Are law conversion courses respected?
Despite an increasing number of aspiring lawyers choosing a non-law degree, there is still a degree of uncertainty around law conversion courses. Here, we break down the question of whether or not law conversion courses are respected, both within the legal industry and beyond.
Why would I need to take a law conversion course?
Law conversion courses are for graduates of a non-law degree. This is a degree that does not cover the seven core components of an LLB needed to continue as an aspiring solicitor.
Are law conversion courses common?
Many aspiring lawyers choose the non-law route and are still successful in securing jobs at the top firms. In many firms, up to half of the lawyers will have a non-law undergraduate background, meaning that they will have completed a law conversion course at some point. They are therefore very common and an essential part of many journeys to qualification in the UK.
How can I do a law conversion course?
There are two options for a law conversion course, with the GDL being gradually phased out and replaced by the PGDL and SQE.
- (P)GDL – Graduate Diploma in Law (2021-2022 was the last year for the GDL). This was a one-year, mandatory course that sits between your non-law undergraduate degree and the Legal Practice Course, or LPC. This has now been replaced by the PGDL, the Postgraduate Diploma in Law. It is no longer mandatory but gives non-law students a good foundation in law.
- SQE – the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam. This is a new qualification which is split into two stages: SQE1 and SQE2 In order to pass SQE1, which assesses legal knowledge and fundamental legal rules, SQE providers are offering an extended SQE preparation course for non-law graduates. This will teach the necessary knowledge needed to pass SQE1 and cover the seven core modules that those who have done an LLB will have covered during their undergraduate degree.
Do I need to sit a separate course as a non-law undergraduate for the SQE?
No, most providers will offer an integrated course which will cover all the necessary knowledge needed to pass SQE1.
Do I have any other options to do a law conversion course?
Yes! With the rolling out of the SQE, providers such as The University of Law are offering courses which integrate multiple courses into one.
Take for example the MA Law (SQE1) offered by the University of Law. This is both a law conversion course which includes the SQE 1 preparation course and a master’s in law. This means that the qualification will both prepare you for the SQE and give you the qualification of an internationally recognised master’s degree.
It may be worth considering that the SQE must be self-funded, but master’s degrees do not have to be, and student finance is available for a master’s course.
The bottom line
Are law conversion courses respected? Yes, as they are a necessary stepping stone to qualification as a solicitor in the UK.
Beyond the legal sector, they may demonstrate certain skills and knowledge, but cannot stand as a qualification unless combined with a master’s degree for example, which provides specialist knowledge and is a great addition to your CV.
Note that different providers will have different options for non-law graduates to prepare for the SQE and/or undertake a master’s degree.
Law Conversion Course