Cardiff student goes public with LLB regrets and says law school is a quicker way to kill yourself than smoking

‘Never, ever study law’, says Ursula Rifat

A final year Cardiff University law student has gone public with her LLB woes, listing what are in her mind “valid reasons” why you should never, ever study the subject.

Ursula Rifat begins her impassioned article by stating:

They say smoking is the most expensive way of killing yourself, however I would argue studying law is probably the costliest and most depressing way of slowly losing the will to live.

With that, the third year Russell Group student tells readers of her The Tab piece that law is boring, depressing and expensive.

It’s not just the LLB itself that’s giving Rifat a headache. Her fellow law students are, in her words, “pretentious” and “unfriendly”. Addressing the stereotypical Hunger Games mentality of the average lawyer, she notes:

We all eyed each other up competitively from day one so I suppose it was inevitable. See that girl over there? She might be the one that takes your Ashfords training contract. To add to this, most people pretend to be cleverer than they are which makes you feel worse.

Rifat — who appears to have an interest in criminal law given her work experience stints with the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service — then tells readers the job prospects for law graduates aren’t that good either. There are “little to no” graduate jobs available for lawyers: there’s not much money in law and 95% of the jobs out there are vacation schemes and training contracts.

Legal Cheek got in touch with Rifat to give her the opportunity to comment further on the article, she declined.

For all those aspiring lawyers out there who feel a little disheartened by Rifat’s article, hopefully Legal Cheek’s ‘16 reasons why law students are better than everyone else’ will perk you up.

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70 Comments

Anonymous

Firstly, studying law (and higher education in general) is a walk in the park compared to the realities of a legal career in terms of the pressure, hours and competition.

Secondly, a lot of what she described (the cost, the pretentious people, the job prospects etc.) are the same for most subjects which you will study at uni.

(39)(6)
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Anonymous

It is a very competitive and cut throat industry. I still find myself competing with one of my colleagues on a daily basis even though we are both qualified solicitors. It’s just naturally in you to compete, for the best clients and the best feedback etc and I think if you don’t have that competitive streak you will never make it as a solicitor.

(14)(5)
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Anonymous

Why lie about your qualifications to make someone else feel bad? Or if (in the unlikely event) you’re not lying, why would you use your success to make someone else feel bad?

(8)(1)
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Anonymous

I see where she is coming from, my LLB experience was similar, not very enjoyable. My year never embraced a collegiate atmosphere and it was all quite competitive and nasty at times. I was chatting to someone who admitted to raiding books from the library so people in her year couldn’t get them, even racking up fines to keep them back. All a bit mental.

(42)(1)
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Pepe the Frog

The benefit of doing this to the enterprise of sabotaging your own competition would be so hopelessly marginal as to raise serious doubts about the intellect and mental health of the person pursuing the strategy.

(22)(0)
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Anonymous

I was once told by someone who did law at Trinity Dublin (admittedly this is hear-say, but his intel seemed legit) that people would actually rip chapters out of certain books in the university library to hinder other law students. Apparently it’s immensely cut-throat to study law there. :-Z

(1)(0)
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Trinity BL

I went to Trinity and we had a lecture in week one advising us not to be aggressively competitive and warning us not to rip chapters out of books!

(1)(0)
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Anonymous

The whole article just seems like a massive whine about the fact that a law is just not for her. It is a difficult, competitive profession and the people who succeed are the ones who don’t complain and get on with the work.

Here’s a piece of advice, if you don’t enjoy a law degree that much do a different degree. If you still want to become a lawyer there’s always the GDL.

(11)(4)
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Future Trainee

“There are “little to no” graduate jobs available for lawyers: there’s not much money in law and 95% of the jobs out there are vacation schemes and training contracts. ”

What nonsense!

(24)(2)
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Anonymous

these sort of hysterical articles do nothing to help students… unrealistic, untrue and maybe even dishonest

I suppose this is just the sort of stuff to wind people up and watch them go, anxiety inducing

like having a group WhatsApp or facebook and everyone commenting on how much / how little work they are doing

pointless with the overall effect of pissing people off…

(6)(1)
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Anonymous

Law is a boring, tedious degree. Wish I had done something fun like English instead. Lower entry requirements and with 4 straight As at A-level and a high A in English, I reckon I would have had a fairly decent shot at Cambridge. A horny teenage boy, I would have been the minority in a cohort of 80% girls.

Now I’m a junior lawyer working pretty long hours. I haven’t read a book in years. Reading anything for “fun” after straining my eyes for 12 hours a day is the last thing I want to do. I’ve lost my creativity. I have a very limited skill set. The main talent I’ve developed is having a high pain threshold.

(62)(3)
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Anonymous

English is definitely more fun and intellectually satisfying. But it’s extremely competitive to get into. Possibly less so if you’re a guy due to the stats you cite.

(1)(3)
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LSE Law (74%) Future MC Trainee

Law is the most difficult degree. This is why only law students should be hired by commercial firms. Not students who study Zoology or Geogrpahy and get a piss easy first! 2.1 in law is the equivalent of a double first in non- law degrees.

(32)(37)
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Anonymous

LSE Law (74%) Future MC Trainee – You sound a lot like the person who was ranting on another student forum about how Law jobs should only go to Law students . The zoology example was the give away – so bitter and no reason to be if , as you say , you have a MC TC

(19)(1)
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Anonymous

I like how you’ve unnecessarily included both your (presumably overall average) percentage and a claim that you have a MC TC.

You’ll go far.

(9)(2)
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Anonymous

Both the TC and percentage average don’t exist outside of their own fantasy (probably attending LSE is made up too). Which is probably a good thing as otherwise they are easily identifiable.

(2)(0)
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Anonymous

LSE – then why do Law firms pay fees for non – law students to compete the GDL if non – law trainees do not make good lawyers ? They invest a lot of money in non – law graduates , perhaps they want someone more rounded with other skills

(13)(2)
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Anonymous

…because heaven forbid some of us could be genuinely disadvantaged, right? I am confused as to whether you are suggesting this is not an issue at all, or that there are people are lying in relation to their circumstances. If you are suggesting the former, this is an extremely naïve view; as a Second Six Pupil who was eligible for free school meals, I can assure you more help is required to afford those from disadvantaged backgrounds the same opportunities as those whose families could assist them in their pursuit of a legal career.

(3)(0)
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Anonymous

You’re the one that keeps posting in The Student Room about Zoology degrees aren’t you? Clearly haven’t got a TC and just seem to be very bitter about it all.

(6)(1)
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Anonymous

To (BA Hons, Oxon): First Class (second in year)

“loser”? You should know about that! in your whole class you were the best loser; coming second, what a loser.

(12)(5)
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Anonymous

Do you actually think this person actually achieved what they said they achieved? People say all sorts of nonsense under the guise of anonymity?

(12)(1)
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Anonymous

I don’t really understand her reasoning. Yes, the most visible jobs in law are vac schemes/training contracts, plus pupillages (though there aren’t that many, as we all know) but that doesn’t mean those are the only options for what you can do with your degree- I went into ADR after my LLB, and then back to study a masters a year later- and if you hate your course, why not switch to a course you actually like instead of spending three years silently hating your coursemates for trying to get ahead and then whinging about it online a few months before graduating? It’s not like law has a reputation as being a complete cakewalk.
She even admits in her article that she wasn’t interested in law and thinks everyone only does it for the money because it’s boring. Granted I was bored sh**less by some topics I took in my LLB (land law, political theory and family law did not do it for me at all, but now I know) but I liked my course and found the areas I’m actually interested in. I like the masters I chose to do as well- because I actually enjoy the subject and didn’t do it because it sounds impressive to other people or because I want a massive paycheck. I’m currently broke while studying my LLM but it’s worth it because I love it, and I wouldn’t swap it for anything.
Honestly, I think this girl just needs to get a grip and get over the fact she made a bad choice for herself. No one made you do it, don’t drag everyone else down with you. It’s just not cricket. Go find something that makes you want to get up in the morning.

(13)(2)
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Anonymous

Who says that you have to be a lawyer if you get a law degree? Nonsense. A 2.1 or higher law degree looks bloody good on your c.v, combine in with work experience (not necessarily on a TC) and she should be fine.

(2)(1)
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Anonymous

anonymity is a bitch, do you think i actually give shit.

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(1)
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Cardiff Graduate

Graduated from Cardiff myself with a strong 2.1. Presently practising barrister and I must say- studying law in Cardiff wasn’t the best- law school didn’t contribute a shred of opportunity that has got me to where I am today. If ever included in any of their graduate material I’d probably shoot it down and encourage any current students to not let their environment define what they can do.

(8)(2)
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Anonymous

Law is competitive, often dull, it can be poorly paid, and you’ll come across a lot of ar*eholes during your studies and career. But if you’re already struggling with those realities at the LLB stage, question whether your heart is in it, and if it isn’t, move on, because it gets a damnsight more frustrating thereafter.

(5)(0)
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Miserable Trainee (Currently Hiding in the Bathroom)

I studied law for my undergrad degree and I regret it. If I could do it all over again, I’d have studied history or philosophy (subjects I’m actually interested in) before completing the GDL. If you have a good 2:1 in a subject that develops your analytical skills from a good university, most (if not all) firms will be happy to consider you.

(10)(0)
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Pepe the Frog

The dirty secret of law school is that most lecturers and seminar tutors are left wing parasites form whom teaching black letter law is the muck-shovelling component of a sinecure which allows them to spin pointless yarns of feminism, queer studies and critical race theory. I reckon if the bums on seats approach to law schooling was replaced with a system of open exams and competitions accessible anyone who wants to have a go, the calibre of lawyer produced at the end of a 3 or 4 year period would be indistinguishable if not better than what it is now. After all, lawyers are enterprising, individualist and self-sufficient in practice, so why shouldn’t they be encouraged to be this way from the beginning of their education.

(7)(10)
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Anonymous

Leaving aside whether law is interesting as an academic pursuit (because I’m one of those weirdos who actually thinks it’s interesting), I have a lot of sympathy with what the writer is saying.

Aeons ago, I did my undergrad degree at a Russell Group uni (not Cardiff) and found the course to be taught in a completely uninspiring way, and found the other students, generally speaking, to be intolerable Oxbridge rejects, and yep, often pretentious, and yep, often unfriendly. Not all, of course (and I’m sure they thought me a dickhead too), but certainly many, even most, were people with whom I simply could not identify. Weirdly enough, I was chatting with a partner t’other day who had very similar sentiments about their Russell Group uni (different to mine, but also not cardiff).

Mercifully, outside of certain City firms, this isn’t really the culture in practice. Because, it turns out, being a smarmy, sharp-elbowed try-hard isn’t good for business. I also think a lot of people just calm down a bit once they’ve got their TC and the cynicism of working in law takes over from the hyper-competitive insecurity prevalent in well regarded law schools.

As an aside, I did a part time master’s at a non-Russell Group uni and it was a much nicer experience. Perhaps that’s also true of LL.Ms at Russell Groups, but the atmosphere was categorically much friendlier and more collegiate at my ‘bad’ postgrad law school.

So if you’re an undergrad at an RG uni and loving life, good for you. But if you’re an undergrad at an RG uni and hate it, you’re not alone, and it doesn’t necessarily mean a career in law is not for you. Working life is not like university. It’s a big old world.

(9)(0)
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Anonymous

I am currently studying a postgrad law programme at Cardiff and having studied my undergraduate degree elsewhere, I think Cardiff uni has a ridiculously high opinion of itself. I don’t know whether it’s the Russell Group label, or whether they’re trying to achieve excellence through misery, but my experiences at a non RG uni for undergrad were far better.

(1)(1)
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Anonymous

Studying law and qualifying as a solicitor is easy. It’s working with solicitors in city firms that is tricky. Most are shallow corporate clones. Scratch the surface and you find a total toss pot in most cases.

(3)(0)
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AnonNQ

I think the first issue I have is that there is just no such work as “cleverer”. Let’s be honest, if you compile a pile of uninteresting rubbish and call it an article, the least you can do is proper proof-reading to pick up on that?!

Some points made by Ursula are accurate, law students are incredibly competitive and some are ruthless. However, this is the nature of the beast and the law is not all fairy tales and big paychecks left right and centre. Enough of us have qualified outside of the MC / City bubble and don’t match those pay-packets but are working hard just the same. Okay, yes, we have less of the high pressure that many City / MC firms have, but pressure is pressure – just different forms of it.

I am bored of all of those people whining and complaining. When I did my undergrad (which combined the LPC within it) we started as a class of 22 and only 8 of us graduated with some option to finish an LLB and not pursue a career in law. How would you know that this is what you want to do if you can’t handle at least trying?!

(1)(1)
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