Jenny Fraser, currently on work experience at Duncan Gibbins Solicitors, writes about what to expect on the GDL.
I studied French and Law at the University of Chester with a view to become a translator. However over time I decided that I was best suited towards the law route.
The benefits of a combined degree are that you have a specialist knowledge in two subjects and a wider variety of skills which are easily transferable.
The main benefit of having studied a language at University was the experience of the year abroad.
Apart from it being the best year ever, taking in the sun, the culture and making fabulous friends it has given me the confidence and skills I needed to pursue a career as a Solicitor.
Studying The Graduate Diploma In Law (GDL)
Combined Honours Degree does not mean that pursuing a career in law is out of the question
If you have studied a combined law degree, do not worry; what you have learnt will be invaluable to your law studies.
The Graduate Diploma in Law Course – GDL can be taken after your honours degree (or any non-law related degree) at any of the College of Law Centres:
- London Bloomsbury
- London Moorgate
Your University is also very likely to provide the GDL course so it is worth talking to them as well.
The GDL is a law conversion course which will give you a full LLB (law degree). It can be studied in several ways:
>In one year (a university year): September-June
>part time over two years
>18 month S Mode- distant interactive learning with face to face tutorials
Whichever mode is undertaken, you will study 7 law subjects:
- Equity and Trusts
- European Union
I commenced the GDL in September 2011 for one year at the Chester College of Law. Studying it for a year meant that I attended two classes a week: Tuesday and Thursday 9.30-5.00pm. The facilities at the Chester centre were all accessible through the week and the weekend i.e. library, computers. So, if you wanted a quiet area of study this was always available.
What To Expect On The GDL
The GDL is very intense as you are learning a lot in a short amount of time. However, it is very interesting and very practical based which gives you a real insight into how the law works on a daily basis. All the tutors I have had were excellent and very supportive with any problems or queries I had. If you choose to study at the College of Law in Chester then during your studies you will receive an exceptional career service which helps you find experience and/or any legal vacancies.
If law was part of your combined honours degree you can still study the GDL to complete your full law degree.
If you have already studied certain law modules you can be exempt from ‘re-studying’ them at the GDL and can study just the modules you haven’t completed at University- also you will pay less!
If you are exempt from certain subjects, once you have completed the GDL you will not receive a full LLB but you can still continue onto the LPC or the BPTC.
If this is something that you are willing to do, speak to your lecturers at University as they will have all these details.
I had to do the complete GDL as I could not be exempt from any subjects. I did repeat three subjects but as I studied them a while ago it was beneficial for me to study them again.
From my experience, it is advantageous having studied two subjects and having a full LLB as well. However, if you did want to keep to a combined degree of law I would recommend that you study the core modules at university and then ‘top up’ with the GDL.
Nevertheless, either way of studying, the result is the same. You still have a valid law degree to continue to become a Solicitor or a Barrister. The experiences of both courses will have made you the person you are which is what all employers looks for.
What To Expect On The GDL / LPC – Funding
The fees of the courses are all on the college of law website and there is funding available either:
- professional development loans at banks
- research charities who assist with funding further education/training courses:
- Solicitors may sponsor you whilst studying
Good luck with your studying!
What To Expect On The GDL – Contact DG Academy
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