Ed note: This is the latest post in the 'If I knew then what I know now' series, where leading members of the legal profession share their wisdom with the next generation of wannabes.
I have spent thirty years as an 'academic' – whatever that means – as a teacher of law and as part of a team founding a number of legal projects, including what is now a major law school. Some of these ventures were successful, others not, as is often the way in life, writes godfather of legal blogging Charon QC...
Assorted scenes from week one, term one, of the GDL
And a taster of week one, term three...
Now that he's finished the GDL, David Woodall finally has some time to sample the delights of law firms' training contract application forms.
The GDL is over. Stressful, difficult, but worth it, hopefully...
I keep telling myself that even if I’ve failed and have wasted thousands of pounds, at least I have a little legal knowledge which might come in handy in the future (at the very least for picking out legal mistakes in crime dramas).
It’s all out of my hands now, though. I did what I could (not helped by National Rail, which delivered me 27 minutes late for one exam; three more minutes and I wouldn’t have been allowed in, and I wasn’t given extra time at the end). So the next stage on the road to lawyerhood beckons: the training contract application process and the LPC.
Dealing with the latter first, there is simply no way I can justify spending £20,000 total on LPC fees and living expenses without a job to go to at the end of it. I would be financially crippling myself for life – so for me, no LPC this September...
The pressure is on as GDL exams near, but the more David Woodall reads, the less he feels like he knows
It’s here: every lecture, seminar and revision session in the last nine months has been leading up to this point, where Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) students around the country get to demonstrate everything they can remember.
I’m approaching the whole thing with a calm relaxed manner, safe in the knowledge that the three hours I have will be ample time to write an answer worthy of publication, and a mention to all future GDL’ers as an example to follow. Lecturers will weep at the clarity of my arguments and my ability to recall case names and principles.
Or not. In the real world, the last few weeks have been an exercise in realising just how crap my memory has become. I have read, and re-read, everything and my head must be full of knowledge as nothing new seems to be going in. I am now confident that my exam answers will result in lecturers using them as an example of how not to write. My goal is just to get through the whole experience.
Wannabe lawyers need to be more Margaret Thatcher and less Nick Clegg if they are to bag a training contract, says GDL student Kitty Law
If I hear any more whining I will not be responsible for my actions. The whining to which I refer emanates from more Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) students than I could possibly mention by name here. And it has its origins in an absolute certainty that they will never, ever secure a training contract because the world is such an awful place. Why for heaven’s sake bother starting the GDL in the first place with an attitude like that?
Like the whiners, I have no training contract. However, I am doing my damndest to obtain one. This isn’t to say that I have an expectation of securing a position at a law firm like some of the people whose articles have appeared on this site. I know I have no divine right to a ‘TC’, rest assured Legal Cheek readers, but I am also confident in my ability to secure one...
Legal Cheek re-writes stories from other websites in 90s yoofspeak so RollonFriday doesn’t have to
Check it out, man! It's Bonfire Night 2 and this time the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is on the fire. Yes, the GDL is literally going up in spliff smoke. Sheff Hallam Uni has hotboxed its GDL to smithereens because it couldn't get enough
My Oxford history degree was no soft option, says City trainee-to-be Laurence Mills
‘Three hours a week for a history and politics BA doesn’t sound like a challenge’, tweeted employment lawyer Kevin Poulter the other week, before going on to muse further about the supposed easiness of non-law degrees during two recent #RoundMyKitchenTable podcasts for Legal Cheek.
In one of them, Poulter said all historians do at undergraduate level is ‘learn what you learnt at GCSE’. For me, this is a glib comment that displays a fundamental misunderstanding of, firstly, the rigours of university level historical analysis, and, secondly, the wild fluctuation in syllabus between GCSE and one’s degree.
Lawyer-to-be Cat Pond is relieved to put the ten-month Graduate Diploma in Law behind her
A collective sigh of relief was heard in the corridors of the College of Law after the last Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) exam finished in June. Apart from the location of the nearest bar, the one topic that my classmates were discussing, though, was the Legal Practice Course (LPC) that we all aimed to start in the coming September.
We’d been told it was a different beast altogether, and various theories were thrown around – from the course being easy to downright impossible. Now, a month and half in, I decided it might be time to take stock of the reactions of newly-minted LPC students to their classes. A quick poll came back with some surprising findings.
The GDL was generally seen as a necessary evil, due to its intense seven-subject structure and emphasis on memorising things. One friend told me she felt that her intellectual curiosity had been stifled by the GDL teaching method, where every class is regimented to the last minute to fit in the required subject matter for that day. Any questions that did not fit in to the pre-approved structure – known as the “outcomes” to achieve – were often brushed off. The idea of reading around a field and engaging with your learning on your own terms seemed lost.