11 things you’ll only understand if you study law at the University of Oxford

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By Madelaine Hayes on

Are you your college’s textbook snake?

Image credit: Instagram (@kevin_prus_11)

To many, studying at Oxford is a faraway pipedream — but for those at its prestigious law school there are plenty of inside jokes to be had. One such student shares 11 things you’ll only understand if you study at the University of Oxford.

1. There is no degree called ‘law’ at Oxford

No really… Oxford calls its law degree ‘Jurisprudence’ — what even is that? The course is considered to be more about academic theory and less practical but let’s be serious, Oxford just enjoys being pretentious (even more so than Cambridge)!

2. You can never find that obscure book your tutor loves

We’ve all had the struggle of searching in The Cross Building Library for that obscure South African Roman law book in first year. Why can’t tutors just pick common books for reading lists?

3. Every student thinks they’ll become a human rights lawyer, then gets sucked in by commercial law pay

From first year open days and vacation schemes to training contract interviews and numerous other applications, becoming a commercial lawyer appears to be the competitive but expected path. “I’ll still be able to do lots of pro bono”, we tell ourselves.

4. We all have a textbook snake in our college

Despite every college having its own library, there is often only one textbook to be shared by the eight or so other lawyers with the same reading list… and no-one wants to ‘trek’ to the law library to find it themselves. Group chats become heated and the true textbook-stealing ‘snake’ is revealed.

5. It’s impossible to get a decent mark without sacrificing your personal opinions and morals for some tutors

Good luck to you if you have a tutor with controversial views. Forget the textbook, if your tutor is adamant that indirect intention does not exist, then indirect intention does not exist!

6. Tutors don’t seem to understand you have a life

Law tutors love to tell you how many hours you have in a week and if you read X number of pages per minute you will take Y long to finish the reading list — oh come on! Please just let me watch Suits in my pyjamas!

7. Lawyer beef is actually a thing

Image via Facebook Oxfeud

Oxfeud takes no prisoners with publishing the arguments and grievances between law students. Come on guys, we do one of the hardest Oxford courses, can’t we all get along?

8. Your degree sometimes feels more like Latin than law

While public schoolers may be able to translate the Latin in the textbooks, most of us just skip it and hope everything still makes sense.

9. Your tutors were practically celebrities in the Miller case

Names like Paul Craig, Timothy Endicott, Alison Young and Nick Barber were everywhere in the discussion of the Article 50 case. They were even asked for personal responses by the press during tutorials!

10. The Michaelmas Law Society balls are unbeatable

Being one of the largest societies in Oxford, sponsorship for Oxford Law Society is no trouble. With past balls at the National Portrait Gallery, the Gherkin, Roman Baths and Blenheim Palace, a place at the ball is an enviable position.

11. We’ve all thought about dropping out, but the one thing we can count on is the high probability of getting a 2.1 and amazing job prospects

Twelve essays crammed into an eight-week term is more than simply stressful. We’ve all encountered those breakdowns and considered transferring to Bristol. But with less than 5% of us getting a 2.2 or less, there is a high chance that our hard work will pay off! Oxford is the number one university and we can’t forget that — there’s light at the end of the tunnel!

Madelaine Hayes is a law student at the University of Oxford.

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