Training+Contract+Comparison+Tool

In defence of the GDL

  • Print
  • Comments (58)

Readers' comments (58)

  • Being a "normal" Johnny Law Degree this article is a hard read, it will no doubt provoke debate amongst lawyers and GDLers alike.

    Obviously, having not studied law at University, many of your assertions lack knowledge. Whilst it may, indeed, be possible to "scrape through" first year with a comfy 40, the fact of the matter is that simply is not good enough for those wanting to secure vacation schemes and mini pupillages in year 2 - where first year grades count for a good deal.

    "Proper" law students do not have the luxury of doing trusts in their third year - that is entirely dependant on University - personally I read land law in first year and trusts in second year. Needless to say niether were "gifts" as you have it.

    As regards GDLers having the so called advantage of not having to rifle through old first year land law notes before interviews at traditional Chancery sets - as you will find out that is not what pupillage interview is about. If, indeed, you get an interview at the Chancery Bar, which I must say still is the most traditional and Oxbridge dominated, procedure and such like will dominate the agenda - academia is almost irrelevant. Another fully research assertion you make, obviously.

    I move on. "It is regarded as equal to a law degree". Another poor assertion. Quite how a diploma can be regarded as equal to a law degree is beyond my logic. However, the simple fact that, by your own admission, you are not afforded the "luxury of doing electives", points to a different conclusion. Those with a law degree have a much deeper well routed understanding of the law - a fact the GDL students seem to discover on the BVC. Legal Research will be a telling exam for those who have barely engaged in any such activity at all, I suggest you make a start - try the law student way and look up cases and articles ever day for three years and then your diploma may be equal to a law degree. Perhaps my logic is flawed.

    If one believes the GDL is hard work, I wish you luck on the BPTC. Many say it is more time consuming still.

    My conclusion is short and simple. A law degree gives a much fuller foundation for practice; legal research skills, a broader background outside of the core modules and a cemented understanding of key principles. None of these, in my humble opinion, result from the GDL, at least not to a satisfactory standard.

    Be careful of stats, they can often lie.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Only a GDL student could have produced such a sub-standard article.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Right, well, Johnny Law Degree you assert that 'Obviously, having not studied law at University, many of your assertions lack knowledge', however the same can be said of your ill informed concluding comment on the (sub)standard to which GDL students are taught key principles of law and legal research skills. You humble opinion is of course biased towards your own route into practice.

    While I do concede that it is important to not simply 'scrape through' the first year of a law degree lest you are looked on unfavourably by sets and firms offering work experience, it is not necessary to do mini-pupillages and VACs schemes later on during the degree and indeed even on the BPTC. My point therefore was simply that you get a year to, as it were, ease into the study of law, while us GDL students have little time to become proficient.

    You mention rather defensively that you studied Trusts in your second year and not your third. I do apologise, I did not realise this was dependent on university, however the fact still remains that you were able to study only a few modules per year, allowing you to devote greater time to them. This, you must concede is rather more helpful than having to learn every module at once. Then, given the tenor of your rebuttal perhaps not.

    As for your observation that pupillage interviews are largely procedure based with virtually no substantive law element to them, surely some law relating to the set's practice area must be retained for interview.

    As for regarding the GDL as equal to a law degree, that is simply in the context of preparation for practice. If chambers and firms were not satisfied that GDL students are as able as those with law degrees, they would simply stop offering training contracts and pupillage to those from the former category. However, as I am sure you know, they don't. Oh and you might ponder the fact that while you may have a law degree and a mere diploma may ordinarily pale in comparison, I will have a non-law degree and an LLB after completing my BPTC. I know what I'd prefer.

    As for Legal Research, it is foolish to think that GDL students do not research any of our own cases, of course we do. Furthermore, many of this year's contingent also took part in mooting which you may know also helps garner skills in legal research.


    One does believe the GDL is hard work and so this will be a good grounding for the BPTC if you are indeed correct that the BPTC is more time consuming. Anecdotally however I have heard more evidence to the contrary. Perhaps the many you speak of did law degrees.

    Best of luck with the rest of your studies and thanks for commenting so passionately, I was worried the article wouldn't be provocative enough.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Any idiot can coast through the 3 leisurely years of an LLB and emerge with a Desmond, the GDL really sorts the wheat from the chaff. Half my course had vanished after a couple of months.

    Savvy firms and chambers know it. Many GDLers had former pressured careers, I worked as a manager at an investment company... the intense nature of the GDL is the most accurate mimic of life in the commercial world, the pressure and the pace that modern employers expect. The recruitment stats indeed don't lie, anyone clued up running a business would be daft to favour llbers over those who have passed the GDL.

    The GDL isn't just a 'diploma'... it converts an existing degree which is why it is called a conversion course - doh. Without an initial degree you need ten years managerial working experience to be allowed to take it.

    You can see the difference in the way tutors speak of LLBers compared with GDL students... the general feeling is that LLBers have to be spoonfed and wet-nursed but the latter are altogether a hardier and more self-reliant breed.

    If you're hiring it's a no brainer. Getting a commendation or distinction on the GDL says far more about the kind of performance you are likely to get on the job.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "If one believes the GDL is hard work, I wish you luck on the BPTC. Many say it is more time consuming still."

    Utter nonsense ! It's a doss in comparison.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The GDL is a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD). It is palpably absurd to compare it to an LLB. Nine tenths of the work in one third of the time? There's no skimping on the standard and what has to be learned, it's the same stuff, the exams and assessments are nigh identical.

    By any measure of logic the GDL is a much harder qualification to attain than the LLB and furthermore, speaks volumes to any employer about working under pressure.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What utter rubbish Rajesh Vora.

    Yes the GDL is a difficult qualification to obtain due to the vastness of what has to be mastered, but one must bare in mind that most employers put far more emphasis on the first degree results than the GDL. This means, if one studies something easy like politics, and scores very high grades and then goes onto score 40s and 50s on the GDL - they still stand a far greater chance of obtaining a TC or Puipillage at a good place, over someone who studies the LLB at a quality university, like yours - and scores low 60s, high 50s. One may state that the politics student is more intellegent, which is certainly bollocks, because law is one of the hardest degrees to study.

    With regards to comparing your GDLplusbvc/lpc = LL.B to a proper LL.B is silly. University LL.Bs not only meet the SRA requirements, but also meet the universites own quality requirements, which varies from institution to institution. Lets stick to the proper pre-1992 Universites, and I will be suprised if anyone intelliegent will agree that this law school LL.B is worth the same as a LLB from a established university. Yes your GDL may have been assessed to the same standards as other pollyers your studying with, but it will not be anywhere near the standards of the top 20 law departments.

    Law firms recruit GDLers because the role of trainee and low ranking solicitors does not require a 1st class LL.B. However as one goes up the rank, the difference between real lawyers over the glorified admin assistants becomes apparent.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "the fact still remains that you were able to study only a few modules per year".

    That makes no sense at all. The GDL has seven modules, most law degrees have six to eight modules each year. Your attempt at making a point falls flat on its face.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • “My point therefore was simply that you get a year to, as it were, ease into the study of law, while us GDL students have little time to become proficient.”

    What were you doing during your original degree? Surely after a three year degree you should be well used to studying. Your point fails.

    “surely some law relating to the set's practice area must be retained for interview.”

    Unlikely as interviewers don’t normally assume a knowledge of any particular area of law due to the different content of every university’s law courses.

    “As for Legal Research”

    Pointless capitalisation.

    “the general feeling is that LLBers have to be spoonfed and wet-nursed but the latter are altogether a hardier and more self-reliant breed.”

    I studied a law degree followed by one module of the GDL. The GDL module practically shoved a spoon in my mouth. Full notes, recorded lectures, full packs containing all reading material and copies of cases were given out by the college. The law degree had very little of that and I had to do almost everything for myself.

    “Getting a commendation or distinction on the GDL says far more about the kind of performance you are likely to get on the job.”

    No it doesn’t. Academia, especially in law, is no guide to how you’ll actually perform in any job.

    “One may state that the politics student is more intellegent, which is certainly bollocks, because law is one of the hardest degrees to study.”

    Full agree with this. My Russell Group uni virtually refused to hand out any mark above sixty.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "suprised if anyone intelliegent"

    Not you then, if your spelling and grammar are anything to go by.

    I'm sure even a 'glorified admin assistant' could do better.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page |

Have your say

Mandatory Required Fields

Mandatory
  • Print
  • Comments (58)
Training+contract+comparison+tool

law+school+comparison+tool