Careers Advice, Preparing for your future

Are you a non law student – are you or would you consider a career in law?

Many of the biggest law firms actively recruit graduates from other subjects and in some cases non law students make up nearly 50% of the trainee intake!
Helen Mc Nally, Career Consultant for Careers & Employability & Cardiff Law School tells you more …


If you are considering a career in law but not currently studying for a Law degree you will need to complete the Law Conversion Course known as the GDL – Graduate Diploma in Law – after finishing your first degree.  The GDL is a one year full time course (also available part time over 2 years), available via a range of course providers across the UK (for a complete list see: and click on ‘GDL List of Institutions’ in the Guidance box).

How to apply

Applications for the full time GDL are handled by a centralised system (think of it as a bit like UCAS) called The Central Applications Board (CAB): .  You can apply for the GDL when you are in final year of your degree.  The system opens in mid October and closes during the summer, soon before the course is due to start.

After completing the GDL, you then need to decide which branch of the legal profession to pursue. If you want to train as a solicitor, you will then need to complete the 1 year Legal Practice Course (LPC), followed by a 2 year Training Contract with a law firm; and if you want to train as a barrister, you will need to complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) followed by a year of Pupillage

Plan ahead

If you have already started to do a bit of research into law careers, you will know that the law profession demands an organised approach and attracts students with a strong preference for forward planning!  This is because students can apply for training contracts as early as second year of their law degree, or in final year of their non law degree – yes, that means that you could apply for a training contract before you have even started your GDL course!
Find out more

If you think a career in law might appeal to you, why not check out the programme of careers events taking place in the Law School this term.  For a list of upcoming talks and events please see the What’s On guide on our website:  or follow me on for regular careers updates. 

In the Law School I organise a full programme of career activities during the autumn term including Skills Sessions, (such as How to prepare a professional CV, Applying to Law Firms, Prepare for the Law Fair); Employer Talks, promoted via twitter  (from a range of speakers including law firms and barristers) and the Cardiff Law Fair which takes place on Tuesday 4th November.  These events are open to any students interested in law careers, so if you are a non law student considering converting to Law, please come along and start to find out more.  Also keep an eye out for specific sessions on ‘Converting to Law’ on 23rd October and 3rd November.

For further information

 Best wishes


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