24th July 23
Law remains one of the most popular undergraduate courses offered by UK Universities.
Many students choose to pursue a law degree because of the diverse range of career opportunities the subject can offer, and the status associated with a career in the legal profession. As a result, undergraduate law programs in the UK are highly regarded and attract a significant number of applicants each year.
In the UK, law degrees are typically referred to as LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degrees. These programs provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the legal system, principles, and practices. UK Law degrees generally take three years to complete for students who enter directly from Sixth Form. There are also options for students to pursue law as a second undergraduate degree or through conversion courses if they have already completed a different undergraduate degree.
To prepare for studying law at a UK university, there are no specific A-Level subject requirements, as law degrees are typically open to students from a wide range of academic backgrounds. However, there are certain A-Level subjects that when taken can provide a strong foundation and develop skills that are beneficial for studying law. Here are some recommended A-Level subjects and courses that can help you prepare for a law degree:
It’s important to note that while these subjects can provide a helpful background, they are not mandatory prerequisites for studying law. UK universities generally do not require specific subjects at A-level (or equivalent) for admission to law programs.
In addition to academic qualifications and personal statements, UK universities may require law applicants to take additional tests as part of the admissions process. Here are a few common tests used for law applicants:
It is a good idea to research the specific entry requirements and recommendations of the universities you are interested in, as they may have their own preferences or suggestions for suitable preparatory courses. Additionally, engaging in extracurricular activities such as mooting, debating, or volunteering in legal organisations can also provide valuable experience and demonstrate your interest in the field of law.
There are many different types of Law degrees available to study at UK universities. Here are some of the main types of Law courses to consider:
LLB (Bachelor of Laws): The LLB course is the most common type of law degree taught in the UK. LLB is a traditional undergraduate degree providing a comprehensive education in law. The LLB is usually taken as a three-year program, although some universities offer four-year programs with an additional year spent on a placement or studying at an overseas university.
BA (Bachelor of Arts) in Law: Some UK universities offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law, which combines the study of law with other humanities subjects. This course gives students a broader perspective on the legal system, and allows for greater flexibility in course selection.
Joint Honors Degrees: Many UK universities offer joint honors degrees that allow students to study law alongside another subject (wider than humanities). For example, you can pursue a joint degree in Law and Business, Law and Politics, Law and Criminology, or Law and languages. These courses offer interdisciplinary perspectives and are useful if you want to combine law with another subject.
LLB with a Year in Industry/Placement: LLB programs that include a year-long placement in a law firm or legal organisation can provide valuable practical experience and allow you to apply theoretical legal knowledge in a real-world setting.
Graduate LLB: If a student has already completed an undergraduate degree in a different subject, they can pursue a Graduate LLB course. This program is designed for graduates who want to transition into the field of law and typically takes two years to complete.
Conversion Courses: If you have a non-law undergraduate degree, you can take a conversion course known as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or Common Professional Examination (CPE) to gain the necessary legal knowledge and skills to pursue a career in law. After completing the conversion course, students proceed to the next stage of legal training, such as the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).
Some of the key benefits of studying law at university include;
Intellectual and Analytical Skills: Studying law helps to develop critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and problem-solving skills. By analysing case studies, statutes, and legal principles, law students learn to think logically and make well-reasoned arguments. These skills are valuable not only in the legal profession but transfer across to other fields.
Understanding the Legal System: Studying law provides a deep understanding of British and international legal systems, including their structure, processes, and principles. This knowledge can enable students to navigate legal issues effectively in their personal and professional lives.
Diverse Career Opportunities: A law degree opens up a wide range of career opportunities. While many law graduates choose to become solicitors or barristers, the legal profession offers students many diverse career paths, such as working in corporate law, human rights, intellectual property, family law, criminal law, or international law. Additionally, a law degree equips students with transferable skills that are valued in various professions such asbusiness, politics, consultancy, and academia.
Professional Prestige and Financial Rewards: The legal profession is often associated with professional prestige and respect. Lawyers are seen as experts in their field with the potential to earn a lucrative income. However, it’s important to note that financial rewards and prestige can vary based on the area of law practiced and individual career choices.
Advocacy and Social Impact: Law plays a crucial role in advocating for justice and shaping society. Studying law can provide the skills and knowledge necessary to advocate for individuals or groups, promote social justice, and make a positive impact on our society. Law graduates often work on cases involving human rights, environmental issues, and public policy.
Lifelong Learning and Personal Development: Law is a constantly evolving field, and studying law at university is a foundation for lifelong learning. Law encourages continuous professional development and staying updated with legal developments. The study of law also fosters personal growth by promoting critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and an understanding of fairness and justice.
International Opportunities: Law is an international discipline, and studying law can provide students with opportunities to work globally. Many law firms and organisations operate internationally, and having a law degree can facilitate work in different jurisdictions or engagement with international legal issues.
UK newspaper The Guardian has ranked the following universities as the top 10 institutions to study Law in the UK in its 2023 University Rankings:
Law studies develop skills that can be transferred to a wide range of industries and careers. Here are some of the most common careers and jobs undertaken by Law graduates;
Solicitor: Many law graduates choose to become solicitors, providing legal advice, drafting contracts, representing clients, and handling legal transactions. Solicitors can work in law firms, corporations, government agencies, or non-profit organisations.
Barrister: Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, representing clients in court, providing legal opinions, and advising solicitors. They are self-employed or work in chambers and often specialise in specific areas of law, such as criminal law, family law, or commercial law.
Legal Counsel: Law graduates can work as in-house legal counsel for corporations, providing legal advice, handling contracts, managing legal risks, and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.
Legal Academia: After further study, law graduates can pursue careers in academia, becoming professors, lecturers, researchers, and teaching future generations of lawyers.
Public Sector and Government: Law graduates can work in government agencies, such as the judiciary, prosecution services, or regulatory bodies, where they interpret and enforce laws, prosecute cases, or develop and implement public policies.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): NGOs working in areas such as human rights, environmental advocacy, or international development often employ lawyers to research, advocate, and litigate on behalf of their causes.
Corporate Law: Many law graduates choose to specialise in corporate law and providing legal services to businesses. Lawyers can advise on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, intellectual property, contracts, and commercial disputes.
Legal Consultancy: Some law graduates choose to work in legal consultancy firms, offering specialised legal advice and solutions to clients in various industries.
Alternative Dispute Resolution: Law graduates can specialise in mediation, arbitration, or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, helping parties resolve conflicts outside of court.
Policy and Government Affairs: With their legal expertise, law graduates can work in policy research, analysis, and advocacy roles, influencing government policies, legislative reform, and social justice initiatives.
Postgraduate legal training refers to the additional education and training that law graduates undertake after completing their undergraduate law degree. It is a necessary step for students who wish to qualify as solicitors or barristers in the UK and typically involves the following components:
It’s important to note that the postgraduate legal training requirements can vary based on jurisdiction and professional regulatory bodies. In addition to the LPC or BPTC, there may be other qualifications, exams, or assessments to complete for professional certification, such as the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) introduced in 2021.
If you are about to currently studying for your A-Levels or about to start A-Levels and planning to apply for law at university, here are some useful tips to get you started:
Remember, the application process for law is competitive, but with thorough preparation, a strong application, and a genuine passion for law, you can increase your chances of gaining admission to a high-quality British law program. Good luck!
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