Is gaining a legal qualification still worth the cost?

Having stupidly subscribed to the ‘Junior Lawyers’ e-mail list at some point in the distant past, I stumbled across this rather interesting poll earlier today:

 Cost of Legal Qualification copy

Wow: 61% voted No.  I knew sentiment was strong out there regarding the exorbitant qualification fees for the legal profession but, I have to admit, I was predicting the ‘Yeses’ to have it – if only by a narrow margin.  To be clear, scanning through the comments on the site, most seem to refer to the LPC rather than ‘academic’ law degrees which has clearly shaped their thinking in the cost versus gain equation.  I’m sure there are many BVC students lurking out there who share similar sentiments regarding the perceived value of their professional qualification. 

For what it’s worth, the comments, such as they are, seem to pretty much stem from mature students with hard-luck stories.  While I guess the nature of their general situation is a little different from that of the masses, there’s no getting away from it: there’s a lot of dissatisfaction out there.

Comments

  1. I got to the third one down, by someone that wants to sue that bank for lending them money to take a course which may not lead to a job, but they did enjoy the course and now put it to use doing voluntary work.

    You just can't please some people can you. No blame on themselves whatsoever for being a dickhead.

    And the first one, spent the first 2 years of her degree supporting her husband, and the second two years divorcing him.

    Well I am happy to say that I took on a course, knew the relatively poor prospects of getting a job at the end of it, spent a vast sum of money to do that course, and will proudly blame myself if I end up nowhere. I made the decisions, I took the chances and I will take the blame.

    I visited all 3 providers of the BVC in London, and they all stressed, Only 1/4 of you will get a job. I fail to see how anyone can go into the BVC or LPC without knowing the chances of getting a job at the end.

    Swizz

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  2. Blimey, it gets worse as you read down.

    'I am 47 and have spent a lot of money to get to the LPC and cannot find a training contract. I have worked out that I will not make my money back'

    Is that the typical intelligence of someone on the LPC to not even realise that until they were committed and had spent the money?

    There are some seriously thick people out there.

    And they all seem to be blaming others for their own stupidity.

    Blimey

    Swish

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  3. Swiss: I felt I had to check your shock at the comments, they're as bad as you say and more. Although the fees and the risk of not then finding work are both extremely high for law qualifications I always think online polls suffer from a default state where where the majority of contented people just don't look for the poll, for example I didn't even know it was there until I was given a link.

    "I will not even be considered by most firms as my grades obviously reflect my ability to do the job, right? No actually, this is very wrong. How can you possibly compare my situation with someone who has come straight from school, no responsibilities, who works part time and is not in the middle of a divorce. Of course they are going to have better grades than me, doesn't say they will be able to do the job any better though"

    So, basically, this person has been beaten by people who put more time and attention into it and therefore should get a job? I'm going through undergrad law with some crazily disrupted home stuff going on but does that mean other people should be pulled down because things aren't perfect for me? That feels a bit like an attempt for a sympathy vote.

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  4. I'd just vote 'yes' for the sake of argument

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  5. is gaining a legal qualification still worth the cost?

    Thesis Monster: Yes.
    BVC: Absolutely NOT.

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  6. Some of those comments were laying it on a bit thick - I agree. But I guess that's what you'd expect from comments pages or forums for this kind of stuff: you only ever hear about the bad stories.

    I thought you'd vote Yes, Andro - you seem a 'glass half full' kinda girl!

    Minxy seems to have hit it right on the head. Like her, I'd agree that my academic law degrees are worth it (LLB, LLM) but the professional courses (in my case the LPC) are most definitely not.

    All things considered, that is. :-/

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  7. To the extent there is a problem (other than that with some of these failed aspirants, over whom it is not difficult to see why they failed) I venture it rests with the undergrad degree stage, and the way in which the LLB, is offered and received.

    If one takes the view it is a course of study with value only as a platform to a vocation, then the degree has no value to the holder without the addition of the extra stages of the LPC/BVC and TC/pupillage. Thw whole lot is compounded into one course of study which leads to the binary outcome of success or failure.

    If the LLB is, instead, seen as a separate degree, and of value in itself, then all is far from lost.

    For the Bar especially but, from what I can glean, solicitors also to a lesser extent, it is the vocational stage onwards which is where the problems lay.

    I certainly feel that both my LLB and LLM were time and money well spent in their own right.

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  8. That's a great comment! :D

    But isn't it just a long-winded way of saying, "yeah, I agree"?

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  9. Professional legal qualifications worth the cost if you want to become a practising lawyer afterwards. They are pretty much worthless for anything else, which is why I don't undertnand those people who take up the places on the LLB courses, when they don't intend to become lawyers or academics (and who end up failing loads of modules and end up with a 3:1 degree)!

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  10. I saw this too and voted yes because at the end of it all those that want to succeed will and those that give up will end up wasting all their hard work!!

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  11. It is difficult to establish your career as a barrister, establishing a career as a solicitor is not easy either!

    Obtaining a TC is hard, I also wanted to persue a career as a barrister - but after talking to friends in the profession the likelyhood of a pupilage is dire
    You've got to be certain of excellence if you're going to have any chance of employment with a bptc or lpc...

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