LLB, not becoming a lawyer

(17 Posts)
Ingrid5 Fri 23-Mar-18 13:35:01

I just found this great site and found it to be safe and helpful place to ask my question. I would greatly appreciate your input!
We live in Dubai, a Scandinavian family. My international-minded daughter will start a university 2019. She is very strong academically, but undecided with a major ( enjoys economics, writing, humanities, global issues) One of her planned study paths is LLB in England with an idea of not becoming a lawyer, but having a strong academic bachelor’s degree for her Master’s (PhD) level study ( whatever major/country that might be…). She is a native English speaker. How do see this path? TIA

OP’s posts: |
Skiiltan Fri 23-Mar-18 14:18:43

Most law graduates don't become lawyers. I've spoken to lawyers who say they prefer students to take humanities degrees (history is the subject that's always mentioned) and then do a graduate diploma in law if they plan to become lawyers, but I don't know whether ther is any genuine preference among recruiters.

Regarding your daughter's plan, what would she want to do her PhD in? There's no harm in approaching a few people in top departments in a few countries to ask how a LLB from a UK university would be viewed. As an example, the following is from Oxford's web page for its international relations DPhil programme (Oxford calls them DPhils rather than PhDs): Applicants are normally expected to have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in politics or international relations, or in a related discipline such as economics, history, philosophy, sociology or law. You have to do a master's degree (e.g. MA) before enrolling for a DPhil at Oxford but some other places might offer 4-year integrated MA/PhD programmes or take people directly after their bachelor's degree. I'm a scientist, so I don't really know how this works in humanities & social science fields.

BubblesBuddy Fri 23-Mar-18 14:23:02

I think the normal law degrees are LLB and you can do MLaw in an area of interest afterwards. This gives a wide choice of university. PhD is a long way down the line. Very many LLB holders don’t work in law.

cloudtree Fri 23-Mar-18 14:28:23

As a lawyer I think its a bit odd to say she's doing a law degree to give herself a strong academic degree purely to enable her to do a masters degree or PhD in an unknown subject confused.

If she doesn't know what she wants to do/study surely she should be choosing something she enjoys and has an interest in??

cloudtree Fri 23-Mar-18 14:31:41

I'm not sure that its correct that most law graduates do not become lawyers. There are certainly a lot who do not make it as lawyers.

And it isn't the case that lawyers prefer trainees to have done a humanities degree. However not doing a law degree is not a bar to becoming a lawyer. It simply means you need to do an extra year at law school.

OP if your daughter likes economics or humanities subjects then I would recommend that she studies one of those.

ReinettePompadour Fri 23-Mar-18 14:37:31

I'm not a lawyer/solicitor/barrister despite having an LLB. Its so competitive only a handful of my friends managed to get a training contract anyway and go on to become qualified.

Most now work in HR/business/management/council planning departments anything that very loosely requires some legal knowledge except me, I'm unemployed and stuck without a job having worked as a legal PA waiting for that elusive training contract to be available

Skiiltan Fri 23-Mar-18 14:50:14

I'm not sure that its correct that most law graduates do not become lawyers.

Just under 18,000 students start law degrees in the UK each year. There are fewer than 6,000 legal traineeships for new graduates. (Source: The Law Society www.lawsociety.org.uk/law-careers/becoming-a-solicitor/entry-trends/). This suggests to me that most law graduates don't train as lawyers, and I've seen articles & letters by law graduates in/on many publications/web sites saying this is the case. (See also ReinettePompadour's post.)

My point about non-law graduates being preferred is something I was told by a law professor. I did say I wasn't sure whether there actually is such a preference among recruiters. I don't know how standardized the process is: if there is some element of trainers' implementing their own preferences it mght be that a degree in history from a particular university is preferred to a degree in law from another. Always shaky ground.


BubblesBuddy Fri 23-Mar-18 14:51:51

There are so many law degrees these days, there are nowhere near enough training contracts and about only 450 pupillages to become a barrister each year. Most people think the majority of graduates in law do not become qualified to practice law.

cloudtree Fri 23-Mar-18 15:40:58

Well if there are 18000 students doing law degrees then certainly they are not all going on to be solicitors or barristers that's for sure.

I suspect a high proportion of those commencing the degrees though hope to become lawyers.

Anyway sorry to sidetrack. my point remains OP that your DD should do a subject she enjoys and will therefore hopefully do well in.

goodbyestranger Fri 23-Mar-18 16:20:18

I second cloudtree. I'm another lawyer who finds it odd to be taking a law degree as a 'strong basis' for a random, as yet unknown, postgrad degree. She should simply choose the subject she's most interested in. The fact that most of those taking a law degree don't find a training contract or a pupillage doesn't mean that most don't want to become practising lawyers. It's well known that there are a lot of disappointed young people out there who can't get further in the law simply because they aren't taken on by a firm or chambers. I think you really need to be interested in the academic side of law to do a law degree, but it's not a fantastic degree to take for a postgrad degree in a political area or the humanities. It lends itself much more to a postgrad degree in a narrower field of law than studied at undergrad level. I would suggest taking a degree in one of the other subjects mentioned. Law is a good degree but no stronger than the other subjects mentioned. The quality of the institution will be more important to her if she wants to get onto a good postgrad course.

titchy Sat 24-Mar-18 00:47:51

Agree with others - a Law degree isn't a good base from which to develop an academic career. She needs something which will develop research and critical analysis skills. Economics, Psychology, Sociology.

Needmoresleep Sat 24-Mar-18 08:56:27

Where does she hope to end up both for further study or for career, and in which country. My understanding is that taking an initial law degree is quite common in parts of Europe, perhaps the equivalent of Liberal Arts in the US.

In the UK Law seems to be seen as quite vocational and I suspect a number of those that don't end up qualifying wind up as Company Secretaries, in public sector policy, as conveyancers or similar. It is also rare to move onto a Masters/PhD in a subject that you did not study for first degree, though there are exceptions like maths graduates moving into economics. The UK educational system specialises early, so it is possible for students to only be studying two subjects (double maths) from the age of 16, most only take three. By UG stage many are on a clear path.

That said there are some interesting joint-honours degrees which mix law with other subjects. I would work back. Where does she want to end up? For example if she were interested in working for the European commission, a first degree in the UK in law and European studies ought to keep doors open. Or international law and finance for an international business/banking career.

goodbyestranger Sat 24-Mar-18 09:10:02

Law with European Studies (there are variations of the course name) tends to be three years of English law with a year abroad in a European law faculty so I'm not clear that gets the OP's DD much further, in terms of postgrad. Equally, if the intended path is a PhD, then at the risk of repeating myself, she'll need to look at the quality of the undergraduate institution if she veers of into certain joint honours degrees. It seems to make more sense to simply go for a subject she is properly interested in and can see herself pursuing right the way through. I can't see much virtue in learning about mens rea and the niceties of discretionary trusts if her real interest lies in international relations.

Needmoresleep Sat 24-Mar-18 09:20:46

Stranger, a while ago but at various stages I worked both in Germany for a German/Dutch firm and with the Commission, and law degrees seemed a starting point for many. No idea why, but a contrast to Brits with humanities degrees. In Germany I was impossibly young. People found it hard to believe I had both a degree and a professional qualification. Germans stayed at University for ever...

goodbyestranger Sat 24-Mar-18 09:31:07

Yes I know Needmoresleep (half my family is European/ lives there and I've also lived in a beautiful German university city) but OP seems to want to study law in the UK and I can't see much sense in that - our system is different from the rest of Europe and of very little use expect at the fringes, and certainly a very oblique and uncertain route into a good PhD programme in a different subject.

Needmoresleep Sat 24-Mar-18 11:32:26

I don't have a law background. However I had international jobs in both the private and public sector and think knowledge of law processes would have been useful. You need to be able to read contracts in quite a lot of jobs, and in a multinational could well end up drafting accountancy rules, payment terms, and all sorts of things. Ditto, at least pre-Brexit, a lot of public sector policy jobs have had an international component, often involving time spent sitting in darkened room trying to reach consensus on a draft. FWIW I think a law degree would be a better preparation for an international career than one in, say, International Relations. And though European law systems may be different, the Anglo/American approach has surprising reach.

I was offered a place at Durham to read Law and Economics. I think in many ways it would have been more useful than straight Economics.

OP does not say where her DD wants to study for a PhD. If somewhere like Stockholm School of Economics, there may well be a different approach to subjects studied for first degree.

HEguru Sun 25-Mar-18 11:44:07

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