Turn on thread page Beta

A Level choice for law including electronics and computer science watch

    • Thread Starter
    Online

    16
    ReputationRep:
    A friend is considering a career in law and proposes to study A Levels in Mathematics, Computer Science, Electronics, and Law. His subject choice is based around his interests and that he wants to be an expert in hi-tech crime and computer related law.

    However, he has been advised not to take this combination because three of the A Levels are not Russell Group although IMO they are academically rigorous and relevant subjects. He is of the opinion that too many lawyers are technically illiterate and Britain needs more lawyers with a technical background to face the challenges of the 21st century. A Levels in English literature or history (both Russell Group subjects) might be fine for lawyers specialising in family law or property law but they are irrelevant for lawyers specialising in hi-tech crime and computer related law.

    What do you think? Are university law departments compromising the quality of future lawyers by being too snobby with A Level subjects that they don't understand or are not Russell Group?
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Arran90)
    A friend is considering a career in law and proposes to study A Levels in Mathematics, Computer Science, Electronics, and Law. His subject choice is based around his interests and that he wants to be an expert in hi-tech crime and computer related law.

    However, he has been advised not to take this combination because three of the A Levels are not Russell Group although IMO they are academically rigorous and relevant subjects. He is of the opinion that too many lawyers are technically illiterate and Britain needs more lawyers with a technical background to face the challenges of the 21st century. A Levels in English literature or history (both Russell Group subjects) might be fine for lawyers specialising in family law or property law but they are irrelevant for lawyers specialising in hi-tech crime and computer related law.

    What do you think? Are university law departments compromising the quality of future lawyers by being too snobby with A Level subjects that they don't understand or are not Russell Group?
    Not really - universities want for law a display of intelligence not specialisation at this point. Writing and communication is a very key part of a law degree so you can understand why they would definitely prefer you to have an essay subject. I've heard that they actually dislike you having a law a level because they will have to reteach a lot of it. I don't think it's really snobby to prefer subjects which have variety and show that the applicant is intellectually capable of doing the course although I suppose the idea of soft subjects is quite snobbish
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    Why doesn't he study something tech related at university and then do a law conversion afterwards? Admissions officers don't really care about your friend's plans for the future. They care about whether he'll be suited to the academic study of law at their university.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Arran90)
    A friend is considering a career in law and proposes to study A Levels in Mathematics, Computer Science, Electronics, and Law. His subject choice is based around his interests and that he wants to be an expert in hi-tech crime and computer related law.

    However, he has been advised not to take this combination because three of the A Levels are not Russell Group although IMO they are academically rigorous and relevant subjects. He is of the opinion that too many lawyers are technically illiterate and Britain needs more lawyers with a technical background to face the challenges of the 21st century. A Levels in English literature or history (both Russell Group subjects) might be fine for lawyers specialising in family law or property law but they are irrelevant for lawyers specialising in hi-tech crime and computer related law.

    What do you think? Are university law departments compromising the quality of future lawyers by being too snobby with A Level subjects that they don't understand or are not Russell Group?
    Your friend is wrong (presuming he wants to become a lawyer). The vital skills for lawyers are being able to critically read and structure arguments. Specialising in computer law will come after doing a general law degree, for which you need essay-based A-levels (although a science might also be considered useful). If he wants to become a lawyer, he needs to do English literature/history. However, for doing a computer science degree with a view to become a technical consultant for lawyers is a different matter, and his A-levels other than Law are good for that. Equally, doing a computer science degree and a law conversion afterwards would be a very good idea (and both those options are lead to jobs much more easily than law).

    The question of doing Law A-level is a separate matter. Law A-level (if it is anything like GCSE) is worthless for anyone who wants to become a lawyer (and probably also everyone else). Memorising arbitrary facts about vaguely legal matters is not a skill that forms a foundation for studying law at university. Tell him to do English literature or history or something instead.

    Also, frrm a perspective of doing computer science, it is probably better to choose physics than electronics.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sweeneyrod)
    If he wants to become a lawyer, he needs to do English literature/history.
    Not really. I applied for law last year with maths, chemistry, economics and politics and was fine
    • Thread Starter
    Online

    16
    ReputationRep:
    He would rather dig his eyes out than take English literature for A Level. As far as he is concerned it's just a load of tediously boring stories written in dialects of English that are no longer used. Why is English literature preferred over English language at A Level for law degrees?

    There's an interesting article about A Level Law in the Guardian

    http://www.theguardian.com/law/2011/...w-gcse-a-level

    James Hasson, an A-level law student, says he has been repeatedly warned that the subject is not looked upon favourably by the industry. He says: "It seems that these objections fall into three camps – those who fear that what is taught at school will have to be untaught later, those who believe it is not academically rigorous enough and the snobs who have no rational objection."

    He has some sympathy with the first point – "much of my course material is out of date and only the dedicated students bother to keep abreast of developments" – but not the other two.

    The article was written in 2011 so there have been revisions to the A Level Law course in the meantime.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Shumaya)
    Not really. I applied for law last year with maths, chemistry, economics and politics and was fine
    Yes, although I expect most applicants will have English literature or history; politics, economics, geography, RE etc. would also be fine. My main point is that you need at least one essay based subject (preferably more).
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Arran90)
    He would rather dig his eyes out than take English literature for A Level. As far as he is concerned it's just a load of tediously boring stories written in dialects of English that are no longer used. Why is English literature preferred over English language at A Level for law degrees?

    There's an interesting article about A Level Law in the Guardian

    http://www.theguardian.com/law/2011/...w-gcse-a-level

    James Hasson, an A-level law student, says he has been repeatedly warned that the subject is not looked upon favourably by the industry. He says: "It seems that these objections fall into three camps – those who fear that what is taught at school will have to be untaught later, those who believe it is not academically rigorous enough and the snobs who have no rational objection."

    He has some sympathy with the first point – "much of my course material is out of date and only the dedicated students bother to keep abreast of developments" – but not the other two.

    The article was written in 2011 so there have been revisions to the A Level Law course in the meantime.
    There's an interesting comment on the article "From personal experience, I found Law A-level to be a soft choice. I agree that you have to learn and be able to recall a huge amount of information, however, that is all you have to do, learn and churn. Compared to my History and Music A-levels I did not feel that my analytical abilities and critical engagement with the material was tested, or at least where it was, it was done on to a very basic standard."

    Maybe I was being a bit harsh on Law, but I think the fact remains that most good universities not look kindly on candidates with Law as their only essay-based A-level.
    • Thread Starter
    Online

    16
    ReputationRep:
    This is cynical but do university admission tutors strongly prefer applicants to have A Levels in subjects that they are familiar with? Admission tutors for law degrees are probably very familiar with A Levels in English literature and history because they have plenty of experience with applicants who have taken them, but A Levels in computer science and electronics are unfamiliar subjects to many of them so applicants with them are effectively unknown quantities.

    The relevance of mathematics above GCSE level to a law degree is questionable although certain topics such as statistics could be useful but that doesn't stop some students who plan on studying law from taking A Levels in Further Mathematics.

    Do students who have not taken an essay type subject for A Level find law degree courses more difficult than those who have taken an essay type subject?
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Arran90)
    Do students who have not taken an essay type subject for A Level find law degree courses more difficult than those who have taken an essay type subject?
    I expect the number of students doing a law degree after A-levels with no essay subjects is about three. If you don't like essay subjects (even ones like politics and history that are quite similar to law) I imagine you wouldn't like law.
    • Thread Starter
    Online

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sweeneyrod)
    I expect the number of students doing a law degree after A-levels with no essay subjects is about three. If you don't like essay subjects (even ones like politics and history that are quite similar to law) I imagine you wouldn't like law.
    My advice was to contact university law departments to find out what they think of the combination of subjects. I am aware that law degrees involve plenty of essay writing but whether English literature or history A Levels really prepare students or not for the demands of a law degree is a different matter.

    A solid understanding of statutes and case law are central to both law degrees and everyday work as a lawyer although this is not provided by an A Level in Law which covers the subject very superficially. Do any other subjects help with this, if so, how?

    I'm interested in experiences of law degree courses from people who have taken science subjects at A Level.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Arran90)
    My advice was to contact university law departments to find out what they think of the combination of subjects. I am aware that law degrees involve plenty of essay writing but whether English literature or history A Levels really prepare students or not for the demands of a law degree is a different matter.

    A solid understanding of statutes and case law are central to both law degrees and everyday work as a lawyer although this is not provided by an A Level in Law which covers the subject very superficially. Do any other subjects help with this, if so, how?

    I'm interested in experiences of law degree courses from people who have taken science subjects at A Level.
    I'm doing maths further maths Physics economics and English literature originally planning to do law (although this has changed I've still done the research) they don't really care about knowledge of law because they teach it to you completely from scratch - they just need you to demonstrate the skills useful for being a lawyer eg maths as a sign of intelligence and things like electronics aren't going to be useful for that. Essay writing is completely key to being a lawyer as much of it involves writing out documents so if you hate essay subjects it's questionable whether you would really enjoy being a lawyer. And yes doing essay subjects vastly improves your essay writing techniques. Economics is a pretty good subject I think because it covers a lot of government policy and also is an essay subject.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Arran90)
    I'm interested in experiences of law degree courses from people who have taken science subjects at A Level.
    A guy at my sixth form has applied for law and he is doing maths, chemistry, biology and politics A levels. He even got an interview for Cambridge, though he was unsuccessful - probably not because of his subject choices as they invited him to interview knowing that. I believe he still has an offer from UCL though.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    What an interesting thread. I agree with your friend, and I like his choice of A-Levels (except Law - don't see the point doing it at A-Level he wants to study it at university anyway - why not do something fun instead that he won't be able to do later on?). But I also agree with other people here - if he wants to go to a top university for Law, he should have at least two traditional subjects. They don't necessarily have to be essay subjects though. Many people do them for obvious reasons, but people have got into law with all sciences at A-Level. They show you can reason logically, which is very important too. In your friend's case I would suggest something like

    Maths, Physics, Computer Science, Economics

    "Commercial awareness" is apparently very important for lawyers.

    (Original post by Arran90)
    He would rather dig his eyes out than take English literature for A Level. As far as he is concerned it's just a load of tediously boring stories written in dialects of English that are no longer used.
    Haha. I agree.

    (Original post by Arran90)
    This is cynical but do university admission tutors strongly prefer applicants to have A Levels in subjects that they are familiar with?
    It wouldn't surprise me if they look down on practical subjects like Electronics. Lawyers tend to be a bit snobby, yeah? On the other hand, Computer Science has featured extensively in the press over the last two years or so, so that may have increased its perceived value a little bit.

    Do students who have not taken an essay type subject for A Level find law degree courses more difficult than those who have taken an essay type subject?
    Probably, yes. All that close reading and all those essays will come as a shock. TBH, I think your friend should consider studying Computer Science at university and then doing a one year conversion law degree. It will be a lot more fun than three years of a Law degree.

    Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with law in any way, I'm just generally interested in university admissions.
    • Thread Starter
    Online

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by llys)
    What an interesting thread. I agree with your friend, and I like his choice of A-Levels (except Law - don't see the point doing it at A-Level he wants to study it at university anyway - why not do something fun instead that he won't be able to do later on?).
    Law is actually his fourth A Level and he is only planning on studying it because it will make the degree course easier by increasing his familiarity with certain topics and concepts. He is reading the textbooks right now. What exactly do you have in mind as a fun subject?

    But I also agree with other people here - if he wants to go to a top university for Law, he should have at least two traditional subjects. They don't necessarily have to be essay subjects though.
    The choice is a university that offers the type of law degree that appeals to him rather than one in Oxford, Cambridge, or London. Different universities have lecturers with research interests in different areas of law. Some might specialise in business law, others criminal law, others property law, others computer crime, others family law and so on.

    (Original post by DotDotDot...)
    they just need you to demonstrate the skills useful for being a lawyer eg maths as a sign of intelligence and things like electronics aren't going to be useful for that.
    (Original post by llys)
    It wouldn't surprise me if they look down on practical subjects like Electronics.
    The Electronics A Level is quite an academically rigorous subject with plenty of mathematics in it. I would say that it's about the same academic level as chemistry or biology. Anybody who has taken the subject themself, or knows about it, will tell that there is no way in the world that it is a soft subject. It does suffer from being an obscure subject, with the resulting potential of being poorly understood, that isn't a Russell Group subject but it is one that certainly requires intelligence to get a decent grade in it.

    Probably, yes. All that close reading and all those essays will come as a shock. TBH, I think your friend should consider studying Computer Science at university and then doing a one year conversion law degree. It will be a lot more fun than three years of a Law degree
    Easier said than done and there is also the time and money issue as well. Three years of computer science is probably overkill and one year of law not much better than an A Level in Law. Plus it might be difficult to get a conversion law degree without a 1st class degree.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Arran90)
    Law is actually his fourth A Level and he is only planning on studying it because it will make the degree course easier by increasing his familiarity with certain topics and concepts. He is reading the textbooks right now. What exactly do you have in mind as a fun subject?



    The choice is a university that offers the type of law degree that appeals to him rather than one in Oxford, Cambridge, or London. Different universities have lecturers with research interests in different areas of law. Some might specialise in business law, others criminal law, others property law, others computer crime, others family law and so on.





    The Electronics A Level is quite an academically rigorous subject with plenty of mathematics in it. I would say that it's about the same academic level as chemistry or biology. Anybody who has taken the subject themself, or knows about it, will tell that there is no way in the world that it is a soft subject. It does suffer from being an obscure subject, with the resulting potential of being poorly understood, that isn't a Russell Group subject but it is one that certainly requires intelligence to get a decent grade in it.



    Easier said than done and there is also the time and money issue as well. Three years of computer science is probably overkill and one year of law not much better than an A Level in Law. Plus it might be difficult to get a conversion law degree without a 1st class degree.
    I'm sorry but I'm really not sure you can compare it to chemistry, some of the ideas in that are ridiculously hard to grasp. I'm not saying it's a 'soft subject' but it's no maths or physics. Try doing further maths and then see how hard you find it. Plus doing maths, computer science and electronics doesn't give you the range of skills they want they need to see that you're rounded in your intelligence.
    • Thread Starter
    Online

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by DotDotDot...)
    I'm sorry but I'm really not sure you can compare it to chemistry, some of the ideas in that are ridiculously hard to grasp. I'm not saying it's a 'soft subject' but it's no maths or physics. Try doing further maths and then see how hard you find it.
    I have A Levels in both Electronics and Further Mathematics so I have first hand experience of the subjects. The second subject isn't actually all that difficult. What A Levels do you have?

    Plus doing maths, computer science and electronics doesn't give you the range of skills they want they need to see that you're rounded in your intelligence.
    How is rounded in intelligence actually defined or is it just some meaningless soundbite? Is a person with A Levels in English literature, history, and Latin rounded in their intelligence? Nothing technical and nothing mathematical or numerate.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Arran90)
    I have A Levels in both Electronics and Further Mathematics so I have first hand experience of the subjects. The second subject isn't actually all that difficult. What A Levels do you have?



    How is rounded in intelligence actually defined or is it just some meaningless soundbite? Is a person with A Levels in English literature, history, and Latin rounded in their intelligence? Nothing technical and nothing mathematical or numerate.
    I do maths further maths physics economics and English lit. The electronics part of physics is a lot easier than, say, c3 and although I can't really judge it much considering I haven't done it but it seems to lack the problem solving needed for maths or the communication skills needed for essay subjects. And no I wouldn't say they SHOW they have rounded intelligence. I'm sure your friend does have rounded intelligence but his a levels just don't really reflect that and that's the only thing unis will see.
    • Thread Starter
    Online

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by DotDotDot...)
    I do maths further maths physics economics and English lit. The electronics part of physics is a lot easier than, say, c3 and although I can't really judge it much considering I haven't done it but it seems to lack the problem solving needed for maths or the communication skills needed for essay subjects. And no I wouldn't say they SHOW they have rounded intelligence. I'm sure your friend does have rounded intelligence but his a levels just don't really reflect that and that's the only thing unis will see.
    The Electronics A Level covers the subject to a broader and deeper level than the electronics part of physics A Level does although it does not include electromagnetics. Have you completed any A Levels or are you just currently studying them?

    Economics is not a Russell Group subject.

    Are you trying to imply that a person only has rounded intelligence if they hold at least one essay type A Level subject and at least one mathematical or numerate type A Level subject? My findings are that around 70% of A Level students fall into either a mathematics, science, and technology camp or an arts and humanities camp with only economics, geography, music, and foreign languages commonly being studied by people in both camps.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sweeneyrod)
    If he wants to become a lawyer, he needs to do English literature/history.
    I know 3 people who are currently studying Law at (variously) Cambridge, Nottingham and Bristol. They studied:

    Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and German
    Maths, Further Maths, Physics and French
    Maths, Physics, Chemistry and French.

    It is not necessary to study English or History, nor even to do a classic essay subject.
 
 
 
The home of Results and Clearing

3,194

people online now

1,567,000

students helped last year

University open days

  1. Sheffield Hallam University
    City Campus Undergraduate
    Tue, 21 Aug '18
  2. Bournemouth University
    Clearing Open Day Undergraduate
    Wed, 22 Aug '18
  3. University of Buckingham
    Postgraduate Open Evening Postgraduate
    Thu, 23 Aug '18
Poll
How are you feeling about GCSE results day?
Help with your A-levels

All the essentials

The adventure begins mug

Student life: what to expect

What it's really like going to uni

Rosette

Essay expert

Learn to write like a pro with our ultimate essay guide.

Uni match

Uni match

Our tool will help you find the perfect course for you

Study planner

Create a study plan

Get your head around what you need to do and when with the study planner tool.

Study planner

Resources by subject

Everything from mind maps to class notes.

Hands typing

Degrees without fees

Discover more about degree-level apprenticeships.

A student doing homework

Study tips from A* students

Students who got top grades in their A-levels share their secrets

Study help links and info

Can you help? Study help unanswered threadsRules and posting guidelines

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.