Legal Outreach Project
Why I chose to do a Law conversion instead of a Law degree?
Mariam Zaadane is a first year History student at King's College London. In her blog post she highlights why she opted to study History over Law, noting how non law students are at no disadvantage when entering the legal sector!
My name is Mariam Zaadane and I’m an aspiring solicitor in my first year of a History degree. To some people, it may sound strange that a History student wants to be a lawyer. There are probably so many questions speeding through your head: why didn’t you just do law? Is it even possible to pursue a career in law if you’ve only studied History? These are all valid questions and there are in fact many routes to becoming a lawyer. Medical, maths or engineering students may even take this route. It allows you to continue following your passion whilst still achieving your legal goal.
To clarify, the law conversion route consists of a non-law degree (for example, History, English etc..) followed by the GDL (conversion course) which is usually completed in one year. This essentially converts your non-law degree into a law degree; the GDL offers the core elements of law. These are, Contract, Criminal, EU, Land, Public, Tort and Trusts law. This provides you with the knowledge needed to become a solicitor. The SQE is the new alternative to the LPC which provides you with the legal skills needed to qualify as a solicitor. This is a very simplified summary of the route to becoming a solicitor.
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The reason why I preferred this route is because I still get to study my passion. From a young age, I’ve always enjoyed History, up until A Levels. I knew that there was so much more I wanted to learn about History that just wasn’t covered in my courses, therefore I opted to study it at university. I also always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in Law; the challenging nature of legal affairs always excited me therefore I was ecstatic when I heard about the non-law route. This meant that I could study what I’ve always enjoyed. After my first couple of months at university, I realised how crucial it is to study something you enjoy. The workload is quite demanding and it’s likely that you’ll feel overwhelmed which is why I advise you to study something that you genuinely enjoy as it will definitely ease this feeling. In addition, I’ve found that generally you exceed in what you enjoy; therefore, if you always achieve top grades in a certain subject it’s more likely that you’ll enjoy it. This is another reason why you should pick the subject that you enjoy most at university as it means you will excel. For law firms, it’s more impressive to see exceptional grades in a subject you enjoy rather than mediocre grades in a subject like Law. By all means, if you have a burning passion for Law, study it! However, the general consensus is that Law is quite intense, especially when studying it for 3 years full time!
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This is why I chose History. I am confident that I’ll do very well in my degree and I am at no disadvantage to actual Law students. I also know that I’ll succeed in the GDL course as I work very well under pressure and it’ll be incredibly exciting to embark on something new after studying my favourite subject.
That explains my reasoning behind choosing History instead of Law but there are so many other reasons! For example, some people may not even know they want to go into Law in the future, and therefore studying your favourite subject allows much more freedom. Many people believe that subjects like History or English are ‘useless’ degrees, however they provide so many transferable skills and open so many doors, especially if you study at a really good university! Therefore, by choosing a non-law degree, you are constantly
developing your skills in ways that you don’t even know, whilst still having the option to become a lawyer.
Lastly, it is important to understand that a Law firm will never choose a Law student over a Non Law student, solely based on your degree. Many Law firms employ 50% Law students and 50% non-law students, highlighting how there is no preference for Law students.