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GDL choice BPP or COL
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Posted - 17 April 2015 20:42
Recently got accepted to both, and was wondering which one to choose.
I've heard the College of Law has open book exams which I personally do not like.
Secondly, many argue that the BPP GDL is easier and better spaced out.

If anyone has any tips, I would be very grateful!!
Posted - 19 April 2015 19:04
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- Your question suggests you are planning to self fund the GDL. Don't.
- The fact that you refer to being 'accepted to' these institutions suggests that you are slightly naive. If you are anywhere near the academic cut-off for either, you are certain not to get a job. Spend some more time learning about entry to the profession before committing yourself to it.
- If you decide to self fund, just go for whatever you perceive to be the easiest. No-one will give a ****.

Posted - 19 April 2015 19:07
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- Oh, actually, I had forgotten about events of the last couple of years wrt UoL. UoL was acquired by a private equity house and is now in a far worse state than it once was, so perhaps best avoid.
Posted - 20 April 2015 10:34
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I am well aware of the entry requirements needed in this profession, whether that be for a future training contract or anything remotely related. I was under no circumstances naive in my previous question, I was just seeking guidance on which institution to choose since I had no time to visit either of them.
Posted - 24 April 2015 11:49
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Not really convinced that any of what Skidaddle says is accurate (sweeping negative statements are hardly helpful or reliable are they???), so to use his own words; "best avoid". FYI, many people, including me, apply and get TCs AFTER completing the GDL.

To answer your question, my experience is that the non uni providers are very similar so you might be splitting hairs there. I would look to what extras they are offering which might be of use e.g. mentoring with practising lawyers, pro bono etc... Having been to both BPP and ULaw, I much prefer a university style approach (i.e. think for yourself), but they both more than adequately do the job of spoon feeding you in order to jump the requisite exam hurdles. Who ever 'owns' them is really nothing to the point.
Posted - 25 April 2015 12:55
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I was having a bad day, so apologies for my negative post.

I also went to both CoL (as it then was) and BPP and self funded GDL (but not LPC). CoL was pretty great, but I understand that it has declined significantly since Montagu moved in - costs (such as IT costs) have been reduced, they have lost major law firm clients etc etc. Also, the head honcho at UoL, Nigel Savage, appears to be rather more focused on his personal wealth and self-aggrandisement than the quality of service provided by his institution (see his honourary doctorate awarded by UoL and the way he handled the whole Montagu thing among other events).

Other than UoL's recent decline, there's very little to split the non uni providers, so I stand by what I said on that front: no-one gives a ****. I hadn't considered the possibility of going to a university for the GDL. I'm not sure it would appeal to me - covering all that material in a year, you want all the careful spoonfeeding you can get, and the non uni providers are very good at it.

The self funding point is more complicated than I put it. If you have the type of university academics that will get you into a city firm (and if that is what you want to), I wouldn't self-fund the GDL: (i) it won't significantly speed up the process (you might possibly gain six months if you are lucky compared to waiting for your offer) (ii) it won't increase your chances of getting an offer (iii) while firms will back-pay your fees, they won't back-pay your living expenses (iv) it is nice to do the GDL with your trainee cohort (and trainees of your generation going to other similar firms) and (v) if you don't get a TC at a city firm (and you don't want to practice law elsewhere), you will have wasted a year and a lot of money (not to mention opportunity cost). Further, you will have a law-specific qualification that will dirty your CV. Obviously, most of this does not apply if you want to go to the type of firm which won't fund your GDL and LPC - apologies for my initial assumption.

Posted - 25 April 2015 12:59
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But if you do want to go to the type of firm which won't fund your GDL and LPC, AND that is because you don't have the academics to get into a firm that will, you are taking a big risk that you won't get a TC at all.

I would only self-fund if I had top academics/ec's and knew the city wasn't for me.
Posted - 25 April 2015 13:06
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One might also self fund if one was really passionate about going into legal practice and could afford to take the risk (which relates to not only money, but also to time spent and the emotional effects of failure).
Jah Matey
Posted - 27 April 2015 15:20
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When I did the GDL at ULaw 2 yrs ago, the exams were closed-book except for a book of statutes issued by the school. However, its LPC is open book while BPP's LPC exams are closed book. There's been talk at ULaw reformulating the GDL exam timetable so it's not packed in over 2 weeks in June, but I've not heard about its GDL exams being open book (I could be wrong!)

Where are you going to do the GDL? Go check out their law libraries. Birmingham's ULaw library is pretty decent in its hardcopy & electronic subscriptions, not so impressed with the BPP library in Brum. The ULaw Bloomsbury library was small & sad by comparison when I spent an afternoon working there.

When I was making rounds at recruitment fairs in 2012 many firms I spoke to also advised against self-funding (especially the LPC), but trainee recruitment & retention numbers are slightly better now. I self-funded the GDL as I saw little chance of securing a TC otherwise as a mature student w/no UK academic CV. I got my TC offer a few months after completing the GDL & the firm is funding my LPC. I went into my GDL knowing full well the financial risk of not getting a TC and perhaps made me work that much harder to get one--I wouldn't have self-funded the LPC in any case.