jacketpotato
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#21
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#21
(Original post by sleekchic)
I will be taking a look at the books you mentioned but since it's the holidays and my firm thinks it's too early to send a reading list is it a good idea to use the nutshell/nutcase/unlocking series to give me a basic understanding of first year modules before moving onto the Palgrave or Coretext series?
I really don't think its a good idea to use the nutshell or unlocking series. Some of them are truly dreadful, both in how correct they are and how clear they are. If you try and understand the law based on nutshells, you will just end up confused and it won't help your studies.

I'd use the Coretext series in the first instance, though it depends on the subject (e.g. for Land Law use "Modern Land Law" by Dixon because the Coretext series for Land law is awful).

There isn't much point trying to get any detail in before uni. It would be a better idea to get the Clarendon Series "Introduction to" book in one of the subjects you intend to do - they generally give you a decent look at the wider picture.
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Lord Hysteria
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#22
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(Original post by jacketpotato)
I really don't think its a good idea to use the nutshell or unlocking series. Some of them are truly dreadful, both in how correct they are and how clear they are. If you try and understand the law based on nutshells, you will just end up confused and it won't help your studies.

I'd use the Coretext series in the first instance, though it depends on the subject (e.g. for Land Law use "Modern Land Law" by Dixon because the Coretext series for Land law is awful).

There isn't much point trying to get any detail in before uni. It would be a better idea to get the Clarendon Series "Introduction to" book in one of the subjects you intend to do - they generally give you a decent look at the wider picture.
Actually, the worst thing in my opinion with regards to nutshells (and other market equivalents) is that there is no linking factor to put all the legal rules, cases and academic writing so that they make sense all together. It is just boxes with cases and facts in them. That is just plain useless. Anyone can re-write facts ... it's the bigger picture and how they work together which they fail so miserably at helping someone understand. I'd be ashamed to have my name down as the author.
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sleekchic
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#23
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(Original post by jacketpotato)
I really don't think its a good idea to use the nutshell or unlocking series. Some of them are truly dreadful, both in how correct they are and how clear they are. If you try and understand the law based on nutshells, you will just end up confused and it won't help your studies.

I'd use the Coretext series in the first instance, though it depends on the subject (e.g. for Land Law use "Modern Land Law" by Dixon because the Coretext series for Land law is awful).

There isn't much point trying to get any detail in before uni. It would be a better idea to get the Clarendon Series "Introduction to" book in one of the subjects you intend to do - they generally give you a decent look at the wider picture.
I have already ordered the nutshell series but I'll return them and get the "Introduction to" instead.

If it changes anything the first year modules are Introduction to Law, Constitutional and Administrative Law, Criminal Law, Law of Contract

Thank you
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sleekchic
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#24
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I know you and a couple of others have mentioned how important essay writing is but is it a good idea to buy this book?

S.I. Strong, How to Write Law Essays and Exams, (2 nd ed., OUP, 2006)
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Lawstude
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Currently reading/have read:

The Law by Glanville Williams ( some of it is quite common sense but overall good)
Letters to a law student by Mcbride ( very good and easy to read)

Quite liked this quote from Glanville Williams' book (something along the lines of anyway): No 'real' lawyer has got to where he/she is by relying upon 2nd hand information( i.e. by way of text book etc).
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jacketpotato
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#26
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#26
(Original post by sleekchic)
I have already ordered the nutshell series but I'll return them and get the "Introduction to" instead.

If it changes anything the first year modules are Introduction to Law, Constitutional and Administrative Law, Criminal Law, Law of Contract

Thank you
The best bets would be Barendt's introduction to Con. or Ashworth's Principles of Criminal law (both in the Introduction to ...) series.
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sleekchic
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I think I've asked this before but not in this thread so I'll ask again.

Before applying for uni I was interested in a couple of areas like medical law, tax law, jurisprudence as well as a couple of others and the university I'm most likely going to in September doesn't do any of this. So should this matter by that I mean should it afect my choice of uni?

That doesn't mean I'm going to change my university option but does it matter what optional modules you take especially in terms of future career options?

If I decided to just go to my current uni option and then read up those areas that I am interested in would that affect my ability to work in areas that require knowledge of those modules? I know there is a huge difference in law in theory and law in practice but this is something that bothers me.

That post was probably very confusing
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Serenity
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(Original post by sleekchic)
I think I've asked this before but not in this thread so I'll ask again.

Before applying for uni I was interested in a couple of areas like medical law, tax law, jurisprudence as well as a couple of others and the university I'm most likely going to in September doesn't do any of this. So should this matter by that I mean should it afect my choice of uni?

That doesn't mean I'm going to change my university option but does it matter what optional modules you take especially in terms of future career options?

If I decided to just go to my current uni option and then read up those areas that I am interested in would that affect my ability to work in areas that require knowledge of those modules? I know there is a huge difference in law in theory and law in practice but this is something that bothers me.

That post was probably very confusing


No I don't think the optional modules you take matter that much in terms of future career options. It is obviously you're academic ability in the 'core modules' that are most important and the core modules are also those which law firms are most likely to take interest in.

It's great that you have taken a big interest in certain legal areas and you obviously have an academic interest in law which is nice to see and will help you with you're degree I'm sure. The fact that you wont be able to study these areas of interest during your degree is not too much of a problem for you. Due to the fact that when taking the LPC (I'm presuming you want to be a solicitor but let me know if not) you can specialize in certain areas and so you may able to learn about the ones you have interest in. Further, as a trainee solicitor you undertake different "seats" (basically spend time in different departments) where you can learn more about different areas of law and where you may be able to state your preferences.. I must reiterate that lawyers are able to move quite easily into different sectors which interest them the most.. The fact that you haven't been able to undertake a medical law module, for example, at university will definitely not hamper your chances of becoming a medical lawyer. This is especially due to the fact that the knowledge gained from a small optional module in a certain area of law is nowhere near enough needed to get by as a specialist lawyer in that field!

..Hope this helps...
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sleekchic
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#29
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(Original post by Serenity)
No I don't think the optional modules you take matter that much in terms of future career options. It is obviously you're academic ability in the 'core modules' that are most important and the core modules are also those which law firms are most likely to take interest in.

It's great that you have taken a big interest in certain legal areas and you obviously have an academic interest in law which is nice to see and will help you with you're degree I'm sure. The fact that you wont be able to study these areas of interest during your degree is not too much of a problem for you. Due to the fact that when taking the LPC (I'm presuming you want to be a solicitor but let me know if not) you can specialize in certain areas and so you may able to learn about the ones you have interest in. Further, as a trainee solicitor you undertake different "seats" (basically spend time in different departments) where you can learn more about different areas of law and where you may be able to state your preferences.. I must reiterate that lawyers are able to move quite easily into different sectors which interest them the most.. The fact that you haven't been able to undertake a medical law module, for example, at university will definitely not hamper your chances of becoming a medical lawyer. This is especially due to the fact that the knowledge gained from a small optional module in a certain area of law is nowhere near enough needed to get by as a specialist lawyer in that field!

..Hope this helps...
Yes I do want to be a solicitor and I know all about the different seats in firms (I think depending on the firm you spend 6 months in each seat?).

Your post has definitely helped to calm me down so thank you very much because I wasn't aware that you could specialise during the LPC.
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Serenity
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#30
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(Original post by sleekchic)
Yes I do want to be a solicitor and I know all about the different seats in firms (I think depending on the firm you spend 6 months in each seat?).

Your post has definitely helped to calm me down so thank you very much because I wasn't aware that you could specialise during the LPC.
Yep..
http://www.college-of-law.co.uk/pros...e-content.html

The electives are at the bottom of page.

Glad it was of some help
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jacketpotato
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#31
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#31
(Original post by sleekchic)
I think I've asked this before but not in this thread so I'll ask again.

Before applying for uni I was interested in a couple of areas like medical law, tax law, jurisprudence as well as a couple of others and the university I'm most likely going to in September doesn't do any of this. So should this matter by that I mean should it afect my choice of uni?

That doesn't mean I'm going to change my university option but does it matter what optional modules you take especially in terms of future career options?

If I decided to just go to my current uni option and then read up those areas that I am interested in would that affect my ability to work in areas that require knowledge of those modules? I know there is a huge difference in law in theory and law in practice but this is something that bothers me.

That post was probably very confusing
Are you sure they don't offer Jurisprudence? Take another look at the list of optional modules

It doesn't matter. You don't know what kind of law you are best at and interests you the most yet. Jurisprudence and Medical law are very different fields. If you don't find yourself becoming a natural academic and essay writer, you should steer clear of juris. Similarly, there is little point taking Medical if you don't enjoy Criminal/Tort/Family which are a little more on the technical side of things. Tax has the reputation of being the most dry and boring module you can possibly take, and its very technical - about as far from jurisprudence as you can get - so I wouldn't worry too much about tax being unavailable.

That said, I wouldn't play up the LPC too much either. The diagram shows that if you are going to a specific firm or into public service you don't have any choice at all; and even if you are not the choics are fairly limited. For example, I am going to a corporate/commercial firm and have no choice over my electives, having to take things like "Equity Finance" and so on.

Its not so much the specific subject that matters as the general direction in which you steer yourself. Firms are of general sorts: the big London firms are very much focused on advising companies, and so won't do criminal/family/medical work. But of course there are firms which focus on crime/immigration and so on. If you wanted to become a immigration lawyer, it wouldn't matter that you hadn't studied immigration law, though you should have steered your degree in the direction of criminal and public law subjects (i.e. administrative law and Human Rights-type modules). If you wanted to be a tax lawyer, you should have focused on getting good marks in contract and Equity and taken subjects like Commercial and Company law.
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Silvertongue
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In terms of reading introductory books to Law, how is one meant to think 'critically' about them? Are we meant to start evaluating the law covered in them or is that too much? I'm guessing they're not really interested in a critique of the book as a while?
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jacketpotato
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#33
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The best way to think/read critically is to not assume that what a book is telling you to be correct. People do this instinctively when they read a newspaper that they don't like: if Guardian fans read the Telegraph, they will accept the facts but instinctively disagree with the conclusions and vice versa. Both people would probably immediately try to explain why a lot of articles in the Daily Mail are full of rubbish.

Its the same thing when you are reading a book: you need to question the conclusions and comments made by the author. Obviously you won't know any law, but the books will help you by outlining a piece of law or piece of history, and you then make your own conclusions as to whether that is good law or wrong law.

One example I used comes from "Understanding Law". It talks about the difference between legal positivism (i.e. black letter law: the law is what it is) and natural law (i.e. the law simply reflects inherent moral standards). You then make your own conclusions as to which is the stronger viewpoint. This is one of the things I did for my Cambridge interview: I mentioned an interest in the "conflict between legal postivism and natural law" on my personal statement, and talked about this in the interview. I got asked which is stronger, and argued in favour of the natural law position, with the interviewer predictably then taking the positivist position and seeing how I stood up to scrutiny. Having alternative sources/an interviewer to challenge you helps, but isn't necessary: the key training here is the thought process that goes on... constantly thinking "is this right", "what is the other viewpoint here", "what is the real story here" etc.
Its different to GCSE/A-level because at GCSE/A-level (with the exception of A2 level History) you are generally just learning stuff from a revision guide and regurgitating it.
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Ape Gone Insane
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#34
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Can this not be stickied. I'm going to ask a mod.
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sleekchic
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#35
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(Original post by jacketpotato)
8) What can I do to make my uni application stand out?
i)Good grades at GCSE and A-level.
ii)A well written personal statement. You need a clear structure that explains why you want to study law and what you will bring to the university, not just a list of your extra-curricular achievements: check the PS forum. No spelling mistake or grammatical errors allowed.
iii)Some relevant work experience is a plus. Try contacting high street solicitors firms or chambers near you to see if they would take you on for a week of work experience. However, law degrees are academic, don't worry too much if you can't get any work exp at this stage, but it is worth a go.
iv)You can take a couple of visits to court. Courts are open to the public, and it is well worth a visit to your local county or high court, or even just the magistrates' court, just to see how it all works in practice. Find courts near you and opening times at http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/
v)Its also a very good idea to wise-up on recent issues involving the law (i.e. read the broadsheets- telegraph, Guardian or Times). Obviously the 42-day detention issue and anti-terrorist legislation are very relevant at the moment, but there is plenty of other legally-related stuff going on as well. Mentioning that you are interested in how the law relates to topical issues, and giving a specific example of something you are interested in, is a great addition to a PS and also offers a great opportunity for some informed discussion at interview.

9) What books can I read to give me a flavour of the law and something to talk about at interview?
Some examples include:
'Understanding Law' by Adams and Brownsword
'Letters to a Law Student' by McBride
'Learning the Law' by Williams
'Learning Legal Rules' by Holland
'The Law Machine' by Berlins and Dyer
'What About Law?' by Barnard, O'Sullivan and Virgo
'The Politics of the Judiciary' by Griffith
There are other examples going round these forums, just do a search.

You should be aware of the different types of introductory law books. There are basically two types of introductory law book: those that give you an introduction to some substantive legal issues and legal ways of thinking, and those that give you an overview of the procedure followed by the courts and the legal professions. You need the books that give you an overview of legal substance as this is what law degrees are about, not books on procedure which are useful in practice but not in a degree. Interviewers will be less impressed by you going in and telling them the relation between the high court and the county court than by an informed discussion of whether people who kill indirectly should be guilty of murder, because it is issues like that which are studied in a law degree: procedure is not.
As for my personal opinions, I highly recommend 'Understanding Law' as a book to base your reading around and 'The Law Machine' to supplement, but I don't recommend 'Learning Legal Rules' because it is mainly a dry book on how stuff works, what the abbreviations on law reports stand for and so on, this is not what you need. I'm sure there are other good ones, and obviously it is subjective. You can search the forums for what other people have said about these books.
I may be re-applying although I am still not sure about it but assuming I do I would like to start my personal statement soon and I really want to work on it because my last personal statement was pretty basic.

Will the two books recommended by you, "Understanding Law" and "Learning Legal Rules" be enough bearing in mind that I am already reading the introduction to series for some modules.

I know you've already talked about being aware of some legal issues for example 42 day detention but I think the majority of people will be talking about this anyway in their personal statement so I'm trying to think of something else to do to stand out from the others so should I just pick a topic to write about in my personal statement?
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jacketpotato
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#36
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#36
(Original post by sleekchic)
I may be re-applying although I am still not sure about it but assuming I do I would like to start my personal statement soon and I really want to work on it because my last personal statement was pretty basic.

Will the two books recommended by you, "Understanding Law" and "Learning Legal Rules" be enough bearing in mind that I am already reading the introduction to series for some modules.

I know you've already talked about being aware of some legal issues for example 42 day detention but I think the majority of people will be talking about this anyway in their personal statement so I'm trying to think of something else to do to stand out from the others so should I just pick a topic to write about in my personal statement?
Yes. If you have read a "Introduction To" books, reading anymore isn't necessary, though I recommend "Understanding Law" because its good (if a little tough for a introductory book).

The important thing to appreciate with the books is that it is not a name-dropping exercise: you don't get brownie points just for naming books, because everyone does this and most people haven't actually read the books. What you need to do is demonstrate that you have engaged with one of the books: say something like "When reading 'Introduction to Constitutional Law', I was particularly struck by the importance of conventions. Whilst conventions such as X are undoubtedly important, I believe that our democracy would become much more accessible if these conventions were written down so that everybody knows what they are". Quality trumps quantity!

I think it is a good idea to talk about some legal-ish issue that caught your attention. You are right to say that the terror example is very common. But there is plenty you can do, have a read in the papers. You could do something about the declining role of parliament and the increasing importance of the executive. You could talk about whether the conflict in Afghanistan respects international law, or about waterboarding, the controversy over legal aid.... anything really. Try browsing http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/
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sleekchic
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(Original post by jacketpotato)
Yes. If you have read a "Introduction To" books, reading anymore isn't necessary, though I recommend "Understanding Law" because its good (if a little tough for a introductory book).

The important thing to appreciate with the books is that it is not a name-dropping exercise: you don't get brownie points just for naming books, because everyone does this and most people haven't actually read the books. What you need to do is demonstrate that you have engaged with one of the books: say something like "When reading 'Introduction to Constitutional Law', I was particularly struck by the importance of conventions. Whilst conventions such as X are undoubtedly important, I believe that our democracy would become much more accessible if these conventions were written down so that everybody knows what they are". Quality trumps quantity!

I think it is a good idea to talk about some legal-ish issue that caught your attention. You are right to say that the terror example is very common. But there is plenty you can do, have a read in the papers. You could do something about the declining role of parliament and the increasing importance of the executive. You could talk about whether the conflict in Afghanistan respects international law, or about waterboarding, the controversy over legal aid.... anything really. Try browsing http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/
Thank you that did help a lot.

What about something to do with the difference in the meaning of life sentences and how sentences are in a way subjective and raises the issue of whether one law can really be applied to a whole group of people or whether it is effective to interpret laws/sentences although I'm not sure all of that made sense.
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jacketpotato
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(Original post by sleekchic)
Thank you that did help a lot.

What about something to do with the difference in the meaning of life sentences and how sentences are in a way subjective and raises the issue of whether one law can really be applied to a whole group of people or whether it is effective to interpret laws/sentences although I'm not sure all of that made sense.
A fine idea. But I don't suggest you do it. Despite the rubbish you sometimes read in the tabloids, you would have to be an idiot to think that life should always mean life. This is because we have a mandatory life sentence for murder: not all murders deserve a life sentence. We have a mandatory life sentence for historical reasons; and so getting around that mandatory sentence is a historical issue as well, that is probably too complicated for a pre-university student. When people grumble "life should mean life" they do not know what they are talking about!

Best to ground yourself in something thats discussed by a broadsheet, I'd try a article from the link I gave you (or any article from a broadsheet) and follow up on it.
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Silvertongue
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It's not really awful if when reading through a law introductory book such as 'Understanding Law' or 'What about Law', one doesn't really understand all of it first time right? It's just What about Law was written for my specific age group and I'm kind of getting worried that I'm struggling with certain topics.
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jacketpotato
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Its to be expected. Its worth re-reading chapters - perhaps just choosing a few from the book - so you understand them. Its good preperation for a law degree really: for a lot of things, you won't really understand stuff when you read a textbook for a first time. You just kind of have to suck it up, and then it all fits together like a jigsaw a little later.
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