LLB: your ultimate guide

The LLB (Latin Legum Baccalaureus or Bachelor of Laws) is the undergraduate qualifying law degree in the UK that leads to the next stage in training to enter the legal profession—the LPC for solicitors or the BTC for barristers. The LLB is equivalent to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc).

 

  • Last updated Feb 10, 2020 2:18:52 PM
  • Jan Hill

How can I get my LLB?

The majority of universities around the United Kingdom and beyond offer the LLB programme. There are a number of ways to obtain the LLB, including completing a standard three-year undergraduate course, a two-year graduate course, or a part-time option that can be accomplished over a six-year period. 

The standard route for those applying straight out of sixth-form is the three-year option, while the two-year graduate entry or “senior status” LLB is a popular choice for students who have previously earned an undergraduate degree in any subject. After obtaining the LLB, students can go on to study the Legal Practice Course (LPC) to become a solicitor, or the BTC to become a barrister.

The US no longer offers the LLB, and foreign law graduates pursuing admission to the bar in the US will find that their LLB degree does not itself satisfy the core admission requirements necessary to take the bar exam in most states. The one exception is New York, where foreign graduates who have met the educational requirements to practice law in another common law country through study at an approved educational institution (similar in duration and content to the equivalent teaching at an approved US law school) are permitted to sit for the New York bar exam. 

Columbia University in New York has a LLB/JD program in which students who have completed their first year of the LLB Law programme can request a transfer to the dual degree programme that results in a Bachelor of Laws honours degree from University College London (UCL) and a JD from Columbia University. The program is extremely competitive, however, and only three students per year are permitted to transfer into it. Selection is based upon academic merit and students who have undertaken more than one year of study in the US will not be eligible.

What A-Levels are Required?

While there are no compulsory subjects you need to study in order to get an LLB, there are certain subjects that are highly recommended:

- Politics, which will provide you with a solid background of knowledge in how laws are formulated, debated, and passed.

- Examination of evidence and construction of arguments, which will provide useful skills to include in your UCAS personal statement.

- English literature, to further develop your reading and writing skills.

- History, to provide you with an understanding of the origin of law and order in the UK.

- Spanish, since according to the Language Trends 2019 report, Spanish is the only language not declining at A-level, and international law firms are likely to have offices and clients in Spanish-speaking countries.

The LLB consists of seven core modules—constitutional and administrative law, contract law, criminal law, equity and trusts, EU law, property law, and public law—which together make up the underlying requirements of a qualifying law degree in the UK. There are also a number of supplementary elective models available during the course of the LLB that allow candidates to gain specialised knowledge in particular areas of the legal jurisdiction that interests them.

Can I Work While I Earn My LLB?

Many candidates consider working while studying for the LLB. However, the law is a particularly rigorous and difficult course of study, and you’ll be required to do a large amount of reading outside of class, so if you do work, you’ll need to have flexibility regarding when you can work. 

But taking on a legal-related job while you study not only demonstrates your interest in your chosen profession but also showcases your time-management and organisational skills. One way to obtain legal work experience is through a vacation scheme. Many law firms offer paid experience to students and often recruit future trainees from impressive vacation schemers. 

If you won’t be able to manage financially without a job, you should consider getting your LLB on a part-time basis. Although part-time study means it will take you longer to get your degree, you will likely incur less debt than your full-time colleagues and won’t be required to carry as heavy a schedule.

Job Prospects for Those with an LLB Degree

Graduates from an LLB course in the UK will be prepared to enter a variety of legal careers, including becoming a solicitor or barrister, but will also gain skills to work in a wide range of other professions such as business, criminology, marketing, politics, law enforcement, administration, publishing, research, and academia.

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