Postgraduate Law Course – Which One is Right for Me?

LLB or Bachelor Degree days are sadly over but to be a lawyer postgraduate study is a necessity. There are absolutely loads of courses available and you need to be

  • Last updated 26-Jul-2016 10:45:16
  • By Billy Sexton, Editor, AllAboutLaw.co.uk

The LLB or Bachelor Degree days are sadly over but to be a lawyer postgraduate study is a necessity. There are absolutely loads of courses available and you need to be sure of the ones that are right for you. By ‘right for you’ we don’t mean which one you like the sound of over others. Rather, it depends what stage you’re at in your education and whether you’ve done a law degree. This handy guide will highlight what courses are available to you, depending on what stage you’re at. Here goes!

Postgraduate courses for law graduates

You have that lovely piece of paper and that great photo of your holding a plastic scroll, but you’re not a qualified lawyer yet! There are three options that are available to you following the big graduation.

LPC

Before you can start a training contract, you’ll need to study the Legal Practice Course (LPC). It lasts for one year and if you’ve already secured a training contract, the firm may even pay your course fees.

The LPC is very intense and is divided into four subject areas:

- Core subjects

- Compulsory subjects

- Optional subjects

- Practical skills.

More information on what is involved in LPC study can be found here.

BPTC

If you’d rather become a barrister than solicitor, then the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) is for you. As you need the LPC under your belt before you start a training contract, so you need the BPTC before being accepted onto a pupillage.

The path to becoming a barrister is even more competitive than the solicitor dog fight. The BPTC also costs a hefty £8000-£18000, not including living costs, with no guarantee of a pupillage. We’re not trying to dissuade you from wanting to become a barrister, we’re just making you aware that it’s bloomin’ tough.

LLM

A third option available to you after graduating with an LLB is to study an LLM! It’s a Masters of Laws degree that allows students to specialise in developing you academic research skills in one area of law. LLMs are useful for those who want to enter the industry in a stronger position to shape their specialisations and expertise. Alternatively, an LLM is highly regarded by industries such as banking, finance and consultancy. Additionally, this type of degree can also be suitable for anyone keen to dive further into academia, and perhaps continue onto a PhD, or MPhil.

AllAboutLaw.co.uk also provide extensive information and advice on LLMs over on AllAboutLLMs.com.

Postgraduate courses for non-law graduates

Like your mates who did the LLB, you too have posed for that lovely graduation photo and done the whole ‘throw the hat in the air’ nonsense. But now you’re keen on following a career in law. But what postgraduate courses are necessary for you?

GDL or Graduate LLB

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or Graduate LLB is necessary for any non-law student who wants to follow a career in law. The GDL squeezes an entire LLB degree into one year of study, whereas the Graduate LLB fits the LLB degree into two years. We weighed up the pros and cons of the GDL and the Graduate LLB in one handy article, so check it out for more information!

If you’ve landed a training contract, the firm may pay for your GDL too, winner!

LPC or BPTC

After the GDL or Graduate LLB, you’ll need to do the LPC or BPTC, depending on whether you want to become a solicitor or barrister. These are the penultimate steps to becoming a lawyer, and a training contract or pupillage will hopefully await you. Be warned though, just because you pass the LPC or BPTC with flying colours, you are not guaranteed a job at the end of it!

It’s a hefty investment if you haven’t got a training contract already secured, but whether the LPC is worth the investment, is entirely your choice.

Postgraduate law courses are aplenty, but hopefully this clears up what you should be studying after your undergraduate degree. 

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