Before the GDL


Hey guys, would appreciate any advice you could give me!
Im studying for a non-law degree at oxford, in my final year. I should get a high 2i, possibly a first if it goes well. Im seriously thinking about going into law, taking the GDL and then the BVC. However, for two main reasons I am not able to take the GDL next year (as in, right after graduation). Firstly, because im not taking law, im not 100% sure about going into law, i need to think about it a bit more before i commit. I’ve done a couple of mini-pupillages and i’d say i was 90% sure i want to do it, but dont want to study and spend all that money if i change my mind later. Also, second problem: its so expensive!! The GDL is about £8000 and the BVC £12000 or so. Although I know there are scholarships out there, I cant rely on them so I want to save up some money first, work for a couple of years, put some money in the bank and make sure its what i really want to do.

OK so this is becoming really long and rambling! Anyway, my question is, what law-related jobs can a non-law graduate do before going on to the GDL? I want to do something that pays reasonably well (as i need to save money) and also will look good on my cv when it comes round to applying for the law courses/pupillages.
Does anyone have any advice or ideas?
Many thanks!


Hey Greenies,

There are a number of options open to you. Have you considered a ‘part-time’ course offered by almost all the major law colleges? These stretch the GDL over two years rather than one but allow you to study and attend seminars and lectures in the evening and at weekends, allowing you to work in the week. These courses are tailored for people in your position - people who haven’t got tonnes of cash to spend on a course right now.

If you don’t want to do a part-time course then consider what skills good lawyers have, and skills you don’t yet have, and try to pick a job that will enable you to pick up these skills.

For example, many lawyers speak several languages - you could work abroad and learn another language which would be no end of use to you and look great on your CV. If you want to stay in the UK, working for some sort of legal aid/legal chairty or association would look great on your CV and give you an opportunity to pick up great experience. There are several scholarships open to people like you (interested in law, good academic experience) to go and work alongside legal aid projects in other countries. For example, I’m pretty sure there is a scholarship that offers UK graduates the chance to work with the association who support prisoners on death row in the States - that would look incredible on your CV, and it would be very interesting.

If you are just looking for bags of cash and experience in a commercial/office environment, you could try recruitment (highly sales based) but make sure you go to a reputable company like Michel Page rather than some back street ramshackle opperation. You could also think about working in some capacity for an actual law college, or as a careers advise assistant at a law college or University.

If it was me, I’d go with the legal aid route. Interesting, great on CV, average cash, but you will still earn an adequate living.

I’ll try and find out some more for you about those scholarships to the States. If you find anything before I do please let us know!

Good luck! :slight_smile:




Thanks so much for the reply and the advice.

I’ll definitely look into those suggestions, learning a language would be great as I’ve taken German A Level and had always thought about spending a year or so abroad. And you’re right, a language is always an asset.
I think legal aid and charity work would be great as well so will think about those too.
I really want to maximise the ‘gap year’ I’d be taking by getting a relevant job/skills, so do appreciate your good ideas and suggestions, thanks!