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Author Topic: Should I get my LLB at a British University?  (Read 6095 times)

londongirl

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Re: Should I get my LLB at a British University?
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2004, 06:24:38 PM »
I wish you so much luck and I'll be on here to check how you're doing! You'll have a great career, I'm sure. Yeah, the contract here is hard, it's true, harder than the law school part, but there are lots of city firms that aren't magic circle, but still massively famous and well paying (aren't only 7 or so firms magic circle?) and I'm just hoping that if I apply to enough of them, I'll get into one. The thing I've heard is that it's much harder to get in whilst you're doing the CPE or GDL (conversion course). Once you're on the LPC, it's easier, because by that time they are paying as much for you as for a student who has studied law. I'll definitely keep you posted. Oh, the whole thing is such a drag! But it's also exciting, and hopefully when I do the training contract I'll be sent on secondment abroad. I'm just so annoyed that I have spent so much time on US applications and now have to deal with UK ones, for which I have done no preparation! Big drag!
But please pm me and tell me how your apps go. I'm confident you will do very well. And thank you for being so nice about the decision I have reached - that makes a difference. It has been a long and hard one to make, but I think it's the right one.
Tons of luck for it all!

ruskiegirl

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Re: Should I get my LLB at a British University?
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2004, 08:37:45 PM »
Awww, londongirl, you make me want to cry. :'( I was hoping you would join me at Boalt next year.  Do you not want to apply this year just to see what happens and then defer if you decide you want an LLB? 

Well, PM me and we will talk about it.

RuskieGirl

PS - sorry, I just realized you may not recognize the new moniker.

d_e_pearson

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Re: Should I get my LLB at a British University?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2004, 01:38:03 PM »
I am a British Law student and have been reading the comments above made particularly by you North Americans and feel I have some words of insight to make!

Firstly, I feel the British law degree is being "poo pooed" and you are all drawing direct comparisons between what you think is the Canadian "equivalent".

I don't know if any of you realise, but firstly the British LLB DOES NOT mean you are able to practice law after qualification (Unlike the American JD where after taking the appropriate state bar exam, you are effectively in a position to become a qualified lawyer).

Because of the nature of the British legal system, there's a split in the legal profession: the solicitor and the barrister. Therefore after the British LLB you have a further THREE YEARS of training before becoming qualified as a solicitor and TWO to become a barrister.

COncentrating mainly on the solicitor side of things, every LLB graduate has t go on to do one more year of study in what's called the Legal Practice Course or LPC. This is vocational training for the job. Finally, you have to complete a TWO year training contract with a law firm BEFORE you can call yourself a qualified lawyer. During this training period you must take more exams, more lectures as well as gaining experience by shadowing a qualified solicitor.

Only after these additional three years can you qualify... now that's a far cry from graduating in your LLB!!! I can imagine, that if I myself went over to Canada with only an LLB, the law firms would indeed think me less experienced/pretty crap compared to my Canadian peers, simply because I have not yet had sufficient training.

Hope all this helps, I have to defend the British system by setting the record straight!

d_e_pearson

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Re: Should I get my LLB at a British University?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2004, 01:49:13 PM »
PS. I forgot to mention the American LSAT...

Sorry guys, but what a ridiculous system where your legal aptitude is based largely on multiple choice??? I have met Americans here who have scored highly on the LSAT, then for some reason or another decided to do a British LLB or Graduate Diploma in Law, and have failed to get a training contract because, quite frankly, they didn't perform well enough in their degree.

Also, I met one guy who got bad LSAT scores, and because his dad 'donated' a zillion dollars to his desired law school in the US, he got in, and surprisingly was in the top 15% of his class.. how's that for indication... what a joke the LSAT is. I think the proof is in the books floating about titled 'How to Pass the LSAT'! What? What?

This is supposedly a test in APTITUDE, not a test for testing's sake. If you can 'learn' how to pass a particularly exam that's testing aptitude, then this speaks volumes about the quality of the testing method!

long_gone

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Re: Should I get my LLB at a British University?
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2004, 02:42:07 PM »
pearson, I think that's exactly what most of us are talking about.  Most of us here have finished or are finishing a 4 year undergrad and are about to enter the professional 3 year LLB (although we too have a training, except it's one year).  That totals 7 years of education.  Going BACK for an undergrad (a British LLB) would be a bad idea precisely because it is not a professional program in UK (ie. that comes later).  Because of this, people who leave from Canada to the UK to get their LLB come back and must take an extra year and a half to two years of our LLB, and worst of all, they don't get the Canadian degree.  Not only that, but companies want to hire first and foremost the people with the Canadian degree because:

a) It means that they went through extra education
b) Firms are suspicious and believe people did the UK degree because of lower admissions standards -- this is because of different entry points.  UK LLBs come into the program from high school.

As for the LSAT, the law institutions of UK are now commencing a test very similar to the LSAT (called the LNAT), albeit quite a bit easier (which makes sense because, again, of the high school entering point).  I am critical of the LSAT myself, but it makes sense.  You have a pool of applicants in Canada, most who are applying in the A/A- and some in B+ range.  How do you discern these applicants?  GPA is one way, but it's not a full representation of one's abilities.  Now, the LSAT isn't either, by a long shot.  But it certainly can help discern the applicants more.  In the US, lots of institutions practice grade inflation, meaning that grades are often completely unequal between institutions.  Hence, there has to be a way to pick different applicants, and the LSAT does the trick well enough.  Yes, it is known that the LSAT can be learned, but that is the whole point.  People will start their diagnostics at different points, but most have the potential for quite a high score.  It would be unfair if the test was not at all learnable (also such a test is impossible to make).  Of course the LSAT isn't a perfect predictor of how you'll do in law school but it does correlate a tiny bit in Canada and more so in the US.  As much as I don't like it, the LSAT serves a purpose.   

Nobody is saying the British LLB is crap, or not worth having.  My earlier response was crafted for the original poster, David, who is thinking about the English LLB even though he is about to finish his BA in Canada.  This is a bad idea.  It would be a different story if David was a high school applicant thinking of where to go.  In that case, I'd consider the English LLB in a whole different light.
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d_e_pearson

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Re: Should I get my LLB at a British University?
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2004, 06:53:02 AM »
Caecilius,

If that's the case and you've already done an undergrad degree, then why are you looking at the LLB? This is designed, like you said, for people coming straight from (high) school. There is another course for graduates called the CPE or GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) which is a one year course and takes you in one year to the same standard as an LLB grad...

Now before you say anything it does seem pretty strange you can cram 3 years into one, but trust me... it's damn tough, you will never work harder your whole life in such a short space of time. After completing this diploma you are then eligible to begin the LPC or BVC.

At this point (after the LPC/BVC) you can then apply for an LLM in the US/UK (I've checked, even Harvard say if your scores are good enough, then game on) if you wish to, so yes, you are at a similar standard in the eyes of North American universities to be at a similar standard.

I think your point about lower admissions standards is a valuable one, but what you have to bear in mind is that in the UK, the quality of your education these days is not your grade or qualification (eg LLB) alone, but where you graduated from combined with the other two factors. For example, to get a 1st (GPA=4.0) at Cambridge or Oxford or any unis in the top 10 is MUCH MUCH harder than to get a 1st at say, at Luton/B*mF**k University, Nowhere.

For this reason I think Canadian employers will be skeptical, becasue how should they know which unis are worth their salt and which aren't! It would be far safer for them just to assume the worst.

I think North America, particularly US and not Canada so much, are very intraverted when it comes to understanding different methods of assessments other than their own, becasue the countries are so big, there is less need to recognise other systems.

I would like to suggest, the reason why there are perceived lower admissions standards in the UK, is because of the lack of the LSAT or similar. My gripe is that unlike the US/Canada, grade inflation doesn't exist here, since all exams at High School in the UK are taken externally (A-Levels), so that all schools subscribe to largely the same examination provider. This means that an 'A' in one high school is going to be the same as an 'A' in another because they've been marked by the same people!

If in North America, you believe the LSAT to be the be-all-and-end-all, then of course any other system looks like it has lower admission standards!

If the LSAT wasn't multiple choice for the most part and the questions were open and not closed, I think it would be a better indicator by far - multiple choice statistically and rationally CANNOT decide such a profound turning point in one's life: whether you're admitted to law school of not.

I think your point was if I came to Canada with an LLB and LPC and two years training (formerly known as articles), I would be less desirable than a Canadian student.

Well you're right. Firstly, I have no Canadian legal education. However it is a derivative of English Law. I would, I am sure, be required to take some sort of conversion course (how could I be eligible for the state/provincial bar exam otherwise?), like foreign lawyers here do in the UK (look up the QLTT). The same situation would happen vice versa probably. However, if I did an LLM in the US or Canada, I am sure this would increase my chances greatly, especially if it was one of those designed for foreign lawyers to convert them.

long_gone

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Re: Should I get my LLB at a British University?
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2004, 01:59:39 PM »
Caecilius,

If that's the case and you've already done an undergrad degree, then why are you looking at the LLB? This is designed, like you said, for people coming straight from (high) school. There is another course for graduates called the CPE or GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) which is a one year course and takes you in one year to the same standard as an LLB grad...

Well, I'm not, I was looking at it at some point (although Canadians also use the LLB; but it is a professional progra,).  CPE and GDL are not accepted for advanced standing by Canadian law schools or the New York bar.

At this point (after the LPC/BVC) you can then apply for an LLM in the US/UK (I've checked, even Harvard say if your scores are good enough, then game on) if you wish to, so yes, you are at a similar standard in the eyes of North American universities to be at a similar standard.

David is a Canadian I presume who was interested in going back to Canada.  Good for US that they'll put you in an LLM, but it doesn't happen here.  You basically have to do everything over.  It's a shame because I was thinking about the GDL route myself for a while.

I think your point about lower admissions standards is a valuable one, but what you have to bear in mind is that in the UK, the quality of your education these days is not your grade or qualification (eg LLB) alone, but where you graduated from combined with the other two factors. For example, to get a 1st (GPA=4.0) at Cambridge or Oxford or any unis in the top 10 is MUCH MUCH harder than to get a 1st at say, at Luton/B*mF**k University, Nowhere.

I agree that this is the case and that schools in UK are more segregated.  But no matter where you apply, it will be easier to get into an LLB after yo already have one degree versus people who don't.  It's like people who apply for a UK pharmacy program (here you need at least two years undergrad and many have a degree to apply).  I'm sure the program is still excellent, but it is easier to get into for people with more experience.

For this reason I think Canadian employers will be skeptical, becasue how should they know which unis are worth their salt and which aren't! It would be far safer for them just to assume the worst.

Indeed.

I would like to suggest, the reason why there are perceived lower admissions standards in the UK, is because of the lack of the LSAT or similar.

But the UK has started administering the LNAT precisely for those top schools.  Or rather, the top schools have started adminstering it.  Easier, yes, but it's very much the same thing.

My gripe is that unlike the US/Canada, grade inflation doesn't exist here, since all exams at High School in the UK are taken externally (A-Levels), so that all schools subscribe to largely the same examination provider.

Grade inflation may exist in the US because of the public/private domain and maybe other reasons, but it's not a big factor in Canada at all.  The GPA average here is considerably lower.  But we still take the LSAT, although it's not worth nearly as much.

If in North America, you believe the LSAT to be the be-all-and-end-all, then of course any other system looks like it has lower admission standards!

The LSAT is certainly the most important part in the US, but here, except for one university, it is usually worth from 50-30% of one's admission criteria.  So, not really the be all and the end all by any means.  Even in the US, the GPA still counts somewhat as does volunteer work, even if not much.

If the LSAT wasn't multiple choice for the most part and the questions were open and not closed, I think it would be a better indicator by far - multiple choice statistically and rationally CANNOT decide such a profound turning point in one's life: whether you're admitted to law school of not.

Apparently it can :)
Seriously though, throw out the multiple choice and you throw out all the standardization for which the LSAT is designed for.  I suggest you take a look at the new British LNAT: it looks like the reading comprehension part of the LSAT and is worth the most marks.  The essay part is scored too which I think is a terrible idea.  You can't standardize this, but it's worth considerably less.


I think your point was if I came to Canada with an LLB and LPC and two years training (formerly known as articles), I would be less desirable than a Canadian student.

Well you're right. Firstly, I have no Canadian legal education. However it is a derivative of English Law. I would, I am sure, be required to take some sort of conversion course (how could I be eligible for the state/provincial bar exam otherwise?), like foreign lawyers here do in the UK (look up the QLTT). The same situation would happen vice versa probably. However, if I did an LLM in the US or Canada, I am sure this would increase my chances greatly, especially if it was one of those designed for foreign lawyers to convert them.

Well, that's the point.  I'm sure the UK system works fine if you're from the UK.  But going there and coming back, what the original poster was wondering, is a bad idea.  The conversion course to come back to Canada is 1.5-2 years full-time, while the conversion course to go to the UK from Canada is, in perspective, a mere formality (the Brits are kinder to foreign degrees than we are).  The LLM will help in the US, because they too are kinder to foreign degrees, but would not help in Canada.  It's a messed up and still very elitist system here.
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