College of Law

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The College of Law Graduate Diploma in Law

Opening the door to a career in law

If you are finding it a challenge to secure your dream graduate job, now might be the time to think about a career in law. Your current degree could provide a solid background to a legal career and many law firms actively seek trainees who have a wider and more diverse educational background than those who have concentrated only on law.

Your first step to a career in law

  • Our GDL is not just an academic conversion course – it’s the perfect stepping stone towards a successful legal career for non-law graduates. We’ve designed our course to meet the realities of today’s legal market and to give you the practical skills to become a highly marketable lawyer.
  • All our major courses have been designed in consultation with leading law firms. We design courses that give you the skills that a lawyer will need from day one in practice.
  • Our GDL has a strong focus on business and commercial skills that would prove immensely useful in many other careers, for instance the civil or diplomatic service, accountancy, banking and general management.
  • It takes between two and four years to qualify, depending on whether you chose to study full or part-time. And as the College has seven centres around the UK to choose from, your path to a career in law can be as flexible as you need it to be.

After the GDL …

What you do next depends on whether you want to be a solicitor or a barrister. If you want to be a solicitor, you take the Legal Practice Course and if you want to be a barrister, the Bar Vocational Course. (The name of this course is changing to Bar Professional Training Course later this year).

Earn an LL.B in Law with The College of Law

When you successfully complete our GDL and go on to pass the LPC or BPTC at the College, you’ll graduate with an LL.B law degree, without the need to study or pay for additional modules. This is a clear demonstration of your abilities that will improve your prospects with potential employers.

The College of Law

The College of Law is the largest and longest established law school in the UK. We are focused on the law and only the law, and are the leading provider of the GDL. We have the pedigree and expertise to ensure high quality, challenging and hugely rewarding legal education, delivered only by qualified lawyers.

Excellent links with leading law firms

The College has strong links with all of the largest law firms in the country, including all of the Magic Circle firms in London. In fact, many major law firms insist that their future trainee solicitors study the GDL and LPC at the College.

Join the Future Lawyers Association

Our exclusive resource for those considering a career in law. It’s free to join and members receive regular updates on legal training as well as contributions from current students, which give a valuable insight into what it’s actually like to study at The College of Law.

What to do next …

We still have places on our full and part-time GDL conversion courses commencing in September 2009.

Apply here.

Case Studies

  • Name: Max Moore
  • Role: Trainee Solicitor, Denton Wilde Sapte LLP
  • University: University of Durham
  • Degree: History and Politics

The College experience:
There are lots of benefits to studying at the College – location, reputation, convenience and a friendly atmosphere. What stood out for me were the way my knowledge of the law progressed and the moments when the penny dropped.

The courses:
The GDL was an excellent run through of the seven heads of law. It was approached professionally, demanded application and was ultimately very rewarding. When it came to the LPC, being able to do a specifically-tailored corporate course certainly helped me develop my corporate skills and persuaded me that it was the right route. On a practical level, the i-Tutorials, quality of teaching and comprehensive study materials were all excellent.

Preparation for practice:
What I experienced at the College definitely prepared me for the life of a corporate solicitor, from the tuition, to the atmosphere, to the encouragement I received. I was primed to become a thrusting city lawyer and hopefully I’ve followed that through so far. If you want to become a corporate lawyer, it makes sense to get as much work experience as you can to develop your commercial awareness skills, and the corporate route LPC is a business-orientated course that certainly does this.

Securing a training contract:
When I first arrived at the College I hadn’t had any legal work experience at all. The careers team really helped me turn my existing CV into a legal CV. They advised me on how I could get work experience in the time available and which firms to target. Both the careers consultants and the College’s database of previous candidates’ experience were very helpful in securing my training contract.

The job:
I’ve spent the first six months of my training contract working in the corporate department and the last two months in banking. It’s fairly challenging and can be long hours and stressful sometimes, but it is pretty rewarding. I think to get on in the world of corporate law you’ve got to be a deal-orientated sort of person who enjoys the buzz and adrenaline rush of closing a deal.

  • Name: Danielle Feely
  • Role: Trainee Barrister (Pupil), 4 Breams Building
  • University: University of Edinburgh
  • Degree: Mathematics

The College experience:
I enjoyed both the GDL and BVC at The College of Law, especially the mooting competitions organised by the College and my Inn of Court, Middle Temple. As for the actual courses, I really benefited from the advocacy exercises and mock trials.

The courses:
The structure of both the GDL and BVC provided me with an excellent grounding for the next stage of training. The GDL instilled in me the need to be fully prepared for class exercises, which is crucial on the BVC and during pupillage. On the BVC, court visits are compulsory and getting experience of the Magistrates’ Court is invaluable for any prospective barrister.

Preparation for practice:
The emphasis the College places on legal research and other drafting exercises has been vital for practice, as the skills gained are the basis of every case. Even if law is not the career you want to follow, the skills are extremely transferable as a basis for many others.

Work experience during study:
I did mini pupillages at various chambers, including an assessed mini pupillage with my chambers, which undoubtedly helped me. In addition, I worked part-time at the Citizens Advice Bureau and for solicitors’ firms, which showed dedication to a legal career and the ability to deal with people from all walks of life.

Securing pupillage:
I began applying for pupillage in the autumn of the BVC, which was relatively late compared to most people. Initially I applied to a number of sets practising in pure crime, but without success. When I completed my BVC, I began working as a paralegal at a Magic Circle criminal firm and continued my pupillage applications. After two rounds of interviews, I began my pupillage at 4 Breams Buildings in April 2008.

The job:
The Criminal Bar is a fun place to be, with something new happening each day and new people to meet. The work can be challenging and difficult at times, but getting results and carrying a case to its conclusion is a constant thrill.

Application Procedure