LLM vs. MA vs. LLB vs. GDL


Hello! I am an American student looking to steer my career path in the direction of law, and I am a bit overwhelmed by all the different qualifications out there. I am just hoping for some clarification, so bear with me if it seems a bit basic.

My first degree is in history, and I have what is equivalent to a solid to high 2:1. I am aware that I have to complete a qualifying law course, but I am just wondering what would be better in the long run? I have looked at the following programs:

The LLM at the U of Leeds
The MA at the U of Sheffield
The LLB at City U London
The LLM at Birkbeck U of London.

I am just a bit confused because they all seem to lead in the same direction, but if it didn't matter which way you went about it, these differences wouldn't exist. It seems like an LLM is the way to go, but I am just wondering if I can hurt my career prospects by doing one or the other?

Also, I understand that there are vocational training periods after the academic portion of your legal training is over, and I am just wondering how easy is it to get sponsorship for your LPC or the qualification for becoming a barrister? Sorry, I can't remember what the barrister vocational training is called.

Also, just to be clear, the process in my case is: 1st degree--->Qualifying law degree----> solicitor or barrister training?

Thanks so so much!
Hello! I am an American student looking to steer my career path in the direction of law, and I am a bit overwhelmed by all the different qualifications out there. I am just hoping for some clarification, so bear with me if it seems a bit basic.

My first degree is in history, and I have what is equivalent to a solid to high 2:1. I am aware that I have to complete a qualifying law course, but I am just wondering what would be better in the long run? I have looked at the following programs:

The LLM at the U of Leeds
The MA at the U of Sheffield
The LLB at City U London
The LLM at Birkbeck U of London.

I am just a bit confused because they all seem to lead in the same direction, but if it didn't matter which way you went about it, these differences wouldn't exist. It seems like an LLM is the way to go, but I am just wondering if I can hurt my career prospects by doing one or the other?

Also, I understand that there are vocational training periods after the academic portion of your legal training is over, and I am just wondering how easy is it to get sponsorship for your LPC or the qualification for becoming a barrister? Sorry, I can't remember what the barrister vocational training is called.

Also, just to be clear, the process in my case is: 1st degree--->Qualifying law degree----> solicitor or barrister training?

Thanks so so much!
quote
An LLM is not a qualifying law degree, i.e you will not be able to do the LPC after it. You will have to to the GDL if you want to practice law.

Same for BVC (barrister). You will have to do the GDL first.

You could do an LLM after the GDL though.

Or instead of the GDL you could do an LLB which is a law degree. You can do it in two years I think. But I'm not sure there's much point unless you think you need more time.

RE Sponsorship, for the LPC if you have a training contract i.e a job offer from a fim before you start they may pay the fees and give you an allowance. If it's a big firm they may do the same for the GDL.

For the BVC you can get a scholarship for one of the Inns of Court.

Also, it's not called the BVC any more, sorry, it's called the BPTC! ha sorry it's all so confusing. wish they would get rid of the acronyms!

Also
GDL=CPE='conversion course'
BVC=BPTC='bar course'

Try looking at a website like this http://www.lawcareers.net/Information/
which will tell you about the two careers paths.
An LLM is not a qualifying law degree, i.e you will not be able to do the LPC after it. You will have to to the GDL if you want to practice law.

Same for BVC (barrister). You will have to do the GDL first.

You could do an LLM after the GDL though.

Or instead of the GDL you could do an LLB which is a law degree. You can do it in two years I think. But I'm not sure there's much point unless you think you need more time.

RE Sponsorship, for the LPC if you have a training contract i.e a job offer from a fim before you start they may pay the fees and give you an allowance. If it's a big firm they may do the same for the GDL.

For the BVC you can get a scholarship for one of the Inns of Court.

Also, it's not called the BVC any more, sorry, it's called the BPTC! ha sorry it's all so confusing. wish they would get rid of the acronyms!

Also
GDL=CPE='conversion course'
BVC=BPTC='bar course'

Try looking at a website like this http://www.lawcareers.net/Information/
which will tell you about the two careers paths.
quote
lmwoods
To clarify: an LLM (or an MA) could be a qualifying law degree if it satisfies the requirements set down by the professional bodies. Most aren't. The difference between GDL and LLB is the amount of time you want to spend on it; the GDL can be hard, especially if the provider is trying to give a decent LLB level of understanding rather than 'idiot's guide' level - there is some discussion between the various providers on that point. If you want to specialise (e.g. if you are thinking about competition or IP) then an LLB might allow you the time to do an option in that subject to give you some understanding of the subject.
Otherwise, the summary of the route is correct: undergraduate degree; conversion course; vocational training course and then the training period.
To clarify: an LLM (or an MA) could be a qualifying law degree if it satisfies the requirements set down by the professional bodies. Most aren't. The difference between GDL and LLB is the amount of time you want to spend on it; the GDL can be hard, especially if the provider is trying to give a decent LLB level of understanding rather than 'idiot's guide' level - there is some discussion between the various providers on that point. If you want to specialise (e.g. if you are thinking about competition or IP) then an LLB might allow you the time to do an option in that subject to give you some understanding of the subject.
Otherwise, the summary of the route is correct: undergraduate degree; conversion course; vocational training course and then the training period.
quote
Thanks for the clarification! The MA and LLM programs I am looking at are all qualifying law degrees, so I think I am going to shoot in that direction. It seems like employers value an LLM more than an LLB. Plus, the dissertation options that come along with LLM/MA programs are good in case I decide to head in the academia direction.

Or am I wrong?? :)
Thanks for the clarification! The MA and LLM programs I am looking at are all qualifying law degrees, so I think I am going to shoot in that direction. It seems like employers value an LLM more than an LLB. Plus, the dissertation options that come along with LLM/MA programs are good in case I decide to head in the academia direction.

Or am I wrong?? :)
quote
This is just my opinion, but I think in terms of attracting UK employers it's the choice of university that matters most. So whichever you choose, remember prestige does seem to matter. try looking at league table to see the best law schools
This is just my opinion, but I think in terms of attracting UK employers it's the choice of university that matters most. So whichever you choose, remember prestige does seem to matter. try looking at league table to see the best law schools
quote
lmwoods
I am not sure that employers prefer an LLM; the GDL is a well recognised qualification. In terms of universities, I am not convinced there is a detailed hierarchy of schools in employers' mind. I suspect Oxford and Cambridge are well regarded (which may be down to old-boyism); beyond that I think the pre 92 universities are regarded pretty much of a muchness. If you are thinking about the possibility of an ,academic career, I would certainly go for a degree rather than the GDL and possibly one that allows to develop your research skills. My view is that academic institutions would distinguish between a qualification awarded by a university and one awarded by a vocational training institution.
I am not sure that employers prefer an LLM; the GDL is a well recognised qualification. In terms of universities, I am not convinced there is a detailed hierarchy of schools in employers' mind. I suspect Oxford and Cambridge are well regarded (which may be down to old-boyism); beyond that I think the pre 92 universities are regarded pretty much of a muchness. If you are thinking about the possibility of an ,academic career, I would certainly go for a degree rather than the GDL and possibly one that allows to develop your research skills. My view is that academic institutions would distinguish between a qualification awarded by a university and one awarded by a vocational training institution.
quote
I am a qualified lawyer in India. I am confused. Should I take an LLM course in UK or should I apply for GDL course.
Is it true that even with an LLM I will not find a job in UK? Do i specifically need to do a GDL and later on the LPC course ? I have obtained 2:2 (
I am a qualified lawyer in India. I am confused. Should I take an LLM course in UK or should I apply for GDL course.
Is it true that even with an LLM I will not find a job in UK? Do i specifically need to do a GDL and later on the LPC course ? I have obtained 2:2 (
quote
Hi

We are happy to hear you're considering the MA Law here at Sheffield. We understand that choosing the right course for you can be difficult, please feel free to get in touch for more details or just to chat about the course and our university in general.

Our MA Law is a qualifying law degree that takes 2 years full time, we believe that this course gives you a great grounding for a future career in law. The university has a great atmosphere, and the city is very student orientated.

Please contact Harriet Godfrey (h.godfrey@sheffield.ac.uk) who will do her best to answer any questions or put you in touch with someone who can.
Hi

We are happy to hear you're considering the MA Law here at Sheffield. We understand that choosing the right course for you can be difficult, please feel free to get in touch for more details or just to chat about the course and our university in general.

Our MA Law is a qualifying law degree that takes 2 years full time, we believe that this course gives you a great grounding for a future career in law. The university has a great atmosphere, and the city is very student orientated.

Please contact Harriet Godfrey (h.godfrey@sheffield.ac.uk) who will do her best to answer any questions or put you in touch with someone who can.
quote

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