It’s no wonder that law is a popular career path. It affords financial stability and excellent job prospects as well as a fascinating role in which no two days are the same. But what is it actually like to be a law student? Read on to find out!
There is a lot of reading
We mean it. Secondary school students who plan on studying law at university are often advised to take an A-Level in English Literature - and there is a very good reason for this. If the prospect of a mountain of books frightens you, chances are you’re not cut out for a career in law.
Of course, being an articulate speaker, displaying skill in negotiation and presenting a structured argument are vital to solicitors and barristers alike and studying literature can help to develop these skills. But the primary reason that English is recommended for future law students is that a law degree involves ploughing through an awful lot of books. If you’re an avid reader, excellent.
On the other hand if you hate writing essays and struggled to get through the first Harry Potter book without being distracted, we’d recommend thinking twice. Studying law at university is likely to be an uphill struggle.
It can be absolutely fascinating
Even when you think it won’t be. Especially when you think it won’t be.
We’ve already mentioned that law students need to read a lot of books. Many of these are very dense, utilising specific legal terminology and involving historical precedents to cases, the study of which is an essential part of being a solicitor.
For this reason the study of law is often stereotyped as boring and dull. Yet if you’re passionate about law, nothing could be further from the truth.
If you’re a curious researcher who loves delving into the complex ins and outs of the legal system and discovering fascinating cases you hadn’t heard of before, congratulations - a degree in law might just be the ideal choice for you. Get ready to dive in.
Networking is key
Networking is key in every profession, but it’s essential if you want to get ahead in law and you should be prepared to put in some hard graft from the beginning.
If you start looking for internships in your first year, this will give you the advantage of having accumulated work experience and a range of professional contacts by the time you graduate.
This will stand you in good stead when you are in the process of applying for your first full-time role in law, both in terms of securing a job and knowing what to expect when you finally enter the workplace.
Everyone is going to ask you for legal advice
… and you won’t want to give it.
Be prepared for everyone you know (who isn’t studying law) to use you as their personal legal encyclopaedia. The very fact that you are a law student gives them license to quiz you on the ins and outs of any legal matter whenever the subject comes up.
Since every law student keeps a mental stack of obscure legal trivia handy (did you know that in the UK, under the Salmon Act 1986, it is illegal to handle a salmon in suspicious circumstances?) this can often make for good conversation. It can also be really annoying.
You’ll be constantly tested on your knowledge. As this helps you fine tune your skills as a future solicitor, it’s a good thing (right?). Look on the bright side - at least you’re not training to be a doctor.
If you’re working towards a career in law, you can get insight into the path that’s right for you from the professionals in the Lawtons guide to becoming a criminal solicitor.