Do law firms pay for the GDL?
If you are interested in becoming a lawyer but did not study law at undergraduate level, you will probably be aware that you have to take the GDL in order to qualify. You will probably also be aware that most courses cost over £10,000, not including additional expenses such as living costs and the LPC. However, many law firms offer to sponsor your GDL providing you meet certain conditions:
How much of the cost of the GDL do law firms cover?
The majority of firms that offer to cover the cost of the GDL are large, London-based, commercial law firms. For instance, all of the Magic Circle law firms cover the cost of the GDL, as well as a maintenance grant between £6,000 and £8,000. They do not solely cover the cost of the GDL, but also cover the cost of the LPC and a supporting maintenance grant.
If you accept the contract after beginning your studies, many pay you back the course fees as well as the maintenance grant over time. Unlike student loans, these grants do not have to be repaid, leaving you free to focus on your studies and your career.
What conditions must trainees meet to receive funding?
Most of the firms that cover these costs require trainees to meet certain conditions; for example studying at a particular law school or having a training contract at their firm. Given these requirements, applicants for training contracts are incredibly competitive, so make sure you spend a lot of time on your application and submit it early.
Things to keep in mind
It’s important to remember that you should not apply to a firm just because they will offer you financial support. If you have your heart set on a small, family law firm, don’t apply for a large corporate firm that you know won’t suit you. Even if your dream firm doesn’t provide financial aid, you can apply to the law school directly for discounted tuition or do the course part-time.
Many of the large, commercial law firms cover the cost of the GDL, as well as other living expenses. This financial support may be something you wish to consider when applying for training contracts.