David Durie started his legal studies at Fife College taking a HND in Legal Services. He obtained a 1st Class Honours LLB in 2019 from the University of Dundee and represented Scotland at the 42nd Telders International Law Moot, winning a prize as Runner-Up Best Oralist. David Durie is currently studying the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Dundee.
Six years ago, I uprooted my life from Glasgow, where I lived at the time, and moved back to Kirkcaldy so I could look after my grandmother. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with my life but I knew that my local college was still accepting places for courses which were about to start. I looked up Fife College’s online prospectus and saw that they offered a two-year course in Legal Services for which I applied. What started out as a way to fill my days while I found a job turned into a life changing opportunity.
How the HND complemented the LLB
The HND at Fife College didn't just give me a great understanding of the 'professional' subjects of Scots Law, it also came with some of the most caring, approachable and experienced tutors I have met. College didn't have the same in-depth focus on the black letter law which university excels at, but it prepared me for the LLB in so many other ways. Studying Contract Law in first year of the LLB was that little bit easier as I had already been taught about the court structure and Property Law was contextualised in second year because I had been shown how to draft a disposition. In addition to this, smaller classes sizes at college allowed more experience to be passed down from our tutors in real-life examples of working in the law.
Moving from HND to LLB
Upon finishing my HND I experienced a lot of anxiety around the logistics of moving to university:
- The first was funding; I had been told the SAAS only provided funds for five years, so how could I do four after already using two? Well, I found out that they will actually provide ‘5 plus 1’ if you are moving from college to university.
- Should I go straight into second year if the university offers that? Personally, I chose not to as I didn’t want to join a year group who already knew each other (even though some of my classmates went into second or third year and that suited them perfectly).
- The biggest worry I hope I can dismiss is this though - will the extra two years hold me back? On that, I can say absolutely not. If anything, the extra two years I had helped me mature. The grounding in Scots law I was given at college massively helped me in my first two years at university. On top of that, it allowed me to feel that I could afford to spend some time on extra-curricular activities like mooting which I would recommend to every student.
If there is one message that I could give to myself six years ago, it would be that there isn’t one message. There isn’t only one way to get into studying law, and there are even more ways to enter the profession. Do what makes you feel comfortable and lets you try your hardest. There is no time limit on success.