Law Conversion Courses
What is a law conversion course and why study one?
If you have discovered your passion and motivation to pursue a legal career after having completed an undergraduate degree in a non-law subject, you can rely on law conversion courses to open the door for you to the legal field. A law conversion course is a postgraduate degree which equips non-law students with the necessary legal skills for progression to a career as a barrister or a solicitor. These courses enable non-law students to satisfy the entry requirements to the professional legal training courses (LPC or BPTC) which they would otherwise be unable to do.
In the legal profession today, law firms award training contracts to non-law students as frequently as law students who possess the skill set sought after. In fact, non-law students are valued for bringing distinctive skills and knowledge to a law firm and a fresh outlook at solving legal problems. Often a legal problem cannot be approached in isolation and will require background knowledge in economics, finance and business for example, particularly in the corporate law sector. Also a sound grasp of languages will be beneficial in a firm that undertakes multinational transactions across various jurisdictions. Hence, a prior degree in these disciplines would be considered valuable by a prospective legal employer. Remember, law firms value uniqueness!
Overview, Admissions and Costs
Law conversion courses are known with a variety of different names which may vary with the institution such as the Graduate Diploma of Law and Common Practice Exam with no significant difference between the content of the courses. The aim of a law conversion course is to provide understanding of foundational legal concepts and core set of skills which will be required in the legal profession and training. The duration of the course is generally one year (full-time) or two years (part-time). As the course seeks to act as replacement for LLB (Bachelor of Laws) which is usually taught over three years, it may be quite intensive.
The education authority, Joint Academic Stage Board administers the legal conversion courses. In terms of the content of the courses there are seven foundation modules that are to be studied compulsorily; (i) contract law (ii) tort law (iii) criminal law (iv) public law (including constitutional law, administrative law and human rights) (v) Property law (vi) Equity and law of trusts (vii) Law of the European Union.
To be eligible for the law conversion courses a student must have an undergraduate degree from a UK institution or its equivalent in any discipline with a minimum of a 2.2 classification or its equivalent. It is also generally mandatory to provide evidence of English language proficiency. In order to gain entry into the top institutions, your application form should provide convincing reasons for choosing a legal career, outlining your aspirations and offering evidence of your commitment to the profession. Applications for courses in England and Wales can be made via the Central Applications Board.
Cost of Law Conversion Courses
The costs of undertaking a legal conversion course depend to a large extent on where you decide to undertake the course. For example, the costs of studying in London will be higher as compared to the other cities in the UK, as well as living tends to be more expensive in London. These are important factors to consider when choosing the institution you wish to attend. On average the fees range from £7,000-10,000.
Where to Study Your Law Conversion Course
A variety of institutions in the UK offer the legal conversion courses including University of Law, University of Nottingham, BPP Law School, Northumbria University, City University, London. While choosing the institution consider your personal preferences in terms of the reputation and ranking of the schools, the law course that suits you best, costs and geographical location.
LLMs Vs Legal Conversion Courses
Legal Conversion Courses are considered to be good options for students who wish to pursue a career as a solicitor or a barrister. They provide the legal knowledge necessary to gain admission to the legal training courses i.e. LPC/BPTC. Their focus tends to be on providing knowledge of a broad range of legal subjects to non-law students. On the other hand, the Master of Laws (LLM) does not lead to a professional degree and is more academic in nature. It is of particular importance if you have an area of genuine interest and want to specialize in that area of law. It therefore, provides a means to explore in depth an area of law. Often those students who wish to work in a specific area of law after graduation embark upon a Master of Laws course, for example Maritime Law or Intellectual Property Law.Both types of law course however, open an array of opportunities and improve employability. The choice tends to be a personal one. The courses are also not mutually exclusive so it is possible to pursue LLM at a later stage in one’s career. For example, after completing the legal conversion course and the LPC some practitioners undertake an LLM to gain in depth knowledge and specialisation in a niche area in which their legal practice may be based.Find your PERFECT LLM PROGRAM