From magic circle dinners to chats with F1 champions – what life as an Oxford law student is really like

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By Katie King on

New candid blogging series reveals all

A new blog has offered an insight into life as a law student at, arguably, the country’s most prestigious universitiy.

‘Corpus Christi’s Law Diary, 2017-2018’ features short blog entries written by students and tutors from the small college (and former stomping ground of both Miliband brothers). Matthew Dyson, an academic at Corpus Christi, explained to Legal Cheek:

“The law community in Corpus Christi has been trying to reach out to those who might not know as much as they would like about studying law, about the university and about Oxford (and Corpus). We run a legal reasoning competition and have a residential open day, but we thought we’d go further and create a bit of a resource, regularly updated. Students, staff and alumni volunteered and are writing short entries throughout this year.”

It’s anticipated 27 weekly entries will be posted on the blog this academic year (one per each 24 weeks of term time in 2017-18, plus freshers’ week, interview week and the week before exam term).

So far just five diary entries have been posted: one by Dyson himself and the other four by a mix of law students. And it’s safe to say, at least from these entries alone, that Oxford life seems pretty busy.

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One student blogger, a third year called Julia, spent her week juggling legal topics like ethics, EU law and family law, working on the production of a play (and going to see said play), attending committee meetings for the college’s JCR, having brunch with pals, partying in the Balliol College Bar, managing the Oxford Travel Society, and spending an evening at St John’s College Formal Hall. Oh, and that’s with Julia conceding she spent Saturday and Sunday recovering from being ill.

And what about law student Rhiannon? She’s only in the first year of her law degree, a time spent by many down the pub, supplemented with only occasional university visits. But Rhiannon’s busy schedule shames us all. In one week, aside from all her degree work she: 1) joined a symphonic band, 2) gave Year 11s a tour of the college, 3) managed to keep up her gym routine, 4) took part in a drama competition, and 5) rehearsed for her choir. All this with freshers’ flu. “I still feel completely out of my depth,” she admitted, “but I am loving every minute of it.”

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Aside from their busy schedules, the blog posts go some way to showing the amazing opportunities offered to the 17 undergraduates studying at Corpus Christi.

Access to the Oxford Union and its celebrity talks, for example. Second year law student James spent his Wednesday evening hearing from F1 champion Nico Rosberg, and it didn’t disappoint. “[Oxford] Union events tend to be interesting even if you’ve not heard of the person speaking, but as a sports fan it was great to listen to someone like Rosberg,” James says. Past speakers include Anna Wintour, A$AP Rocky, Malala Yousafzai, Mary Berry, Morgan Freeman and Stephen Fry. Upcoming speakers include Cath Kidston, Harry Judd and Tom Daley.

If mixing with celebs isn’t quite your thing, how about mixing with magic circle lawyers? Second year law and French student Francesca drops into the bottom of her Michaelmas term entry that her class was taken out to dinner by Clifford Chance. No biggie.

But is studying at Oxford really just endless opportunity after endless opportunity?

One Oxford law student who is not part of the Corpus Christi blogging series told Legal Cheek that attendance to Union events like the Rosberg talk is dependent on holding a membership. Memberships cost £270. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the queues for these events can last “hours upon end”.

As for the swish meals out, she said:

“Both magic circle and US firms have upped their recruitment game, inviting students to dinners costing in excess of £80 a head. They’re a great way to informally talk about life as a trainee but they hardly offer more of an ‘in’ than say an open day.”

It’s the opportunities that come post-degree that our Oxford insider is more interested in, she told us. “One of the reasons I chose Oxford was the graduate career prospects,” she admitted. “There is no denying that the intensity of the law degree course is deserving of the opportunities awarded.”

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