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 [email protected]
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/
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.
“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)