The University of Law: an introduction for non-law students

As one of the United Kingdom's longest-established specialist providers of legal education and training, we have more than 64,000 alumni and an expansive global community. Our former students work in positions throughout regional and magic circle firms, local and international businesses, and chambers across the country. They’ve taken the practical skills developed on our law courses to become highly valued members of organisations in a whole range of industries.

Coming from a variety of backgrounds and specialisms, our alumni are great examples of how non-law graduates can make some of the best lawyers after studying our Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion course. But what is it about non-law graduates that makes them so sought after?

Transferable skills

In an increasingly competitive legal job market, it’s now much more common for employers to recognise the benefits of GDL graduates. By studying another degree subject at undergraduate level you’ll have gained a whole bunch of transferable skills that your LLB counterparts may not have experienced. That diverse background is what can make you stand out from the crowd; it means that you’ll view legal situations from a different angle than LLB graduates, offering an alternative perspective. And nowadays, in a world of out-of-the-box success stories like AirBnB, Facebook and Tesla, businesses and firms welcome alternative perspectives with open arms.

Pair those skills and outlooks with what you learn on a law course and you’ve got a winning combination. Our law courses are designed to develop transferable skills in critical thinking, advocacy, negotiation, analysis and strategy; skills that are highly valued in the workplace, in any industry. As well as the legal sector, our alumni have used their skills to succeed in politics, journalism, banking and finance, technology and the media – proof positive that there are definitely some skillsets that can help you succeed in almost any career.

Dedication

Choosing to study law at a later stage shows motivation and determination to commit to the legal profession, which again looks good to employers. While there used to be a strong emphasis on choosing a career path early on in your education, recruiters now recognise that the majority of students aren’t going to know exactly what career they want at the age of 15 or 16. An undergraduate degree in any subject is now viewed as a good indicator of academic ability, and making the decision to change career a few years later will usually mean that it’s a more considered choice based on experience rather than early (and possibly unrealistic) dreams.

Specialist knowledge

If you’re taking the conversion route into law to change your career direction after starting in another area, you’ll possess valuable work experience and professional awareness. It’s no surprise that many employers actively seek candidates with these benefits. The commitment required to undertake a postgraduate qualification at any stage of your working life is now the benchmark for dedication to a career; and when it comes to law, recruiters want to see that enthusiasm.

For law firms with a large and varied corporate client base, it’s an advantage for them to have employees who understand a range of different businesses. A science graduate, for example, understands the value of research and development as well as having the ability to engage in industry ‘speak’. Employees with a modern language degree can talk to international clients and understand cultural differences.

Diversity

GDL students also have the advantage of a wide network of contacts across industries. As a science or arts graduate, their undergraduate network will go on to work in a wide variety of careers. Employers know that this network can work in their favour in the future.

GDL students come from a variety of backgrounds and add unrivalled diversity and perspective to their workforce.

And don’t worry that you’ll be at a disadvantage with employers in comparison to law degree graduates in terms of legal knowledge. Law firms take the view that once students have converted via a GDL, their legal knowledge will be on a par.

Why The University of Law?

  • Our network of contacts, a dedicated employability service and a reputation in the legal profession mean we have an outstanding track-record of finding students legal employment.
  • You’ll learn to think and act like a lawyer and develop practical legal skills through workshops and problem-based learning.
  • With our structured study pattern, our foundation module assessment and teaching is spread out so you can focus on selected modules each semester. You’ll receive unrivalled face-to-face teaching and tutor support from qualified lawyers with practical experience; so you will know what to expect in real-life situations.
  • Our GDL is endorsed by leading law firms, and we're the preferred training provider to over 30 of them.
  • We offer flexible study options - choose to study full-time, part-time or via our supported online distance learning programme.

To find out more about the GDL, check out our courses page on The University of Law website.