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Law Degree vs. Conversion Course

Your Dilemma: UCAS application deadline is fast-approaching and you’re torn. You’ve got that gut feeling you’d make a cracking lawyer and it’s definitely the career for you. The trouble being; which route do you go for? Law degree, or non-law followed by the GDL – the law conversion course?

This calls for a delicate blend of some logical thinking… with a chunk of your heart thrown in there too.

Interests & experiences...

Though it is important to study a subject at university that will stand you in good stead for your future career, there is still a lot to be said for studying something that you really have a passion for.

If you already eat, breathe and sleep law, then the odds are a law degree might just be right for you. An LLB will set you up with all the theory to get started, and once you’ve graduated you’ll be eligible to move straight onto either the LPC or BPTC (the vocational courses for solicitors and barristers respectively). A BA in law, however, will not – you’d still have to do the conversion course following graduation. 

There’s nothing hurting your future legal career by going for a non-law subject. You are eligible to apply for the GDL with a degree from any discipline. Three or four years is a long time to dedicate to anything, so if you have a big itch for another subject apart from law then it might be wise to go ahead and scratch it.

Another subject, particularly those with skills such as modern languages that could be utilised by a law firm, could even open up further doors to you as you begin to build up your law career. They never fail to look impressive in applications, and could end up giving you the edge.

Costs of a law degree & the GDL...

 A university degree will currently set you back up to £9,000 a year – with most courses lasting either three or four years.

Non-law students and those who study BA law rather than the LLB, will then have to fork out for a GDL, and then their chosen vocational course. The average fees for the GDL currently stand at £7,250 to £10,000, whilst the LPC costs around £8,500 to £14,000, and the BPTC even more at £14,250 to £17,350

This still may not mean a horrific debt sentence. Non-law students can apply for funding for both their GDL and LPC or BPTC. If budding solicitors secure a training contract with a law firm, they will often pay for the trainee to take these mandatory courses.

Spot the difference...

Whichever route taken, in reality by the time students begin their LPC or BPTC course, there isn’t much between someone who did a law degree first, and someone who took the non-law/GDL path. In fact, one of our interviews with an LPC course director, it was noted that at this stage the difference between the law degree and GDL students is barely noticeable.

The LPC and BPTC differ significantly from law degrees and the GDL, meaning it’s pretty much level pegging for all students whatever route they take to get there.

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