Self-Fund GDL, do the MA for PG funding or try secure a TC?

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cpmal
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#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
Hello,

I am a recent Economics Grad from the University of Nottingham contemplating a Law conversion. I have always considered law as a career and even did some 'experience' when I was much younger but was put off by people saying there was no point doing an LLB when you could just do a conversion and everyone I encountered in the legal system saying "don't do it".

Anyway, I've been considering what I want to do long-term for a while now and have narrowed it down to two options: Strategic Consultancy or Law.

For the former all I really have to do is submit applications to grad schemes and hope for the best so it's really the latter I want to talk about/need advice on....

Speaking to my university careers advisor he has essentially told me to use this year as a year to gain experience, apply to Vac Schemes and hopefully secure a coveted TC altho admitted that competition will be fierce as places might be fewer because of 'Rona. I fear that while his guidance is obviously well placed (and far superior to my knowledge on the topic) that, in the current climate, any experience will be very hard to come by and this would have a knock-on effect on potential to secure a VS and subsequently a TC. Equally, I am aware that on the conversion there is the possibility to undertake a lot of pro-bono work experience as well as a careers department that support you the VS/TC process.

This brings me onto my alternative option which is that I am fortunate to come from a well-off enough background with supportive parents who are more than happy to fund me if I decide to pursue the GDL. However I struggle to see the merit in this seeing as I could just do the MA Law and receive a government loan which I would almost probably never pay back unless I am a high earner (and then it wouldn't matter!)

I wondered what people's advice would be:
Do they agree with my uni careers advisor or do they also think it's such an exceptional year that anything experience-wise will be hard to come by (including VS/TCs)?
Is it wise to self-fund the GDL?

Thanks in advance!
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Bona Cynara
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#2
Report 1 year ago
#2
To answer the last question first: I absolutely don't recommend self-funding the GDL. It's a huge investment in a time of unprecedented economic instability. If you start applying for 2021 vac schemes now and end up with a TC starting 2023, those firms will ensure you have a space on the GDL for September 2021 so you don't need to to worry about it at all.

There may be increased competition for spaces this year, but I think it's still worth applying everywhere you can get. As far as I've seen, all the major law firms are still advertising the same number of TC spaces as they always have (chances of 2025 retention is a different matter, but you can cross that bridge when you come to it). You have a good degree from a good university and you stand a fair chance in many places. If you're simultaneously applying to non-legal opportunities, there's a chance you may end up on a grad scheme and the TC question would be moot anyway.
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cpmal
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#3
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#3
(Original post by MillenniumGirl)
To answer the last question first: I absolutely don't recommend self-funding the GDL. It's a huge investment in a time of unprecedented economic instability. If you start applying for 2021 vac schemes now and end up with a TC starting 2023, those firms will ensure you have a space on the GDL for September 2021 so you don't need to to worry about it at all.

There may be increased competition for spaces this year, but I think it's still worth applying everywhere you can get. As far as I've seen, all the major law firms are still advertising the same number of TC spaces as they always have (chances of 2025 retention is a different matter, but you can cross that bridge when you come to it). You have a good degree from a good university and you stand a fair chance in many places. If you're simultaneously applying to non-legal opportunities, there's a chance you may end up on a grad scheme and the TC question would be moot anyway.
Thank you very much for your honest and detailed response!

I am in the process of applying for about 5 or so Winter vac schemes so hopefully I'll get some joy although I accept success may not be instant as I familiarise myself with the detailed law application process. I suppose my desire/thoughts about doing the GDL this year is because I fear it'll be 'wasted' with COVID should I not be able to get any experience/travel but maybe I should just consider it as a year for personal development and fine-tuning the CV/Cover Letters/Application process.

One question I do have, if you don't mind, is while my overall degree grade (a high 2:1 from UoN) is good, I did regrettably slack off quite a lot on my 2nd year with half my marks at a high 2:2. I was wondering if this will count against me when applying to law firms as have read they're very picky re uni scores with even 1st year grades (which I ironically did pretty well in) mattering?

Thanks in advance!!
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Bona Cynara
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#4
Report 1 year ago
#4
(Original post by cpmal)
Thank you very much for your honest and detailed response!

I am in the process of applying for about 5 or so Winter vac schemes so hopefully I'll get some joy although I accept success may not be instant as I familiarise myself with the detailed law application process. I suppose my desire/thoughts about doing the GDL this year is because I fear it'll be 'wasted' with COVID should I not be able to get any experience/travel but maybe I should just consider it as a year for personal development and fine-tuning the CV/Cover Letters/Application process.

One question I do have, if you don't mind, is while my overall degree grade (a high 2:1 from UoN) is good, I did regrettably slack off quite a lot on my 2nd year with half my marks at a high 2:2. I was wondering if this will count against me when applying to law firms as have read they're very picky re uni scores with even 1st year grades (which I ironically did pretty well in) mattering?

Thanks in advance!!
Good luck on your applications! Don't be disheartened if you get a lot of rejections, it's your first cycle. I personally have never even got to the interview stage for any vac schemes, except with the MC firm where I now have a TC offer, so a few early rejections definitely do not mean the cycle is over for you.

The other reason I advise against self-funding the GDL now is because the SQE is coming in and it's very confusing, so it's best to let your firm sponsor you and guide you through whatever they want you to do. But I understand the concerns that this year would be 'wasted' if you aren't doing anything concrete, so I strongly recommend you consider applying for a job (doesn't have to be law-related). It would make you feel productive, give you extra material to talk about in interviews when they hit you with competency questions, and mean no interviewers can feel like you've wasted the year either.

The issue of your second-year grades is certainly something that will come up in interview (particularly as you went from a good 1st year to a bad 2nd year... normally firms prefer it the other way around) but I don't expect anyone to immediately reject you based off that, except perhaps academic firms like Slaughter and May. When you say a recent grad, do you mean this year? That may count against you a little, as I can picture grad rec suspecting that your high 2.1 has benefitted from all the weirdness over exams this year. On the whole though I think a lot of firms will be more than happy to at least interview you, and once you're in the interview room all you have to do is craft a compelling narrative to explain why it happened and why it wouldn't happen in future, how much you regret it, etc.
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cpmal
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#5
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#5
(Original post by MillenniumGirl)
Good luck on your applications! Don't be disheartened if you get a lot of rejections, it's your first cycle. I personally have never even got to the interview stage for any vac schemes, except with the MC firm where I now have a TC offer, so a few early rejections definitely do not mean the cycle is over for you.

The other reason I advise against self-funding the GDL now is because the SQE is coming in and it's very confusing, so it's best to let your firm sponsor you and guide you through whatever they want you to do. But I understand the concerns that this year would be 'wasted' if you aren't doing anything concrete, so I strongly recommend you consider applying for a job (doesn't have to be law-related). It would make you feel productive, give you extra material to talk about in interviews when they hit you with competency questions, and mean no interviewers can feel like you've wasted the year either.

The issue of your second-year grades is certainly something that will come up in interview (particularly as you went from a good 1st year to a bad 2nd year... normally firms prefer it the other way around) but I don't expect anyone to immediately reject you based off that, except perhaps academic firms like Slaughter and May. When you say a recent grad, do you mean this year? That may count against you a little, as I can picture grad rec suspecting that your high 2.1 has benefitted from all the weirdness over exams this year. On the whole though I think a lot of firms will be more than happy to at least interview you, and once you're in the interview room all you have to do is craft a compelling narrative to explain why it happened and why it wouldn't happen in future, how much you regret it, etc.
Thank you very much, as I say I'm half expecting rejections but will go into it with some hope at least!

Yes, I've been reading about the SQE. It's all a bit vague and confusing atm and I'm hoping a bit more clarity will be offered in terms of pre-exam courses etc. soon! I did consider getting a 'proper job' but always struggled with applications/uni work at uni and feared I wouldn't really be able to give it my best shot if I had a 9-5 Monday-Friday, although hat's not to say I'm not working; have had a part-time job at a leisure centre as a Lifeguard/Swim Instructor/PT since 17 which, while not ideal, offers me the flexibility I need application wise for Law and Grad schemes.

Yes, a 2020 Coronavirus Grad sadly. Can understand where you're coming from what with the exam weirdness as you say, but, without sounding too big-headed, I have always achieved strong grades; 7A*'s and 4A's at GCSE, A*AA at A-Level, 67% first year uni, 61% second year uni, 70% final year uni...so hope that paints a picture of my second year as a 'blip' on an otherwise impressive CV rather than anything else!

Thanks for all your help, by the way, it's reassuring talking to someone who has been through it all as it is a bit alien at first!
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