GDL, training contracts and funding help??

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jmjmjm17803
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Hi,I am currently completing my second year in History at Uni of Bristol and want to convert to law to become a solicitor after my degree. I am concerned about being able to afford to do the GDL and LPC; i wont be eligible for any kind of bursary or scholarship but simultaneously my parents will obviously not be able to fund it, and I have heard you cannot get loans in the same way you do for undergraduate or even postgraduate degrees. If i do a summer vacation scheme at the end of third year - Summer 2020, I believe it is possible I could be offered a training contract to commence September 2022? I would then do the GDL in 2020-2021 and LPC in 2021-2022. But, I heard that some firms sponsor your GDL and LPC if they offer you a training contract which would be amazing! I am just v. confused as surely if my vacation scheme is in summer 2020 I would be starting my GDL a month or so later... so surely it would be too late for me to get a sponsor from the law firm i do my placement with for a course that starts a month or so later! Hope this makes sense? Please can someone explain / explain other ways of funding all of this - would be a massive help!
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lawt
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Funding the GDL:
- Firm sponsorship
- Bank of Mum and Dad
- Work + part-time GDL
- Private loans
- Combined GDL/LLM (not offered by all providers) + postgraduate loan

Obtaining sponsorship from a firm is the preferred option, as many firms cover the whole cost and provide a maintenance grant (this varies from firm to firm). You are correct that doing a vacation scheme in summer 2020 could lead to a training contract offer for starting in 2022. You can do vacation schemes in winter and spring, too. Regarding the time between VS and commencement of the GDL - this is not a problem because firms which sponsor students generally reserve places with specific providers.

My advice is spend time making your application as good as possible ahead of the 2022 cycle which will open late August (each firm is different). This means work experience, attending events and speaking to those doing the job, as well as researching firms, practice areas and the industry.

P.s. be aware that the SQE is on the horizon (probably). If you started a GDL in 2020 it shouldn't affect you, but any later and it might! https://www.lawcareers.net/Informati...we-know-so-far
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chigyy
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You can start the GDL in January.
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mac99
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If self-funding, you can decide when to start the GDL but if sponsored by the firm they will tell you when they want you to start. Also I don't want to put out your fire, but VS are extremely competitive and there is absolutely no guarantee you will land one. Your applications will have to be thoroughly researched, tailored to the firm and be able to stand out form the other 1500 that apply. I just want to make you aware of what it takes.
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jmjmjm17803
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thanks so much! When do you start applying for TCs for 2022? Late august of 2021? or 2020?!
(Original post by lawt)
Funding the GDL:
- Firm sponsorship
- Bank of Mum and Dad
- Work + part-time GDL
- Private loans
- Combined GDL/LLM (not offered by all providers) + postgraduate loan

Obtaining sponsorship from a firm is the preferred option, as many firms cover the whole cost and provide a maintenance grant (this varies from firm to firm). You are correct that doing a vacation scheme in summer 2020 could lead to a training contract offer for starting in 2022. You can do vacation schemes in winter and spring, too. Regarding the time between VS and commencement of the GDL - this is not a problem because firms which sponsor students generally reserve places with specific providers.

My advice is spend time making your application as good as possible ahead of the 2022 cycle which will open late August (each firm is different). This means work experience, attending events and speaking to those doing the job, as well as researching firms, practice areas and the industry.

P.s. be aware that the SQE is on the horizon (probably). If you started a GDL in 2020 it shouldn't affect you, but any later and it might! https://www.lawcareers.net/Informati...we-know-so-far
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lawt
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The 2022 TC 'cycle' will begin in August 2019. From that point firms will open their online application portals for training contracts, but also for vacation schemes (which are becoming the preferred way to hire trainees for many firms). Most of the deadlines can be found here: https://www.lawcareers.net/Solicitor...tractDeadlines (LawCareers.net is a goldmine of information - they have a section dedicated to non-law students which you should read).

I was in your position as a non-law student and my advice is this: research the profession extensively - every firm and practice area is different, find out what interests you; get some work experience - shadowing a lawyer, a legal clinic or CAB, or check out your university's law society/faculty for opportunities; speak to people doing the job and ask questions - relatives, friends, careers fairs, open days, campus presentations.

I would echo the post above - this process is highly competitive. Make sure it is what you want before you embark on it. There are posters across these forums who will dispel you of any glamorous 'Suits-like' expectations you might have of the profession!
(Original post by jmjmjm17803)
thanks so much! When do you start applying for TCs for 2022? Late august of 2021? or 2020?!
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LegalEagle373
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(Original post by chigyy)
You can start the GDL in January.
If you start in January, when does it end?
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electrolyte21
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(Original post by jmjmjm17803)
Hi,I am currently completing my second year in History at Uni of Bristol and want to convert to law to become a solicitor after my degree. I am concerned about being able to afford to do the GDL and LPC; i wont be eligible for any kind of bursary or scholarship but simultaneously my parents will obviously not be able to fund it, and I have heard you cannot get loans in the same way you do for undergraduate or even postgraduate degrees. If i do a summer vacation scheme at the end of third year - Summer 2020, I believe it is possible I could be offered a training contract to commence September 2022? I would then do the GDL in 2020-2021 and LPC in 2021-2022. But, I heard that some firms sponsor your GDL and LPC if they offer you a training contract which would be amazing! I am just v. confused as surely if my vacation scheme is in summer 2020 I would be starting my GDL a month or so later... so surely it would be too late for me to get a sponsor from the law firm i do my placement with for a course that starts a month or so later! Hope this makes sense? Please can someone explain / explain other ways of funding all of this - would be a massive help!
In a very similar position to you, would really need a firm sponsorship to complete the GDL and LPC (science background rather than arts). Failing to secure a TC this year after going in a bit blind, my advice from the process and feedback I have received would be this
> Have a really good think about what area of law you would like to progress into, and target your work experience/volunteering around this area.
> Target your firms accordingly, but be mindful that although firms may offer seats in that area post TC, they may not offer in that area during your training
> Regardless of what area of law, every firm I’ve researched will expect you to demonstrate commercial awareness. This is obviously obtained from experience as a lawyer but a way to build a good foundation (I’ve found) is via podcasts, Law in Action is great, the economist/the intelligence is another good one and financial times is great (mostly brexit dominated at the moment of course)
> Don’t negate something you might perceive as irrelevant that actually sets you apart from other candidates, do you play an unusual sport or have had a creative way of generating additional income during your studies?
> Depending in where you are, it can be difficult to get shadowing experience so don’t be disheartened by a few no’s, keep emailing people and put yourself out there for work experience.

Hope this helps!
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