This guest article written by Amelia Mah focuses on sharing the benefits of pursuing a dual-qualified LLB. Amelia is a Scots and English LLB graduate and will be starting her training contract with CMS in August 2021.
What is a Dual Qualifying LLB?
A little bit about a dual-qualifying LLB before I get started; it’s the equivalent of a Scots Law LLB and an English Law LLB together. In Scotland, all degrees are 4 years in duration regardless of whether you do a Scots Law LLB or a dual-qualifying one. It just means that those on the dual-qualifying LLB have less choice when it comes to modules since we have to pick up the compulsory English Law modules. For those who have an English LLB (or any undergraduate degree) and would like to qualify in Scotland, you can undertake the 2-year ‘Accelerated LLB’, which is the Scots equivalent of the Gradate Diploma in Law (GDL).
After you finish this degree, you have two choices. To qualify as a solicitor in England, you’d have to undertake the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and to qualify as a solicitor in Scotland, you’d have to undertake the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DPLP).
The benefits of dual-qualification
There are many benefits of undertaking a dual-qualifying LLB, if your university offers it. I’ve picked my top three benefits and hopefully this will encourage you to consider a dual-qualifying degree!
- Competitive advantage
The most obvious advantage of studying a dual-qualifying degree is the competitive advantage it gives you over other candidates. Since fewer students undertake such an LLB, it instantly makes you stand out to firms which receive thousands of applications. It is especially attractive for large international firms where multiple different legal systems are involved.
Whilst a dual-qualifying LLB will not qualify you in both jurisdictions automatically (you’d have to undertake the LPC and DPLP), many firms will help you cross-qualify, especially if you already have the equivalent of an LLB in that jurisdiction.
2. Deeper analytical skills
Studying more than one legal system has also been particularly useful for me in terms of developing deeper analytical skills. This also links to my point above making you a stand-out candidate. When you have knowledge of more than one legal system, it gives you the opportunity to compare and contrast the laws of the jurisdictions but also more deeply critique the law. For example, if one area of law is less developed in jurisdiction X than in jurisdiction Y, you can use the law of jurisdiction Y as a possible way for jurisdiction X’s laws to be reformed.
Furthermore, you have to think a little bit harder when you have knowledge of more than one legal system to ensure that you don’t confuse the law between the legal systems. This further develops your analytical skills and demonstrates your ability to comprehend and process a larger quantity of information.
Finally, studying a dual-qualifying degree gives you the opportunity to have different ways of thinking about the law. You are able to understand that there are various different ways that the law can tackle a particular area, and not just blindly accept the law of your home jurisdiction.
3. Secondments and cross-border work
Having knowledge of more than just your home legal system is useful even if you don’t end up practising law in any of them. Many large international firms now offer its trainees international secondments to other offices or to clients, and the opportunity to partake in cross-border litigation/transactions. By studying multiple jurisdictions, you will be able to pick up the law of whichever jurisdiction you’re in quicker because you’ve been trained to learn about more than one legal system. You’ll be able to add more value to the firm’s work and hopefully settle into different legal systems quicker and more comfortably.
Thanks for reading!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the dual-qualifying degrees and the benefits that it comes with. For me, I’ve really enjoyed studying both Scots and English law and I hope this has encouraged you to do the same if you have the opportunity! Thanks to Matthew Berrick, co-founder of The Legal Line Up, for reaching out to me!