So you wanna convert to law, huh? Perhaps you had such a great vacation scheme experience that you now want to go the whole hog and follow a career as a solicitor. Awesome.
“I don’t have a law degree though…” Not to worry, you can still apply for a training contract and, generally, 50% of training contract offers go to those without a law degree. You’ll need to study for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), more commonly known as the law conversion course.
As with your undergraduate studies, there is a rigorous application process for the GDL… and it involves writing a lovely personal statement about your good self. In a completely non-useful way, LawCabs inform that you’re allowed up to 10,000 characters in your personal statement.
This actually equates to around 1500-2000 words and there are a number of things you need to address.
Your first choice institution
This is more than just a description of the campus where you’re planning to spend the next year or so. You need to explain why you want to study at that specific institution. Perhaps their teaching reputation precedes them and they have a very good record of sending their students on their way to securing a training contract. Alternatively, they may have great links with law firms in the local area, increasing your chances of securing work experience and building your network of industry contacts. Whatever your reason is, you need to communicate this clearly.
Why the GDL?
“Err, because I want to follow a career in law and because I have a non-law degree, this is the only way I can do that… doofus!”
Probably best if you don’t write that, nor anything else along those lines. We all know the GDL is necessary. Rather, you should explain what motivated you to follow a career in law and what interests you about the course. You could also mention which specific topics of study interest you the most - perhaps the role of shipping law in light of increased globalisation, for example.
Your career aims
Solicitor? Barrister? Aspirations to be a judge? Want to be a partner in the Magic Circle? Whatever your career aims are, convey in your personal statement how this course will help you achieve and proceed with your career aims.
Skills, achievement & hobbies
Your future GDL provider wants to make sure it's getting the cream of the non-law crop, so you should sell yourself in the most articulate way possible. Did you strive to get a first? Are you a great communicator? Have an abundance of analytical skills? Write this in your personal statement and relate it to how this will mean that you will excel on the GDL.
At the same time, you don’t want to come across as a robot. Your course provider will want people with personality and interests – tell them about any you may have, and how they’ve helped you grow personally and professionally.
The GDL personal statement is a big part of your application as a consequence you should put a lot of effort into it. Don’t forget to proofread!