GDL course

(8 Posts)
peppermint4 Thu 20-Feb-20 23:32:08

Hi all, I am considering doing a GDL (well actually a PGDL) with BPP this coming September and want to get your thoughts!

I currently work in events for a global bank and I want a career change as it's something I just fell in to and I'm not overly passionate about it anymore. I am late 20s, I have a university degree (2:1 in business) and will need to do the course part time which will take 20 months. By the time I complete the course I will be early 30s.

For those that work in law firms what would be your thoughts or things that I should consider with entering law at this age. Would people look down on me that I've worked in events before? Contracts and compliance are a big part of my day so I have experience there and I volunteered with the police as a special a few years ago which I thoroughly enjoyed, I just can't help but wonder whether I will be judged coming in to the game quite late?

I will need to get a training contract at a law firm that would be able to fund my LPC as I can't afford that on top of the PGDL.

Thanks in advance smile

OP’s posts: |
PortusCale Fri 21-Feb-20 08:18:12

My DD did the GDL last year (it was a pretty tough slog, she did it full time). I can’t give you much advice as to your particular situation but isn’t the GDL / LPC due to be changing in 2021 to be replaced by the SQE? This is what I have read:

“The SQE is a new system of exams that all solicitors must pass at the point of qualifying. It will replace the GDL and LPC in September 2021, but candidates already doing one of these courses or a law degree do not have to be affected.”

BubblesBuddy Fri 21-Feb-20 09:04:14

The op is starting in Sept 20 so I guess her course is not affected from what you have written above.

You do have to accept that law training contracts are difficult to get. Did you not want to get into a training scheme before you started? Then you would get the whole lot paid for. You are late for applications this year of course but it might have saved you money.

Another way in is to work as a paralegal and then get sponsored by your solicitors firm as a trainee solicitor. I think it’s fair to say this will be competitive too and you will need to be open to rejection. If your degree is from one of the best universities you will stand a better chance than if it’s from a lesser university. The universities that are preferred are quite a narrow group! However you have work experience and that will be useful.

My DD did the GDL full time. It’s very full on. She covered a lot of law she will never use again. However she volunteered extensively due to wanting to be a barrister and you need a great cv. You will need to think about this too. After the GDL lots get paralegal jobs and then apply for traineeships. Do be aware this can be a slog and you are competing against law degree holders. For context: around 18,000 law degrees are awarded each year and there are around 6500 training contracts. 450 pupillage for Barristers so getting a job is tough. It’s best to go in knowing the facts. Good luck though.

peppermint4 Fri 21-Feb-20 13:51:59

Thanks for your replies they have been really helpful.

I did wonder about getting into a training scheme first but wondered whether this will be difficult as I haven't studied law before.

Thanks for the advice about going the paralegal route and also the stats.

@BubblesBuddy what is your daughter doing now?

Many thanks

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Fri 21-Feb-20 14:02:49

DD is a barrister.

50% of solicitors have not studied Law. DD did MFL. It requires the GDL to convert to law, as you know. I would look around and see what the various routes into the law are that suit you. It is risky, and expensive, doing the GDL and then not getting a training contract. Do not forget that students are applying whilst still at university. Lots of paralegals will be applying too who did their GDLs previously. You have to compete with all of them. Others might know the best route and there are also apprenticeship schemes. You could look at them. It is best to do as much research as you can and aim for the route with the best outcomes first. Then get a fall back position. Does the GDL course know how many alumni got training contracts after the course as opposed to before the course? This could be critical info.

PortusCale Fri 21-Feb-20 18:36:08

BubblesBuddy the OP is considering starting in September - I was just pointing out that the system is changing as it might be preferable for her to consider the new system.

BubblesBuddy Fri 21-Feb-20 19:29:29

Yes it might but she would then have consider delaying starting. This might be ok if she can get a training contract in the meantime. It’s all a juggling act!


SlipperyLizard Fri 21-Feb-20 23:18:32

Paying for the GDL is a big risk (financially) without a training contract - the course is pretty much useless as a qualification by itself. GDL providers will take on as many students as they can, many (most?) of whom will never become solicitors.

I would apply for training contracts first, to gauge whether you have the potential to be accepted by a firm that will pay for everything. If not, then of course consider self-funding, but be aware that it is a long shot.

Your previous experience shouldn’t count against you, especially if you can link the parts you’ve enjoyed to a career in law. But don’t rush into it just because you can start in September - you have plenty of time to work out the best route into law.

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