LLB Graduate entry & GDL - Is skipping first year subjects a good idea???

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kamoe
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Hello

I've been considering getting a LLB or its equivalent. I already have an undergraduate degree and a masters degree.

I know I have the options of a LLB graduate entry or a GDL, which as far as I can see, are roughly equivalent and standardised, and cover the same core subjects. I get that.

Then I have also compared these two with the classic LLB and, again, as far as I can tell, the difference is that the graduate options just make you skip a foundation year covering what appears to be quite fundamental topics (how the law works, how law develops, foundations of the legal system, etc)???

So I'm confused. Can anyone with first-hand experience comment? How can you engage in 2nd level law subjects without addressing the foundations first? How does that work? In this sense, are the graduate entry options a good idea after all? Or is it worth doing a full LLB from the ground up for thoroughness sake?

Comments and thoughts appreciated.
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Joleee
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you already completed your masters is that correct? are you sure the GDL is even an option for you with the new SQE exam route kicking in in September? at least it says here:

If, at the point the SQE comes in, you have not started on your route to qualification, you will have to qualify under the SQE.

https://www.bpp.com/courses/law/sqe?...waAsXGEALw_wcB

what would be the benefit of doing an LLB if you already have two degrees?

re content of an LLB i haven't done the two year degree but i would say you need to go to the unis' websites to compare modules/course structure. where i study (3 year degree) there is no module on foundations of law; there is 1 module on the legal system (court structure basically) but the foundations of law are interwoven into your modules so not sure what you were referring to? however, i did briefly look at York's two year degree and it does name three modules called 'foundations of law'.

the biggest difference probably between a 2 year and 3 year degree is that in a three year degree your first year grades don't count towards the degree, unlike a 2 year where they throw you right in sink or swim. but again, not sure what the benefit would be studying either if you already have degrees.
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kamoe
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Thanks for your answer. I do not want to qualify to professionally exercise the law. This is purely intellectual, to understand legal knowledge behind legal practice. For a variety of reasons in my personal and professional life, in many occasions I have found myself wishing I had the same grounding than someone who has a classic undergraduate qualification in law. Having looked at LLB, LLB graduate entry, and GDL it seems like they would offer the same thing, except you skip foundation courses if opting for the latter two. I say this after having compared modules from LLB and LLB graduate entry at the OU. But this might not be the case in other universities. Thanks for your thoughts and your advice.
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EU Yakov
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(Original post by kamoe)
Hello

I've been considering getting a LLB or its equivalent. I already have an undergraduate degree and a masters degree.

I know I have the options of a LLB graduate entry or a GDL, which as far as I can see, are roughly equivalent and standardised, and cover the same core subjects. I get that.

Then I have also compared these two with the classic LLB and, again, as far as I can tell, the difference is that the graduate options just make you skip a foundation year covering what appears to be quite fundamental topics (how the law works, how law develops, foundations of the legal system, etc)???

So I'm confused. Can anyone with first-hand experience comment? How can you engage in 2nd level law subjects without addressing the foundations first? How does that work? In this sense, are the graduate entry options a good idea after all? Or is it worth doing a full LLB from the ground up for thoroughness sake?

Comments and thoughts appreciated.
pretty sure that the traditional 7 core subjects are split across both years in a 2 year LLB
at least in the 2-year LLBs i know of

from what i can tell the 2 year LLB lets you do some useless **** ("intro to the legal system") and some optional **** (jurisprudence, human rights)
these are not fundamental. you don't need to know them to practice.
i did an intro law module in first year and it was basically social sciences. had nothing to do with law

also most law modules you do at undergrad don't require foundations lol. you just start doing the module. this isn't maths where to do C4 you need to have done C1 and C2. the distinction between foundation and advanced only becomes an issue if you're dealing with specialised areas of law. but even then you'll have a chance to revisit the basics in your reading. most law tutors i had as a UG and on the LPC were very good about communicating the assumed knowledge and where it could be found
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kamoe
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(Original post by EU Yakov)
i did an intro law module in first year and it was basically social sciences. had nothing to do with law

also most law modules you do at undergrad don't require foundations lol. you just start doing the module. this isn't maths where to do C4 you need to have done C1 and C2. the distinction between foundation and advanced only becomes an issue if you're dealing with specialised areas of law. but even then you'll have a chance to revisit the basics in your reading.
Thanks! That's exactly what I was thinking, and trying to double check!
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Johnny ~
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You really don't need any academic or intellectual background to study law. Legal practice is very different to legal research. Where you need to understand 'background' concepts (whether legal, commercial, whatever), your firm will arrange for you to gain this background during the LPC and/or the induction to your seat during the training contract. I'd say that starting a training contract requires virtually zero background knowledge whatsoever, despite all the hurdles you need to jump over in order to actually qualify.
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legalhelp
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(Original post by Johnny ~)
You really don't need any academic or intellectual background to study law. Legal practice is very different to legal research. Where you need to understand 'background' concepts (whether legal, commercial, whatever), your firm will arrange for you to gain this background during the LPC and/or the induction to your seat during the training contract. I'd say that starting a training contract requires virtually zero background knowledge whatsoever, despite all the hurdles you need to jump over in order to actually qualify.
I don’t disagree with this, but OP has said they don’t want to qualify as a lawyer.

OP, what is it exactly you do for a living that makes you think either a GDL or an LLB will be useful to you? I have to admit I am struggling to see the point in doing either if you don’t plan to practise law afterwards.
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Catherine1973
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I am doing the graduate llb (as I fancied a career break and it fits well with accounting, my normal job)

We do the 7 core topics over the 2 years then can pick 2 1/2 additional modules. We don’t have to do an intro to law in first year (which was mostly how to do a cv or read a case -though they let us audit the course as some weeks could be helpful)

We also miss jurisprudence in year 3 (though could have taken as an option)

3 years courses get to pick more optional courses over the time. But of course pay an extra £9k in fees.
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kamoe
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(Original post by legalhelp)
what is it exactly you do for a living that makes you think either a GDL or an LLB will be useful to you? I have to admit I am struggling to see the point in doing either if you don’t plan to practise law afterwards.
Thanks for your answer, and absolutely valid question:

There are two things:

1) For a number of years I have been volunteering on an immigration forum, helping answer questions from people seeking help with their UK immigration applications (we make clear non of it is official immigration advise). This started purely as knowledge-sharing, mainly amassed from my own personal experience, but after a number of years thoroughly addressing immigration-related questions I realised my knowledge had considerably increased and helping people find answers came as second nature. Soon enough I was given a "Respected Guru" badge, attained by invitation only. I now realise that what I say there has some weight, and I feel responsible.

2) My real day job is with a FinTech firm, and involves turning written legislation into software. My techy CV was enough to get me the job, and my day-to-day responsibilities require no knowledge of the law. But, I have to admit, more than once I have felt lost when trying to address specific on-the-job challenges, or felt that I am not in the best position to think about a new requirement that comes our way, or I wished I had more background to understand what is discussed in meetings.

I know immigration and finance are specialisations, not closely related, and probably not covered at undergraduate level? But feels like having the foundations would make me a thousand times better at both my day job and my volunteering activity. And I am not in a rush. I already have a job at the peak of a well-paying career. I do not need or want a quick LLB or equivalent in one year (or two, or three). I want to explore a module or two of the real thing at my own pace, see how I do, see how it goes, slowly, then know that if at all I want to go full on I could just keep studying and one day have the full degree under my belt. Hence why I want to be selective and know if first-year modules are actually important, and hence why I have explored the OU.

Makes sense?
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kamoe
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(Original post by Catherine1973)
I am doing the graduate llb (as I fancied a career break and it fits well with accounting, my normal job)

We do the 7 core topics over the 2 years then can pick 2 1/2 additional modules. We don’t have to do an intro to law in first year (which was mostly how to do a cv or read a case -though they let us audit the course as some weeks could be helpful)

We also miss jurisprudence in year 3 (though could have taken as an option)

3 years courses get to pick more optional courses over the time. But of course pay an extra £9k in fees.
Thanks, Catherine, this is also very helpful. Seems like not much point in the 3-year option, at least for me.
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legalhelp
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(Original post by kamoe)
Thanks for your answer, and absolutely valid question:

There are two things:

1) For a number of years I have been volunteering on an immigration forum, helping answer questions from people seeking help with their UK immigration applications (we make clear non of it is official immigration advise). This started purely as knowledge-sharing, mainly amassed from my own personal experience, but after a number of years thoroughly addressing immigration-related questions I realised my knowledge had considerably increased and helping people find answers came as second nature. Soon enough I was given a "Respected Guru" badge, attained by invitation only. I now realise that what I say there has some weight, and I feel responsible.

2) My real day job is with a FinTech firm, and involves turning written legislation into software. My techy CV was enough to get me the job, and my day-to-day responsibilities require no knowledge of the law. But, I have to admit, more than once I have felt lost when trying to address specific on-the-job challenges, or felt that I am not in the best position to think about a new requirement that comes our way, or I wished I had more background to understand what is discussed in meetings.

I know immigration and finance are specialisations, not closely related, and probably not covered at undergraduate level? But feels like having the foundations would make me a thousand times better at both my day job and my volunteering activity. And I am not in a rush. I already have a job at the peak of a well-paying career. I do not need or want a quick LLB or equivalent in one year (or two, or three). I want to explore a module or two of the real thing at my own pace, see how I do, see how it goes, slowly, then know that if at all I want to go full on I could just keep studying and one day have the full degree under my belt. Hence why I want to be selective and know if first-year modules are actually important, and hence why I have explored the OU.

Makes sense?
This is great detail, thank you. Your experiences sound very interesting. If you are interested in the study of law generally, then by all means do the GDL or LLB. However I really, really doubt that you will cover anything on either of those courses that is remotely relevant to what you are doing now. Both your job and your volunteering are in highly specialised areas that would barely be covered on the bar course or LPC, let alone at undergraduate level. I imagine by virtue of your job you are already more competent in areas such as general statutory interpretation than many undergrads, so I do worry that these courses - while they might be interesting - won’t actually plug the gaps in your knowledge that you are looking to fill. What kind of scenarios are you coming across in either your job or your volunteering where you feel like additional legal knowledge might help? In other words, what are the precise areas where you feel your lack of legal training is holding you back?
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Johnny ~
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(Original post by legalhelp)
I don’t disagree with this, but OP has said they don’t want to qualify as a lawyer.
Oh. Right. Bizarre. Assumed that someone talking about intellectual rigour and all that would care about practising!

(Original post by kamoe)
Thanks for your answer, and absolutely valid question:

There are two things:

1) For a number of years I have been volunteering on an immigration forum, helping answer questions from people seeking help with their UK immigration applications (we make clear non of it is official immigration advise). This started purely as knowledge-sharing, mainly amassed from my own personal experience, but after a number of years thoroughly addressing immigration-related questions I realised my knowledge had considerably increased and helping people find answers came as second nature. Soon enough I was given a "Respected Guru" badge, attained by invitation only. I now realise that what I say there has some weight, and I feel responsible.

2) My real day job is with a FinTech firm, and involves turning written legislation into software. My techy CV was enough to get me the job, and my day-to-day responsibilities require no knowledge of the law. But, I have to admit, more than once I have felt lost when trying to address specific on-the-job challenges, or felt that I am not in the best position to think about a new requirement that comes our way, or I wished I had more background to understand what is discussed in meetings.

I know immigration and finance are specialisations, not closely related, and probably not covered at undergraduate level? But feels like having the foundations would make me a thousand times better at both my day job and my volunteering activity. And I am not in a rush. I already have a job at the peak of a well-paying career. I do not need or want a quick LLB or equivalent in one year (or two, or three). I want to explore a module or two of the real thing at my own pace, see how I do, see how it goes, slowly, then know that if at all I want to go full on I could just keep studying and one day have the full degree under my belt. Hence why I want to be selective and know if first-year modules are actually important, and hence why I have explored the OU.

Makes sense?
You need a subscription to Lexis or Westlaw. And the ability to think practically. An undergrad degree will not be of use here.
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kamoe
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(Original post by legalhelp)
I imagine by virtue of your job you are already more competent in areas such as general statutory interpretation than many undergrads
I do not know what "statutory interpretation" is. That's an example of one of my biggest gaps: Legal language. I am able to do some things, but unable to grasp the subtlety of what is said, and express myself or refer to what I do in appropriate terms. I suppose my choice of words is approximate at best and wrong on many occasions.
(Original post by legalhelp)
I do worry that these courses - while they might be interesting - won’t actually plug the gaps in your knowledge that you are looking to fill.
I have also looked at more advanced courses, like postgrad standalone modules or a LLM, but one of the entry requirements is to have a LLB or years of professional legal practice, which I do not have. I have only been in my current job for 5 months, before that I had never been in any law-related job.
(Original post by legalhelp)
What kind of scenarios are you coming across in either your job or your volunteering where you feel like additional legal knowledge might help? In other words, what are the precise areas where you feel your lack of legal training is holding you back?
In my job: I am sometimes required to read actual texts of regulations and identify relationships between concepts that are described (see how I use the word "concept"? I am sure there is a more accurate term that describes what I am required to read). I feel like I can read the English and map the obvious, but I have the eerie feeling that I am missing a ton of semantics because of my lack of legal background. Of course, I am also aware this also comes from experience in the specific domain and on the job. And of course I am encouraged to seek help from colleagues, which I do. I just feel I would go much faster and be much more efficient if I grasped more from the start.

In my volunteering: There was this time where I answered a question following exactly what was written in the publicly available guidance notes. It followed a simple: "Only if X then Y" rule. We knew for a fact that X was not the case, so I said Y was impossible. Then a senior member corrected me because even though we knew 'not X' was a fact, 'X' was apparent (what does "apparent" mean? I am actually no longer sure "apparent" was the term they used. See? It was either that or something closely related). He argued the answer was 'Y was possible'. That was mind-bending for me. A situation where a layperson' common sense does not help, and I was not equipped to either challenge this or accept it without a doubt! I understand this kind of knowledge comes after studying past cases, sentences, and decisions (I am using these terms as wild guesses). Is this not what one does in a LLB? (the studying, not the guessing).

But bottom line, and to answer your question, the areas I find myself involved are international financial regulations, and UK immigration. What would be the best way to get specialised training in those without the access barrier of having to have a LLB?
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kamoe
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(Original post by EU Yakov)
most law modules you do at undergrad don't require foundations lol. you just start doing the module. this isn't maths where to do C4 you need to have done C1 and C2. the distinction between foundation and advanced only becomes an issue if you're dealing with specialised areas of law. but even then you'll have a chance to revisit the basics in your reading. most law tutors i had as a UG and on the LPC were very good about communicating the assumed knowledge and where it could be found
I feel like I need to come back to this. How come an entry requirement for most LLM is to have a LLB? This is my main dilemma.
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kamoe
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(Original post by Johnny ~)
Oh. Right. Bizarre. Assumed that someone talking about intellectual rigour and all that would care about practising!
Not sure I understand what you are trying to say here. Can you please elaborate?
You need a subscription to Lexis or Westlaw. And the ability to think practically. An undergrad degree will not be of use here.
Thanks, I'll check those out, although I have the feeling without any further training, attempting to read these it would be akin to have a lay person understand scientific journal articles...
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Catherine1973
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Maybe a gdl would be better? Basically the conversion course for grads who don’t do law degrees.

I think the word before is analogous. We argue that x is similar to y so can use a case where y happened.

But I don’t particularly remember being taught how to read a case in any way beyond “here is the case, read it” s as no my course doesn’t teach interpretations at all (though I have read it in anotuer text book, judges using various rules of thumb on how to interpret the wording of a law.

I feel a good public law :administration book (say unlocking constitution and admin law would cover most of what you want to know. Public law covers judicial reviews where we were told of sone cases appealing immigration decisions.

But knowing land law or tort law won’t help much.
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