Case study

LLM conversion course student — Dhiraj Varma

Dhiraj is studying the LLM conversion course at the University of Brighton to create a pathway to an academic career

Why did you choose this conversion course and institution?

I spent my undergraduate years in Brighton so I was already well-acquainted with the city. Brighton's growing reputation appealed to me because the conversion course was an innovative pathway into law for non-law graduates or those of us returning to academia. The flexibility regarding part-time or full-time study was great for those who were working and studying or had family commitments and this was particularly useful for me as when I started I was working and living in London.

What has the course taught you that your first degree did not?

Coming from a different field into law is a challenging yet rewarding undertaking. The course taught me critical analysis skills from a legal and ethical perspective, legal research methods and skills and the legal technique of reading the law. It also helped me develop a more collegiate approach to studying and provided me with a more branched thought process when dealing with legal and ethical issues.

Tell us a bit about what your conversion course involves

The LLM provides education and training in seven core legal modules including:

  • public law
  • contract law
  • equity and trusts
  • land law
  • tort
  • EU law
  • and a dissertation/project module in a different area of law.

Among scheduled teaching time there was ample opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities arranged by the Law Society such as mooting, client interviewing and negotiation competitions. Careers seminars gave me the opportunity to network and speak to solicitors and LPC and BTC learning providers. Mini-pupillages, Inn dinners, Law Society socials and networking events were also available. The biggest bonus was that the LLM conversion course provides GDL training with the option to obtain a Masters degree in a way that is financially sustainable.

How is the course assessed?

The course is assessed via class participation and attendance, assignments such as essays and presentations, final examinations and a dissertation/project in an area of law. For example my area of legal research for my dissertation is based on medical ethics and law.

How does a conversion course differ to an undergraduate one?

It's a lot more intense doing the conversion course and the level of critical analysis required is at a far more advanced level, but you are gradually introduced to this as the course progresses. The 'Legal skills and methods' module was definitely a very proficient bridge for students from legal and non-legal backgrounds. Being taught by staff whose experience stretched from currently/previously practising barristers, solicitors, solicitor-advocates and academic research professionals really provides students with a broad spectrum of expertise in the legal field.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

I have chosen to follow the legal academic research pathway in law, the course has presented me with a very defined way of achieving this. This has been mainly due to the positive and collegiate atmosphere of the law department staff who have been excellent guides to not just me but fellow colleagues pursuing careers at the Bar or as solicitors.

What tips would you give to others choosing a conversion course?

  • Be motivated - The more you put into the course the more you will get out of it.
  • Show dedication - Be prepared for all the reading.
  • Build rapport - You will meet a range of people from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Be hungry - For a challenge and engage in as many of the activities and seminars as you can and take the opportunities available to make the most of your time at Brighton.
  • Have fun.

Find out more

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