Top 5 Bad things about being a law student

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Being a law student has its advantages, but there are some things are just plain annoying. Here are our top 5 bad things about being a law student.

1. So much reading, seriously so much…!

It’s basically never ending. You think you’ve done it, that’s it, no more for the day and then you realise there’s still more to do.

Every subject will require you to read particular texts to prepare for your lectures and seminars. You may need to do some reading afterwards too. The ability to spend hours reading, digesting and understanding the content will start to come naturally to you, if it doesn’t already, when you are a law student.

Warning: if you think the reading list at the beginning of the term is a shocker, wait ’til you get closer to Christmas…and you actually think about studying on Christmas day.

2. Organisation skills

To succeed you have to have the best organisation skills known to man.  You want to be able to study for lectures and seminars, etc but you also want to socialise and do extracurricular like the debate team and mooting etc.

In addition, you need to make sure you’re managing your finances and your general living arrangements like housemates and landlords relationships. How to fit it all in? The answer is that you just have to make the time to fit it all in. You end up prioritising and if you’re serious about law school and a legal career then you often just end up sacrificing your social life for the law school.

You need to manage yourself and your work to within an inch of its life! Get the colour coded spread sheets and timetables out guys, because you will need to understand what you’re doing with all your time to organise it all properly and then you can try and retain some sort of life.

Being law student is not a part-time commitment, or just 9-5. You will find yourself working all kinds of hours to make sure you get everything done on time. You can’t always plan out your Monday to Friday to a ‘T’, you’ll need to flexible, crazy organised and willing to sacrifice to be super successful.

3. Social drama

There are hundreds of people on your course and thousands at the university.  You will be going out and socialising a plenty, which will be filled with drink and partying and a dash of drama.  Who snogged your best friend’s boyfriend, which of those three birds are the fittest, who saw that guy first and so on. Then after all the drama, you all end up going home together and often in the same halls of residence! Close living arrangements, can be difficult. You need to remember, look after yourself and your mates when you are out. Try your best to stay out of dodgy situations and try to keep your friends i.e. don’t pick idiots over your mates.  It’s your mates that will be there for you in the end. Not that snog or one night stand. Try to be good on socialbad-student-2 media, it’s often posts and pictures that can get you into social nightmare situation and worse it could have long term effects on your legal career if a potential employer finds the feed!

4. Money worries

You never have any money. This is a bad thing about being a law student. Between books and housing you’re broke.  You will, however, find yourself still being able to socialise as a broke person as all your mates are broke too (or at least they’re supposed to be). But if you like a bit of shopping then you’ll have to rethink that as you won’t be able to shop at your usual shops and Primark will be your best friend (as if it wasn’t already!).

5. People ask you for legal advice

This will happen so much. People just assume that as you’re studying law you can give legal advice.  You’ll find yourself providing advice that is text book which is all you can do unless you’ve had practical experience.  Either way, do your best to never give advice, as you’re not qualified or insured. Giving formal legal advice or allowing / leading anyone (whether it be family or friends) to rely on the advice given by you may cause problems for you. As a law student you have a responsibility to act appropriately and not cause the public to doubt the legal profession. So just tell people to back off and send them to the citizens advice bureau for further advice or signposting.

BONUS – one last bad thing about being a law student…

…there’s always one, or even two, jammy sods who manage to pass with flying colours without really breaking a sweat, or at least it seems like that on lookers!

Top 10 Myths about being a Lawyer

Top 10 Myths about being a Lawyer

In preparation for your transformation from student to lawyer, we thought you might like to hear some myths about being a lawyer.  This is to help you form your own opinions about the legal industry and decide whether or not it’s for you.

Myth 1 – You’ll get to go to court

You will only get to court if you’re an advocate like a barrister or you may get your chance if you practice criminal law or contentious litigation. That fact of the matter is that you generally end up working hard to keep your client matter out of court. Most cases are settled, even last minute, out of court. Most lawyers never get to see the inside of a courtroom! If it’s a courtroom and advocacy you want, then choose your practice area and career path wisely.

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Myth 2: You will get to stick up for the little guy 


This can be true, but only if you have spare time and cash to go ahead and defend human rights, environmental issues etc. The reality of a typical law student graduate is that your priority (after getting a training contract and qualifying) is to pay of your financial debt. The kind of jobs that would be morally worthy in law don’t pay as much as some others and you will probably have no choice but to opt for the highest paid job you can get.

 

Myth 3 – Lawyers are miserable

Sometimes, yes. But a lot of the time, no. If all Lawyers were miserable then they would just get out of the race. We’ve come across a bunch of cynical Lawyers in our time, but that’s different from being miserable all the time.

Myth 4: My work will be intellectually challenging


You would think.  In your early years, you will most likely be appointed to undertake the important but laborious and mundane tasks such as reviewing documents, pagination etc. Even top contentious litigators spend a very long time researching, reviewing, preparing and undertaking procedural matters. It can become intellectually challenging if you let it, try not to restrict the definition of “challenging” to mean you always have to be in a court room.myth-pic-2

Myth 5 – High flying female lawyers are cold and detached

No, not at all. High flying female lawyers are no more cold and detached than those high flying women in other careers such as marketing or banking.  In the 1980’s, we remember, female lawyers or professionals feeling a constant competition to perform better than male colleagues. In today’s world, the gap between men and women is more narrow and women do not always feel it is necessary to adopt any particular persona to make it in the legal industry. The humanistic side to women is often welcomed as it is considered that they are better at negotiating, understanding employees and being emotionally aware.

 

Myth 6 – If you struggle with health problems like depression, then you’re on your own

We read that lawyers are in the top 5 profession for mental illness, which is something that needs to change itself. Unfortunately, the pressures of work life and personal life can often become too much for lawyers. Lawyers may find it difficult to admit or confide in someone about their problems, due to the expected image of the legal industry and fear of how it could affect their position. This can cause the myth-pic-3illness to escalate. Although the profession or some firms may be closed off to mental illness, lawyers are not on their own. There are outlets to go to, the Law Society offer pastoral support and helplines.  Employers generally offer help and advice for personal problems and there is always your own GP. These services are there to be used and the lawyers need to start using them. As a student you should think about preparing yourself as far as possible for life as a lawyer so that you are able to identify an illness such as this in yourself or a colleague and take action.

Myth 7 – It pays fantastically – you will be rich

Not really. Pay can vary quite rapidly. Check out our article ‘The Truth about Salaries’ which gives you more insight to salaries.

Myth 8 – It’s all glamour, galas and giggles

If you watched a lot of Alley McBeal, or more recently Franklin and Bash, then we can see why you would think this.  TV is so influential and often the instigator in people wanting to practice law! The truth is that, a lot of the late nights you will be having, will be at your desk. There will be parties, networking drinks, events always on offer to attend, but you have to be careful of how you commit your time so that you can fit it all in. It really isn’t that easy.

Myth 9 – Law firms will eat you up and spit you out

This tends to depend on the size of the law firm. You can be seen as just a number in a large firm and it’s what you bill that matters above all else.  In a smaller firm, you can show your contributions through other means in addition to billing which may be noticeable rather than lost in the crowd at larger firms. Remember, at large firms, you can make it a success, but you have to be a step ahead in everything.

Myth 10 – It’s elitist

It really isn’t elitist, well not anymore anyway. The funding of becoming a lawyer is usually only attainable by those from higher earning backgrounds and wealthy families, although there are loans to cover that nowadays (let us ignore the debt, for now).  The ability to break into the profession is now changing. Firms are looking for candidates that are experience rich and have done the Cilex instead.  Firms tend to recruit those that will be asset, not necessarily a person that has the right accent or a graduate from a red brick. The point is, if you’re a working class person that has struggled from day one to get into law school and qualify, you should have just as good a chance at a successful legal career as an upper class, wealthy, red brick graduate.

Law Work Experience

Law Work Experience – do you need it? Well, the short answer is, yes!

You may ask yourself, why is it so important to gain work experience in law? Surely, recruiters are more interested in your grades.? Recruiters want it all; they want the grades, the personality, the presence and the work experience!

Employers need to see applicants that stand out from the crowd. Having solid work experience on your CV will do that for you. You will be compared to other equally academically abled candidates like you. With work experience on your CV, you be giving yourself the edge.

Work experience is not just for employers, it’s also for you. You will get the chance to be in a working environment and see whether the profession actually interests you beyond academia. You will have the opportunity to network and build on soft skills like team work and communication.

Work experience in law, as a law student

Whilst you are at university studying law, you need to organise you time to factor in some work experience.

You can look atcv volunteering at law centres citizens advice bureaus or even at the police station.  Look into permanent paid roles too; it may be that there is some weekend work about. If you can get your teeth into some quality work experience at university it will look amazing on you CV. Imagine if you get a position at the police station and you are able to assist in drafting statements – fantastic CV note!

 

You should definitely join any moot debate team at university and commit to it. It’s lot of work, but great for your advocacy and skills as a lawyer to be.

Look at applying to the local law courts to see if you can assist ushers or with any clerical work, or shadowing officers of the court. If you are interested in pro bono work then pay a visit to the legal arm of charitable organisations, they are usually always in need of assistance.

The earlier you start legal experience the better you are able to demonstrate your commitment to the career for employers. For example, if you starting volunteering at 17 and you’re still gaining careerwork experience in law at 21 years old, your commitment to the profession is obvious.

Apply for all the vacation schemes you can find so that you can secure something to cover a few weeks (if not more) in the Summer.  Vacation schemes are considered more formal and structured and are a very well respected form of work experience in law.  Employers often treat this as a recruitment process in itself and you need to be ready for that. If you can get yourself on a vacation scheme it can lead to the firm considering you for further work experience or even recommending you apply for a training contract with them!

Without legal experience, your legal career may be stumped after university. Don’t delay, start filling out your CV with things other than academics!

Commercial Awareness – what is it?

Commercial Awareness – what is it?

You must have all heard the term Commercial Awareness being bashed around at University and how you need it to get past an interview and become a lawyer.

So what is commercial awareness?

Commercial awareness can be viewed as having a particular mind set. It isn’t just lawyers that need to have this.  Looking to other professions can help with understanding this concept such as city finance workers, politicians, sole traders such as a florist, baker or a local convenience store. The professionals mentioned are non-legal, but the commonality is for them and their businesses to be successful they must be commercially aware.

business-arrow-picCommercial awareness can be defined by having a solid understanding of key business issues within a law firm. This can include the firm’s clients and the wider economic environment in which the firm operates.

For example, with a high street practice that predominately undertakes conveyancing you would look to understand the breath of clientele. This may include the local community and businesses and possibly related referrers network like estate agents and mortgage brokers.  You may need to know of upcoming construction projects or housing developments in the area which could affect conveyancing work for the law firm and even more importantly an opportunity that could create business for the firm. You need to understand the things that may be affecting clients from an economic point such as loan interest rates, availability of mortgages and homes.

If you’re in a larger firm, then you may need to have an understanding of matters on a national / international basis. This may include information about key mergers and acquisitions taking place especially those that affect the marketplace you’re in. For example, if you note that there has been a recent merger of two law firms that undertake personal injury and the firm you work at undertake personal injury work this is something you must be aware of. This could have a real impact on the incoming work and eventual billing that takes place. As a result you can innovate ideas in how to fend off the competition.

It is essential that:

  • you are up-to-date with day-to-day developments in the commercial / business world and are aware of legal matters in the economic, social and political spheres.
  • you can apply common sense to solve a business problem rather than just apply factual / academic knowledge. For example, you can apply your commercial knowledge within the context of the client meeting.

Commercial awareness is expected by clients and the requisite advice is also expected. They expect you to know the ins and outs of a business and you can do this by having basic understanding in things such as:

  • How the company is organised i.e the corporate structure from the parent company down to subsidiaries, shareholdings and voting rights.
  • The roles and responsibilities of individuals within the company such as the CEO, Directors and Shareholders.
  • Challenges that business faces from legal, regulatory to commercial points. For example, is the business about to down-size? Is the business market having trouble? Are any related businesses having trouble? Also, know the businesses’ competitors.
  • Important points that affect profitability and growth, and how best to make best use of the resources available to a business. This is especially tricky to achieve with the smaller business with a limited budget, but your commercial awareness and savvy sense should still be able to assist your client in that context.

Something to remember: Commercial awareness is dynamic and continuously changing. You must adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach to understanding and appreciating the changing world of commerce within the legal industry. Do not be mistaken – the concept of commercial awareness is not just for commercial lawyers, the economic climate dictates that all businesses however large or small need to be commercially shrewd to succeed.

Gaining commercial awareness

So now you know what it is and how important it is, how do you make sure you’ve got it or can gain it?

There are many ways to gain the knowledge you need.  If you have lots of knowledge then great. If, however, you’re limited, then don’t worry you can rectify this. Below are some ways you can gain commercial knowledge within the legal industry:

  • Learning and undertaking research – this is the simplest and quickest way to gain commercial knowledge. You need to read newspapers, publications such as the local law society bulletin, sign up to e-newsletters, podcasts, watching programmes like news night, question time and the actual news.
  • Be active about reading The Times and The Guardian – you may have to pay a small fee to get access to The Times on-line. This will help you keep updated about the latest business deals and legislative changes.
  • Understand corporate structures – nowadays, law firms are not just a couple of Partners. Many businesses, especially the larger firms, have complex corporate structures, with holding companies and subsidiaries etc. Try to understand how this works and how that impacts a law firm within a corporate structure.

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  • Be aware of different types of regulatory positions for law firms – law firms can be a sole practitioner, a multi-Partner firm, a limited company, a Multi-disciplinary Practice and Alternative Business Structures. Ensure you do your research and know what the composition of each type of practice means.
  • Gaining work experience is key to attaining valuable commercial acumen as you are able to feed off others within the business and ask questions.   If you have trouble gaining work experience, don’t worry, any job can make you appreciate commercial awareness and see it in action. For example, working as a sales assistant in a supermarket you’ll learn what products are trending in the industry and what’s making the supermarket money. You will see how the business is succeeding or failing as it may be – understanding this is understanding core business and in concept can be applied to law firms.
  • You should consider work experience in law firms primarily from short internships, vacation schemes etc but do not dismiss other types of work experience.  They can prove very valuable and recruiters prefer some work experience in a non-legal industry to someone who has no work experience at all.
  • You should look to involve yourself as a ‘student solicitor’ in networking events wherever possible where the focus is on business and commerce. Attending lectures and seminars with a business focus will also help.

 

  • Become a member of linked in and try to build your network from there but also join some lawyer groups as they consistently post discussion forums on current commercial topics. Use Linkedin to promote yourself and connect with business professionals so that you can view their posts which are often about current commercial issues.

Demonstrating your commercial awareness

So now you know what it is, how it works and how to get it. How do you demonstrate it?

The levels of requirement to demonstrate your commercial awareness will vary from firm to firm. For example, with a high street practice you should be able to discuss any current projects going on within the local community such as new set ups, government funded projects, real estate projects and commerce generally.

When you are interviewing with a large commercial firm, your focus needs to be on national and world wide events / press that have commercial effects, such as mergers and acquisitions between companies on the open market.people-around-table-with-pcs

You need to be asking yourself ‘how does that merger affect the firm, if at all?’

You must appreciate that as a new recruit to a law firm you are considered a cost and not an asset until you provide some value to that firm.Your contribution can be towards profit accumulation or through entrepreneurial ideas.  All businesses are dictated to by the economic climate  and you need to demonstrate that you understand this.

 

Remember:

Your commercial awareness will build with time. You cannot learn this through the memorising of facts, you need to absorb this culture day to day.  Work experience is essential for you to be able to build commercial awareness skills.
jigsaw-headsDon’t forget, you sometimes need to have some entrepreneurial instinct to understand the commercial world.

 

Proprietary Estoppel – what is it?

 

Have you got a proprietary estoppel essay question and need help? Well you’ve come to right place, let’s talk proprietary estoppel!

What is proprietary estoppel?

Proprietary estoppel is a legal doctrine within Land / Property Law. It can be used as part of a claim for ownership to land or property, particularly where it is disputed. Strict criteria must be met in order for Proprietary estoppel to be demonstrated, which is:

  1. The owner of the property promised or assured the claimant an interest in the property; and
  2. the claimant reasonably relied on the promise to their detriment; and
  3. it would be unconscionable (unfair) not to give the claimant an interest in the property

If these specific criteria of assurance, reliance and detriment, and unconscionability are present, a court will usually seek to provide a proportionate remedy for the claimant.

Example illustration case of Proprietary Estoppel in action

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The Parties:

Mrs Brooke Ferguson – deceased

Mrs Maya Shaw – Brooke’s Cousin and Sister to Amy Warren

Mrs Amy Warren – Brooke’s Cousin and Sister to Maya Shaw

Mr Callum Warren – Amy’s husband.

 

 

 

Facts of the case

Brooke made a will in the 1980’s in which she left her residuary estate half to Amy and half to Maya. Brooke had been close to both of them but over time had lost touch with Maya. Brooke’s main asset was a seaside hotel she inherited from her parents.

The hotel was a nice family hotel which did reasonably well.  Brooke did at times lend money to the company (through which the hotel was owned). The shares in the company were valued for probate at around £580k and there were other assets valued at around £458k.

In 2010 Brooke, knowing that she had terminal cancer, asked Amy to come and stay at the hotel. Brooke wanted Amy to stay full time to care for her and manage the hotel up to her death. In return, Brooke said that she would leave her entire estate to Amy and Callum. Brooke asked Amy to consult with Callum before she committed to saying yes as it was a big ask.

Shortly before her will-picdeath Brooke gave instructions to her solicitor for a new will leaving her entire estate to Mr and Mrs Warren. Unfortunately, Brooke died without having executed the will.

 

The judge accepted that for two years Amy had spent at least nine months of each year at the hotel. Amy had supported Brooke through illness and undertook various jobs for Brooke and the hotel doing whatever was needed.  Callum visited at weekends and also undertook general duties as needed.

 

Is Proprietary Estoppel present for Amy and Callum to make a successful claim?

Going back to the criteria for proprietary estoppel to be shown:

  1. The owner of the property promised or assured the claimant an interest in the property; and
  2. the claimant reasonably relied on the promise to their detriment; and
  3. it would be unconscionable (unfair) not to give the claimant an interest in the propert

These elements must be present to such a degree that it would be unconscionable not to grant in favour of Amy and Callum. Even if the court favours with Amy, the court will take into account the degree of detriment suffered and make an order which is proportionate.

Maya accepted that Brooke had made the promises and assurances, but did not accept that Amy and Callum had acted to their detriment. Amy argued that they had received benefits of free board and lodging and that they should be entitled to an award of around £40,000 and travelling expenses.

Judgement

The High Court judge did not agree. He said that “detriment is not a narrow or technical concept; it has to be judged in the round. The real detriment or harm from which the law seeks to give protection is that which would flow from the change in position if the assumption that led to it were deserted. It need not be expenditure but it must be substantial”.

Ultimately the question is whether, in the circumstances, it would be unconscionable for the promise or assurance not to be kept even without a legally binding agreement.

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The judge considered that the activities and support provided to Brooke amounted to substantial detriment. The claimants (Amy and Callum) substantially altered their entire lifestyle in order to help Brooke’s in her last two years.

Despite Maya’s comments regarding the benefits received of free board etc. The judge did not regard these benefits for one moment as ‘any kind of meaningful compensation or countervailing benefit for the open-ended commitment they gave at the outset and to which they both adhered’. It would, therefore, be unconscionable to grant no relief.

The next question was what form the relief should take. Brooke had promised the the whole estate to Amy and Callum. By the time of her death they had already suffered considerable detriment. They had been compelled to live apart from each other for two years. Amy had health problems that needed to be attended which she had postponed to assist Brooke.

 

An award of £40,000 and travel expenses would have been insufficient. This was a case where it was appropriate to award the entire net residuary estate after satisfying any legacies payable under the earlier will.

Conclusion

The above illustration was The Law Edge.com bringing the actual case: Lothian v Dixon (2014) Ch D HH Judge Kaye QC, to life. The judgment cited is real, hence the quotations used. We hope our version has provided you with an easy to digest and insightful introduction into the concept of proprietary estoppel.
We would recommend that you review the above case properly to form an in depth understanding.

TIP: The case of Thorner v Major [2009] UKHL 18 (HL) is another proprietary estoppel case which is key to understanding this concept and the demonstrating what is considered unconscionable.

 

Dissertation Advice

Dissertation Advice

You’re just reaching the last hurdle of your law degree and up comes the dissertation module. What to do for the dissertation topic? In need of some dissertation advice? Well this is the article for you, The Law Edge share some tips and dissertation advice for you to think about when undertaking your dissertation.

The Aim

Your aim is to think of an original subject for your dissertation. It needs to be a contribution in your area of law and one that won’t bore you – after all this will be your everything for a long time!  Law students tend to go for a topic that they already know something about so that they find their technical sections like the literature review straightforward.  If you like your chosen topic, it will provide you with inspiration so try and pick something you like.

State your argument clearly

Make sure your dissertation is clear in respect of the point that you are arguing and the side that you are on. You can make these points at the start so that the reader / marker understands your case from the outset similar to how you would in any other essay.

Research and Planning

Ensure you have your University dissertation guidance document and comply with it.   It will provide you with the University’s expectations on word count, presentation requirements, referencing etc.  Compliance with these things matter, and don’t let yourself down on this as these are easy marks to gain.

Make a plan of each stage and provide yourself with realistic deadlines to meet your tasks by – project manage yourself. Use your dissertation supervisor, their opinion can prove invaluable in helping you understand whether you’re on the right path or not.

Research your topic prior to committing yourself to the topic. You need to make sure this is the right project topic for you. It will help prevent the mid-way panic set it, when you might decide to change your topic.  After the panic passes, your preliminary research will help you go back to your original topic.

Consult your dissertation supervisor / tutor for guidance on your chosen topic. They will be able to tell you if they think your topic is something you can actually write 10,000 for.

 

dissertation-adviceDissertation Services

Don’t use them. First and foremost, depending on what you’re using them for, may be considered seriously unethical and potentially get you in a lot of trouble if found out at University.  If you feel tempted, you need to step back and think, why do you need to use them? You got this far, surely you can do your dissertation – you can and you will! Dissertation services are not always as they seem and cannot be relied upon. They can be riddled with problems such as plagiarism or incorrect information.

Do not risk using dissertation services, especially with a law degree, can you imagine your bad press if it went wrong? It’s not worth it, do it yourself and take the credit.

Feedback

It’s important, but try to go to the right people. Obviously your dissertation tutor is a go to person. Try university alumni, there are usually online forums you can contact people advice for or PhD students – use your networking skills.  Your classmates and their advice can sometime be hit and miss. As you’re all in the same boat it can helpful, but you may have different approaches and advice in accordance with the difference approaches. Classmates opinions may conflict with one another and it can be difficult to provide an objective view.

Finishing

When you finish, it will be the most amazing feeling of accomplishment! You should be proud and celebrate!

 

Struggling at law school

Struggling at law school

So you’ve just started you’re law degree and you thought you were prepared. All of a sudden…Bham! You find yourself in your law lectures wondering what just happened and struggling at law school.

First thing you need to know is that you’re not the only one feeling like this, no matter how confident your student peers come across.  It’s okay to feel overwhelmed trying to keep on top of everything.  The key thing is figuring out how to deal with it all so that you can come out the other side.  This article talks about how to deal with academic side of doing your law degree to help minimise you struggling at law school.

 

Understand that you are re-training

Starting a law degree is a huge change and potentially a long term career commitment. This means your lifestyle and thinking needs to change with it. You need to re-train yourself to think and be tenacious. Mix that in with top notch organisation skills, sleep and eating well then you’ll be on to a winning formula.

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You will find this degree challenging and at times a struggle, but that can be a good thing. The experience will test you and prepare you for the even longer haul ahead. In fact, we think, you should feel at least a bit in knots when trying to understand the new legal concepts you’re introduced to, it’s only natural. Once you’ve overcome this, you will find yourself settling into your new found life.  In order to do this, you need to re-educate yourself, both mentally and emotionally that you have now moved on from your previous academic life, stop looking back or comparing. This is the next step in your academic life; it’s natural and you need to want it despite the struggles you may encounter.

 

 

Dealing with preparation for seminars and lectures

You’ll have a reading list and be told to prepare by doing the reading and preparing your answers.. This element of the work is usually all self-study. If you can get a few friends together and form a study group it can prove really helpful.  You will, without a doubt end up doing a lot of work before the seminar / lecture, but try to balance this with the work you should really do after the class.

The prep is supposed to help you understand the content in the class better. You are allowed to ask questions on your gaps or understanding – that’s the point.  After the class however, you should make an extra effort to ensure that you review your notes and understanding of the legal concepts covered as this is where you bring it all together and when the penny usually drops. If there is anything you think you still don’t understand, you need to email your lecturers or speak to your study buddies asap. Your exams and coursework will soon loom and you will get very busy so when the time for revision comes you need to be able to pick up where you left not to be looking to learn new concepts.

Being scared of getting picked on in class

Are you always worried and nervous that you’re going to get picked on to answer a question? Or even worse, you won’t know the answer? Well, quit with the worrying as you’re creating negative energy for yourself. Instead, be natural, as long as you’ve prepared in accordance with the guidance provided answer as best as you can if you can’t answer then say sorry and explain you can’t answer.  You are there to learn, it is acceptable. Re-invest your energy into positive and work towards your end goal. Focus on passing with flying colours in the exam and coursework!

 

Practice makes perfect

What a cliché, but it’s true. Whether it’s exam or coursework, the sooner you start the better it will all be. The more you prepare for your exams by practising the easier the exam will be for you.  Make sure you go to the revision classes for the exams, make the most of them – get your money’s worth.

Make sure you have revised the syllabus, everything and anything that there may be a question on. Usually you can do outline answers and remember them as a learning aid to help in the exam. For example, a property law essay question in an exam will expect you to cover a large chunk of your syllabus, so you could prepare outlines covering the relevant parts of the syllabus. You need to look at past papers to try and come up with a few outline answers to help you in the exam.

Don’t exclusively revise textbooks, use your syllabus course structure and lecture notes as your guide as to what to cover for revision. Use the textbook as an assistant.

Don’t do last minute revision or all-nighters. Just because you hear people bragging about how they passed using this method, it doesn’t mean it’s any good. If you want to pass without a struggle and with flying colours with a view to getting and training contract then revise in good time and cover topics repeatedly to make sure the content comes to you naturally.

You need to practice, practice, practice exam papers and questions.

 

Eating well

struggling-through-law-apple-pic

Don’t binge eat or binge drink. Difficult as a student, we know, but especially try to avoid this in the lead up to the final exams and if any coursework due.  You need a clear head and need to concentrate on your exams, not be having sugar highs and lows affecting your energy and concentration levels.  Start your days with half an hour of exercise and then a good breakfast. Keep at the routine. The rest will come naturally as long as you give 100% effort.

 

 

Get help

If you find you really can’t cope and are struggling at law school, you need to be proactive and get some support asap. You need help and admitting it is the first step, there will be support available at the university’s student services and you should go to them or go straight to your personal tutor in the first instance.

Student Parent at University

The student parent at university may find the adjustment pretty tough. From trying to fit in as a carefree student and juggle the responsibilities that come with being a student parent, it can be a pretty tall order.

There are frameworks in place to help  you during your journey to becoming a graduate and this article outlines the two main areas that may be of interest to the student parent; assistance with finance and university support.

 

Financial Support

There are various loans, grants and financial benefits that may be available to you but it will no doubt involve some research and form filling. The www.gov.uk website will be able to provide you with a lot of information and is the starting point for any applications. Here is an idea of what you may be entitled to, depending on your circumstances:

Parents’ Learning Allowance

This is a lump sum for full-time student parents that you can spend on what you like. Depending on your income this may not need to be paid back either

Childcare Grant

With this you could claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs for children under 15. The actual amount varies depending on the number of children. As this is a grant it doesn’t need to be paid back.  You need to be organised when managing this one as you’ll be asked to estimate childcare costs and verify them with the childcare provider. The grant will cover Ofsted registered childcare providers only, so you will have to cover the cost of babysitter yourself.student-parent-pic

 

Access to Learning Fund

This could be considered your last resort go to moment if you need help financially. If you’re in a situation where you’re about to end studying due to financial hardship then seek this financial help. It may be given the form of a loan or a grant, but university services should be able to assist with this.

 

 

 

Benefits

Student are not usually eligible for benefits, but if you’re a student parent or a single parent, this can change and depending on your financial circumstances you may be able to claim:

  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance
  • Council Tax Benefit.

Special support grant

This grant can work out especially beneficial as if you eligible for this grant it wouldn’t affect the amount of loan you could get.

University Support

University Nursery / Childcare

Get in touch with the university in advance and try and view the childcare facilities make sure you’re happy with them and then book your place.  The facilities are usually close to the university and staff tend to use them too so you do need to book your space as soon as possible.

Parents’ Groups & Societies

It might sound like hard work having to socialise when you’ve got ‘what’s for dinner?’ on your mind and your little one’s homework to sort. The reality is, you really need to get involved. The network you build at university will last over the course of the time that your there and will help you get through student life. The groups and societies you want to head for are the ones that are in your situation – other parents! You can arrange study groups or just a general gossip.

Someone to talk to

Never think you alone. Universities’ counselling services, pastoral staff and the students’ union are there to support you if it all gets too much. The services are confidential, and they could help you in discussion matters like deadlines with your tutors.

Health centres

The services provided by universities in terms of health centres can vary so don’t dispense with your usual GP / walk in centre etc. Do check them out though as you may find they are more convenient being on campus for ease of access.

When you apply to universities, try and look out for these support services and ask about them so that you are familiar with how to utilise them when you start.

If you find you are struggling at university with anything and you’re not happy, why not try to have a chat with your GP. They can also be supportive and direct you to other non-university agencies that may be able to help you.

 

What jobs can I do with a Law Degree

 

What jobs can you do with a law degree? Imagine, you’ve done your degree and you’ve decided enough is enough, you can’t possibly become a lawyer! So what can you do instead?  All is certainly not lost, your academic training is invaluable to certain industries and jobs, employers are looking for someone just like you.

jobs-i-can-do-with-law-degree

 

The skills you have developed during your law degree and any legal work experience will help in your pursuit of non-lawyer career. Employers need people with solid research, analytical skills together with communication and problem solving skills.  Check out the top ten jobs (as selected by The Law Edge and in no particular order) you could do with a law degree other than being a solicitor.

 

Our TOP TEN:

  1. The Company secretary

The company secretary is responsible for the efficient administration of a company. In particular, they ensure the company’s compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. You can certainly apply your law degree here.

2.     Teaching

A lot of law graduates go on to be teachers.  You may want to pursue this further for which you will need to undertake some research in to the Teach First Leadership Development Programme (LDP) which collectively provides you with training, coaching, work experience and a PGCE qualification.

3.     HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

Did you ever think of being a tax collector? Well, that’s not the only role available at HMRC, they are responsible for various legislative implementations they deal with student loans, minimum wage compliance and national insurance tax (of course). They have graduate scheme too – so could turn out to be nice lengthy career

4. Work for an MP or political organisation

A career in politics may seem an obvious path for law graduates, but a lot of law students find their skills set work really well in politics.  Check out the W4MP website on which to search for vacancies.

5.     The Civil Service

The Civil Service operate a graduate fast track route and have vacancies each year. There are so many different types of careers you can embark on with the Civil Service. The best bit about them is that when you join, it’s usually a programme with a view to track you upwards to prepare you for senior positions.

6.     Tax Consultant

Tax consultants offer advice to businesses and / or private clients on tax problems or give advice on tax efficiency. You would need to be able to understand the law and how budget changes affect what they do for clients. With a law degree you could fit right in and may enjoy it as it will have large elements of client facing work involved. Do some research on how to qualify, we hear that in some cases if you have a law degree you could be granted some exemptions from the accountancy exams.

 

what-jobs-can-i-do-with-a-law-degree

 

 

7.  Legal journalist or writer

Specialist publications like the Law Gazette like to take people on with law degree background. Lots of editors and legal article writers come from legal background.

 

8.     Investment banking / The ‘City’

Do you fancy sweating it out among the big wigs in the City? Well, have a think about going into finance.  As a law student you will inevitably have the skills to survive and have a range of areas to break into such as corporate finance, insurance, brokering, markets, fund management and even IT.

9.     Compliance Officer / Risk & Regulation

The world of Risk is an open door, you could see yourself in a law firm or financial institution undertaking any type of work to include, client due diligence, anti-money laundering, audit, negligence or regulatory matters.  Compliance officers ensure that the business complies with its obligations from a legislative and regulatory perspective.

10.  Loss Adjuster

Loss adjusters are called in by insurance companies to verify claims. A law graduate with an eye for detail and good negotiation skills would be very valuable in this role.

Here’s a quick list of jobs to also think:

  • European Civil Service
  • Mediator
  • Insurance
  • Coroner
  • Police Officer
  • Private Investigator
  • Social Work
  • Housing
  • Trading Standards
  • Information and Data Protection Law
  • Complaints
  • Regulation

 

What grades do I need to be a Solicitor?

Asking yourself, what grades do I need to be solicitor? This article is going to help you understand what the grades can do for you in journey to becoming a solicitor.

Perfect World Grades

In a perfect world the grades you need to be a solicitor (i.e. to put you in solid stead for a training contract) are straight A’s at A level, 1st at undergraduate degree and a distinction at LPC. Don’t forget the work experience you should try and get on your CV among all of that studying! These grades still won’t by any means guarantee you’ll get a training contract…

Reality Grades

The fact of the matter is that in reality not everyone will get these kinds of grades. Plenty of people often get grades that could be considered less than perfect and still go on to qualify as a solicitor. Having said that, when your grades don’t make the cut, but the person still goes far and qualifies as a solicitor, they have usually made serious effort to ensure that their CV reflects extracurricular elements to help them shine the brightest.

For recruiters and firms to take your training contract applications seriously and to give yourself a chance of qualifying as a solicitor you should aim to get A/B at A Level.  The most important grade will be your undergraduate degree.  You should try to get a 2:1 minimum, if you get a 2:2 it’s not the end of the world and you can still do it, but the majority of law firms don’t even look beyond applicants that do not old a 2:1 plus degree.  If you end up with a 3rd, then your chances are seriously slim in qualifying as a solicitor. However, if you have the determination and drive to think outside the box there are still ways of getting to the end goal. It just probably won’t be as straightforward as it would be for someone with a 2:1. grades

Aim to get nothing less than a commendation in your LPC. If you get pass and you are still absolutely sure that you want to be a solicitor, then pursue your dream. Try and think of ways into the profession that might help you such as trying the Cilex route – it’s a thought.

Struggling to get the grades?

Whatever you do, if you want to be a solicitor, just do you best and work hard to get the grades you need. If you don’t get the grades you need and you’re having difficulty obtaining a training contract, take a breath, pause and think about what do next.  Being a solicitor isn’t the only career out there after your academic training, do some research or check out the other blogs at The Law Edge for some inspiration.

Good Luck!