So you want to study law?
It’s well known that solicitors, lawyers and barristers can command some pretty hefty salaries, which makes it an attractive choice of career. However, while it’s true that getting a law degree has a high chance of getting you into a job, and one that pays well over time, money is not the only motivation you need when deciding why study Law.
Good reasons for choosing a law course
- You have a strong interest in the law and how it works and you’ve followed this up by finding out more about what real-life lawyers do. This involves work experience placements, asking to shadow a lawyer for the day and having a fairly all-consuming interest in reading about the law and its application.
- You have the motivation to work on complex documents, not getting easily bored or distracted. You may find it relaxing to read the Economist, serious newspapers and have a fascination with reports of previous cases.
- You want to work with people. While law is highly academic as a subject, the hard, nitty-gritty of being a working lawyer involves dealing with people at times of great stress in their lives – victims of crimes such as rape and assault, partners who are divorcing, injured parties making claims.
- You believe in the law of the land and have strong respect for it.
Qualities you need to study law
These qualities could easily apply to other rigorous degree courses, such as medicine, nursing, engineering or maths. However, while those subjects have a practical side, law is quite a rarefied subject to study. You won’t gain much practical experience until you have a full grasp of the theory.
- You are quite highly academic and on track for getting good grades at A level. Most of the top law schools in the UK demand a high standard, with average UNCAS entry requirements of 500 points fairly normal. A* and A grades are pretty much obligatory, so if you struggle to get better than Cs and Ds, the harsh reality is that law is not the course for you.
- You enjoy studying. Law courses, once you get in, are no breeze. Long hours of study, independent reading, difficult topics and lectures are involved. You need to have the interest in law to motivate you but you should also have a love of learning – you’ll be doing a lot of it.
- You like a challenge and you don’t give up easily. Most law students struggle at some time or another and this can come as a shock to many ‘straight A’ students. Be prepared to work through it and ask for help – there is no shame in getting extra tuition or opinions on a particular topic.
What good will law do you?
Going through a law course gets you a law degree, of course, which makes you exceptionally employable in the legal sector. But if you don’t want to follow through with a career in law, how else will a law degree help?
- You will have become a researcher with excellent analytical skills.
- You will be a good communicator, able to explain complex concepts.
- You will be organised and a clear thinker.
- You will have developed a good commercial sense.
- You will have good problem solving skills.
- You will have shown you are able to study at an extremely high level.
A law graduate wanting to go into business, teaching or other sectors after further training usually has no trouble forging an alternative career path.