Nov 14, 2023

Written By Lewis Ogg

Law Conversion Decoded: Detailed Analysis & Personalised Guidance

Nov 14, 2023

Written By Lewis Ogg

A Law Conversion Course is a postgraduate qualification allowing non-law graduates to pursue a law career. Law Conversions have become increasingly common over recent years, with many firms stressing that they do not prioritise LLB candidates because of the unique skills non-law students can bring from other disciplines. However, despite becoming increasingly common, it is vital that you remember the need to make an informed decision about what will be a significant monetary and time investment.

Understanding the PGDL

The title Law Conversion Course refers to several different course options that students can take. However, the industry standard is the PDGL or PostGraduate Diploma in Law. Some students will opt to do the slightly longer MA Law (Conversion), but the core content is usually the same, just with an added master's dissertation. One of the benefits of doing a conversion master’s is being eligible for a postgraduate loan.   

Typically spanning nine months full-time, the PDGL will familiarise you with core legal concepts. The core modules are: Tort Law, Contract Law, Criminal Law, English Legal System and Constitutional Law, Law of Organisations, Equity and Trusts, Land Law, and Administrative and Human Rights Law.  As you might imagine, with such a rigorous schedule, Conversion Courses tend to focus on the academic rather than practical skills behind law.

Benefits of the PDGL

One of the great benefits of the PDGL is the opportunity it affords non-law graduates to start on a career path they were unsure about or hadn’t considered at 18. While completing a law conversion course isn’t mandatory for aspiring solicitors, it will help you pass the SQE exams. It’s also mandatory for aspiring barristers. Having this pathway into law has allowed law firms to integrate much more diversity of thought into their workforce. 

LLB students have often been frustrated with the ability of non-law students to obtain a law qualification  in a single year, at typically less than the price of a single year’s undergraduate tuition fees. However, it is crucial to bear in mind that converts already have undergraduate student debt, and because the PDGL is not a master's degree level, the whole process has to be self-funded (unless you do an MA Law). A PGDL also offers less opportunities to take specialised modules.

Challenges and Considerations

As you might imagine, due to the sheer volume of content that needs to be covered in nine months, the PDGL is notoriously intense. However, usually being pitched at around 40 hours of work a week, the PDGL is certainly not unachievable for students with the dedicated needed

The graduate legal job market is infamously competitive, meaning that applicants often require multiple cycles to secure a graduate role or a pupillage. Given this competitiveness, it is vital that you start trying to grow your professional network from the outset. With the new SQE route however, the pressures of securing a training contract are reduced, as you can complete two years of legal work experience in a variety of organisations. 

Funding can often be the most challenging part of the PDGL for most students, as government loans aren’t available for either tuition or maintenance. A few lucky students who already have training contracts going into the course will find their tuition fees paid for, and may even receive a maintenance grant. 

For UK students, the most obvious option would be to take MA Law (Conversion). This is only three months longer, but will make you eligible for £12,000 of master’s loans. In terms of maintenance, many students will apply for scholarships or complete legal work experience (counting towards the SQE requirements) before or during the course. Other options include applying for scholarships, securing bank loans, and moving back home. 

Making the Decision

Deciding whether to undertake the PDGL is a decision only you can make for yourself. Take the time to reflect on your own academic dedication; there is no shame in not being suited for an intense course like the PDGL. Consider your career aspirations and whether the course is necessary to help you progress. When choosing the course, you need to be prepared to commit to a year of hard work. 

To ensure that you can make an informed decision on whether the PDGL is right for you, look to get information from a range of sources. You could reach out to legal professionals (especially those who completed a conversion course) for advice on legal study and career progression.

Given the intensity of the course, it is also important to find a teaching style that suits your learning. Try attending law school open days and comparing their curriculums.



The main takeaway from this article is the need to make an informed decision about a significant step in your future. There are many benefits to the PDGL for those who are certain of pursuing a career in law. For example, it’s a quicker and cheaper route into the profession (compared to the LLB) and converts have a more diverse range of skills than their LLB peers. 

However, the academic rigour and financial challenge cannot be overlooked. It’s not a course for everyone, but it’s a fantastic opportunity for those who have the capacity to dedicate themselves for a whole year. 

Take the time to understand your personal interests and strengths, assessing whether the course aligns with your long-term goals and whether you can genuinely apply yourself for the whole course.


Law Conversion Course