I wanted to write a post about some of the things I wish I knew before studying Law at university. Hopefully this will help those of you who are considering studying law at uni but want to know more about what it’s actually like and what to expect.
So here are my top 5 things I wish I knew at the start!
1. You have to do a huge amount of reading per week
Now I’m assuming that in most degrees you have to do a fair bit of reading right? But with law it is substantially more than most other degrees. I guess this is just the nature of the beast. Now to put it into context, the amount of reading you will be required to do could go from having to read up to 100 pages of 1 case to reading multiple chapters a textbook for one workshop. So if reading isn’t something you enjoy then you will probably struggle to keep up with the workload.
2. Work experience/Vacation Scheme’s are vital to stand out
I always knew that work experience was fairly important in any career but in law it is a necessity if you want to stand out from the rest. Law as a career is understandably heavily competitive, just having a first class or upper second class degree wont be enough if you want to go far and work in a highly reputable law firm. Along with having work experience or ideally a vacation scheme under your belt, you will also need to show that you participated in extra curricular activities during your studies, for example taking part in Pro Bono opportunities, being part of a society or a sport club. Nowadays reputable law firms will want to know that you have more about you than just a first class law degree.
3. Training Contracts are highly competitive and ruthless
I always knew the process and steps that I would need to take if I wanted to land myself a training contract. However, no one ever told me that to get into a top law firm I would need to pass multiple (about 6 or 7) stages of recruitment and have nothing short of top grades from GCSE’s and A’levels. Don’t get me wrong, to be offered a training contract at a high street firm it is much easier than this but I wish I knew this before so that i could set my sights a bit lower and understand what i could realistically achieve.
4. No mistakes can be made with regards to spelling and grammar
Oh and the same with referencing! When you are studying law, your lecturer’s expect nothing less of perfection. You will be marked down for spelling, grammatical and referencing errors so make sure you do not throw away marks on sloppy work. Trust me, it helps to be a perfectionist!
5. It is common for many students to get a handout
There’s nothing more accurate than the saying “It’s not what you know but who you know”. This is paramount in the legal field where many students come from privileged backgrounds, connections to people in high places are not hard to come by. It is easy to get disheartened and feel as though you will have to work harder to secure yourself a place in a credible law firm than the people who have family members/friends who already work in such firms, unfortunately you will be correct in your thinking. You will have to do a lot more to get noticed but don’t give up! It can be done, many students are obtaining amazing training contracts by working their socks off and putting all their effort into building a fantastic resume with no handouts from family or friends.
Okay so they are my top 5 things I wish I knew before starting out in the legal world. If would like me to do a part 2 to this post then just let me know, there are plenty more things I can come up with!
Thank you so much for reading! As always, feel free to like, share and subscribe to my blog for more posts just like this one.
FYI- The pictures used in this post are sourced from pexels.com