Kathryn Jessup – Future trainee
Future trainee and LPC student, joins September 2015, studied Politics at Bristol
The changing face of the GDL / LPC for A&O’s students
You may have heard the news that A&O have changed their course provider from the University of Law to BPP. Naturally I was intrigued to find out more and what the difference would be to my future LPC course, and as soon as I asked Graduate Recruitment a few questions, they kindly invited me in for a chat to reassure me of the new plan, which was great as now I can fill you in too!
The main difference to note is that the new LPC is now called an “LPC with business” course. The idea of this is that it will provide the necessary foundations of legal practice through the LPC element, and the business element will develop our business awareness to equip us for a career in commercial law. Once the course is complete, we will carry out a business intelligence project on a relevant topic (such as an industry sector or a particular client) and then (hopefully!) receive a Masters qualification: an MA (LPC with business).
The new course will follow the accelerated format as before and will be completed in approximately 7½ months, so I will still have the same start date of September 2015, as well as my 6 months beforehand after the GDL.
It will be run by BPP’s Law School and Business School, based respectively in Holborn and the City, and will be designed exclusively for Allen & Overy. BPP will also run the GDL course from September 2014, which will be at their Waterloo branch (or another centre outside of London if you prefer).
Having spoken to Charlotte in detail about the LPC with business course, I am convinced that it will put us in a really strong position to gain that much coined term “commercial awareness”. The business modules, taught via a combination of face-to-face and online tutorials, will provide a better toolkit for trainees to give legal advice that is sensitive to clients’ strategies and the practical impact of the law on their business. The beauty of this is that not only will we have a robust level of understanding of the business needs of clients before we arrive, but also that of A&O, which means we will hopefully know the firm both inside and out.
To me, this suggests we will be much more prepared when entering such a large law firm, rather than trying to grasp it all at the same time as adapting to the life of a trainee. To give you a flavour, the elements added by the business arm of the course include accountancy, financial strategy and business planning, which is more akin to broad style of training for other professionals within the finance industry.
I have received a great impression of what the new course has to offer, and although I am very much enjoying the University of Law, I look forward to the business elements that will now be introduced to my syllabus.
I hope this has given you an impression of what the MA (LPC with business) is all about. Good luck as always with any applications being made as we speak!
Happy New Year!
Hi all. Sorry to have not been in touch for a while, the GDL certainly keeps you busy although that is no excuse as we did get a nice opportunity to relax over Christmas! I managed to squeeze in a trip to Amsterdam, eat and drink in very festive quantities, as well as catch up with friends and family. We had plenty of time post-New Year before term kicked off again, although this was definitely best spent consolidating what we have learnt so far as we are already way over halfway through all of the material and there is not much time to stop and take it all in as you go.
Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the Christmas party that A&O kindly put on for the future trainees; however Imogen, a friend of mine from class, has written a little paragraph for you all to quell any of your burning curiosity:
“Allen and Overy have continued to involve us with the firm, hosting a Future Trainee’s Christmas Dinner on 12th December. It was an extremely enjoyable evening. All of the future trainees were very friendly and it was a fantastic opportunity to meet some non-GDL’ers. The Christmas inspired food was a hit, especially the dessert tower! Entertainment came in the form of a quiz – can you identify the law firm from a picture of its offices? We may not be working in the office yet, but Allen and Overy are doing their best to make us feel like part of the firm.”
I have been thinking back to before Christmas just to update you all, where we had to submit our first piece of work (a 2,000 word informal coursework). This is part of a Unit called Preparing for Practice, designed to get us researching areas of law we are not otherwise taught, as well as working on how to present legal research in a report form. Alternatively, you can choose to do an essay question as many people who have done Arts degrees feel more comfortable with this format; however I decided to produce a research report as I thought this would be more akin to what is expected of us once we start as trainees. You are eased in gently by conducting the research in groups within your class for this first informal piece of work, and we were given written feedback to set us up for our current assignment, which is the first of two formal courseworks (i.e. they actually count – I think this one is worth about 8%). After whizzing through so much material on various areas of law, it is surprisingly refreshing to be given the independence to delve into your chosen topic area for your coursework, but make sure you pick a topic that interests you!
I will be in touch very soon with a separate post about the coming change Allen & Overy has made to switch to BPP as opposed to the University of Law as their GDL/LPC provider.
Good luck to anyone making applications for 2014!
As The GDL Flies By
And so it begins…
I cannot believe I am saying this, but almost two months of the GDL have already flown by. In this time I have made it through the Fresher’s party alive, covered a scary amount of content already, completed my first exam, spent a day shadowing a judge in court, and set up the University of Law netball society!
The course itself is split into seven foundation subjects; contract, tort, public, criminal, equity & trusts, land and EU law. Meanwhile, we also have a Unit called “Preparing for Practice”, which combines various areas of law into one with problem based questions to help us learn how to logically approach research, work in teams, and then we present our findings back to the class. Needless to say, the combination of all of these subjects means that every day is different, which requires a high amount of organisation but also means that the course is always engaging and particularly fast-paced.
Speaking of fast-paced, I have already completed my first exam. This was on the Legal Method unit I referred to in the last post.
We were introduced to all of the content through the online course before starting (so this is worth making an effort on), and then after a couple of workshops and consolidation lectures, the exam was relatively straightforward. As a multiple-choice exam with open books, it was really nothing to worry about, just to reassure anyone ready for next year!
Beyond the course, we are also expected to complete Practice Related Activities; I chose court visits but there are many other options such as Negotiation, Business Games and a Commercial Awareness Forum to name but a few. I spent a day in Southwark Crown Court shadowing a judge, which was a great way of seeing all that we are learning about in action and helped to develop my understanding beyond the text-book!
The social side at Moorgate has made Uni life thoroughly enjoyable. I am happy to say that I have a lovely class, filled with a great mix of people and coincidentally five of us are even going to A&O. There are plenty of places to grab lunch or a drink or two after Uni whenever we need a break.
I have also set up the Netball club for this year; we have joined a league on Wednesday lunchtimes at Barbican, just around the corner from Moorgate, and then have practices in the weeks that there aren’t games on.
Allen & Overy have been really supportive. All of the GDL’ers were invited for drinks and canapés in the office bar so that we could be paired up with trainee buddies in case we have any questions or need any support in the coming year. This was really reassuring and my buddy has already been in touch with advice; it was nice to go in and make it all the more tangible whilst we are ploughing on with all this work in the meantime! My intake are all very friendly, and we had a great evening spilling into Pizza Express afterwards.
I hope this is enough to reassure you that although life on the GDL is super busy, the work is engaging, A&O will support you through it and there are plenty of people in the same boat as you to make it seem all the more manageable.
I will be in touch soon about tackling our first piece of coursework and hopefully will have some festive news to share too!
Introducing Kathryn Jessup
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! I’m Kathryn, and for the next year I will be blogging about what it is like to be a student undertaking the GDL. I cannot promise great things in terms of wit and entertainment, but I hope to provide you with plenty of information, and share with you my experiences on the coming year as I start at The University of Law, Moorgate.
My previous work experience has been in HR, marketing, PR, banking and asset management, so I have certainly tried a fair amount of areas before something stuck! I turned my attention to law this time last year, and I realised it was a perfect fit. I was fortunate enough to get onto the A&O Winter Vacation Scheme, which was so enjoyable that I immediately knew this path was for me. Not only was the work interesting and engaging, but all the people at A&O were exceptionally friendly and welcoming. Needless to say, I accepted the training contract offer, which I received on Christmas Eve!
I finished my three-year degree in Politics at Bristol University in June, and since then I have been making the best of this summer before getting back into the library in September. I have now completed the big move backwards from living with friends at University to back home with the family, as fortunately we are based by Tower Bridge, so very convenient for getting over to Moorgate when term begins.
Although it seems daunting taking on this packed conversion course, the University has already started to gently guide us into the process with an online Legal Method course, which has been very manageable so far. The course introduces you to the English Legal System, and looks at how the government makes laws, how the courts enforce it, and how to read and interpret both statute and case law. It promises to take 50 hours to complete but I will have to get back to you on the reality of this once complete!
Term starts officially on the 19th September. We have been given the option to choose our timetables, which either consists of two full days a week, or four half days. If you live further out, the two-day week seems like a great option to save you travelling time.
However, I have opted for the four half days, and chosen the early shift at 9.15am, with the hope of spreading out the workload, as well as making sure I make it out of bed in the morning!
I hope to provide you with a lot more information on the journey of a non-law student in the coming posts, as well as reassure you (and me!) about any uncertainties in relation to the GDL process. Please let me know any burning questions if there is anything I haven’t covered.
I look forward to giving you the best picture I can of what it is like to be a GDL student, and equally a future trainee at A&O!