Thomas Maxwell-Harrison is a full time BPC and LLM Student who shared 5 things he wished he knew before becoming a law student:
There are tons of lawyers and non-lawyers out there who are talking to students about what they wish they’d known before going to law school or becoming a law student. Aside from the debt, you often hear them mention that it was overwhelming or boring, or in some cases, a waste of time.
It isn’t all bad though, a lot of people have enjoyed law school, branching out into new careers, developing new skills and better understanding how the legal system of England and Wales, and the world, works.
There are a multitude of options
Being a law student doesn’t mean you have to study law to become a lawyer. With a law degree you can do so many things. It opens up doors into fields like politics and teaching. It gives you skills which you can utilise in many areas of work, such as good communication and time management abilities.
Graduate programmes are plentiful for the law student, most require a 2:1 and some variety of work experience. A law degree can be used to gain that experience, or merely being a law student can help you gain a position as a paralegal or secretary, furthering your future careers.
Law students get to engage with mooting, with pro bono and with advocacy in some form. All of this gives important variety to the course and a student’s life, which many are not even aware of.
You need an efficient study schedule
In order to be a full-time law student, you will want to create a detailed schedule of your time. This is everything from law related reading, to essay completion, to free time and appointments.
Having a diary of dates helped effectively manage what can otherwise be an overwhelming and busy life. Creating a go to study schedule which you know is reliable and more importantly up to date, will allow you to manage your free time more effectively.
It can be enjoyable
For a lot of law students, they find they enjoy law. It has a rich history and philosophy which you will learn about, along with seeing how the system functions and operates in the UK and further afield, like EU law and international law.
Law is a mixture of topics in the first year, some of it goes back over a thousand years which can be very motivating and engaging for a student new to the topic. There is the extracurricular mooting and pro bono which can help students feel a sense of worth and confidence.
Competitions provide some good fun and socialisations ultimately make being a law student enjoyable. There are many options for getting involved with external organisations too, like Citizens Advice or Advocate.
Advocacy is a big part of it
If you want to become a lawyer after your degree or further study as a law student, you will need to understand that advocacy is a big part of the study. It is at the forefront of what an advocate does.
So, gaining advocacy experience right from year 1 of an undergraduate degree is essential. If on the other hand you do not want to be a lawyer, then you should still consider whether it will benefit your further study or career.
Arguably it will, as being a good advocate extends to many different areas and is valued by hundreds of employers.
It requires a lot of independent study
You don’t have to be studying all the time, as that is one of the myths. However, there will be a lot of time where you will be spending it in your dorms at a desk reading through thick texts, completing tasks which could take a few hours.
These are not the sorts of things you can do in a group. But, taking regular breaks can help significantly in helping to break up that workload into manageable chunks. Having groups for revision or general study can be of benefit though as you can bounce ideas around and share understanding which can help consolidate that knowledge.
But, for the most part, the study is solitary.