14 things that mean something completely different if you’re a law student

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By Thomas Connelly on

The world seen through the eyes of the wannabe lawyer



Conventional meaning: A bitter substance found in coffee, tea and soft drinks.

Law student meaning: A magical drug on which you depend to write essays at 2am — and, having imbibed it in all its forms, eventually see sounds.


2. Reading list

Conventional meaning: A short, pre-selected list of textbooks, journals and academic papers that will assist in the learning process.

Law student meaning: Something that stretches to at least 14 pages, costs you the best part of £3,000 and doesn’t necessarily assist in the learning process.

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3. Notes

Conventional meaning: A brief record of points or ideas written down as an aid to memory.

Law student meaning: Scrawling that, despite lasting for only the hour duration of a contract lecture, resembles the Magna Carta.


4. Brown

Conventional meaning: A colour produced by mixing red, yellow, and blue.

Law student meaning: The most mentally-scarring case you will ever read.


5. Commercial awareness

Conventional meaning: General knowledge of what’s happening in the business world.

Law student meaning: A mystical concept which no one can define but every employer insists is crucial to working for them.


6. Clapham

Conventional meaning: A place in south London filled with trainee accountants.

Law student meaning: The spiritual home of reasonable men on omnibuses.


7. Ginger beer

Conventional meaning: A refreshing beverage.

Law student meaning: A drink which has a high chance of containing a decomposed snail.


8. Vacation

Conventional meaning: An American name for a holiday.

Law student meaning: The prelude to the word “scheme” — in other words, the Hunger Games.

9. Degree

Conventional meaning: An academic rank conferred by a university after examination or after completion of a course.

Law student meaning: A fairly useless pre-requisite for the professional qualification you actually need.

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10. Trust

Conventional meaning: Belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.

Law student meaning: Something to do with equity that you desperately hope to, one day, be able to understand.


11. Called to the bar

Conventional meaning: A reminder from a barman that your drink has been poured and is awaiting collection.

Law student meaning: A short ceremony where you get to wear a wig for the first and last time.


12. Reasonable

Conventional meaning: Having sound judgement; fair and sensible.

Law student meaning: An ever-evolving concept which doesn’t really mean anything but allows judges to do whatever they feel like.


13. Consideration

Conventional meaning: Kindness, thoughtfulness.

Law student meaning: Must be sufficient but need not be adequate … wait, what?


14. Master of the Rolls

Conventional meaning: An exceptional baker.

Law student meaning: Lord Dyson (who we hope is also an exceptional baker).

Additional reporting by Hannah Levy