1. Postgraduate Applicants: GDL
  2. Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to other questions often asked by our applicants.

The following questions were answered by David Herling, Barrister and GDL Programme Director.

Why should I choose The City Law School for the GDL?

At The City Law School we offer an academic course with small tutorial groups and a dedicated group of personal tutors. There is also an excellent programme of careers events for intending solicitors and barristers as well as a programme of lectures given by dedicated careers advisers. Our students have the opportunity to meet practising solicitors and barristers on a regular basis when they visit the university.

Does it really matter where I do the GDL?

It does. If you are going to do the virtual equivalent of an LLB degree in about seven months, you'll need to develop legal understanding fast. A "spoon-fed" style of teaching limits students from gaining the intellectual skills they need.

Isn't it just a question of getting through the GDL to the next stage?

No, students will get much more out of the GDL year by fully engaging as part of a very highly motivated, bright and relatively small student cohort with the benefit of expert tuition.

What are the benefits of studying the GDL with City?

The City GDL provides more face-to-face teaching than any other, and as a medium-sized course our academic staff and team of administrators are much more likely to be able to get to know you individually.

Does the City GDL deserve its reputation as the most academic course?

Yes. Nearly half the major textbooks you'll use during the course have been written by the people who'll be teaching you. Perhaps more importantly, though, we teach in the style which our students seem to want and expect - one that really enables them to develop their legal understanding.

What is the pass rate for the GDL?

The average pass rate in most years is around 90% (those not passing tend to have special circumstances which have disrupted their study). In addition, we only make offers to people who we think can pass our exams well and progress to the next stage of legal education.

Is the GDL a stimulating year?

Yes, we think so. One former student recently wrote to say that the City GDL, for him, had been "quite literally life changing". It's certainly extremely stimulating to teach.

Are some GDL courses better for intending solicitors than barristers, and vice versa?

Just choose the best course. If you're going to succeed as barrister or solicitor, you will need a mastery of legal analysis rather than a used set of subject manuals. Interview panels don't judge you on where you did the GDL, but on what you learnt from it.

What if I have a training contract and my firm is telling me to go where they send most of their trainees?

Make your own decision and talk to your employers. They may well let you follow your own judgment if you can explain your preference. Every year we have students who have done exactly that.

What if I still can't decide between all the competing claims?

Ask around as widely as you can - don't let any one person try to make up your mind for you. Above all, take any and every opportunity to visit the institutions which interest you. Form a view of the academic staff who'll be teaching you. Are they simply recruiting, or are they communicating their own genuine belief in their course? Also talk to their present and past students where you can.

What are the class sizes?

The lectures are made up all of the students studying the GDL (190) and tutor groups, which are no larger than 16.

I'd like to speak to an academic, how can I do this?

Please contact the Course Officer, John Mills (john.mills@city.ac.uk) and he will put you in touch with a member of the academic team.

Are there any scholarships available for GDL students?

Offer holders are encouraged to apply for scholarships. The City Law Scholarship information page can be found here.