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Moses Osman
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I'm still doing my LLM, but I have a pupillage lined up starting in 2017.
Nice! To be honest, I am not completely sure what I wish to do with the LLB; I am just genuinely interested in the study of law. Who knows, I might just use my teaching experience to become a law professor.

With the GDL, I cannot even become a barrister as a minimum of 2:2 is needed for the BPTC.

So I guess I am going to go for ULaw's LLB unless someone else can offer me some insight.
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sallyanne
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(Original post by Moses Osman)

I recently got accepted into the GDL at ULaw so here are my options:
Can I ask how long it took for them to get back to you with an offer?
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Moses Osman
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(Original post by sallyanne)
Can I ask how long it took for them to get back to you with an offer?
About 2 weeks.
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Moses Osman
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I can't answer much of that but for what it's worth:



I got the top first from BPP (studying part-time, as you are contemplating doing) and was rejected from both programs. I suspect the ULaw program is about the same standard. Of course, my failure doesn't mean that you or anyone else is going to fail, and you can't draw conclusions from a sample size of one. I ended up doing an LLM at UCL instead.



I know exactly one trainee with a BPP degree at a 'big London firm' (Herbert Smith Freehills). That BPP student got a fairly moderate 2:1, so it wouldn't surprise me if there were a handful of others.

I have no idea about the other questions or what your best option is because I was never interested in becoming a solicitor. I think Option (2) is wrong: whether or not it is strictly 'lying', it is at the least evasive and perhaps deceptive and you may face difficulties if you obtain a training contract and then the firm does find out about the UToronto degree. Option (1) sounds like a virtual impossibility to me - though all of your options may be long shots at best.
Hey, UCL is elite enough for me! I haven't ruled out being a Barrister either because I am not scared of public speaking. I am just genuinely interested in the study of law so contemplating the best option for a career switch.

OK so the GDL is out of the picture.

If you don't mind me asking, what chamber did you secure pupillage with? (or is this like a super intrusive question that people don't like answering? I got no clue).
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(Original post by Moses Osman)

If you don't mind me asking, what chamber did you secure pupillage with? (or is this like a super intrusive question that people don't like answering? I got no clue).
Serle Court.

Obviously it's your money but I would think long and hard before making what is a huge financial commitment (given the international fees you mention), as well as a huge time commitment. You will need to bear in mind that anywhere you apply is going to want to know your complete educational history so there is probably no getting away from that 2.3 GPA. You will almost definitely need to get a 1st, particularly if you end up at ULaw. There are plenty of people with Oxbridge firsts (and no previous poor degree) who struggle to get a pupillage. Sorry for being negative.
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Moses Osman
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Serle Court.

Obviously it's your money but I would think long and hard before making what is a huge financial commitment (given the international fees you mention), as well as a huge time commitment. You will need to bear in mind that anywhere you apply is going to want to know your complete educational history so there is probably no getting away from that 2.3 GPA. You will almost definitely need to get a 1st, particularly if you end up at ULaw. There are plenty of people with Oxbridge firsts (and no previous poor degree) who struggle to get a pupillage. Sorry for being negative.
Wow well done on the pupillage! And I appreciate the realism.

I understand the level of competition is insane so I totally appreciate the fact that each candidate needs to bring something else to the table other than a piece of paper, no matter how prestigious it is.

The ULaw program is surprisingly cheap for international students @ £18,000 for the 4 years (same as EU/UK nationals) so I am sold on that price. I am pretty much relying on my work/start-up experience to set myself apart from other applicants.

Which leaves me with a very important factor: how much does age matter? I will be 33 by the time I complete the LLB (although I don't look a day over 22 from what I have been told).

Also, I understand that there has been a recent uproar about diversity at the bar; I am of a South-Asian decent and was brought up in North America as interviewers will discover via my accent. Is this considered a plus?
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(Original post by Moses Osman)
Which leaves me with a very important factor: how much does age matter? I will be 33 by the time I complete the LLB (although I don't look a day over 22 from what I have been told).

Also, I understand that there has been a recent uproar about diversity at the bar; I am of a South-Asian decent and was brought up in North America as interviewers will discover via my accent. Is this considered a plus?
Don't think age matters very much - I am older than you will be after you complete an LLB.

I don't think there will be any 'positive discrimination' on the grounds of ethnicity, although of course you will not be discriminated against. I'd say that it is a purely neutral factor.
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Moses Osman
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Don't think age matters very much - I am older than you will be after you complete an LLB.

I don't think there will be any 'positive discrimination' on the grounds of ethnicity, although of course you will not be discriminated against. I'd say that it is a purely neutral factor.
Thanks! This helps a lot!
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(Original post by Moses Osman)
Hi all,

This is my first post here so I will try to be as concise as I can.

I am 28 years old and currently teach A-level and GCSE Science/Maths at a college in London. I hold a BSc from arguably the best university in Canada (University of Toronto) and a Bachelor of Education from a lesser known Lakehead University (it is equivalent to a PGCE in UK and is NOT considered an honours undergraduate degree by NARIC but rather a post-graduate professional qualification).

My first two years in BSc yielded a GPA of 3.3 (~2:1) but after getting married at 21, I graduated with a cGPA of 2.3 (~3rd). I later completed a Bachelor of Education with a GPA of 3.7+ (~1st) and have been a teacher for 2 years.

I wish to study law part-time in London while I am working. But after reading countless threads outlining the difficulty in securing training contracts with a 3rd class degree, I am also wary of the costs/time commitment/risk.

I recently got accepted into the GDL at ULaw so here are my options:

1) Do the GDL and hope that I get my foot in the door with a foreign third class undergraduate degree.

2) Do the GDL and put down Bachelor of Education as my undergraduate degree (because it is one in UK after all!) & keep my fingers crossed that the firms do not ask for my BEd transcript- I would like to clarify that I will not be lying because it IS called Bachelor of Education and it IS an undergraduate degree in the UK when done in conjunction with another discipline. I simply won't be disclosing my BSc with poor grades and let the recruiters assume that I did my BEd in 4 years instead of 1 year.

3) Do the LLB at ULaw instead of the GDL (4 years part-time vs 2 years part-time).

4) Do the LLB at UoL External on a part-time basis.

5) Do the LLM QLD at Birkbeck, UoL: 3 years part-time

I will be self-funding my fees. I am also aware of the tuition fees for international law students so the part-time LLB at ULaw @ £18,000 (total) was the best bargain I could find for myself. The LLM QLD would cost around £22,000

Here are my concerns:

1) Would UK law firms care about my third class Canadian degree marks? If yes, can I not just only put down my First Class BEd as my undergraduate education and let them assume that it is a bachelor's degree? Would they wish to see transcripts? Because one glance at it suggests that it is a 1 year program.

2) Is it worth the effort to get a 4-year LLB (PT) vs a 2-year GDL (PT) simply for the sake of having a better chance at an interview?

3) UoL's LLB looks attractive but I have read a lot of negative things about their support and admin. I like the price and I have always been an independent learner; is it really that hard? If I am going to get a second undergraduate, I would definitely want a First.

4) What is the reputation of ULaw's LLB? How will I fare against Oxbridge graduates at Magic Circle firms (assuming I get a First in the LLB and after we standardise for extracurriculars/volunteering/work experience)?

5) Will having a Distinction in the QLD LLM (basically GDL with a research component) negate my poor undergraduate GPA while being considered for interviews?

6) Is ULaw's First Class LLB good enough to be applying to elite masters programs such as BCL at Oxford or LLM at Cambridge?

I recently read a survey of all the institutions attended by trainees at big firms and found no sign of ULaw or BPP! I understand that they are for-profit universities but not a single trainee holding LLB from these institutions based IN London is quite alarming. (Only about 400 trainees were interviewed so sample size might not be big enough).

Please don't tell me about other part-time LLB programs because I cannot afford them! And I am also aware of the fact that ULaw and BPP are known for their LPC, BPTC, and GDL rather than their LLB.

Thanks for all your help in advance.
This is a serious question that has several layers to it. I would firstly speak with career advisor's at ULaw, BPP and UoL and find out what they can offer, specific success stories and how they can guide you.

But from my personal experience and understanding, you may struggle in gaining a training contract with the grades you have listed. Studying Part time is a long and tiring process, so if you want to go through with that you will have to be super strong to get through it.

Your best option is to save your money! You're 28 and in some eyes already a 'mature student/applicant' which means that if you are passionate about a career in law you can wait a little longer, saving you ALOT of money.

I have just graduate from BPP having studied PT LPC, self funding (which I regret). I wish I waited a little longer, gained a TC and let the firm pay for it rather than paying £14k + for a degree with no guarantee TC after it. I am technically back at square 1!

Even if you don't put down your qualifications, a firm will ask and if you don't disclose they will have the right to drop you. Its as simple as that.

Every non-law undergrad as to study the GDL if they want to do the LPC and qualify, do it the most straightforward and recognisable way- BPP/ULaw GDL, apply for TC and wait for a firm to sponsor you for the LPC. Do the best you can in your GDL and that will surpass your undergraduate degree if you get amazing grades. Plus if you're lucky enough to get an interview, with your experience and knowledge in other careers, you'll have ALOT to talk about which firms love.

A simple answer: FT/PT GDL at BPP/ULaw, whilst studying apply for TCs and not just from Magic Circle firms, gain a TC and let the firm pay for your LPC.

It is not impossible to gain a TC with what you have experienced and will experience but you have to be strong, persevere, focus and take every opportunity given to you and you will get there eventually.
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(Original post by student521)
This is a serious question that has several layers to it. I would firstly speak with career advisor's at ULaw, BPP and UoL and find out what they can offer, specific success stories and how they can guide you.

But from my personal experience and understanding, you may struggle in gaining a training contract with the grades you have listed. Studying Part time is a long and tiring process, so if you want to go through with that you will have to be super strong to get through it.

Your best option is to save your money! You're 28 and in some eyes already a 'mature student/applicant' which means that if you are passionate about a career in law you can wait a little longer, saving you ALOT of money.

I have just graduate from BPP having studied PT LPC, self funding (which I regret). I wish I waited a little longer, gained a TC and let the firm pay for it rather than paying £14k + for a degree with no guarantee TC after it. I am technically back at square 1!

Even if you don't put down your qualifications, a firm will ask and if you don't disclose they will have the right to drop you. Its as simple as that.

Every non-law undergrad as to study the GDL if they want to do the LPC and qualify, do it the most straightforward and recognisable way- BPP/ULaw GDL, apply for TC and wait for a firm to sponsor you for the LPC. Do the best you can in your GDL and that will surpass your undergraduate degree if you get amazing grades. Plus if you're lucky enough to get an interview, with your experience and knowledge in other careers, you'll have ALOT to talk about which firms love.

A simple answer: FT/PT GDL at BPP/ULaw, whilst studying apply for TCs and not just from Magic Circle firms, gain a TC and let the firm pay for your LPC.

It is not impossible to gain a TC with what you have experienced and will experience but you have to be strong, persevere, focus and take every opportunity given to you and you will get there eventually.


Could you give me some advice about how hard it would be to get a firm to pay for my LPC if I am an international student that has a 3.3 GPA from the U.S. and if I do fairly well on the GDL? Would it be a lot harder than if I were a UK student? Do firms also pay for the LLM? Also, would you recommend doing a graduate LLB for two years instead of a GDL? Do firms consider whether you did a graduate LLB rather than a GDL?

Thank you in advance

Do you suggest doing a GDL then an LLM and then LPC and then a TC with a firm, or just do a GDL then LPC then LLM then TC?
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