The two year LLB degree is often one of two law conversion course options, the other being the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). So which one is better? Are they really that different?
Similarities between the GDL and the Graduate LLB…
Both the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Graduate LLB are courses for non-law students, which will enable you to take the Legal Practice Course (LPC) if you want to be a solicitor or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) if you want to be a barrister.
Both squeeze in the seven fundamental elements of law into a short space of time and both will be intense, hence why they are only available for graduates. That said, there is an intensive, two-year undergraduate LLB degree offered by the University of Law.
Differences between the GDL and the Graduate LLB…
There are, however, several differences between the two courses. The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) only takes one academic year whilst the Graduate LLB is spread over two years.
This extra time on the Graduate LLB allows you to build up legal work experience and gives you the chance to delve deeper into each of the course modules. It allows students longer to familiarise themselves with the English legal system.
The university environment of the Graduate LLB (two year LLB) is an additional factor to consider, giving students the possibility to get involved in extracurricular legal activities such as mooting, pro bono work and the student law society, which may give a more rounded experience.
Although, you will have to pay for the extra time and experience you will gain on the Graduate LLB. As the course runs for two years you will have to pay university fees for two years: around £7,000 to £9,000 for home students and around £11,000 for non-EU students; whereas the one year Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) will set you back between £7,250 and £10,200. You must also factor in living costs required to sustain you for two years.
Overall, it really depends on what you want to get out of the course. If you want the fastest route to a law career then maybe the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is best for you. If, on the other hand, you would prefer to take a little extra time to familiarise yourself with the English legal system and perhaps build up some legal work experience, which is essential for when it comes to getting a job, then the Graduate LLB could be a better option.
I think it is important to consider how much value the course will add to your life. The Graduate LLB might take an extra year and cost several thousand pounds more, but there is little point in rushing to finish the LPC or BPTC only to find out you need more experience or the speed of the course has left you feeling that would have liked extra depth in some areas of the law.