11 things I wish I could tell my law student fresher self

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By Hannah Levy on

As I enter my third and final year studying law at Leeds University, this is what I’d do if I had my time over again as a fresher


1. Learn the basics early

Brace yourself for an influx of Latin words.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

On one open day I attended, after a presentation about the law school’s pro bono options, there were lots of hushed questions from both parents and prospective students asking what pro bono actually means. There are no stupid questions!

3. Try not to miss (too many) 9am lectures

Embrace waking up to contract law.

4. Get more sleep

No, caffeine pills don’t count.

5. You don’t have to buy every book

I still can’t believe you did that — plonker.

6. Budget efficiently (see number 5)

While everyone loves a bit of cheese on toast, it isn’t great for every meal.

7. Find out what pro bono means (see number 2) and start doing it

Spoiler: pro bono means “for the public good” and refers to volunteer legal work. You’re welcome.

Careers in the law are competitive — getting involved in extra-curricular activities, particularly pro bono, shows law firms that you can manage your time and are committed to a career in the law. Most universities run extensive pro bono programmes for students to get involved with, ranging from legal advice clinics to peer mentoring.

8. Get to the university law fair

Start planning your career early. The law fairs are a great way to network and figure out where you might want to apply for vacation schemes in second year. They can also help you decide whether you want to take the solicitor route. Many law firms recruit first year ambassadors — this is a great way to get noticed and work with top firms.

9. Prepare for exams effectively

Start early, and no, buying highlighters does not count as revision. Keep up with your reading throughout the year to leave less work for the few months before exams. Also, you don’t need to take 11 pens into the exam with you just because you’re still paranoid that you’ll run out like that one time you did in GCSE English… Or is this just me? Update: I only took 8 pens into my second year exams. Living life on the edge!

10. Don’t be put off by other students or the media referring to lawyers as the devil/death eaters/general evil creatures


11. Enjoy it!

Get involved in societies, meet people and have fun.