What it’s like being a postgraduate law student

students

Recent and current postgrads share their experiences

So what’s life like as a postgrad law student? To find out, we spoke to three students from The University of Law about their experiences.

Charlotte, Nikita and Roma told us how their studies can be intense, and how it’s been essential to develop their time management skills in order to succeed.

Read on to discover what else they had to say, including some great tips for anyone thinking about taking a postgraduate law qualification.

Charlotte

What's your current law course?
i-LPC LLM – I previously did the GDL as a postgraduate too

What was your undergraduate degree?
Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation

What prompted you to choose your postgrad course?
I chose to do the GDL and then the LPC in order to qualify as a solicitor, as I did a non-law degree at undergraduate level.

What’s your course like?
It’s intense in terms of the workload, but it’s much more practically focussed than undergraduate studies, where you’re writing from a more academic standpoint. 

The main idea of the course is to prepare you to be a solicitor rather than someone who knows the law, so the exams tend to focus on client engagement rather than detailed law-related questions.

What are the highlights of law postgraduate study?
During the GDL I went for a tour at the Houses of Parliament. Following that, a classmate and I were able to sit in on a case, which was really interesting. 

The criminal and tort aspects of the GDL were most interesting for me because of how much they apply to everyday life (and how much it differs from TV!).

And what are the challenges?
The sheer amount of information. The GDL is supposed to be equivalent to the full LLB, so there’s lots of content to digest in a very short time. 

The LPC also covers a lot of information, so it can be a struggle to keep up if you’re not very strict with time management, particularly when doing the online version as I am.

What are your plans following graduation?
I aim to practise as a solicitor, hopefully within environmental law. However, as the field is so competitive I may end up doing something else initially after I graduate.

What advice would you give to someone considering law postgraduate study?
Be prepared for the workload and make sure to be organised. It’s a lot more independent than an undergraduate degree and it’s your responsibility to seek out support if you want it. 

That said, the support is available when needed. And definitely don’t underestimate the need to bring snacks with you to the exam, as they can be rather long!

open book

Nikita

What was your postgrad law course?
LPC with LLM in Professional Legal Practice

What was your undergraduate degree?
BSc in Maritime Business and Maritime Law and GDL

What prompted you to choose your postgrad course?
I wanted to become a shipping solicitor in the UK, and this is effectively the only route I could take to do that – so the choice was a simple one for me.

What was your course like?
The course can be pretty overwhelming sometimes, and to succeed you have to work at it full time. I succeeded in the end though, so it was worth it. 

There were two terms, with three compulsory law modules alongside more skill-based workshops in the first term and a free choice of four modules in the second. 

I took modules related to my chosen specialism of shipping, and I also had to write a long independent report.

What are the highlights of law postgraduate study?
The most rewarding feeling was when I started to ‘get’ difficult principles that I’d initially struggled with – like tax law, which was a challenging subject. 

The University of Law also offers loads of work experience, which gave me invaluable legal experience and helped me develop skills like drafting advice letters for clients and supporting them during hearings. 

And what are the challenges?
The biggest challenge was to manage my time effectively – there was a lot to keep up with. 

Those experiences actually helped me to look at my time differently though, trying different approaches and ultimately developing my time management skills.

What are your plans following graduation?
I’m very interested in a legal career within the UK shipping industry, as that’s the market I studied for and many such opportunities are based around London, where around 80% of shipping cases are heard. 

I’m actively looking for suitable roles, such as protection and indemnity club claims handler, paralegal or assistant roles, and in-house roles that deal with shipping.

What advice would you give to someone considering law postgraduate study?
I would like to pass on the best advice I received from my mentor – treat your studies as a job. The workload is heavy, so get to uni by 9am and work until at least 5pm. 

Breaking the day into phases and switching focus between modules can also help to avoid burnouts and mental blocks from studying the same thing for hours on end.

justice statue

Roma

What was your postgrad law course?
LLM Master of Laws (General)

What was your undergraduate degree?
LLB (Hons)

What prompted you to choose your postgrad course?
My passion to study law, to learn more about it and put myself in a better position to fight for the rights of those who are vulnerable and oppressed such as many women and children.

What was your course like?
It was an intense course with a heavy workload – we had a lot of reading and self-directed assignments, and less time spent in lectures than on a normal course. 

Because of this, I was challenged in ways I’d never experienced before and the course required perseverance. I succeeded in the end though, and I loved every bit of it.

What are the highlights of law postgraduate study?
For me, the highlight was learning new modules and getting to know and love the content – especially when I had to spend several hours in the library looking for books and reading up on the subject material.

And what are the challenges?
It was very challenging to keep up with the extra prep work we had to do, as it was a short-term course with only two hours of lectures, two days a week. 

But it was also fun to discover new challenges and find ways to learn and understand the subject matter for assignments.

What are your plans following graduation?
I will take the bar exams in Sri Lanka and become a full-time practising lawyer. I hope to work in the areas of children’s rights and women’s rights.

What advice would you give to someone considering law postgraduate study?
Do it! It opens many doors to your future and it's a qualification you will not regret. It will widen your scope in terms of what jobs you can consider and increase your value compared to much of the competition in the job market.

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