Why study law?
An undergraduate law degree is one of the hardest, but most rewarding undergraduate degrees.
If you want a real insight into human nature, a degree where you’ll constantly be thinking in new ways and challenging others, then a law degree is a great option for you.
Studying law offers the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills and explore many aspects of human life.
Law gives you the chance to strengthen your understanding and deepen your experiences across the full range of humanities and social sciences.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help decide if law is for you:
‘Am I interested in any of the following?
‘Government, politics, business, finance, relationships, internal relations, families, media, environment, human rights, crime, punishment, war crimes..’
Almost every aspect of society is subject to law, to want to study law it’s important you have an interest in society, how people act towards each other and deciding how people should act.
‘Am I interested in making rigorous arguments and counter-arguments?’
Making compelling and logical arguments and counter-arguments are central to the study of law, you’ll be asked to write essays arguing which viewpoint you think is right.
You’ll need to be able to effectively interpret data to make a rational judgment as to what you think is right, and then campaign for your case.
If you’re a passionate, logical thinker and like proving people wrong.. law is a good fit for you!
‘Am I a bookworm with an appetite for reading?’
An undergraduate law degree requires a lot of reading and absorbing large amounts of text and information. If you hate reading, then law may not be the subject for you.
It’s not just reading that a law degree requires, but also for you to be able to read particular passages carefully and think about possible meanings and interpret ideas in your own way. Law isn’t just facts with an easy distinction from what is right and what is wrong, a lot of the time there is a fine line and you’ll need to interpret readings to make an informed decision for your argument.
Law degree entry requirements
Different universities will have different entry requirements for a law degree. Usually, there won’t be any prerequisites of GCSE or A-Level subjects to be able to undertake a law degree. Some universities will also offer the option to carry out a foundation year if you don’t get the A Level grades you were hoping for.
If you’re considering applying to university, visit our blog for some useful tips for how to get into university.
How long is a law degree?
Most law degrees are 3 years, like other degrees, with the option to do a year in industry or a year abroad. Remember, completing a Law degree is the first step in becoming a qualified lawyer, there is more training following your degree before this.
The types of Law degrees that are available
By far the most popular is the LLB Law degree, a qualifying degree which, until 2021, allowed you to go on to the bar, or to do the LPC, after your degree to become a qualified lawyer.
The introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) from September 2021 means that you can have a degree in any subject, and still go on to take the two SQE assessments, alongside two years of qualifying work experience, and pass the character and suitability requirements.
You can also carry out the law conversion course, otherwise known as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), but from 2021 this will no longer be a necessity.
Although, it may give you an insight into the Law before choosing to undertake it as a career.
Not only that, but many universities offer a qualifying Law degree that also has a subsidiary component to your degree.
For example, you can do LLB Law with American Studies, or with a language and still finish your three years with a qualifying Law degree.
What to expect in each year from your Law degree
If you do a qualifying Law degree, an LLB, then each year of your degree is quite structured and limited by the core modules.
This will differ between each university but the core modules you will have to study are – criminal law, property law, equity and trusts, EU law, contract law, tort law and constitutional law.
Usually, as with other degrees, the first year does not count towards your final grade.
You will, most likely, still carry out some of the mandatory modules in your first year, and employers will look at this when reviewing applications so, it’s still important to try your best.
Often, people say your second year is the most difficult. Most universities use this year to do 4, year-long, core modules so you don’t get to choose any of your subjects. In your third and final year, with just a Law degree, you get to choose all your modules.
This is a good point to start thinking about what you want to specialise in when you start to practice, as firms and chambers will sometimes look at the subjects you have taken.
Law degrees are tough, so it’s pretty normal if time to time you feel overwhelmed.
Make sure to reach out to friends and lecturers if you need further support and want to share with others how you’re feeling.
Make sure you’re looking after your mental health and aren’t struggling in silence, for further advice visit our blog for how to look after your mental health at university.
Doing a year abroad with your Law degree
Most universities offer a year abroad programs, where you take a year (sometimes a semester) studying mainly your degree at an international university. This can vary from Europe, to America, to Australia.
Doing a year abroad, statistically, increases your chances of being employed at the end of your degree.
A year abroad can also give you a range of new skills, ones that a Law degree specifically don’t give you.
Putting yourself in a brand new environment, with lots of new people, helps you to develop your communication skills and your people skills – both things that can go on your CV.
A year abroad also means you get to have a lot of fun in the middle of your degree without the worry of taking a year out, and delaying starting your career by a year.
If you’re considering studying abroad, visit our blog for how to get the most out of studying abroad.
Law exams and essays
Assessment types vary by university, but most subjects have a mixture of essays and exams.
It’s important you aim high in all components of your modules, as they’ll add up to form your entire module grade, and then your average grade for the year.