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The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), also sometimes referred to as the Common Professional Examination, (CPE), is a programme for non-law graduates, or those with equivalent qualifications, wishing to either enter the legal profession or work in law-relevant employment. Read more
The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), also sometimes referred to as the Common Professional Examination, (CPE), is a programme for non-law graduates, or those with equivalent qualifications, wishing to either enter the legal profession or work in law-relevant employment. No prior knowledge of law is required.

Key Features of Graduate Diploma in Law

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is a full-time, 36-week, intensive course designed to facilitate the acquisition of sound legal knowledge in those areas of law which are known as the Foundations of Law plus one additional area of law.

- The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course is preceded by a two-week period of directed reading on the English Legal System and the principles of legal scholarship (no attendance required, home study)
- Teaching of the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course commences with an induction period which includes a short block of lectures and seminars concentrating on the English Legal System, the acquisition of legal skills, and European Union Law
- The foundation subjects of Contract, Tort, Public Law, Equity & Trusts, Land Law and Criminal Law are taught by means of a series of lectures and compulsory seminars spanning two teaching blocks during the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course;
- A further legal subject is studied by means of a supervised research project;
- Class contact averages 16 hours per week. Students on the the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course should expect to spend a minimum of 40 hours per week, attending classes and undertaking private study.

What next after the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)

In order to qualify as a solicitor or barrister you will have to complete the vocational stage of training. The School of Law at Swansea offer both a full-time and part-time, Legal Practice Course (LPC), successful completion of which satisfies the requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. (For more information on our LPC, contact Michaela Leyshon, LPC Admissions Tutor at ).

For intending barristers, visit the Bar Standards Board at http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/careers/students/

Information on Swansea University Careers and Employability Service can be found here: http://www.swan.ac.uk/careers/

Career Prospects

Non-law graduates are being welcomed into the legal profession at an increasing rate, as they are perceived as bringing a fresh perspective to the practice of law, and now make up approximately 50% of all new lawyers. Successful completion of the Swansea Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), which is accredited by the SRA, Bar and ILEX satisfies all of the academic requirements for admission to the vocational stage of training as a solicitor, barrister or legal executive.

UK qualified lawyers have the opportunity to not only work in local and nationally based firms and chambers, public bodies and businesses but also in legal environments around the world.

In addition, the Swansea Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is also relevant to those wishing to enhance their job prospects in areas such as business management, the probation service, forensic psychology, trading standards, politics, human resource management, education to name a few.

Student Quote

“I completed the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at Swansea University in 2010. I wanted to gain practical legal experience before continuing my studies, so found a position as a paralegal at a local high street firm. Whilst the work was interesting and challenging, I knew I wanted to work for a larger commercial firm. I moved to London and began applying for training contracts whilst working as a paralegal in Herbert Smith. I was lucky enough to be offered a contract with Edwards Wildman, a small city firm which combines a small trainee intake with top quality work and high calibre clients.

Before beginning my training I worked in-house for a start-up technology company to acquire a further diversity of experience. The position allowed me to gain valuable exposure to IP work, which is an area of law I am particularly interested in.I am currently in my first seat in the Commercial Litigation department which so far has been interesting and varied. I am enjoying my training contract and look forward to the next two years”.

Isabel Roszkowski, Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)

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The Legal Practice Course trains you to masters standard, allowing you to develop an excellent knowledge and understanding of legal practice, whilst also providing you with the vocational qualification you need in order to go on to practise as a solicitor. Read more

About the course

The Legal Practice Course trains you to masters standard, allowing you to develop an excellent knowledge and understanding of legal practice, whilst also providing you with the vocational qualification you need in order to go on to practise as a solicitor.

Highly regarded by the profession and consistently recognised for the quality of its teaching, the course is part of a top-ranking Russell Group University within a vibrant city, and yet is small enough to remain personal.

The MA in Legal Practice is very much a hands-on course, using case studies and files based on those used in practice. We ask you to research and acquire knowledge, put that into context, identify issues and place the client at the centre of the problem. Upon completion of this vocational aspect of the course, you then go on to submit a dissertation.

Students who choose not to submit a dissertation will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma (which satisfies the vocational requirements).
You can opt to take the course part-time, in which case you are only required to come in for approximately six hours per week – allowing you the rest of your time to gain valuable work experience, something which is highly regarded by employers.

Who we are

We’re a forward-thinking, innovative law school. Our research helps shape global policy. We do what we do to empower people, to protect people and improve people’s lives.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) ranks us joint tenth in the UK, with Oxford and Warwick. Ninety per cent of our research was judged world-leading or internationally excellent.

We offer a wide range of law and criminology courses. Our leading criminology courses are delivered by internationally-renowned academics within our Centre for Criminological Research; one of the four original criminological centres of excellence in the UK.

Uniquely among English Russell Group law schools, we also offer the opportunity for you to complete both the academic and vocational stages of qualifying as a solicitor in our Centre for Professional Legal Education.

Your career

Our graduates include CEOs, lawyers, partners in big corporate firms, judges and barristers. Others are solicitors, academics, politicians and policy makers or work in criminal justice or at the Home Office.

Many of our graduates become legal practitioners. But you can use your postgraduate training in different ways, including business, policy development, teaching or research. Our staff can support you in whichever path you choose, having a wealth and variety of experience across all these areas.

Your course will give you the opportunity to meet and engage with professional organisations. And our excellent careers service will support you from the outset, helping you to identify your strengths and plan your next move. At the School of Law we also have an in-house careers adviser, offering specialised advice to Legal Practice Course, Graduate Diploma in Law and other postgraduate students who wish to pursue a career in the legal profession.

How we teach

Many of our academics are internationally respected for their research. Their groundbreaking work informs what we teach.

Our research groups cover a lot of ground, including criminology, commercial law and law in its international context. You’ll benefit from their expertise and that of their professional contacts. Your course will equip you with an in-depth knowledge of your chosen area of law or criminology. Our Legal Practice Course is highly regarded. It will provide you with all the skills and knowledge you need to enter the legal profession in England or Wales.

We have our own courtroom, a dedicated postgraduate computer room and quiet study space. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building so you can easily access the library’s online collections. Our students can also access our e-resources from anywhere in the world.

Legal Practice Course Stage One (compulsory)

Business Law and Practice; Property Law and Practice; Litigation and Advocacy; Drafting; Writing; Practical Legal Research; Interviewing and Advising; Advocacy; Professional Conduct; Solicitors’ Accounts; Wills and Administration of Estates.

Stage Two (optional, choose three)

Acquisitions and Mergers; Advanced Commercial Litigation; Corporate Finance; Commercial Property; Commercial Law; Family Law; Employment Law; Advanced Criminal Litigation; Private Client; Personal Injury Litigation.

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The LLM Legal Practice course incorporates the Solicitors Regulation Authority requirements of the Lega Practice Course (the LPC). Read more
The LLM Legal Practice course incorporates the Solicitors Regulation Authority requirements of the Lega Practice Course (the LPC). The course not only bridges the gap between the academic study of law and the vocational stages of training, but also incorporates a masters level qualification.

In order to obtain a Masters, students are also required to complete either a dissertation, a live project or a placement. Following successful completion of the course, you will then need to undertake a two year vocational training contract to be able to practice as a solicitor.

The Course also offers a unique learning experience in the shape of a virtual solicitor's office in the University's virtual town, Shareville.

Our LLM Legal Practice course is taught by an outstanding team of professional staff with extensive practice experience and a friendly, open door policy giving you all the support you need. We place our students at the centre of everything we do.

What's covered in the course?

The LPC section of the course is fully accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. You will cover elements required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority including Property Law, Business Law and Practice and Litigation (including Civil and Criminal Litigation) and choose from a list of Electives available.

Our first-class facilities include two mock courtrooms and a comprehensive law library (with many resources accessible online), and there are extensive opportunities available with a variety of agencies throughout Birmingham.

Our LLM Legal Practice course is taught by an outstanding team of professional staff with extensive practice experience and a friendly, open door policy giving you all the support you need. We place our students at the centre of everything we do.

Why Choose Us?

-Our outstanding facilities include two mock courtrooms and an e-learning suite that can be used to bring study to life
-Competitive course fees - option to pay by instalments over two years helping you to spread out the cost. As an LLM course, you can apply for student finance funding.
-The School of Law has an established record of providing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and its predecessors since the 1960s.
-All members of the teaching team are qualified solicitors with many years practice experience.
-We provide opportunities for all students on the course to participate in pro-bono activities. Pro-bono will usually involve work for a charity or similar organisation in an advisory capacity which will be invaluable in terms of enhancing your career prospects.
-We have a long running mentoring scheme, supported by the Birmingham Law Society, the Birmingham Trainee Solicitor Society and leading firms in the region. As part of the scheme, you will be assigned a local lawyer who will help with any questions or concerns you may have about your future career development.

Course Structure

The LLM Legal Practice is a demanding course and is a leap forward from your undergraduate study. The emphasis of the LPC element of the course is much more on the practical aspects of law and the aim of the course is to ensure you can enter practice with the skills and knowledge required to hit the ground running. You will be expected to keep up with background reading and class preparation and should expect to treat the course as if you were already handling a client’s case.

The Masters element of the course allows students undertake a piece of disciplinary relevant research at Masters level, which will take the form of either a dissertation, a live project or a placement.

How you learn

The LPC elements of the course are taught face to face. Classes on the full-time course run from Mondays to Wednesdays from 9am to 5pm. Classes on the part-time course run on a Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6pm over two years.

The compulsory subjects and skills taught on the LPC section are prescribed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Each subject is introduced with a summary lecture providing guidance on difficult topics relating law to practice. The focus of learning is on small group teaching sessions, in the form of interactive workshops that enable you to explore key areas of law and practice in detail.

Small group sessions are also used to involve you in typical transactions encountered in practice. You can expect to carry through tasks as if you were in practice, working in teams, using electronic and other information sources.

The Masters element requires completion of an online Advanced Legal Research module followed by self-directed research. The self directed research is supported by face to face meetings with an individually allocated supervisor.

Employment Opportunities

Graduates will normally proceed to a training contract to complete their qualification as a solicitor. The vast majority of LPC graduates go on to become qualified solicitors in a range of organisations across many specialist areas. Some overseas professional bodies accept the LPC as satisfying their admission requirements to practise as a lawyer.

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The Legal Practice Course (LPC) is the final academic stage of qualification before becoming a solicitor. The course bridges the gap between the academic study of law and the vocational stages of training. Read more
The Legal Practice Course (LPC) is the final academic stage of qualification before becoming a solicitor. The course bridges the gap between the academic study of law and the vocational stages of training. Following successful completion of the LPC you will need to undertake a two year vocational training contract to be able to practice as a solicitor.

The Course also offers a unique learning experience in the shape of a virtual solicitor's office in the University's virtual town, Shareville.

Our LPC is taught by an outstanding team of professional staff with extensive practice experience and a friendly, open door policy giving you all the support you need. We place our students at the centre of everything we do.

What's covered in the course?

The LPC is fully accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and includes the opportunity to study an LLM Legal Practice (Top Up) course (Please note the LLM (Top Up) will be subject to additional fees). You will cover elements required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority including Property Law, Business Law and Practice and Litigation (including Civil and Criminal Litigation) and choose from a list of Electives available.

Our first-class facilities include two mock courtrooms and a comprehensive law library (with many resources accessible online), and there are extensive opportunities available with a variety of agencies throughout Birmingham.

Our LPC is taught by an outstanding team of professional staff with extensive practice experience and a friendly, open door policy giving you all the support you need. We place our students at the centre of everything we do.

Why Choose Us?

-Our outstanding facilities include two mock courtrooms and an e-learning suite that can be used to bring study to life
-Competitive course fees - option to pay by instalments over two years helping you to spread out the cost
-The School of Law has an established record of providing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and its predecessors since the 1960s.
-All members of the teaching team are qualified solicitors with many years practice experience.
-We provide opportunities for all students on the course to participate in pro-bono activities. Pro-bono will usually involve work for a charity or similar organisation in an advisory capacity which will be invaluable in terms of enhancing your career prospects.
-We have a long running mentoring scheme, supported by the Birmingham Law Society, the Birmingham Trainee Solicitor Society and leading firms in the region. As part of the scheme, you will be assigned a local lawyer who will help with any questions or concerns you may have about your future career development.
-Birmingham City University has just launched the UK's first Centre for Brexit Studies, researching all aspects of the UK's vote to leave the EU, including the impact it has on domestic law and legislation.

Course Structure

The LPC is a demanding course and is a leap forward from your undergraduate study. The emphasis is much more on the practical aspects of law and the aim of the course is to ensure you can enter practice with the skills and knowledge required to hit the ground running. You will be expected to keep up with background reading and class preparation and should expect to treat the course as if you were already handling a client’s case.

How you learn

All elements of the course are taught face to face. Classes on the full-time course run from Mondays to Wednesdays from 9am to 5pm. Classes on the part-time course run on a Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6pm over two years.

The compulsory subjects and skills taught on the LPC are prescribed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Each subject is introduced with a summary lecture providing guidance on difficult topics relating law to practice. The focus of learning is on small group teaching sessions, in the form of interactive workshops that enable you to explore key areas of law and practice in detail.

Small group sessions are also used to involve you in typical transactions encountered in practice. You can expect to carry through tasks as if you were in practice, working in teams, using electronic and other information sources.

Employment Opportunities

Graduates will normally proceed to a training contract to complete their qualification as a solicitor. The vast majority of LPC graduates go on to become qualified solicitors in a range of organisations across many specialist areas. Some overseas professional bodies accept the LPC as satisfying their admission requirements to practise as a lawyer.

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