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

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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.”

Someone else will have posted this, but the sun went wibbly and the sky went yellow

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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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Polly boy

Oh how the other half live



And quite right too! World class universities, hard work, exams you can fail.



on the continent — few people if anyone “cares” about oxbridge

they do speak english just as well, however, in addition to their native tongues

then there’s the other “continent” where polytechs are supreme mit caltech and so on



Timmy Mallet visited my union once



I know a uni events organiser in Liverpool from circa 2000ish who once booked Timmy Mallet. At the time he didn’t have an agent so it was calls to his home landline.

For about a year or so afterwards he would occasionally telephone Timmy while he pissed and list his catchphrases.

Timmy found it less funny than my friend.



I’m going to say total ‘king balls.

Am I right ? What do I win ?



That picture isn’t of Corpus Christi college, its Merton college chapel…



Calm down, nerd.



I go to Corpus, and those are definitely both Corpus.



They changed it.



they’ve changed them since I commented



Seemingly a bit of a lone voice here, but this seems an excellent series, commendations to Matthew Dyson for organising such a great insight for prospective students that Oxford isn’t all work, and law can be a varied and intellectually stimulating topic



Agreed – it’s nice to see some positive coverage of Oxford on LC for once instead of the same old stuff



I was taught by Matt Dyson – he’s a thoroughly decent bloke and an excellent academic from both a teaching and research perspective.

Kudos to him for this.



Amazing to think that’s these are normal people who actually just apply themselves. Oxford is a reward for years of hard work, not a privilege. It’s sad to think an article such as this feels the need to be published


Not Bitter, Just Twisted

Sorry mate, I knew a toff at Bar School who went to the same Cambridge college as his father, grandfather, great grandfather and so on, an offer of ABB. He mentioned that his family had endowed the college at some point in the past. He ended up with a 2:1, and a career at the Bar was going to be a kind of hobby as the family was independently wealthy. No prizes for guessing what sort of school he went to.

Anecdotally I knew of others in similar situations.

I was straight-As, working class and got rejected by Cambridge but went to a Russell Group uni and excelled, getting a first.

I guess he was just a better kind of person than me…



I know who you are!

Dave the chippy Geordie at BPP a few years back who would not stop going on about it and about your first!

How’s life as a paralegal, mate?


Oxon BA

Yes, he obviously was, Dave.

What’s wrong with giving a place to someone who’s family have supported the institution and obviously fitted in better than you would have?

Also, his 2-1 was probably harder to get than your RG first, so he was most likely cleverer than you too.

Life’s not fair.






Knowing those stuffy Oxford dons, some poor grad student has probably been left to actually organise the entire thing



Having worked with the dons at Corpus before, I can say with complete confidence that they are some of the least “stuffy” people I have ever met… Wacky at times, certainly, but stuffy, no.



If you want a REAL story, dig your teeth into something more fascinating….look into how Matthew Dyson moved from Trinty College (Cambridge) to Corpus Christi (Oxford)….and concurrently Benjamin Spagnolo went from Corpus Christi (Oxford) to Trinity College Cambridge.

A revealing insight into the hiring practices of Oxbridge colleges when appointing Law Fellows.

For another example…look into the highly meritocratic and rigorous hiring process that resulted in Mr Lorenzo Maniscalco being elected Law Fellow at Clare College.



Dr Spagnolo was at Christ Church College, Oxford. Not Corpus Christi. Get your facts straight.


Big Dolla

It’s not Christ Church COLLEGE, just Christ Church, as the organisation doubles as a cathedral.

Get your facts straight.


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