Law students work less hard than arts, education and biology students

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By Katie King on

This can’t be right, can it?

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New research based on data from 14,057 university-goers has thrown up a result law students will find difficult to read: they really don’t work that hard when compared to their peers in other subjects.

Annual statistics released by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) have, time and time again, revealed the hours spent slaving away over land law notes aren’t close to those totted up by creative arts and design students. Budding lawyers manage 28 hours a week — ten contact hours, 15 hours worked independently and three “work hours outside of course” — compared to aspiring artists’ 32 hours.

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The most workload-heavy degree disciplines appear to be those that are vocational and hands-on. Medicine and dentistry students work, on average, for 45 hours a week, which is about six-and-a-half hours when divided equally between all seven days. Law students work less hours than that a day even with weekends off. Subjects allied to medicine manage 43, education 38, and architecture, building and planning 36.

Data via HEPI

While law students’ workload trails behind that boasted by the average student across all disciplines, 31 hours, it’s worth looking at other essay/writing-heavy subjects as these are more comparable to the study of the legal system. Law demands a higher hour count than students studying history and philosophy (27), European languages and literature (27) and social studies (25).

Though law students may insist they do in fact spend more time in the library than the stats suggest, perhaps they should savour their relatively modest workloads while they can. A quick scan of Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List 2017-18 shows City solicitors can expect to be hit with billable hours targets into the thousands (a year, not a week!) when they start their practice.

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