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Becoming a Lawyer at 50

Many people are not the biggest fans of their own jobs, they become to hate it more and more or simply get bored of sitting in a dead end job with no prospects. A career change can be daunting as it requires a lot of time, effort and often money. A complete career change might mean that all previous experience or qualifications become useless and transferring to a career such as Law might make you think you need to go back to university.

Its actually relatively simple to embark on a career in Law if you have a degree, it is possible to convert that qualification to law by undertaking a one year Common Professional Examination (CPE) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). Around 30% of trainee solicitors do not have a law degree and have followed alternative paths to a career in Law.

The Graduate Diploma in Law is an England and Wales based qualification and is designed to allow people with a diversity of educational backgrounds into the legal profession. The course is one year full time or two year part time and is also commonly referred to as the ‘law conversion course’. Tuition fees range £2000 between £8000 for the one year course.

A standard conversion course lasts 36 weeks and includes a 4 week assessment period. Guidelines from the Central Application Board suggest 45 hours of lectures, tutorials, private study and research each week for a CPE/GDL.

Although not offering the full range of subjects of a law degree, the CPE/GDL is an intensive one-year foundation course which provides the skills and methodologies to develop future skills. Application to a CPE/GDL usually requires a minimum 2.2 degree but someone with an existing career may be considered depending on experience.

Once you have converted a qualification you can then undertake a one year Legal Practice Course which is the final step before becoming a legal professional. On becoming a solicitor/ barrister you will be required to take a two year ‘training contract’ which involves work based learning and is similar to the apprenticeship scheme. Overall it will take four years to become a lawyer without a legal degree, two of which are paid and the other two can be extended to study part time.


Source by Tom Doerr


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