Thinking About Studying Law at University?
Prepare Yourself for Studying Law
Whilst many people go into law with a legal career such as barrister or solicitor in mind, this is not the goal for everyone. Some simply enjoy the rigour of a course that teaches you how to critically, coherently, and concisely make an argument, or a course that incorporates philosophy, sociology, government and politics, and a wide range of other subject areas into its remit.
Whatever the pull of studying law is for you, below are our top five ideas of how to go about looking further into Law as an option for further study, or just to further your interests. Whether you are doing work experience, or reading a fiction book with a legal basis, all the suggestions below will help you to make up your mind!
1. Read some introductory books
It is a good idea before committing to studying a subject for three or four years to read some introductory texts to see if you are interested in the content, and to think about whether you can really see yourself delving further into the subject.
All the books below cover a wide range of content, to really whet your appetite. They are great starting points for finding areas of law that particularly grab your attention, so that you can investigate further research in those areas.
- Eve Was Framed by Helena Kennedy
- What About Law? by Catherine Barnard, Janet O’Sullivan, and Graham Virgo
- Learning the Law by Glanville Williams
- Letters to a Law Student by Nicholas J McBride
It is a good idea while reading these books to keep a pen and paper at hand and just jot down any central concepts and ideas that interest you, so that you remember anything that stands out to you.
2. Read fiction books
Whilst the books above are all interesting and a great place to start with your legal research, sometimes you might want something that reads less like a textbook. Another great way to introduce yourself to legal concepts, or the legal profession, is through fiction books.
Do keep in mind throughout that the law discussed might not be accurate to today’s laws and note the country in which the fictional story is set, as legal systems do differ quite considerably internationally.
Reading legal fiction really helps to situate law in the social circumstances in which it is applied and helps to paint the ‘big picture’ of the legal landscape.
3. Follow the news
One of the most important things you learn quickly whilst studying law is that it never operates in a vacuum. Law and how it operates depends heavily on the social and political environment in which is being applied. Therefore, one of the best ways to start placing law in its socio-political context is to keep up with current affairs.
A prominent example of this is Brexit. There have been a variety of legal issues surrounding Brexit:
- Do Parliament need to vote on the triggering of Article 50?
- Can we revoke Article 50 once we have triggered it?
- Which EU laws will still apply to us in each Brexit deal scenario?
There are political reasons for preferring different answers to these questions, however we also need to ask what is legally possible. One of the most exciting aspects of law is that it is constantly changing as it faces different situations that it must seek to resolve. Keeping up with these developments is a great way to build enthusiasm for studying the subject further!
If these particular Brexit questions interest you, have a read of this Full Fact blog to explain some of the answers.
4. Go to court and watch a case
Most courts are open for the public to sit in and observe cases. Whilst there are of course exceptions for cases in which privacy is important, such as those that include children and other vulnerable people, there are plenty of interesting cases that you can watch.
You can even go and sit in on Supreme Court cases in London. There are listings of upcoming sittings on their website to help you choose cases that you think may particularly interest you. Take a pen and paper along and sit in the public gallery; it is an excellent way to view the law in action and to start thinking about the different roles members of the court play.
5. Attend a summer school course
Lastly, a brilliant way to immerse yourself into studying law and to see if it would suit you at university is to attend a summer school course in Law.
The Law course here at the Oxbridge International Summer School focuses on UK Law, looking at central areas such as Criminal Law, the Philosophy of Law (Jurisprudence) and many others.
Our small class sizes, with an average of six students, allow for a seminar style of teaching in which you can really explore your thoughts on new concepts and ideas.
As well as studying elements of the law in seminars and in your own independent study time, all law students visit the Oxford Crown Court to watch cases in action.
Interested in studying Law with us over summer? Book online and attend our two to four weeks programme school in the UK!