Case study

Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) — Albert Tapp Scotting

Albert studied History at the University of Sheffield, graduating in 2013. He enrolled on the GDL programme at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University after deciding that a career in law was for him

Why did you choose Nottingham Law School?

After my undergraduate degree I spent a few years travelling and working, largely in hospitality, I began to crave a more challenging working environment. I thought that the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) would open the door and provide a strong academic basis to a career in law.

Nottingham Law School offered a diverse experience, combining education with practical opportunities. The Legal Advice Centre, Free Representation Unit (FRU) and impressive careers services make the university much more than a simple academic institution. I came to the university with minimal legal experience and have found ample opportunity to rectify this.

Can you tell us a little bit about the course?

I was interested in the GDL because it offered a clear and challenging career path. With an undergraduate degree in history, I felt a lack of direction and opportunity with regards to job prospects. The GDL offered me the chance to work in an exciting, complex and fast-paced industry.

I have taken on three legal cases throughout the year with the Legal Advice Centre. These tasks have given me invaluable experience of interviewing clients, researching legal issues and providing advice. I received useful support and direction from the qualified solicitors who run the centre.

The pro-bono opportunities and career services at Nottingham Law School are extremely useful. The Legal Advice Centre provides me with the support of qualified solicitors during my work on real-life cases. The law School also puts on numerous talks and mock assessment centres with internationally renowned law firms, giving students the best opportunity of finding employment after the course.

The GDL is not like an undergraduate degree and I treat it as a full-time job. I attend university Monday to Friday, including some weekends when essays or a client advice letter was due.

What's the best bit about studying for a GDL?

My greatest achievements at the Law School so far are linked to my work in the Legal Advice Centre. Being able to research complex legal issues and provide pragmatic advice to clients is not something I expected to be doing, and excelling at, during my first year in the legal world.

The course is without a doubt hard work, but at no point have I found it unmanageable.

I have a number of work experience opportunities this summer, including a two-week vacation scheme in London with a leading commercial law firm. I will await the outcome of these opportunities, although I am looking to attain a training contract as soon as possible in commercial law.

What advice would you give to others considering the GDL?

Take advantage of the opportunities provided such as the Legal Advice Centre or Commercial drop-in centre. This is how you will separate yourself from the crowd in a very competitive industry.

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