Nora Sandvik Ling, Senior Status Student: For many UK students doing the two-year senior status LLB after finishing a first bachelor sounds crazy, especially since there is the option of doing the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). However, I have found that there are many benefits to doing the senior status LLB program.
The senior status program allows students who have already finished a BA in a different discipline to take a full qualifying law degree in two years. After my first year I can say, its hard work, but definitely worth it. For me, personally, it was the fact that I am interested in law as an academic discipline and that I have plans to go on to study for an LLM later. Getting the full academic rigor of an LLB is very helpful when applying for LLMs. With an LLB you get to delve deeper into the subjects and get a better picture of the legal culture and discipline in the UK than what a GDL would allow.
For many senior status students, it is the fact that they are not from the UK that decides. The extra year it takes to achieve a senior status LLB helps in gaining contacts and figuring out the UK system, which is often very different to that of their home countries. For some students, holding a qualifying law degree will also help to be able to practice in their home country.
Getting the LLB instead of the GDL can also open more doors and allows for more career flexibility. After finishing a GDL you are perfectly placed to start a legal career, however there is very little time to apply for a training contract during the one-year program and you are more limited in regards non-legal jobs. Many people go on to non-legal careers after finishing a legal education, such as academics, teaching, non-profit work, policy work etc. and a full LLB will often carry more weight when applying to such jobs.
Nonetheless, some people think it is strange that after having finished one Bachelors degree, or even more, that so many of us decide to embark on a new one. What I have found is that having a degree on a different topic has helped me in many different ways in my law studies. Most of us senior status students will probably agree that law is harder than our earlier degrees, and this is enhanced by the fact that our degree program is only two years. We are immediately thrown into it and have to understand a whole new way of thinking on the go. However, we have all already learnt how to study, and how to organize our studying so that we are well positioned to take on this new challenge. We all come to the law with different knowledge from our prior studies and from work experiences, which allows us to see things from different points of view and which hopefully also enhances the classroom experiences for our fellow students.