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

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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

leadfresher

1. Learn the basics early

hannah-1
Brace yourself for an influx of Latin words.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

hannah-2
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

hannah-3
Embrace waking up to contract law.

4. Get more sleep

hannah-4
No, caffeine pills don’t count.

5. You don’t have to buy every book

hannah-5
I still can’t believe you did that — plonker.

6. Budget efficiently (see number 5)

hannah-6
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

hannah-7
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

hannah-8
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

hannah-9
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

lawyerspigs
Lies!

11. Enjoy it!

hannah-11
Get involved in societies, meet people and have fun.


15 Comments

Not Amused

I whole heartedly endorse this phrase:

“there are no stupid questions”

(21)(4)
(1)(0)

Agree with S

Totally Agree with the LOLing.

http://www.legalcheek.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/hannah-8.jpg

Thanks this – BRING ON THE GDL

(1)(0)

Anne Shuker

Read wider. Read read read.

(15)(1)

Pc Matt Guy

@PCMattGuyLike the article & check out being a Knowledge Rep Volunteer, do something amazing and CV unique!
bit.ly/1Atwtyc
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(1)(0)

jon

What do people think regarding reading whole cases vs reading more cases?

(0)(0)

Laura

I’d say read the case as a whole. It’s better to have only read a few cases, really well and really analysed it (as everyone knows, fail to critically asses decisions leads to 2:2’s) to apply to your questions than a million cases that you’ve skim read and just chucked in that will be poorly explored and therefore poorly executed. That said, we’ve all done that in a panic two hours before deadline when we look across and see the person printing next to us in the library has 3000+ references on their bibliography as opposed to our 5.

(7)(3)

J

I would say its better to read case summaries and then read journal articles widely! That is what will help you to critically analyse and it’s the method i used to get a 1st!

(19)(1)

jon

Or even vs reading bits of related legal philosophy etc?

(2)(0)

Not Amused

You should read everything. You actually have a lot more time than you think

(6)(8)

Sam Buckler

Read five properly the devil (or grades) is in the detail. Bluff students not lecturers

(0)(0)

LawstCause

12. It’s really not as much work as law students like to pretend it is

(4)(13)

Not Amused

“12. It’s really not as much work as law students like to pretend it is”

That is true. But I still remember how much of a shock the level of work was at the time. The truth is that school is not very much work at all. A law degree is the exact opposite. My life after that degree continues the trend set by my degree, but it was still a shock back then.

Thus I can still empathise and show pity to their shock/surprise even though I now work harder than I considered was possible back when I too thought the degree was hard work.

(7)(1)

Quinctilius

Do something you enjoy- then do a GDL

(29)(14)

Crux

(w) “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!”

Parents at open days? Eh?

(x) Switch to a less tedious degree course, and find you are just as – if not more – attractive to City law firms

(y) Don’t do the LPC without a training contract

(z) See (y) above

(12)(4)

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