BPP Law School launches new SQE-slanted GDL

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Course aims to prepare non-law students for super-exam

BPP University Law School (BPP) has revealed details of a new law conversion course tailored specifically for students looking to sit the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

BPP says its new Law Conversion Course (PGDL) will help non-law students meet the “specific demands” of the SQE, which is due to come into force in September 2021 and will replace both the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC).

The latest offering, which is broadly similar to the GDL, covers the foundations of legal knowledge tested on the SQE, including company law. Although company law is not a compulsory module on the GDL at present, it will be on the new PGDL, as this forms part of the assessment on SQE1.

Available from September 2020, BPP says the new eight-month course will also ensure its aspiring lawyers have an increased “awareness of the key commercial concepts and practice skills” expected by prospective employers. This is in response to BPP-commissioned research which showed that over three quarters (77%) of City law firms will expect their trainees to arrive with more workplace skills than just basic test preparation that the SQE assessments will provide.

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Laura McBrien, lead designer of the PGDL at BPP, commented:

“[C]hanges to regulation in the training of both solicitors and barristers has given us the opportunity to think about how we can best support our students: ensuring they are engaged and motivated in their learning, spreading their assessment load and making them better prepared for their future professional studies and career.”

Post-PGDL, aspiring lawyers will have the option to continue onto the LPC or complete one of its upcoming SQE prep courses. The cost of the PGDL will be revealed next month.

McBrien continued: “We are excited that the new structure and content will help students to reflect, progress, and ensure they are ready for the world of work following the completion of our programme, whatever their career aspirations.”

BPP confirmed it will continue to offer its current GDL until spring 2020.

Rival providers The University of Law and Barbri are expected to follow with their own SQE announcements in the coming months.

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What’s the point of studying law, then?
In almost every other jurisdiction you have to go to law school for at least 3 years (5 in continental Europe) if you want to become a lawyer, sometimes on top of your other undergrad subject. Of course education there is much cheaper (if not completely free) so it is a factor that allows people to have multiple degrees under their belt, but I still find the concept of a mere basic preparatory legal course in the UK to be a bit of a joke. Surely it diminishes the value of LLB.
Maybe just scrap law undergrad altogether, since more often than not new trainees come from STEM or arts background?


Agreed. I regret obtaining an LL.B. I should have chosen a more subject I took a greater academic interest in, one that I could have (at the time) studied at a higher-ranking university by virtue of lower A-Level requirements.

The US model makes quite a bit of sense.


*more enjoyable

US Associate (did GDL)

Stop complaining and use the advantages LLB gave to you. You definitely have a slight edge in legal research / legal drafting over some of the GDLers in your cohort of trainees.


but at least half of trainees have not done a Law LLB degree which is a solid amount. if it was 10-20% it’s a different situation but it shows that doing an LLB degree is slowly becoming undermined


Exactly this. We already produce a lot of law undergraduates whose chances of getting TC or pupillage are severely diminished if you take into account the number of GDLers who then jump on the train and form as much as 50% of the trainee cohort in the City.

Disclaimer: I have nothing against people who did the GDL, I am more annoyed with the system itself. I was lucky to obtain a TC after my LLB but many of my peers are struggling to find one because not only they compete against other law undergrads but also people who converted from other courses.

It is only just myself thinking out loud: if LLB does not serve its purpose anymore, maybe just scrap it altogether and replace with graduate law school that would require prior undergrad degree in any discipline, such as it is the case in the US? Ideally the law school could be a bit cheaper than standard Masters/LLB and if grants or loans were allowed a more comprehensive and fair system would emerge.


How much is it going to cost?


Knowing BPP’s structure, probably your arm and your leg


Only? At least a kidney too and then a spleen for their ‘top up’ MA/BS


GDL plus their LLB conversion modules. Nicely done.


What from 13 years ago?


SQE prep course is separate to this…

Should be included no?

Looks like an opportunity to make more money.


For those applying next month for the September 2020 GDL they are supposedly allowed to continue as now under the old system so I hope the University of Law (unlike BPP) will still allow them to atke the old GDL and the year after LPC. As some firms such as Linklaters use the UoL for trainees and have said non law graduates graduating in 2020 will be on the old traditional GDL system presumably UoL will still be running a normal GDL in September 2020 unlike BPP as it will have to for some law firms?

It would be useful to have confirmation as applications are going in on or from 1 October 2019 for the 2020 courses – two weeks left before people will need to know 100% what course they will be able to apply for.

If there are no courses for the old GDL in September 2020 that makes a mockery of having a “transitional period” which in theory does not affect non law graduates who start the GDL in 2020 as there would be no effective transition for them.

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