‘I am studying law but achieved a 2:2 in a previous degree. Should I disclose this in training contract applications?’

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Please help

In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one LLBer asks readers whether he should disclose to law firms the fact he achieved at 2:2 result in a previous degree.

“Do I have to disclose all of my educational experiences in my vacation scheme and training contract applications? I completed my undergraduate degree in my home country and then I came to the UK for a two-year degree from 2015 to 2017. However, I didn’t do very well in that degree and achieved a 2:2.

Then I started the LLB in 2018 and got a 1st in my first year. I am now busy with law firm applications. Frankly, I do not want to disclose my 2:2 result in my applications and CV as I worry that it will have a negative influence on my application. However, if I choose not to disclose it, there will be a two-year gap in my application and CV. I really cannot make a decision and any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.”

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Sally from accounts

If you don’t disclose it – and you’re asked to explain the two year gap in your CV – what do you do then? Lie? You’ll be venturing into dangerous ground if you do…



Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. A 2:2 means straight into the pile of applications labelled “Paper Recycling”, or the soft copy equivalent thereof.



Don’t risk it! It is safer and more honest to tell them in your application and be prepared to explain the circumstances/ mitigating circumstances on your application. If you were to successfully obtain a TC role there would be a full background check for facts and gaps in your cv where the truth will surface.

It is not worth having that added stress on your shoulders that they would find out, be honest and prepared to explain it in an interview ie. what you learned from the experience and how it taught you a valuable lesson etc.



Disclose it and explain what you’ve learnt from the sub-par result i.e you’re now knuckling down and pushing hard for a first in your law degree.



Disclose everything, even if it hurts your case



CPS take note…



Unless it is a rape case, in which case the feminist lobby want more convictions, so do not disclose the contents of the alleged victim’s phone. Convictions rates and more important than justice.



It is in your best interest to disclose it for a number of reasons as discussed above.

i would add, that should you reach an interview stage, this can be used as an advantage to an extent.

It shows your passion for law. You did not engage with your previous degree subject and decided to take the plunge for what you are most passionate about and the results reflect your dedication to law.






A 2017 2:2 is a third in real money and is even worse in terms of PR if it was your second degree. Disclose that and you are sunk from all the decent jobs. Saying that, not disclosing it will mean you are sunk too. Hope that helps. Hugz’n’kisses, the Real World



Tbf, what kind of utter cretin decides law is for him after TWO failed attempts at a degree?


Anonymous Poster

Disclose it, or it could be career-ending. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) see dishonesty as the worst breach in regulatory terms that a lawyer can make. Literally, on the form that you send them when you apply for admission, there is a section that even asks about whether you have ever been caught plagiarising or cheating in exams, and if so, it is an automatic rejection unless you can prove “exceptional circumstances”. Although not outright lying, this is effectively lying by omission, and evidently you would be doing it for strategic purposes as opposed to some mere mistake. Would agree with all others about being totally honest and using it to show your passion for law and how you have worked to improve.



If you don’t disclose it, the following may happen:

(a) prospective employers overlook the gap in your CV
(b) you reach interview stage and you are questioned on the gap in your CV, to which your only response can be the truth

In the event that (b) above occurs, you may be otherwise so impressive at interview that the truth is overlooked in the overall decision. Alternatively, and I would argue more likely, the prospective employer considers your omission raises questions as to your integrity (this is fatal to an application in law).

Therefore, the most likely outcome as a result of non-disclosure is pretty damaging to you.

If you are up front about your Desmond from the outset, you might not be invited to interview, but if you are (not unlikely if the rest of your credentials are in order) you avoid all of the above. You will likely be required to explain why you received a Desmond, but assuming it is an anomaly and you have a good explanation, that is preferable to appearing willing to deceive your prospective employer.

I speak with first-hand experience.



What’s a Desmond?



A mark on a degree too high for you to achieve with your level of intelligence.



Geoff, Patty, Damien

Attila, Don, Trevor


Douglas, Thora, Richard, Gentleman’s Degree, Vorderman



2:2 also sometimes known as a “Drinker’s First”


Coming over here, creating jobs, paying taxes and being law-abiding

English shorthand for a degree where you receive a “2:2”, as in Desmond Tutu.
Strangely enough, those of us not born and raised in the UK are expected to know this the instant we arrive on these rainy shores.
The fact that nowhere else in the world uses the degree rating or the nomenclature is overlooked. And people do laugh at you in the office if you don’t know.



Brexit will sort that out



If it makes you feel any better, I got a 2:2 in my law degree and managed to get a training contract. Obviously outside London but still a fairly big firm. It was tough and is what impossible, but still possible.



It wasn’t obvious to anyone



But it was not a second degree. Who gets a Desmond on a second degree?



If you think it won’t come up during your applications, you’re too naive my friend.



If the forms ask you to disclose all results/education then you must disclose as not to do would be dishonest. If they don’t do this then I don’t think it would necessarily be dishonest or misleading to leave it off. However, I think you are likely to be asked about the gap at interviews and of course you would have to disclose it then. I think this would look worse than putting it down. If just put it down, play up other stuff on your CV and have an answer to explain the poor result at interview. I know a couple of (youngish) people with 2.2 degrees successful legal careers- it’s not a bar to achievement. Good luck.


Balance of probabilities at the SDT

You’ve become disillusioned by the BSB’s lax regulation.



You’d better disclose it, for all the reason above. Will it make a difference? Depends on the firm or Chambers. Some will have a minimum requirement whether that is minimum 2.1 (from anywhere), minimum of 2.1 (Russel Group only) all the way up to minimum 1st from Oxbridge. Some do not have a formal minimum, but you score points based on your academics for shortlisting as well as for everything else.

So if you academics are worse than the average applicant (and a 2.2 is) then you won’t get interviews as you’ll lose out on points to the other applicants who have similar work experience / vac schemes / equal good application form question answer to you but score better than you on the academic section.

Dependants what you get in your law degree. If you get a 2.1 in law from a Russel Group then I don’t think your previous 2.2 will hamper you as you’ll meet the minimum / pick up the points for it. If it’s not then you’ll have a problem. The problem won’t be the first 2.2 it’ll be your law degree.



People seems to be missing that this person’s LLB is their third undergrad degree.

Some firms put the most weight on people’s first degree. If this person got the equivalent of a first in their foreign first degree and is on track to get a first in the LLB, the 2.2 on the second degree may not be fatal.

Why this person is doing a third undergrad degree will probably raise questions though



If something is relevant, then you need to disclose, even if it is adverse to your applications (CPR 31.6).


Disclosure King

I’m not sure if TC applications are governed by the CPR? Please tell me if I am wrong…



Someone’s just had their workshop on disclosure? Cute.



Just be honest



most people who already have degrees do the GDL, often paid by the firm, but not mister smarty pants here



I have a 2:2 back in my history of studies. Now, it is so long ago no one gives a fig. I am a Barrister of 21 years call and have worked both in employed practice in a number of high profile solicitors and also out of chambers. The worst that declaring it might mean is that it will take you a few years more to get into a magic circle firm. Once you are up and running people only care about how much you can bill and the quality of the work you do.


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