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Funding for Law Conversion course

(27 Posts)
Getabloominmoveon Sat 14-May-16 08:09:42

My daughter's been accepted on a Law Conversion programme, but apparently isn't entitled to a student loan as this is not recognised as a Bachelor/Masters level course. Even with guarantors (us) banks won't offer loans. Any good ideas?

JennyOnAPlate Sat 14-May-16 08:13:07

I don't have any recent experience but I have a couple of friends who funded theirs with career development loans from a bank...do they not exist any more?

I hope someone helpful comes along soon!

Vaara Sat 14-May-16 08:30:29

Law Conversion you often have to pay for yourself. If she gets a training contract the law firm may pay for that though.

andintothefire Sat 14-May-16 16:22:10

People mainly fund either with career development loans or through funding from their firms. If your daughter wants to be a solicitor she is really better off applying for a training contract in advance - the firm will fund the cost and it is a lot of money to spend with no job to go to. If your daughter wants to be a barrister she can apply to the Inns of Court for scholarships, but these are very competitive for the law conversion.

Lexilooo Sat 14-May-16 16:50:29

I really wouldn't suggest doing the conversion course and LPC unless she already has a training contract. The courses are very expensive and the chance of a training contract is low. I would advise looking at the CILEX route or an apprenticeship. I did the LPC and it is the biggest waste of money.

Vaara Sat 14-May-16 17:33:11

Not many firms will fund the conversion - why should they when plenty of students have a law degree and don't need it? But the LPC is more likely to be funded, sometimes on a loan basis though.

bevelino Sat 14-May-16 19:09:45

OP the firm I worked for paid for my LPC and provided a bursary, but it is only mainly City firms that do that for graduates and the student has to apply and be accepted for the firm's training contract first. Nowadays I think anyone undertaking the LPC without a training contract is taking a big risk because the course is not good for anything else and costs a ton of money, which you would have to privately fund.

user1463231665 Sat 14-May-16 19:32:38

I agree with the comments above. My daughter was funded by her law firm - so timing is all. You must apply in time well in advance - 1 or 2 years whilst doing your first degree for the funding which starts when you start the GDL.

Lexilooo Sat 14-May-16 19:57:07

They probably won't fund the GDL but training contracts are normally confirmed two years in advance so you can know whether you have got a training contract before commencing the GDL.

But I would advise aspiring lawyers to look at the CILEX route unless they either have a training contract already. For most practice areas qualifying this way is no disadvantage and you can earn while you learn. The exception is corporate /commercial law, but to get into that type of work you need to have outstanding academics, contacts and be signed up to vacaton schemes with magic circle or heavyweight firms.

Sadly law can still be quite elitist. It is expensive to train and salaries outside of magic circle/london/international firms are pretty poor. Current reforms are likely to put even more downward pressure on salaries. If she is thinking of practicing in a high street or regional firm she should ignore law society salary surveys and realise that salaries often don't keep pace with teaching salaries.

I don't want to put too much of a downer on her plans but I have seen (and mentored) too many disillusioned graduates.

Lexilooo Sat 14-May-16 20:00:02

Training contact salaries in many regional firms are less than £20k, few outside London are more than £25k if you can find a training contract. More likely is a paralegal job paying £15-£18k.

goodbyestranger Sat 14-May-16 20:23:45

Lexiloo your last post but one doesn't make complete sense. Also, can I emphasize that you do not need 'contacts' to be taken on for a vac scheme or training contract by a magic circle firm.

OP it may be too late for your DC to get a training contract in time for the firm to subsidize a conversion course. Are the new government loans really no use?

bojorojo Sat 14-May-16 20:49:38

If she wanted to become a barrister, the Inns of Court have scholarships and bursaries available for the GDL. They are hard to get and they are a much smaller amount than they make available for the BPTC. Inner has more money but usually given to those who need the money most. Check the others to see what they want. Although, she is too late to apply this year I suspect.

DDs friends who wanted to be solicitors got LPC funding but not necessarily GDL. GDL just puts you on the same footing as Law graduates. If you are a non-law graduate, you have to do a lot of homework to get the same info that law graduates get. I would also think twice about taking this route if she has no internships/interviews in place for a training contract.

user1463231665 Sun 15-May-16 06:28:59

I would also emphasise you don't need "contacts" for high paid city law jobs at all. It is unlike careers like journalism one of the few higher paid careers where the student vacation schemes are paid and where the law firms pay 100% of your fees for the GDL and LPC. My daughter had no contacts, used no contacts, just applied. However you need good exam grades ( which she had) and have gone to a good university and you need to apply in time which is why we need to make sure students in their first year of their first degree or teenagers know about the timing if they want a chance to have a funded GDL/LPC.

Nor do you need contacts to get a vacation placement and also not all trainees are recruited from vacation placements. My daughter did not do one as she was unsure whether she would do law or not although I certainly would recommend people apply for them as it gives you a week or whatever it is to be observed as a potential trainee and you get paid.
(My daughter was funded through the GDL and LPC by her firm)

Lexilooo Sun 15-May-16 11:32:50

Sorry goodbye I was trying to type and edit on a tiny phone screen in a moving car so perhaps not the clearest. I feel really strongly about the duff advice lots of undergraduates get about legal careers.

To clarify contacts aren't essential but it can be pretty difficult to get into top city firms etc if you aren't from that type of background.

The vast majority of trainees have previously done a vacation scheme at the firm. Those who have not often have something else to mark them out or will have done a scheme at another firm or a mini pupillage.

Salaries outside London are far removed from the figures quoted by the law society, even at larger firms. You are likely to earn more on a grad scheme with a supermarket or large plc. Teachers often earn more, and one solicitor I worked with quit to return to nursing because she earned more as a nurse than as a solicitor.

In litigation current reforms mean that costs are being driven down and therefore salaries are also being driven down. Firms are using fewer qualified lawyers and more unqualified paralegals to keep costs down and this means less jobs for experienced qualified lawyers.

Getabloominmoveon Sun 15-May-16 23:03:05

Thanks everyone. Yes, we know a training contract is the best route in, but she has only this year decided (final year) to do law, and is coming back to the UK after doing her BA in Holland, so has left everything rather late.

Getabloominmoveon Sun 15-May-16 23:06:06

And she does want to do corporate law....has already done some vacation work, and has excellent academic grades (1st equivalent).

kirinm Sun 15-May-16 23:13:41

Natwest used to be one of the only banks that loaned GDL and LPC fees but I think even they've stopped now. Totally useless post I'm afraid as I have no idea how students fund the LPC unless it's via parents or firm sponsorship.

bojorojo Mon 16-May-16 00:32:55

Why didn't she join a law society at her university or find out info here earlier? This is clearly a minus point for an overseas university - she is behind the curve. If she wants funding, I think there is nothing for it but delay entry and apply for a job in a gap year. Or borrow . At least her student loan is currently low. Or work this summer. Lots of students on the GDL do this. Many do not have jobs when they start the GDL. Often bank of mum and dad pays.

bojorojo Mon 16-May-16 00:39:04

The top city corporate law firms attract the best. Loads will have stonking degrees from Oxford, Durham, Cambridge, Bristol and lots of other , mostly Russell Group, universities. Getting a 1st is no guarantee of anything. If she has done relevant vacation work I am surprised she did not know the timing of the application process. She does need to do her homework on what this entails and be realistic about her chance of success.

Paddletonio Mon 16-May-16 01:03:34

Personally wouldn't advise paying for law school. If a student is good enough, a firm will pay the fees for the GDL and LPC + maintenance money for the two years of study.

Paddletonio Mon 16-May-16 01:08:55

As she/you from the OP don't seem completely clear on the process I thought it may be worth mentioning that she should be applying for training contracts right now for entry in two years time. The deadlines are usually towards July, though some firms have an earlier cut off for "non-law" students so she will have missed the boat on those ones. If successful with her applications she will then be on track to enrol on the GDL this September, the LPC the following year, then onto her training contract.

Tell her to look at lawcareers.net for the basics.

goodbyestranger Mon 16-May-16 10:11:20

bojo there really is no mad panic. If you look at the CVs of new entrants to the best chambers (as I'm sure you've already done), then you'll see that very many have done something else prior to the BVC which evidently added value to their CV.

What was her degree in OP?

IsItMeOr Mon 16-May-16 10:23:07

A family member has recently gone through the process of applying for training contracts. They managed to secure one at a city firm doing corporate.

They were going straight from a law degree at a Russell Group university, expected to get a first. However, they were also a bit out of the system due to studying abroad for a year. They didn't manage to get a vacation scheme as a result, but did get some experience in local legal firms.

One thing which might have worked in their favour is that the firm has its head office in the country where applicant did their year abroad. Which makes me wonder if it is worth your DD seeing whether there is a firm with a Dutch connection, where she may have an advantage over other applicants.

Getabloominmoveon Mon 16-May-16 15:24:53

Thanks everyone. She Is majoring in economics and philosophy with law (mainly European) at a top Dutch University, with part of her studies at UBC in Vancouver. Last summer she spent a month at a British/French law firm in Paris, but hadn't really decided what she wanted to do until this year. At one stage she was considering a philosophy Masters. So yes, she is behind the curve, and also, because she now wants to return to the UK after 12 years of Dutch education, is not really in the loop regarding UK law careers. Neither am I!
Is it possible to apply for a training contract whilst doing the GDL?

kirinm Mon 16-May-16 15:32:18

It's possible to apply for a training contract at any stage. They generally interview two years in advance so if she waited until she has started the GDL she might be looking at a 3 year wait. But she still has to do the LPC and there are plenty of people who take a paralegal role to tide them over until their TC start.

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