UCAS results are in and you have been accepted into your chosen university to study law! Firstly, congratulations and be sure to take the rest of the summer to relax and have a great time.
We have pulled together some top tips on surviving a law degree, as told by law students and some of our team who are in the final stages of qualifying as a solicitor, undergoing their training contract.
Reading goggles at the ready
As a law student, there is a lot of reading involved and this is something you will get used to.
On an LLB course there are very few contact hours with lecturers and may be expected to do around 30 hours of independent study a week. You will be assigned essential reading for each lecture and seminar, though you will likely need to do additional reading on top of this. This will include reading case law and legislation.
Tip: Start learning how to research as soon as possible. The Lexis Nexis is a big help for that.
Plan your time
The key is to be organised and to try to not fall behind in the reading. The first year can be a bit of a struggle as you need to acclimatise to being an independent learner and setting your own deadlines.
It’s also important to take time off and set a time at the end of the day where you will stop work and do fun activities instead.
Tip: Set a timetable for exam preparation early on and keeping a diary helps, as well as a list of what to do each day.
It’s not all criminal
If you have studied A-Level law you will have had a taste of criminal law grit. However, there is much more to the law than crime, and at university you will be introduced to wide range of topics including family law, contracts, trusts, land law and public law.
In your first year you will look at UK Constitutional Law the English Legal System, contract law and tort.
The second year you will have three compulsory subjects; Criminal, Trusts and Equity, Land Law and additional modules such as Family Law, Public Law and International Law.
Your final year is focused on your dissertation, as well as another five modules.
Tip: Start thinking of your dissertation topic sooner rather than leaving it until the third year. That way you can begin preparing for it – it’s a beast!
Beyond the lectures
During the criminal law module, you may get a chance to visit a local prison which is a really interesting experience and definitely a must if you are considering a career in crime.
You may also have the opportunity to attend the local Crown Court for a tour during your studies. Both our trainee solicitors have benefited from the opportunity to shadow a Court Legal Advisor at a Magistrates’ Court and a Crown Court Judge
Tip: If the opportunity of work experience in a law firm or chamber presents itself, take it. Here you will see how solicitors work in practice as well as discover which area of law is for you – it could be the one you least expect.
Following your university degree, you must currently complete the LPC (Legal Practice Course) which is a one-year postgraduate course. If you did not study law at undergraduate level, you will need to complete a GDL course (Graduate Diploma in Law) before undertaking the LPC.
Following the LPC, you will be required to undertake a period of recognised training, this is known as a training contract.
Finally, have an amazing time!
Don’t get too overwhelmed in first year! It can be a jump from high school but the most important task in first year is to settle into university life, make friends and have fun. The first year is usually formative for a reason.
If you are moving away to University, take the time to explore the city and try to get involved with as many university clubs and societies as you can.