Law is 3rd most popular subject area for international students and almost 25% of all international students choose to study law each academic year. A Law degree is the gateway to a career as a barrister or solicitor. There are many other legal and related professions in business, politics, journalism and NGOs law graduates can grab. Hence it is crucial international students study the course in a country that leads the qualifications and professions. UK leads the legal studies and holds edge over other countries in many ways, choosing to study law in the UK beneficial and advantageous to international students.
Law courses in the UK
LLB – Bachelor of Law
The LLB is known as Bachelor of Law. It is an undergraduate level course and the duration is 3 years full time. Some universities in the UK offer LLB accelerated course for 2 years full time. Some LLB courses are combined with other subjects and take one extra year to complete. The LLB is a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) in the UK. These types of law degrees are named ‘qualifying’ since they include the seven core modules required in order for prospective lawyers to continue their training. These core modules are namely Constitutional and Administrative Law, Contract Law, Criminal Law, EU Law, Equity and trusts Law, Land Law and Tort Law.
Completion of an LLB degree allows you to immediately move onto the next step in your legal studies – the LPC for solicitors or BTC for barristers – without having to do the GDL law conversion course beforehand. You may also choose to study an LLM course too for further higher studies.
Graduate LLB is a fast track version of regular LLB course, 2 year full time study. This course for students who have a non-law background i.e. students who studied a different subject in their graduation. It is ideally suited to graduates who wish to add new area of academic knowledge in the field of law and aiming for a career change to legal profession.
LLM – Master of Law
An LLM is a master’s degree, postgraduate course and duration is normally 1 year full time. An LLM allows you to study a particular area of law in more detail than at undergraduate level. Some of the subjects that you can study LLM in is Criminal litigation, Environmental law, Employment law, International Business, Islamic finance and Maritime law, there are many other areas or optional subjects or modules you can choose.
PGDL – Postgraduate Diploma in Law
Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) is a Law conversion course and the duration is normally 9 months full time. It is the first step to becoming a solicitor or barrister for npn-law graduates (graduates who hold degrees in subjects other than a law). In effect, a PGDL qualification ‘converts’ your non-law degree into a qualifying law degree – for that reason it is known as the ‘law conversion course’. The course offers Common Professional Examination (CPE) and provides a solid foundation for preparing for the first stage of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).
From September 2021 the SQE will introduce an independent and centralised assessment approach to the training route to become a solicitor and will no longer require non-law students to complete a law conversion course. Please check SQE page of Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for more information.
LLM Law Conversion
LLM Law Conversion course is designed to convert your non-law degree to a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) so that you can progress to your next step to become a solicitor or barrister. It is 1 year full time course at postgraduate level.
LPC – Legal Practice Course
The LPC is the final vocational stage of training to become a qualified solicitor and a 9 month full time course. You study the LPC after successful completion of a qualifying law degree, or other recognised qualifications. The course is designed to provide a bridge between academic study and training in a law firm. The course is for aspiring solicitors who wish to develop practical skills and enhance chance of securing a training contract.
BTC – Bar Training Course
Bar Transfer Course (BTC), also known as Bar Practice Course (BPC) is for graduates who aim to become barristers. It is a 9 month full time course and provides essential legal and professional knowledge, advocacy skills you will need to succeed in practice. You will require a Qualifying Law Degree or Law Conversion Degree with good grades to meet entry requirements of BTC.
International Foundation Programme in Law
International Foundation Programme in Law course is for students who do not have academic qualification to meet the entry requirements of LLB. The course duration is 6 to 12 months and designed to help you develop the academic and linguistic skills required for degree level study.
10 reasons for studying law in the UK
UK is considered to be the birthplace of ‘common’ law and jurisdiction and is considered the home of law. As a result, the degrees attained by students in UK universities are recognized and respected world over. Many countries including Bangladesh, Malaysia, India and Pakistan have their country’s law based on the UK’s Common Law. Therefore, completing a law degree in the UK should be a natural decision for anyone aiming to practice law as their profession.
UK Law is globally dominating and recognised
UK Legal system is developed over more than 900 years ago and it influences the legal systems internationally. UK is the country where common law originated. Common law is recognised globally, with over a third of the world having a legal system based on English common law. UK’s English commercial law is commonly the governing law in global contracts.
The UK is home to top international law firms
The UK is also home to hundreds of international law firms, with some of the world’s biggest firms basing their headquarters here offering great chances for training contracts and career development. The prestigious Magic Circle law firms including Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfilelds Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Slaughter & May are based in the UK. Other famous law firms in the UK include Ashurst, CMS, Dentons, Eversheds Sutherland, Hogan Lovells, Herbert Smith Freehills, Latham & Watkins, Norton Rose Fukbright, RPC, Simmons & Simmons, Taylor Wessing, Travers Smith, Addleshaw Goddard, Clyde & Co, DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons, Womble Bond Dickinson.
Simple process for admission application
The application process is well-structured and simplified with clear guidelines comparing to USA, Canada, Australia etc. The entry requirements are set to give chance to study law for students from almost all backgrounds.
Shorter course duration
Law degrees in the UK are often shorter: an undergraduate LLB degree is three years, and a postgraduate LLM is one year. This is significantly less than other countries such as Canada and the USA, where a law degree can last for up to 7 years, meaning it costs the students more money and time. UK Law degree are the quickest route to enter into legal careers.
Chances to study law course by non-law graduates
Non-law graduates can take a law conversion course such as the 9 months PGDL or 1 year LLM Law Conversion courses. Recruiters see the law conversion route as completely equal in value to a law degree. They also recognise and value transferable skills gained from studying other subjects and working in different fields. This enables a non-law graduate to progress into a vocational course to become a solicitor or barrister.
Practice based teaching and learning
Students studying law in the UK have a golden chance to learn from a variety of experience opportunities. There are pupillages, vacation schemes, legal clinics, Moot Courts, chance to work in Pro-bono cases and shadowing in court as options for work experience. Some universities have volunteering or internship arrangements with law firms international students have the chances to engage with these.
Improvement of academic and professional English
In addition to high level technical academic English, law students in the UK can look forward to better communication skills and high adaptability towards various career transitions. Law students develop the ability to argue from a basis of evidence in a way which can be hard for others to do; this actively develops advanced communication skills, keen problem-solving abilities and the capacity for independent thinking. As a result, UK law graduates adapt very well in various situations or career transitions.
Transferrable skills with added value
UK law courses are designed to provide transferrable skills including critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving, leadership, adaptability, teamwork, writing, listening, creativity, attention to detail, relationship building, report and draft writing, debating, negotiation, communication, organising, decision making, meeting deadlines, commercial awareness and other soft skills. These skills will add extra value to your professional profile for career commencement and enhancement.
UK law degree earns prestigious careers
A UK law degree will lead you to highly respected and rewarding careers i.e. Solicitor, Barrister, Arbitrator, Costs Lawyer, Legal Executive, Company Secretary, Patent Attorney, Licensed Conveyance just to name a few. Some graduates prefers career as Government Research Officer, Civil Service Administrator, Human Resource Officer, Political Risk Analyst, Stockbroker, Trading Standards Officer, Legal Writer, Law Teacher or freelance adviser.
Prestigious membership of Inns & the Law Society
BTC students will have the opportunity to join one of the famous London’s Inns of Court: Gray’s Inn, Inner Temple, Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple and LPC students can join the high-profiled ‘The Law Society’. In addition to teaching, guidance and scholarship, the inns provide social and professional networking opportunities in traditional environment. The Law Society provides practice advice service, reading and research opportunities to its members.
The UK brand of law degree will elevate your personal and professional brand significantly. With some unique features of legal studies from UK universities, you will gain competitive advantages over other graduates. Being UK Law graduate you will have connections to other alumni worldwide and you will be welcome to the whole world of opportunities.