Guide to studying Law
By Deborah Ives, Admissions Director for the School of Law UG programmes, University of East Anglia.
What is Law?
- Search for law degrees and you'll find LLB (Bachelor of Laws), BA, and BSc Law first-degree courses. The difference between the LLB, and BA and BSc is that generally LLB students spend their entire course studying the law, while students on a BA or BSc programme may spend as much as one-third of their time studying modules outside of Law.
- A proportion of Law students may not want to become lawyers, but are fascinated with the process of law. Conversely, many would-be lawyers take their degree in another subject and then take a law conversion course, the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).
University of East Anglia
Studying Law will give you good
communication and negotiation skills
Specific or general skills developed
- A Law degree will provide you with the skills required to practice in law, for example through mooting (a mock legal hearing where students argue points of law), and pro bono work. Depending on the course, you may study law in relation to specific areas, such as the family, commerce, or finance.
- General skills include the research, interpretation and explanation of complex subjects, analytical thinking and practical problem solving, good oral communication, negotiation, teamwork, attention to detail, and the ability to draft formal documents.
Examples of area of study
- Legal Method, Skills and Reasoning
- Law in Practice
- Constitutional and Administrative Law
- English Legal Process
- Principles of Criminal Law
- Contract Law
Optional modules might include:
- Law and Medicine
- Media Law
- Internet Law
- Public International Law
- Child Law
- Intellectual Property Law
Why study Law
- The academic study of law will give you an insight in to the legal systems on which much of our day-to-day life is based. You will gain a broad and thorough understanding of the subject.
- You will practise, practise and practise some more the skills of thinking, analysis, written and verbal presentation of ideas of arguments. The skills are necessary to practice Law but make great transferable skills for many other career paths, such as teaching, the civil service, and the voluntary sector.
Misconceptions about Law
- An A Level in Law is not required, although students will need to meet specific academic requirements (check with the university for any specific qualifications required for courses you are interested in).
- Key factors used to assess their application will include how students portray their academic interest in the subject, their personal interests and extra-curricular activities within their personal statement on the application form.
- Generally, admissions tutors look for strong all-round individuals who are curious about the world around them and determined and diligent.
- A degree in Law not only leads to a career as a barrister or solicitor – it prepares a graduate for a wide range of careers.
Coursework, assessments and exams
- Assessment is by examinations and coursework. Exams at UEA and other Law Schools include seen, pre-release and open book exams.
What degree can I get?
- LLB Law.
- BA/BSc Law.
- Joint degrees, including Business and Law, Criminology and Law. Some universities offer sandwich courses with industrial placement.
- As well as LLB Law, UEA offers LLB Law with American Law, and LLB Law with European Legal Systems.
What qualifications do I need?
- You do not need to have studied A level. Most courses will be open to you whatever A levels you take.
- Some universities will look for A levels in English or History, both of which involve essay or report writing.
Use our Course Chooser to filter results to find Law courses.
Tips for Your university application
- Students should be able to demonstrate that they have followed up their interest in law. Work experience in a legal environment is useful but not essential. It is more important to show an appreciation of how law affects the world around us.
- One student had pursued his interest in law by volunteering at his local police station, another by becoming a volunteer advocate for the mentally ill.
- Read a good quality newspaper so you are fully informed about topics in the news – there will always be a legal angle somewhere – and be prepared to discuss and share views on these.
- DON’T quote famous lawyers – when you have read 500 personal statements quoting Ghandi it becomes a bit boring! Make your statement personal and relevant.
What are the postgraduate opportunities?
- Postgraduate programmes in Law can be studied via full- and part-time, and distance learning. Law graduates who wish to work in law have the options of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors, or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers.
- An alternative is the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) programme, which includes the GDL and a graduate fast-track programme, where students study a specific area of law, rather than covering many different areas.
- Students with a degree in a subject other than Law can take the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), or other qualifying law degree. Practicing lawyers have various options open to them, such as a Master of Laws (LLM) course.
- There are joint MBA and law programmes available, both in the UK and overseas.
Graduate job prospects
*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.
What are the job opportunities?
Directly relating to Law
- Students gaining a Law degree can progress directly to take the LPC (for solicitors), or the BPTC (for barristers).
- Most qualified students will work in private practice, while others may join in-house legal departments, the Government Legal Service, or Crown Prosecution Service.
Other areas where a Law degree would be useful
- Those who decide not to work in law excel in a wide range of professions such as academia, media, business, politics and banking.
- A Law degree is considered very highly amongst employers as it shows that an individual can communicate well, can engage in critical thinking, and has great reasoning skills.
Deborah Ives is the Admissions Director for the School of Law UG programmes.
Find out more about Qualifying law degrees and law conversion courses.
Next page: History of Law
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