How long is a law conversion course?
Non-law graduates who want to pursue a career in law can do so with a law conversion course. Here, we explore the courses on offer and how long they take to complete.
Tell me more about law conversions
Law conversion courses are for people with an undergraduate degree in a non-law subject. They give aspiring lawyers the chance to study the seven foundations of legal knowledge:
Public Law (including Constitutional and Administrative Law and Human Rights)
Law of the European Union
Equity and Trusts
You’ve probably heard of the GDL, or Graduate Diploma in Law, which is one example of a law conversion course. However, it should be noted that the GDL has been phased out by some providers, in favour of the Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL).
This was devised with the SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Examination) specifically in mind and also covers elements of Company Law and Legal Skills in addition to the seven foundation subjects.
The PGDL can be studied both full-time and part-time either in-person or online. Full-time, these law conversion courses fit a three-year qualifying law degree into one year. When studied part-time, these courses span two years.
Do I need to do a law conversion course if I want to become a solicitor?
Traditionally, aspiring solicitors have been required to take a law conversion course if they had not studied a qualifying law degree. For aspiring solicitors applying for either a qualifying law degree or a law conversion course after 1 September 2021, this is no longer the case.
Why? With the introduction of the SQE, although students are required to have a degree or equivalent qualification, this can be in any subject – non-law students no longer need to undergo a law conversion course. This is because the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) no longer sets out requirements for the content of law degrees.
To prepare for the SQE exams (SQE1 and SQE2), candidates can choose from a wide array of optional preparation courses. Candidates with a non-law degree could, for example, take a focused SQE1 preparation course or study a Master’s that incorporates SQE1 and SQE2 training. In reality however, most candidates are likely to take a law conversion course beforehand to gain knowledge of the seven foundation subjects.
For more information about the SQE, and to find out whether you’re in the transitional cohort who can choose which route to qualify under, visit our SQE course page.
Do I need to do a law conversion course if I want to become a barrister?
If you studied a non-law subject at undergraduate level and you want to become a barrister, then yes, it is still a requirement to do a law conversion covering the seven foundation subjects.
Aspiring barristers cannot be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales without either a qualifying law degree or a law conversion course under their belt.
For more information about law conversion courses, including funding options, check out our resources here.
Law Conversion Course