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

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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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25 Comments

Anonymous

10 hours reading cases and 10 hours painting are a very different work load.

Anonymous

Do you find reading hard work?!

Anonymous

Such a question could only be asked someone who has never read a substantive judgment in full (and actually understood it).

@nighthawkprof

This is the credited response

Anonymous

Art school… grueling in ways you can’t begin to imagine, yes I said grueling. Profs are paid to tear you and your work down day by day, minute by minute, molecule by molecule. Crits are like hazings. If you come out alive (and not strung out on H) AND are making decent art you are destined to have a nervous break down within a year. Art school is a nightmare and although much ‘information’ is disseminated and a huge body of work is produced it is also true that everything you learn there you must completely forget…and then relearn on your own. Painting sounds easy…until you actually do it and do it well. And BTW, I know many people who have gotten a degree in Education. I think they make you give blood and splices of your brain every 24 hours— its f-ing grueling, too.

Anonymous

Surely law students spend less time in the library these days cos there’s thing (dunno if you’ve heard of it) called the internet ?

Do you even LLB bro?

Not the same though is it…

Give them a law course and I’m sure they will take longer. Someone who takes an hour to figure out 2 + 2 = 4 isn’t working harder than someone who takes a few seconds….

Anonymous

Subjective wishy-washy rubbish – as per then, LC…

Anonymous

Right. One spends 4 hours alone reading one Company Law judgment.

Frustrated Writer

Tom bought an extra-large Chai Latte that morning, and sipped it heartily on the way to the office. He hadn’t slept well. Tom couldn’t recall the details, but he had had a dream where Alex had been telling him to write a story about a judge in Hawaii. For some reason the office had moved to Bow, and more worryingly Alex was sober.

Katie had been back to her old ways with Tom lately. She barely spoke to him, preferring instead to stick her earbuds in, and block out his presence. It was a surprise to Tom then when Katie turned to greet him on his arrival in the office, offering a warm smile and cheerful greeting. Slightly taken aback but nonetheless grateful, Tom reciprocated. “I’m well, how are you?” Tom asked, as he removed his heavy wax jacket and flat cap. You could take the boy out of the Scottish countryside, and so on, he reflected.

“I’m fine Tom, thanks for asking” Katie replied, her tone changing to one of caution, fear, almost. Katie lowered her gaze downwards briefly. “I need to tell you something. You may want to sit down.”

Tom’s heart sank. He knew that when someone asks you to take a seat before telling you something, it is never good news. Nonetheless, he complied, wheeling his office chair around the desk despite its creaky protestations, sitting down and facing Katie. He knew what was coming would be big and wanted to show that he was giving her his full attention.

Katie took a deep breath and started. “Well, to cut a long story short, I’ve found out something that you need to know.”

Tom tried not to react but his heart began pounding and his hands shaking. His mind raced. He couldn’t think of anything he had done wrong. There was that incident with Briana, but that was years ago. And he and Katy were no longer together. She couldn’t say anything about that, surely? His mind turned to other, scarier, problems. He tried to calm himself down. After a brief, discrete visual appraisal he reassured himself that Katie’s belly was the same size as ever. Also, it was months since the last time they were intimate. Nevertheless, he began subtly surveying the desk for stationary that could be weaponised against him, just in case.

Katie looked sympathetically back when she saw Tom’s expression. She could read him like a book. “Nothing to worry about, OK?” She put her hand on his elbow reassuringly, and bit her lip slightly. “Well, maybe a little bit. You remember a while back that we published that article about appointing lawyers?” Tom nodded slightly, staring attentively back waiting for more. He was glad to feel the warm touch of her hand on his arm, not least because it meant she had one less chance to throw something before he could react.

“Well, there may be some court action coming by Roll on Friday. About our, erm, borrowing their ideas and that”. Katie looked uncomfortable as she said the last sentence. She and Tom knew what they were doing was wrong, but Alex had threatened their jobs if they did not copy and paste those articles. It had almost become his way of sticking his finger up to his rival, Katie felt. And it was her way of publishing some non-Amal related material until she found some gems on her idol.

Tom was stunned. In his heart of hearts, he knew that the day would come, but he had prayed that he would be long gone, working for a proper publication by the time it happened, with some other poor unfortunate, desperate, graduate taking his place and part of the blame. But it had arrived now. “What, what do we do?” is all he could muster by way of response.

Katie retracted her hand and crossed her arms closely across her chest. “Well, hopefully Alex Wade can help. I think we are bang to rights though. We did copy their articles”.

Tom nodded slowly. “True”. He leaned back in his chair. He was a little relieved in some ways that it wasn’t the news he thought it would be. On the other hand, it would make things a little awkward with Jeremy’s mystery woman. Or, in fact, he could use it to his advantage.

Tom crumpled, visibly, in resignation, his upright stance sagging and his head hanging down. For the first time his gaze dropped. “Sorry, Katie, I really can’t take this anymore.” His voice was as glum as he looked. “You know I was looking to leave? I’ve had interviews, and this has only made me more keen to get out”. He was economical with the truth. In point of fact, he had had one interview, if you could call it that.

Katie was upset, a rare emotion for her, but she managed to bring it back. She didn’t want him to leave but there was no way she would let him know that. He had to win her back, she wouldn’t beg. “Fine. Thomas, you are so selfish. I hope you leave soon”. She put her earbuds back in and returned to her screen.

Tom stood and began despondently wheeling his chair back to his desk. The screeching sound ran right through him. The news wasn’t outwardly good, but actually he felt a little excited by the negotiating hand it could give him. He would have to discuss this with Jeremy, but he thought the offer of dirt on Legal Cheek would be sure to get him in to Roll on Friday.

Anonymous

Gold

Anonymous

Eagerly awaiting the next chapter in Tom’s adventure.

Anonymous

Nice writing and everything but can I ask why you are so interested in LC’s writers? Seems ever so slightly obsessive and dare I say it, stalker-ish. Also, where do you find the time?

Anonymous

Sometimes I take off my shirt and apply a little Vaseline to the most sensitive areas on my chest. It means that later on in the evening when I am hanging out with my drunk pets that we can achieve a level of spiritual equilibrium that makes you consider whether it is even worth purchasing the Taste the Difference range. Without acorns, where are the squirrels? I make a point.

Anonymous

I’m glad someone else thinks this! So, so strange.

@nighthawkprof

If it hasn’t been said to you previously — you do have a jolly good knack for this

Keep it up

Anonymous

I can vouch for the engineering students. They work very hard.

Always funny to watch them all try and outrank each other as the civil, structural and electrical engineering students debate their area of engineering as being more complicated than others.

Nicholas

When will people finally understand that hardworking is not about quantity, but about quality?

Anonymous

I think you’ll find that in lots of cases you need both.

Anonymous

This is not news. Those who do something interesting at university catch up with law grads by doing a crammer conversion course in 9 months. And they have a more up-to-date understanding of the law than the law grads who last came across a carbolic smoke ball years ago.

Anonymous

More up to date, perhaps. More in depth? Unlikely.

Jones Day Partner

This is ridiculous.

Anonymous

That seems fair. Law is dense but not voluminous. A ‘heavy’ week of reading for any one module is ~60 pages. Which means a really bad week with all 5 modules running heavy would be 300 pages of reading (ex. cases). That’s 300 minutes or 5 hours worth of reading at average pace. Double it for note taking and 10 hours seems reasonable. Slap on 5 hours for tutorial prep and case notes.

Takes a lot longer to read XYZ book to dissect and discuss for an English class.

Anonymous

On what basis are you excluding all of the cases, which is by far the most complicated and time-consuming part?

(Prof) Rex Ahdar

Sorry Katie: It is FEWER hours, not less hours!

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