The Student Room Group

Graduate LLB or Conversion

Exploring post-graduate options and keen to understand what is better.

By way of context, I graduated a few years ago with a 2.2 putting 0 effort into my non-law degree, and I now want to pursue a career in Law.

My understanding is that the general consensus online is that having a 2.2 and getting a distinction in the conversion courses (ULaw, BPP doesn't really matter which provider) holds no weight with top firms in comparison to someone getting a 1st or high 2.1 in their LLB.

I am thinking of doing the graduate LLB with the Open University over the next two years and working hard to get an exceptional grade.

Say I got a 1st from my graduate LLB, would I be in a better position than a 2.2 in my non-law + distinction in the conversion course? The extra year of studying is not an issue for me.

Cheers.
What career are you aiming for?
Reply 2
Original post by xoxogossipgirluk
What career are you aiming for?

disputes solicitor, ideally US/international firm with a relocation
Original post by s63530522
disputes solicitor, ideally US/international firm with a relocation

I suggest that you manage your expectations downwards, at least initially. Degree-washing can only get a person so far. You might have to start a legal career in a less shiny bit of the legal world, and try to move up the leagues by demonstrating that you are a hard working and skilled lawyer. If you can fund it, a GDL followed by an LLM at a good university might degree-wash your Desmond better than an LLB at the OU, and would save you a year or more. Do the GDL anywhere except the University of Law, which is a rubbishy degree mill, not well regarded by lawyers in top firms and chambers. Aim high for the LLM. Good luck!

SB (a barrister with an international disputes practice).
Reply 4
Original post by Stiffy Byng
I suggest that you manage your expectations downwards, at least initially. Degree-washing can only get a person so far. You might have to start a legal career in a less shiny bit of the legal world, and try to move up the leagues by demonstrating that you are a hard working and skilled lawyer. If you can fund it, a GDL followed by an LLM at a good university might degree-wash your Desmond better than an LLB at the OU, and would save you a year or more. Do the GDL anywhere except the University of Law, which is a rubbishy degree mill, not well regarded by lawyers in top firms and chambers. Aim high for the LLM. Good luck!
SB (a barrister with an international disputes practice).

Hi, thank you for your message. Where do you think I can get to from NTU? I have been offered a place to do their 3 year LLB as well and am very seriously considering it!
Is NTU short for Nottingham Trent University? To be blunt, I doubt that an LLB from there would make you a competitive candidate for jobs in US/international law firms. Even when those firms recruit university-blind, they still quite often hire candidates from the best known UK universities. This is possibly because those candidates do better at interview. The Oxbridge tutorial/supervision systems of teaching tend to be good foundations for those who wish to practise in dispute resolution, and candidates from UCL, LSE, KCL etc aren't far behind in the intense competition for places in leading firms and sets of chambers.

I don't wish to dampen your enthusiasm, but it will probably be a long hard road for you to obtain a job in the type of firm which you have in mind. It's not impossible, but you may have to think and act strategically over several years to work your way up to that level of legal practice. The upper end of the legal sector is one where the effort put into the first degree may bring rewards, and a bad or mediocre first degree can result in significant disadvantage. That's how it is.
Reply 6
Original post by Stiffy Byng
Is NTU short for Nottingham Trent University? To be blunt, I doubt that an LLB from there would make you a competitive candidate for jobs in US/international law firms. Even when those firms recruit university-blind, they still quite often hire candidates from the best known UK universities. This is possibly because those candidates do better at interview. The Oxbridge tutorial/supervision systems of teaching tend to be good foundations for those who wish to practise in dispute resolution, and candidates from UCL, LSE, KCL etc aren't far behind in the intense competition for places in leading firms and sets of chambers.
I don't wish to dampen your enthusiasm, but it will probably be a long hard road for you to obtain a job in the type of firm which you have in mind. It's not impossible, but you may have to think and act strategically over several years to work your way up to that level of legal practice. The upper end of the legal sector is one where the effort put into the first degree may bring rewards, and a bad or mediocre first degree can result in significant disadvantage. That's how it is.

Hi, thank you for your reply. Do you think that still applies to silver circle? I.e: Train at a silver circle firm with a LLB from NTU and then work my way into an associate/NQ role with a US firm? From my understanding from recent grads and NQs that is do-able.
Original post by s63530522
Hi, thank you for your reply. Do you think that still applies to silver circle? I.e: Train at a silver circle firm with a LLB from NTU and then work my way into an associate/NQ role with a US firm? From my understanding from recent grads and NQs that is do-able.

Realistically, even oxbridge candidates with a First Class degree face very fierce competition for training at Silver Circle firms. I don't think Silver Circle were the sort of less shiny firms that the other commenter was referring to, training at one isn't a given for anyone! It is probably do-able for an exceptional candidate, though undertaking a 3 year LLB feels like a huge time commitment for something that might not get you any further than if you were to do the GDL plus an LLM at Distinction Level. There's also nothing to guarantee that you'd get a first in the graduate LLB, and firms are unlikely to differentiate much between a high and low 2:1.
Original post by s63530522
Hi, thank you for your reply. Do you think that still applies to silver circle? I.e: Train at a silver circle firm with a LLB from NTU and then work my way into an associate/NQ role with a US firm? From my understanding from recent grads and NQs that is do-able.

I think that you may be telling yourself what you want to hear. I won't do that. Magic Circle or Silver Circle, you face an uphill struggle. I am not saying don't try, but I do suggest that you be realistic in your expectations, at the least for the early part of your career. It is possible to go from the lower divisions to the Premier League, but it's not easily done.
Reply 9
No worries, thank you all.
What about for example, 3 year LLB at NTU, get a really good grade. LLM at UCL etc. break into silver circle/US firms? Am I still dreaming? Cheers
I don't think that extended degree-washing is the key to the door you wish to unlock. The chances of obtaining either a training contract or a junior Associate job at a big firm with your current or potentially degree-washed CV are not great. Your route in would, I suggest, more likely be through building up experience and reputation in lower ranked firms and making strategic moves. I have a friend at the Bar who took that approach with regard to chambers, working her way up from grotty to good. She's an ex criminal lawyer who now has a shiny international litigation practice. I am now trying to persuade her to join my chambers, which are (in Bar terms) Silver Circle. My previous chambers were Magic Circle, but I prefer my current place.

Why do you want to work in Big Law? A billing target of 1800 to 2000 hours a years is hard to achieve. A lawyer is lucky if he or she can bill two out of every three hours spent working, and sometimes the ratio is less favourable than that. Flying around the world to meet clients and go to hearings is not always as glamorous as it may sound. A lawyer can have a satisfying career and a good life at firms which are not in the top tiers.

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