Can you get funding for a law conversion?
Qualifying to become a lawyer if you didn’t study law as an undergraduate can be a very expensive process, given you have to pay for the cost of your undergraduate degree, the cost of the GDL and the cost of the LPC (Legal Practice Course). Each of these courses cost around £9, 000 + a year, not including maintenance expenses. However, many law firms recognise this expense and as a result are willing to cover the cost.
Which law firms will cover the cost of the GDL?
Several of the large, London-based law firms promise to cover the cost of the GDL. A few of the commercial law firms often sponsor their trainees, provided that you have a training contract with them and attend the law school of their choice. There are many which even cover the cost of the LPC (Legal Practice Course) as well as maintenance for living costs and day-to-day expenses.
If you are working in London, you will be able to get a larger maintenance loan due to the high cost of living there. As opposed to student loans, the money is given as a grant, meaning it does not need to be paid back. This allows you to concentrate on your work without worrying about rent, additional student loan debt or having to find a part-time job to supplement your income.
Things to consider
While the financial packages offered by many firms are very generous, you should avoid choosing a firm based on the aid that they offer. Don’t settle for a large corporate firm based on the money that they give you if you would much prefer life in a small family law firm. Instead, carefully research to find out which firm has the best location, best seats and best size for you.
What do you do if your dream law firm doesn’t provide GDL funding?
If you’ve accepted an offer from a firm who won’t provide you with a grant, try not to worry. There are many law schools which provide discounts or free GDL funding for those on a low income. Furthermore, The Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) supports disadvantaged students who are interested in becoming lawyers (disadvantaged due to their race, class, sexuality or income) by covering the fees of their LPC.
While this is not ideal, it still allows you to save money; although only a few applicants get accepted each year. One way to save costs as well is to do the GDL and/or the LPC part-time, so you can have time to study and work to support yourself. The part-time options take longer; however the money saved is worth it.
The GDL is expensive, but luckily a few firms offer to cover the expense. However, you should not choose a firm just because they offer you a grant, as there are many other ways to reduce the cost.
Law Conversion Course