Law school/GDL in UK a good idea?
June 9, 2012 8:02 AM Subscribe
Should I go to law school? UK edition. This
is very close to my situation, with the major differences being that I always really wanted to be a lawyer, and that I'm in London. Seeking some advice on whether this is a bad idea.
posted by crabintheocean to Work & Money (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you've seen any of my previous questions, you might have gathered that I'm a dual US/UK national who spent my whole career so far (I'm 31) as a union organiser in the US and just moved to London with my little baby.
I was looking to directly use my union experience in London, but it looks like it's not working out due to a combination of bizarre internal culture, unfamiliar hiring processes, and my increasing realization that for various reasons this isn't a good long term option for me, especially now I have a kid.
I would really like to go to law school in London this autumn. I wanted to be a solicitor as a teenager before the class chip on my shoulder stopped me aspiring to much beyond admin assistant and then I moved to the US where I both found something I loved doing and law school became out of reach financially and logistically. I always thought about it though, and I loved the ways my union job had me interpreting contracts and labor law. I find thinking about things in that way easy and fun. I even enjoyed (in a sick way) navigating the in's and out's of immigration law twice over. I want a real qualification, and I don't want to job hop around the shrinking non-profit sector, which is what my non-union options look like unless I get a post-grad qualification of some kind.
I would almost certainly get a law school place from what I understand - that it's competitive at the TC stage, not the getting-on-a-GDL stage. I have a 2:1 from a top university here, and almost 10 years of sort-of-relevant experience. We can pay for at least the GDL year, and support ourselves while I do it (although we can't afford to have it be wasted money) and I would think twice about continuing with the LPC without a training contract offer or some other confidence that it would all work out. If I do this I will start networking hard this summer, to see if a training contract is possible, but more realistically to make general contacts and find an internship or some part time work. I am interested in employment, immigration, and family law. My dream job would be as part of a medium size practice focusing on immigration and family law for queer families.
How smart is this? I keep reading suggestions that it's all as futile and over saturated as the law school route in the US is now. I can't afford to be 34 and have spent two years and thousands of pounds to be right where I am now, but I can't think of anything else I want to do, or any other real route into something I can be reasonably sure (if I can get a training contract) will provide a middle class income for my family for the next 40 years. I want a real qualification, and I don't want to job hop around the shrinking non-profit sector, which is what my non-union options look like unless I get a post-grad qualification of some kind. I also see doom and gloom about everyone's general job prospects everywhere I look, and I can't afford to let it paralyze me into pre-emptively accepting I'm going to spend the rest of my life in food service or something.
Thanks folks, I would really appreciate your thoughts. To be clear, I am only looking for responses on UK law prospects, it's a different system and situation from the US, where I well know things are bleak.