Some Law FAQs! (Part 1)
If you’re still deciding what you want to study at university, or if you’ve already got your offer for Law, I hope this blog (and its next part) can help you out a bit! These are some of the questions that I have been asked when talking to prospective students, and/or questions I asked myself before starting university, so I’ve tried to answer them as well as I could 🙂
What do I need to read before starting to study Law at university?
I personally didn’t get a reading list before starting Law School, though I know that some other universities do send lists out for the summer. If you’ve got no reading list, first of all, relax! The Law School isn’t trying to throw you off, it’s just that in Law you will start learning everything from the basics in year one, so there isn’t really any prior knowledge required.
Still, if you want to find out a little more about Law before starting, I can recommend a few things 🙂
For books, ‘Law: A very short introduction’ by Raymond Wacks covers a lot of the topics and themes you’ll be discussing over your degree, and it’s quite easy and quick to read! Recently, I also read ‘In your defence’ by Sarah Langford which is more about Law in practice, but it’s very interesting and shows you how what we learn can apply in real life 🙂 I also know that a lot of Law students really enjoyed ‘Letters to a Law Student’ by McBride, although I haven’t personally read it. Before starting university, I also read a lot of student blogs, just so that I had a bit more of an idea as to what my first year could look like.
I’ve never studied Law before, will I be okay? I’ve heard Law is really hard, am I smart enough for it?
For both questions, yes, you’ll be just fine! I was a bit worried when I learned that some people could take Law for their A-levels since in France that was never an option. I thought that meant that I might be playing catch-up with other students from the start, but that was really not the case! As I said above, you start from zero in your first year, so having or not having studied Law before doesn’t really matter.
For the second question, Law is hard yes, but it’s not impossible! If you got onto the course, you must have been doing something right, so don’t worry about not being smart enough for it, you are. Law can be confusing, and sometimes it may take you a while to actually understand a concept, but the same is true of any university degree. I think that the hardest part about Law is just learning how to study it, because it’s so unlike anything you may have done before. When in my first year I was presented with a scenario and asked to advise a party, I was completely lost and wondered if a lot of luck was involved in getting a good grade. But then during lectures and seminars we were taught exactly how to analyze these types of questions, and how to detangle all of the different issues involved, and so I got a lot more confident approaching these. The same goes for writing legal essays. They may seem very technical and strange initially but as you practice them and get feedback, they’ll become less of a mystery.
TL;DR- Law can be confusing and feel a bit overwhelming sometimes, but as you study it and ask questions about everything, you’ll become more comfortable with it 🙂
Is Law dull?
From the outside, Law can seem like a very complicated, but also very boring degree. It tends to be linked to endless lists of cases to learn, as well as overly-complex and gigantic textbooks, which are not the most appealing… But once I started studying it, I realized that there was a lot to enjoy about studying Law! A lot of our core modules are mixed with some politics and history, and by second year you are able to pick your optional modules and tailor your course so that it fits you the most. So if you don’t like your core modules, you can avoid similar ones by not picking them, but you can also specifically take modules that have elements of the core modules you really enjoyed!
I’m not going to lie, reading and memorizing cases can be very time-consuming and a bit stressful (especially when it comes to remembering all of them for exams) but studying cases is still one my favorite parts of Law. They aren’t all interesting, but every once in a while you find one that reads more like a story, or that is very engaging. Cases deal with everything from snails in bottles to separating conjoined twins, to Brexit, so you are bound to find some interesting ones!
Feel free to leave your questions below if you have more! 🙂