GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law): A Pathway to Become a Solicitor

GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law): A Pathway to Become a Solicitor

Are you interested in pursuing a career as a solicitor? If so, one of the most common pathways to enter the legal profession is by obtaining a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). In this blog post, we will explore what the GDL is, why it is an essential step towards becoming a solicitor, and how it can open doors to a rewarding legal career.

What is the GDL?

The GDL, also known as the Common Professional Examination (CPE), is a conversion course for people who hold an undergraduate degree in a subject other than law. It is designed to provide non-law graduates with a foundational knowledge of the law and to equip them with the necessary legal skills to embark on legal practice.

The GDL is a rigorous and intensive program that covers the core areas of law, including contract law, criminal law, constitutional law, and more. It prepares students for the specific skills and knowledge required for the next stage of their legal education and training.

Why is the GDL Important?

The GDL is an important step towards becoming a solicitor for non-law graduates. It acts as a bridge between their existing undergraduate degree and the legal profession. Without the GDL, individuals with non-law degrees would not be eligible to progress to the next stage of legal training, which includes the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

By successfully completing the GDL, candidates demonstrate their commitment and dedication to pursuing a legal career. They develop a solid foundation in legal principles and gain the necessary analytical and critical thinking skills required to excel in the legal profession.

GDL vs. Law Degree

One common question that arises is whether it is better to pursue a law degree or the GDL. While both pathways lead to the same goal of becoming a solicitor, there are some key differences to consider.

Law degrees are specifically designed for individuals who have not yet obtained an undergraduate degree. They cover the same core areas of law as the GDL but in much greater depth. Law graduates are exempt from taking the GDL and can progress directly to the LPC or SQE.

On the other hand, the GDL is ideal for individuals with a non-law undergraduate degree who wish to transition into the legal profession. It offers a condensed version of the law degree, focusing on the essential modules required for legal practice. The GDL allows graduates to pivot their career and pursue their passion for law without having to complete an entire undergraduate degree.

Benefits of GDL

Completing the GDL offers several benefits to those aspiring to become solicitors:

  1. Accessibility: The GDL provides an accessible route for non-law graduates to enter the legal profession. It allows individuals from diverse academic backgrounds to pursue a career in law.
  2. Efficiency: Unlike a law degree, which typically takes three years to complete, the GDL can be completed in a shorter timeframe. It allows individuals to fast-track their legal education and start their career sooner.
  3. Broadens Career Options: The GDL opens doors to a wide range of legal career options, including corporate law, criminal law, family law, and more. It provides a solid foundation for further specialization.
  4. Skills Development: The GDL equips students with essential legal skills, such as legal research, writing, problem-solving, and advocacy. These skills are crucial for success in the legal profession.

Preparing for the GDL

Preparing for the GDL requires dedication and commitment. It is important to allocate sufficient time for studying and to develop effective study strategies. Familiarizing yourself with past GDL exam questions and practicing sample exams can also greatly enhance your chances of success.

To help you in your GDL journey, we offer a range of resources and preparation courses. Check out our SQE 1 Practice Exam Questions and SQE 1 Practice Mocks FLK1 FLK2 to gain valuable insights into GDL exam formats and questions. Additionally, explore our SQE 2 Preparation Courses and SQE 1 Preparation Courses to ensure you are fully prepared for the next stages of your legal training.


The GDL serves as a crucial pathway for non-law graduates to become solicitors. It offers a streamlined route to enter the legal profession by providing the necessary foundational knowledge and skills required for further legal training. By successfully completing the GDL, individuals open doors to a rewarding and fulfilling career in law.

For more information on the GDL and other legal qualifications, keep an eye on the SRA SQE Exam Dates. Take the first step towards your dream legal career today!


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