Starting a Law Degree

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Tyler37282
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#1
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#1
Hi, I’m from Durham and applied to do a law degree starting in September, I’m wondering if there is anything I should know before starting the degree?
Any advice would be really appreciated, it can be anything at all, or even if you haven’t done a law degree and about to do one like me.
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Tyler37282
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#2
I’m commenting to try and keep this post alive
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wifd149
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#3
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Nothing much in my opinion, all courses would start from the beginning anyway and there’s always orientation where they explain everything important to the students.
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Tyler37282
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#4
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#4
(Original post by wifd149)
Nothing much in my opinion, all courses would start from the beginning anyway and there’s always orientation where they explain everything important to the students.
Yeah I suppose so, I just want to get a student’s perspective rather than a lecturer’s one.
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wifd149
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(Original post by Tyler37282)
Yeah I suppose so, I just want to get a student’s perspective rather than a lecturer’s one.
Many will tell you that it’s really (unbelievably) hard to get good marks in law to be honest, if you want to find some good advice you can search for old threads through Google and just add in TSR at the end. Most of them should come up.

I’m not sure what else that I wished I would’ve known earlier though. Maybe the fact that some universities get more stricter with marking as you progress.
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Tyler37282
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#6
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#6
(Original post by wifd149)
Many will tell you that it’s really (unbelievably) hard to get good marks in law to be honest, if you want to find some good advice you can search for old threads through Google and just add in TSR at the end. Most of them should come up.

I’m not sure what else that I wished I would’ve known earlier though. Maybe the fact that some universities get more stricter with marking as you progress.
Thanks, I’ll have a look now.
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heretohelp13
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Tyler37282)
Hi, I’m from Durham and applied to do a law degree starting in September, I’m wondering if there is anything I should know before starting the degree?
Any advice would be really appreciated, it can be anything at all, or even if you haven’t done a law degree and about to do one like me.
Law grad and masters grad here, what exactly do you want to know? Ask away.
Last edited by heretohelp13; 3 months ago
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Tyler37282
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#8
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#8
(Original post by heretohelp13)
Law grad and masters grad here, what exactly do you want to know? Ask away.
Just anything that you wished you would have known when you were in my position, personally I’m quite anxious about starting.
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heretohelp13
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#9
(Original post by Tyler37282)
Just anything that you wished you would have known when you were in my position, personally I’m quite anxious about starting.
That's normal with going to uni. The first time your parents drop you off and drive away you might want to run after the car, but that will pass. Don't worry!

I suppose the following might help:

- Law is not an easy degree, but it isn't exactly rocket science either. Law is tough and requires discipline, but if you work reasonably hard then it's okay. There's lots of reading and some of the concepts are hard, but it is very doable. So don't worry if you find it hard right away. It is a lot easier to get a First in most other subjects, but that's okay. Law is known for not having many Firsts (so good for you if you get one!). You don't do well by being a genius in Law, you do well by being diligent, consistent and sensible with your time.
- The sacred 2:1. You must do everything you can to get a 2:1, especially if you want to be a lawyer. Not getting one is a major handicap to your career prospects. That being said, getting a 2:1 is very achievable for most people. Note, I am not saying your life is over if you don't get a 2:1 - it isn't. But it's a headache you can really do without.
- Work smart, not hard. In my second year, I did 12 to 14 hour days in the library. Wasted lots of time since you physically cannot study consistently for that length of time, was miserable, and got a low 2:1. In my final year, I studied efficiently, working hard for a set number of hours per day and then taking time off, and having regular breaks - and got mostly Firsts and good 2:1's. Don't try to be that guy or gal who is always reading in the library just to look good at Law. It's better to actually be good at Law, and you do that by working efficiently. Otherwise you'll just burn yourself out.
- Do the damn reading. Law is a lot of reading. A LOT, of reading. One week of reading for me was about a month of reading for my flatmate. So get the reading done, and do it consistently. You will feel tempted to skip stuff and "do it later". Don't do that. It will seriously mess you up. Having said that, you don't need to read every single case from cover to cover. Focus on the main cases, and go to the summaries for the less important ones. Get the point of the case or statute, don't try to memorise it word for word.
- Do your extra curricular stuff. Go to law fairs, do work experience, do mooting, do debating, do pro bono. Basically anything to beef up your CV. Competition in Law is vicious, so do everything you can to get ahead and stand out.
- Enjoy uni life. You only get to go to uni once (usually) and it is an amazing time. Explore the city you live in, and use it as a time to grow personally and intellectually. Don't waste it being stuck in the law library all the time. Go out with friends and have coffee, explore the museums and the art galleries, go to the parties and have fun. You only get this time once, so don't be just a Law student.

There's a lot more but I don't want to overwhelm you. I'm very jealous of you, this is a very fun and enlightening time. Good luck! You'll be fine.
Last edited by heretohelp13; 3 months ago
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Mikos
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#10
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#10
Current law student here (not at Durham, although that was one of my other choices!). I’d say it’s quite rigorous so be prepared to work hard, more so than your peers on other degrees lol.
One piece of advice I’d give is that when writing essays it’s probably a good idea to do academic reading and put that into your answers- this is a big reason why I’ve been getting firsts imo.
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han1all
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Tyler37282)
Hi, I’m from Durham and applied to do a law degree starting in September, I’m wondering if there is anything I should know before starting the degree?
Any advice would be really appreciated, it can be anything at all, or even if you haven’t done a law degree and about to do one like me.
I’m a law student you can ask me any questions
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Tyler37282
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Mikos)
Current law student here (not at Durham, although that was one of my other choices!). I’d say it’s quite rigorous so be prepared to work hard, more so than your peers on other degrees lol.
One piece of advice I’d give is that when writing essays it’s probably a good idea to do academic reading and put that into your answers- this is a big reason why I’ve been getting firsts imo.
I see, by academic reading do you mean quoting from books?
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Tyler37282
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#13
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#13
(Original post by heretohelp13)
That's normal with going to uni. The first time your parents drop you off and drive away you might want to run after the car, but that will pass. Don't worry!

I suppose the following might help:

- Law is not an easy degree, but it isn't exactly rocket science either. Law is tough and requires discipline, but if you work reasonably hard then it's okay. There's lots of reading and some of the concepts are hard, but it is very doable. So don't worry if you find it hard right away. It is a lot easier to get a First in most other subjects, but that's okay. Law is known for not having many Firsts (so good for you if you get one!). You don't do well by being a genius in Law, you do well by being diligent, consistent and sensible with your time.
- The sacred 2:1. You must do everything you can to get a 2:1, especially if you want to be a lawyer. Not getting one is a major handicap to your career prospects. That being said, getting a 2:1 is very achievable for most people. Note, I am not saying your life is over if you don't get a 2:1 - it isn't. But it's a headache you can really do without.
- Work smart, not hard. In my second year, I did 12 to 14 hour days in the library. Wasted lots of time since you physically cannot study consistently for that length of time, was miserable, and got a low 2:1. In my final year, I studied efficiently, working hard for a set number of hours per day and then taking time off, and having regular breaks - and got mostly Firsts and good 2:1's. Don't try to be that guy or gal who is always reading in the library just to look good at Law. It's better to actually be good at Law, and you do that by working efficiently. Otherwise you'll just burn yourself out.
- Do the damn reading. Law is a lot of reading. A LOT, of reading. One week of reading for me was about a month of reading for my flatmate. So get the reading done, and do it consistently. You will feel tempted to skip stuff and "do it later". Don't do that. It will seriously mess you up. Having said that, you don't need to read every single case from cover to cover. Focus on the main cases, and go to the summaries for the less important ones. Get the point of the case or statute, don't try to memorise it word for word.
- Do your extra curricular stuff. Go to law fairs, do work experience, do mooting, do debating, do pro bono. Basically anything to beef up your CV. Competition in Law is vicious, so do everything you can to get ahead and stand out.
- Enjoy uni life. You only get to go to uni once (usually) and it is an amazing time. Explore the city you live in, and use it as a time to grow personally and intellectually. Don't waste it being stuck in the law library all the time. Go out with friends and have coffee, explore the museums and the art galleries, go to the parties and have fun. You only get this time once, so don't be just a Law student.

There's a lot more but I don't want to overwhelm you. I'm very jealous of you, this is a very fun and enlightening time. Good luck! You'll be fine.
Thank you so much, I appreciate that you took your time to type that out and it’s helped me understand better. Two further questions, firstly, how many hours should a first year law student work in a day and secondly, would it be a good idea to get a job?
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Tyler37282
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#14
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#14
(Original post by heretohelp13)
Law grad and masters grad here, what exactly do you want to know? Ask away.
How many hours would you advise me to work in a day? I’m planning on 6 hours a day Monday-Friday.
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heretohelp13
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Tyler37282)
Thank you so much, I appreciate that you took your time to type that out and it’s helped me understand better. Two further questions, firstly, how many hours should a first year law student work in a day and secondly, would it be a good idea to get a job?
No worries man. Honestly dude don't be nervous, you will absolutely love uni. And if you don't you can always leave and do something else, they don't lock you in haha.

Second question is easy - no. You don't have the time to do that, and even if you did (you won't, trust me) you only get your uni years once. There's plenty of time for jobs later where you will wish you were back at uni. It's a full time gig, so treat it like that basically. Don't start complicating your life with a job. I can't give you financial advice obviously, this is just from a time management point of view. I know lots of students work in the summer between year 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 etc., but I doubt you will have the time during the semester.

First question is a bit different. I would advise actually that you don't focus on hours per day. In my second year I did that, but it ended up making me inefficient and clock watching. I also found it leads to frustration and procrastination, which is bad news for that First class or 2:1 mark you'll be chasing. Instead, you're better off focusing on tasks. So for example if you have to read 10 cases, 3 statutes, and 7 articles in a week, then divide up the tasks rather than the time. So instead of saying "today I will work from x time to y time", say "today I will read three cases and 1 article, tomorrow I will read 3 articles and 1 statute etc. That way, it incentivises you to do the work as opposed to focussing on the clock. Ultimately it will be what you learned, not how much time you spent at your desk, that is reflected in your grades. Like I said, "work smart, not hard". That isn't to say you can't block out work hours, in fact it's a good idea to have some time which is dedicated just to work. But uni is a bit chaotic with workloads - some weeks are fairly light, and other (more frequent) weeks are really heavy. And obviously you will be working a lot less in your Freshers week than you will one week before your exams.

One last point - don't listen to the idiots who say "oh First year doesn't count, you can just retake it lol". Your grades still show on your transcript, which matters if you ever want to do postgrad academia etc. Retakes suck, they are capped at a certain grade and they mess up your summer and final degree mark, and if you fail a retake it can be catastrophic. So get it right to start with. I have seen so many people starting their work and revision literally days before the exam started. DO NOT BE THAT GUY. It will suck. Keep good notes and actually learn the stuff throughout the year, don't do what I did in first year and wait to learn it all until a month before the exams which were all taken at the end of the year (we didn't have January exams, we were tested on everything you learned from September to March in the Spring - your uni might be different?).

Hope that helps.
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Tyler37282
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#16
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#16
(Original post by heretohelp13)
No worries man. Honestly dude don't be nervous, you will absolutely love uni. And if you don't you can always leave and do something else, they don't lock you in haha.

Second question is easy - no. You don't have the time to do that, and even if you did (you won't, trust me) you only get your uni years once. There's plenty of time for jobs later where you will wish you were back at uni. It's a full time gig, so treat it like that basically. Don't start complicating your life with a job. I can't give you financial advice obviously, this is just from a time management point of view. I know lots of students work in the summer between year 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 etc., but I doubt you will have the time during the semester.

First question is a bit different. I would advise actually that you don't focus on hours per day. In my second year I did that, but it ended up making me inefficient and clock watching. I also found it leads to frustration and procrastination, which is bad news for that First class or 2:1 mark you'll be chasing. Instead, you're better off focusing on tasks. So for example if you have to read 10 cases, 3 statutes, and 7 articles in a week, then divide up the tasks rather than the time. So instead of saying "today I will work from x time to y time", say "today I will read three cases and 1 article, tomorrow I will read 3 articles and 1 statute etc. That way, it incentivises you to do the work as opposed to focussing on the clock. Ultimately it will be what you learned, not how much time you spent at your desk, that is reflected in your grades. Like I said, "work smart, not hard". That isn't to say you can't block out work hours, in fact it's a good idea to have some time which is dedicated just to work. But uni is a bit chaotic with workloads - some weeks are fairly light, and other (more frequent) weeks are really heavy. And obviously you will be working a lot less in your Freshers week than you will one week before your exams.

One last point - don't listen to the idiots who say "oh First year doesn't count, you can just retake it lol". Your grades still show on your transcript, which matters if you ever want to do postgrad academia etc. Retakes suck, they are capped at a certain grade and they mess up your summer and final degree mark, and if you fail a retake it can be catastrophic. So get it right to start with. I have seen so many people starting their work and revision literally days before the exam started. DO NOT BE THAT GUY. It will suck. Keep good notes and actually learn the stuff throughout the year, don't do what I did in first year and wait to learn it all until a month before the exams which were all taken at the end of the year (we didn't have January exams, we were tested on everything you learned from September to March in the Spring - your uni might be different?).

Hope that helps.
Once again, thank you so much, I didn’t look at working to workloads rather than the clock before but that makes so much more sense, thank you so much and I’ll take that advice with me, have an amazing day.
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Mikos
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#17
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#17
(Original post by Tyler37282)
I see, by academic reading do you mean quoting from books?
Yes or articles, you might find them on reading lists
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