The GDL(7 Posts)
I'm after a bit of help in terms of what the GDL entails, perhaps from someone who has completed one or knows someone who has.
I'm 22 and a history graduate with a 2:1, I'm currently on maternity leave but will have free and reliable childcare for when I return to work or study from my mum and my MIL.
I was wondering how to go about getting some work experience to support my application- do I just email and ask the local solicitors firms?
I appreciate it will be tough to study and be a mother but I'm very focused and have superb family support and would really like to make something of myself.
Any insight would be so appreciated. Sorry for how jumbled this is, I can't quite get my thoughts down.
Bumping this for you
Are you in London or another big city? If you are you might want to try to get on one of the established schemes for the larger firms (if applications haven't yet closed for this summer).
For smaller firms, you can approach solicitors direct to see if they can offer anything.
Hopefully someone more knowledgeable/experienced can help!
Generally you don't need work experience to get onto the GDL - if you can pay for the course and have a decent degree they will take you!
I found it a really interesting year and not massively hard work - I did a science degree though which had more contact time.
It's definitely a good idea to get work experience before applying for training contracts. Your law school should help, also email law firms and apply for schemes.
My son did the GDL followed by the LPC. Both courses are extremely expensive. The LPC is only valid for five years IIRC. the sticking point at the moment is getting a training contract. They are like hen's teeth. Most firms expect you to apply for a vacation scheme, and it is from those who successfully complete the vacation schemes that they recruit people for the training contracts.
You will need some experience of working within the law, however, equally, if not more, important is experience working with people and voluntary work. One of the first questions asked on one of my sons application forms was " discuss all voluntary work you have done in the last three months". This was followed by " tell us about your proudest achievement in the last 12 months".
It is sensible to have a training contract lined up before you complete the GDL as you could stand to lose a lot of money.
I don't know much about the GDL as I did mine - or the then equivalent, the CPE - years ago. I found it less hard work than my degree TBH, but I am not very current on the workload involved.
IMHO you will probably manage the 2 years studying if you are organised, focused and have reliable childcare on tap. The difficulties lie after with getting a training contract and juggling your trainee years with young children. As a PP said, training contracts are like hens teeth and it sounds like you are limited to firms local to you because of childcare? Would you move around the country? If you can't be flexible about location then it massively cuts the pool of jobs available to you.
A 2:1 is a good start, but you don't say where you went to university and larger and commercial firms who offer paid training contracts strongly prefer Oxbridge or Russell group universities. Most big firms recruit trainees out of 2nd or 3rd year at university, so you've missed that cut.
Get as much work experience as possible. Write to firms by email but try and target a specific person. Check the website.
My DD is currently on a GDL and we have paid for it. There are bursaries for people on low incomes. It is full on work. On her course they gave 3 full days of lectures and you need to allow about 40 hours a week for lectures and homework combined. A 2:1 in History from a good university is fine but for getting a job, a top university is best! There is a huge amount of work to get through and you must be very literate, have a quick mind, and work, work, work. They are also expected to do pro bono work and enhance their chances of getting a training contract if they don't already have one. You may be able to apply for an internship at law firms but you will need to check the closing dates.
Regarding other work experience, some Law Schools like you to demonstrate you have an interest in law so work experience helps. The ones who are selective, and there is one in London that is, will not be impressed if you are doing law because you cannot think of anything else to do. They do turn people down! You will also need to answer why you did not do a law degree in the first place. You can also volunteer. The CAB is a good bet and see if you can spend time with solicitors. If you want the Bar, apply for mini pupilages. If you want criminal, get into the courts, if you want family, ask if you can go into social services, etc. In short, think where your law interests lie and get volunteering! It is a career where only the highly committed and talented get jobs.
Thank you all for your help. I'm based in Devon and hope to be able to stay here so hopefully I can avoid the stress of London. I've been researching a lot of smaller, local firms and their solicitors tend to have degrees from the Open Uni or the local uni, and the entrance requirements for the local uni seem suitable for me.
You've all given me a lot to think about and it's very helpful speaking to people who know about it so thanks again.
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