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Would you say law was an academic or a vocational degree?

(10 Posts)
yappydappydoo Tue 05-Aug-14 12:30:27

This was partly inspired by another thread (well a couple of threads actually) but it did get me thinking.

Would you say law was more an academic degree or a vocational one? From reading a few threads the general view seems to be is that it's vocational but I would have said it's more academic.

Medicine, teaching, nursing, etc are all vocational in that you're being trained to work in that particular profession throughout your degree and once you've finished then you can obviously go work in said profession. However whilst a degree in medicine or nursing for instance will qualify you to be a doctor or a nurse, a law degree doesn't actually qualify you to be a lawyer. If you want to be a lawyer then you will need to do further training after your degree to qualify as a solicitor/barrister.

So until you decide to go for that extra training to qualify then a law degree is basically the same as any other degree, no?

TalkinPeace Tue 05-Aug-14 12:52:14

Law qualifications should be like accountancy qualifications : done after a good degree in something else.

TheWordFactory Tue 05-Aug-14 13:01:49

A law degree is derfinitely an academic one.

It is rigorous (though not terribly exciting) and will stand students in good stead afterwards, whether they wish to ebcome lawyers or not.

The degree is not training to be a lawyer. Actually, neither is the LPC, but that's supposed to be wink...

Greengrow Tue 05-Aug-14 13:55:38

Law degree is academic and rightly so. It was very interesting and even today 30 years on I use what I learned then all the time. Then the LPA is a bit more practical and then you have your 2 years in an office as a trainee (for solicitors). So in a sense the training is half and half first academic then more practical and you learn all your life actually. Those of us who practice will learn new law every day. Today I am learning the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014 for example.

You need what you study on the law degree (or the one year GDL after your degree) to qualify so to that extent it is vocational in that the academic bit of it is necessary to go on to qualify.

BikeRunSki Tue 05-Aug-14 13:59:36


ZeroSomeGameThingy Tue 05-Aug-14 14:11:27

Definitely academic. A good course should teach you almost as much History, English and Philosophy (Logic / Jurisprudence) as you might cover studying each of those as single subjects, in a punishingly rigorous and detailed context.

If you don't find that breadth you're on the wrong course....

rabbitstew Tue 05-Aug-14 16:04:06

Academic, definitely. I enjoyed my law degree. A lot of human nature is laid bare in the study of law (not to mention, as pointed out by ZeroSomeGameThingy, the fact you learn a fair bit of history and philosophy)... The practice of law, on the other hand, at least as a solicitor, I found as dull as ditchwater - it was always doing, drafting and reading the boring stuff that nobody else wanted to be bothered with. Yawn. Definitely better to study law and then NOT go on to practice it - TalkinPeace has it all entirely the wrong way round!

Lilymaid Wed 06-Aug-14 09:32:41

Definitely academic. I studied law decades ago at a good university. Studied topics such as legal history and jurisprudence. I went on to another profession but work with lawyers so can see that the many of the skills developed during vocational training and practice are different from those learnt at university.

pusspusslet Wed 06-Aug-14 13:14:04

It depends upon whether a person feels drawn to work as a lawyer, or simply wants a highly paid job or an academic qualification that can be used as a stepping stone to a different career in another different direction.

Some people just go into law for the money, of course, but others do see it as an opportunity to help people who are unable to help themselves, as indeed it is. To that extent it can be vocational in precisely the same way as, for instance, medicine. The fact that it's necessary to learn the foundations as facts before going into practice doesn't prevent the degree from being vocational (IMO).

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 06-Aug-14 13:39:52

puss I am certain the OP meant "vocational" in the sense of "pertaining to a particular occupation and its skills" rather than in the sense of answering a divine call to do good.

And you are talking about the practice of law rather than the learning of law surely? The nature of what I was taught in my degree was not dependent on my attitude to any possible future career.

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