Law is broadly separated into two branches, civil law and criminal law. Civil law is concerned with non-criminal law, including property, family, wills, contracts and torts, whereas criminal law covers crime related law. A portion of law graduates won’t necessarily wish to become lawyers when they have graduated, but are fascinated by the legal system and everything that it entails. Also, many graduates complete their degree in another subject and then choose to take a law conversion course, known as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) enabling them to practice law thereafter and become a solicitor or barrister.
Furthermore, students can gain a Bachelor’s of Laws (LLB) degree where students typically spend the entirety of their time studying the law, or a Bachelor’s of Arts and Bachelors of Science degree (BA, BSc) where candidates tend to explore other areas and modules outside of law during the programme.
Prospective candidates wishing to enrol onto a Law degree course at university do not necessarily have to hold a law A-level, and it isn’t seen as an advantage or a disadvantage either. Universities prefer students to have a range of strong grades – especially in subjects that include analytical and communication skills, such as history or English literature.
Students are advised to check with their universities UCAS requirements and their top choices for degree courses before applying to ensure they understand what they need to obtain to receive an offer successfully. You can also see our Law personal statement examples; these will help you to gain an insight into what you need for your personal statement – (Learn more – Our personal statement editor helps students complete their statements to a high quality.
Students, during their studies, whether they choose to study an LLB, BA or a BSc in Law, may learn about the English Legal Process, Contract Law, Principles of Criminal Law, Legal Methods, Skills and Reasoning and Constitutional and Administrative Law, which are all considered to be core subjects. Although, individuals may also study Media, Internet and Child Law, as well as Law and Medicine, Intellectual Property Law and Public International Law. Each degree course may vary slightly with the modules available. However, the core subjects tend to stay the same. Individuals should research their favourite course programmes to see what modules they will be studying during their time as an undergraduate, to ensure they are learning something that is of interest to them, which is why choosing the right university and course is essential.
An LLB will lead to the law society, or bar qualifying exams, which if successfully passed, will mean that individual is a qualified to practice Law. However, studying a BA or BSc programme in law won’t lead to the same level, and students will benefit more from conducting their research beforehand to understand what degree course they need to complete for their career aspirations.
LLB courses tend to last for three years, although, sandwich courses involving studying a language alongside law will increase the length to four years due to time spent studying abroad. There are also combined degrees available offering individuals the chance to study two subject areas, such as a Business and Law degree or a Criminology and Law degree.
Studying law and its relevance to society and justice gives meaning and reason to students, and for those fascinated by the subject, this will prove absorbing. However, studying law, in whatever degree format, is an intense and challenging degree to study due to its workload and what it requires of its students. Students should expect to spend lots of time reading Judgments, case studies and trial notes and many nights at the university library!
Assessment is typically through examinations and coursework, and examinations may also be broken down into pre-release, seen and open book exams.
Law degrees provide candidates with the skills required to practice in law, through mooting – which is a mock legal hearing where students can argue points of Law – and Pro Bono work, which is representing clients at a low charge, or free due to low income or due to their circumstances. Depending on the modules taken, students may also gain skills in specific areas, such as family, finance or commerce.
Additionally, general skills gained through studying the degree include, research, analytical thinking, practical problem solving, interpretation, explanation of complex subjects, good oral communications, teamwork, negotiation, attention to detail and the ability to draft formal documents.
Also, students who choose to attend university will gain transferable skills that they can take with them through employment and life, such as organisation and time-management skills due to completing deadlines, and social skills from working with others in presentations and group work.
Law is a well-respected study area, which is valued by many employers and opens up amazing career opportunities. Law is embedded into our society. Therefore, the need for graduates to understand and hold the ability to practice law will always be present.
The academic study of Law will allow students to gain insight into the legal system, and obtain a broad, but thorough understanding of the subject. Individuals will gain skills in analysis, written and verbal presentation as well as critical thinking and the ability to present and manage arguments.The skills gained through studying law are also transferable to other careers, such as the civil service, teaching and the voluntary sector.
If candidates wish to become a barrister or solicitor, they will need to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC), or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). However, these two routes are highly competitive and tough, and law graduates can seek employment in a selection of professions and organisations as their skills and knowledge are sought after.
The knowledge gained through the degree is vital for certain job roles such as a case handler, paralegal roles, or as a legal assistant and/or secretary. Although, skills such as attention to detail, problem-solving and critical thinking will allow individuals to get far in the employment industry.
Students will learn about court systems, legal language and how to work within a team as well as on their own which is vital to gaining employment in law.
Job prospects related to Law include; solicitors, barristers, working in private practice, government legal service, in-house legal departments or the Crown Prosecution Service. Other areas with job opportunities may include, academia, business, politics, banking and media.
Postgraduate degree programmes for students wishing to continue with their studies are available part-time and full-time contain the LPC and BPTC. An alternative is the CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) programme which involves the GDL and a graduate fast-track course, where individuals study a particular area of law rather than covering several areas.
Students who do not hold an undergraduate degree in Law can take the GSL or other qualifying law degrees to be able to practice law. Those who are practising law have various opportunities available to them such as a Master’s of Law course (LLM).
Jerry Springer, our favourite reality television host from the states earned a law degree from Northwestern University and became the mayor of Cincinnati in 1977 before turning his attention to journalism years later. Gerald Butler was not only a Head Boy at his secondary school, but studied law at the University of Glasgow became a trainee lawyer at an Edinburgh firm and was fired one week before qualifying, which prompted him to move to London to pursue an acting career. Lastly, Rebel Wilson, our favourite comedienne from Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect studied law at the University of New South Wales and stated that her career aided her to ‘negotiate’ a lot of her contracts when she began acting.
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