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Thinking of doing a law degree? Here’s an FAQ on the LLB you should read ASAP

25 May 2016 | tagged Student blog

Rachael Wagg is a second year LLB student at the University of Aberdeen. She has a keen interest in family law and teaching.

Not only have I just finished my second year studying law, I’m also fortunate enough to work as a student ambassador for my university. This means I have the opportunity to speak to many prospective law students and give them an idea what it’s like to study law. These are some of the most frequent questions I’m asked.  

Is it hard adjusting to studying law?

Law is different from a lot of other essay-based degrees as they encourage you to write concisely. Often, less is more. Although this isn’t something they expect you to learn overnight.

Before coming to study law, most people haven’t done anything remotely related to the subject; they understand you’re practically starting from scratch. This is actually a huge benefit to most people because they don’t feel disadvantaged if they haven’t done the Advanced Higher or A-Level in a particular subject.

The university understands that first year is about adjusting and settling in so they give you the time to do that. Just remember, everyone is in the same boat as you and it’s really not as scary as it seems at first.

Is it really one of the hardest degrees?

To put it simply – no. It’s all a matter of perspective - different things are hard to different people. If you are genuinely interested in the law, then it won’t be difficult.

Yes, there’s a lot of reading but the vast majority of the people don’t actually do all the reading anyway.

Yes, there’s some Latin, but only a small amount and you’re not expected to remember much of it – just a few words here and there.

Yes, you do have to remember case names, but this isn’t any different to other degrees where you’re having to remember specific terminology or dates.

Overall, if you are interested in the law then you’ll be fine. There are some parts you might find boring, but this is the same with all degrees. The law itself is so diverse and widespread that there will definitely be an area which you enjoy.

Which is better: Scots law or Scots law with English law?

There are a lot of people who ask me this and it’s difficult for me to answer as I haven’t studied the English law part, but I do know some people who have. The main difference is that if you’ve taken the English law courses, once you’ve completed your degree you can choose to qualify in either Scotland or England.

It does generally mean you have less flexibility in your degree. Where you would get to choose optional subjects, instead you’ll be taking English law courses.

Personally, I enjoy this freedom in Scots law as it’s meant I’ve been able to take courses from other disciplines. For example, last semester I took a physics course alongside my law ones. It’s really all down to personal preference. If you want to have to option to qualify in England after your degree, take the joint honours programme.

It’s important to mention that if you do change your mind about your decision after you begin studying, then this normally isn’t an issue. It’s easy to change to single honours and often universities do have spaces free on the joint honours programme after you start.

Why study law?

Apart from studying law solely to become a lawyer, it‘s actually a very interesting course. Law comes into play in almost all areas of life and it’s amazing actually understanding how it works.

Most people associate studying law with the criminal aspect of it, but this is only a small part. There are so many different areas that it would virtually be impossible to learn everything. If you’re looking for something challenging then law is definitely the thing to study.

Since it’s so broad this means that, in terms of employment, it opens many doors. If perhaps you don’t know what you want to do once you finish your degree, studying law means that you have an abundance of options. There are also a lot of ‘transferable skills’ which employers love so often they’ll choose someone with a law degree over other candidates.

I hope this has helped give some perspective of what it’s like to study law and whether it’s the course for you. Ultimately, if you’re genuinely interested in the law, and want to understand how the world works, I highly recommend it.

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