Will studying law at The Open University stop me securing pupillage?

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Career changer mulls impact of law school choice on barrister dream

In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one bar hopeful wonders whether his choice of law school will hold him back.

“I’m currently working in the aviation industry and I would like a career change. I would like to study law with the aim of becoming a barrister. I have an undergraduate masters degree in engineering (2:1) from a Russell Group university. How well respected is the graduate entry LLB (two years instead of three) from The Open University? Is it held in the same regard as a graduate diploma in law (GDL) from other law schools or will it potentially cause me some problems when I apply for pupillage? It isn’t feasible for me to undertake a full-time GDL due to existing commitments hence I am exploring both part-time and distance learning options.

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Depends on the set.



With a previous career and the fact you have put in extra effort by doing the course whilst working, you ought to be in good stead for the vast majority of sets, of not all. Push on!



As above, I wouldn’t have thought it would be an issue with a lot of sets given your previous career and the determination it shows. The only thing I would add is that it can feel quite isolating being a distance learner, which can be magnified on an intense course of study.

Best of luck!












I don’t know



Can you repeat the question?



You’re not the boss of me now.



I think it depends upon the area of law. The best Chancery and Commercial sets (i.e. the MC sets, Maitland, Wilberforce, Serle, South Sq, Erskine, 7KBW, 20 Essex, 3VB, Blackstone etc), are awash with Oxbridge applicants with Firsts, so you essentially need a First for those sets plus stonking extra-curriculars. If you’re looking at those kind of sets, I suspect they’re much more likely to be put off by the 2.1 than the fact that you’re planning to study at the Open University.



Why not just do a part time GDL? Then you’re in the same boat as anyone else transferring from a different career. There’s a risk that some people looking at CVs will see “Open University” and immediately bin.


Legal recruiter

Recruiters don’t actually do this you know…


OU Law Grad

No definitely not.

During my time with at the Open Uni doing law, I was on the Open Uni Law Society committee. I was surprised (pleasantly) at just how many of the students who participated in the societies mooting events went on to obtain pupillage.I recommend contacting the student society themselves (the OU themselves can be a bit wishy washy with very generic advice) at

They’re sure to help, or perhaps put you into contact with alumni who are now barristers or doing their pupillage.



Agreed – the OU produces all these entitled chippy know-it-alls who drone on about “taking the long way around! (Wry smerk)” to the bar and go on and on and on about their “life experience” and how no one under 30 is valid or goof at anything until “you’ve been through what I have”.

The Criminal and Family /any scummy set adore these people and refuse to trust anyone going. I think this is because those sets go on an on about just how difficult the job is and how you couldn’t possibly do it at 21 :blows own trumpet:

In short many sets love OH because they immediately assume you must be extremely mature and have personality and life experience

Good sets/Chancery etc won’t like it and don’t assume that age=maturity or life experience



Good* not good lol



Bloody auto correct!!! “Refuse to trust anyone young* ”
Maybe I should go look at an OU brochure after all



Can you please write in English ! I could not understand a fucking word from your post !! Bitch, play real !



No idea what you are wittering on about. You sound like an idiot.


Not so casual observer

Pahaha…*gasps for air* (repeats)



I know a guy who did a first degree at Oxford, went into another profession, did law degree at OU, and now has pupillage at a top planning set.

He is, however, an unmitigated tosser.



Just like you then!


A Child

I know you are but what am I



You’re a tosser.



I know several people who have done this route. Sadly one of them is no longer with us, but both were successful in securing pupillage. Can be done if you put the work in.



I’d prefer not to if it leads to death.



You could always do the GDL part time? That’s the option I would go for, but you already stand out due to your previous career.



OU is unlikely to be an issue if you’re a mature student with skills gained from a previous career.



Don’t do it. Do an MBA through LBS or Said Business School Oxon and get a management role at your employer. Become a director and start embezzling massive amounts of money or write your own service contract with a negligently generous compensation package. You’ll be rich and hanging out with barristers all the time without having to be a completely neurotic lawyer yourself. Win win!



For pupilage, chambers would likely lean towards universities under the Russell group umbrella.



Or towards applicants who know how to spell “pupillage”…



Don’t know your nouns to well

noun: pupilage
the state of being a pupil or student.


Doors to manual

Marry a royal if you want to join the establishment. Not sure the bar is the best place for you



Wow LC – I used to criticise you for only putting out four short articles a day despite a complement of full time staff but today is a new low! Two rubbish articles about nothing and a click bait invitation to slag off the OU !

There are, what, six of you now and you take 37.5hr salaries to sit around and do literally nothing all day – seriously telling me that yoir output each day equates to a full 8hr working day!!? You would all fit right in with billing culture firms –

*Costs Schedule*
2 hours drafting article about Amal’s dress
2 hours considering Amal’s dress
2 hours perusing Article
2 hours administering the upload of said article
= 8 hours (Katie King, Grade A Journalist Fee earner)



They’d separate it into different sections to pretend it’s more work and maximise billing by involving other fee earners. E.g.

Katie King:
(1) Internet research – checking present industry position on dress articles (20 units)
(2) Doc prep/drafting – preparing first draft of article on dress (20 units)
(3) Checking first draft of article (10 units)
(4) Meeting with team leader regarding first draft of dress article (10 units)
(5) Doc prep/drafting – updating and finalising article (10 units)
(6) Publishing article and formatting the same (10 units)

Alex Aldridge:
(1) Perusing first draft of article (10 units)
(2) Meeting with fee earner regarding dress article (10 units)
(3) Reviewing updated version of article (5 units)



Alex Aldridge:
(1) Retreating to toilet to quietly cry about failing dreams (10 units)
(2) Attending local off licence to purchase entire stock of White Lightning (5 units)
(3) Attending local playground to drink White Lightning on the swings (10 units)



Absolutely right – sorry my first post way underestimated the billing potential! Only 8 hours!? Of course Alex needs to also peruse and consider!

Seriously though, I don’t know why I am necessarily demanding more material (would that be a good thing?) but LC does have a reasonable audience, and sponsorship following , I do think they have become much more content and lazy as the site has become more widely viewed. There just isn’t any output anymore!! How are more informal blogs and sites (with no paid staff) able to produce so much when LC cant seem to do the same. Contented much!?

If you are going to be the “go-to” legal/students news site can you at least actually produce more than minimal output?



Law sucks, man. Go and do something else that (i) will make you happy and (ii) improve the world.

A legal career will do neither.

(P.S. I ignored this advice and I expect you will. But it’s still good advice.)


top kek

“What a good comment I made there…” *upvotes own post*



Though one,

Former engineering career is a plus, Open University no go.

Do a part time GDL, get a first, avoid chancery sets.

The chance of getting a pupillage stands roughly at 15000 to 1 at the moment, due to the backlog -increase in the number of BVC/ BTCP providers in the past 20 years.

Are you absolutely sure about the Bar?


Ex - paralegal

Do not go to law. The competition is insane ! Furthermore, law is filled with ego driven knobheads. It will crush your soul and faith in humanity. Also, it will give you depression and other mental health issues.



3 OU graduates from last year’s cohort have landed pupillage – one at Landmark Chambers, one at Ropewalk Chambers and the other at Farrar’s Building…



I think non-traditional chambers quite like OU dont they?


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