Syeda shares her experiences of studying Law at ARU for future students on the course.
Studying a degree at university is hard, especially if it's Law! It takes commitment and hard work. From all-nighters if you are a night owl, or early mornings if you are an early bird, to long hours of research, studying, note-making, reading, million cups of coffee and willpower.
Perks of doing a Law degree
Law is a highly regarded degree and promises great career opportunities. Law is everywhere: from the supermarket to your house/accommodation, everything is governed by law.
Studying Law makes you aware of your duties, rights and responsibilities. It also helps you understand the reasons behind rules and regulations and offers you a voice to make a significant change! It is an empowering experience.
As Law students, we often work in groups, do advocacy sessions (moot), and participate in debates and discussion. You learn so many skills including communication, team-working and confidence, and build good self-esteem.
Law students at ARU also have the opportunity to attend networking events with potential employers, getting involved in current affairs and business, which makes you commercially aware. It really helps make professional and potentially life-long connections.
What does it take to do a Law degree?
Doing a Law degree not only takes intelligence but willpower, hard work and a passion to strive for your dreams. It is a rewarding degree with lots of job opportunities, even though competition is intense in the legal industry. If you are determined to have a legal career, hard work and passion WILL make you stand out.
Competing to become a solicitor or barrister isn't the only option, though. You have so many other amazing opportunities and doors to go through, including paralegal work, and legal positions in industry.
One thing I wish I knew before I started my Law degree
Every Law student has to go through some sort of rejection, unless you are very lucky! Even first-class LLB Law degree holders face tremendous rejections during their journey to becoming solicitors or barristers. You must learn how to bounce back, take a deep breath, and start again.
Your Law degree will teach you resilience in your personal and professional life. So whatever happens, do not give up!
Where to put your focus?
Get those library hours in and work hard
You will see those results. Some of us have to work harder than others, but remember, after 12 weeks when the semester has ended, you are free to relax, enjoy and recharge. Work with this goal in mind.
Get some work experience
Please do not fall into the trap of just getting the grades and walking out of university with almost no work experience. Being in an university setting (especially ARU), there will be so many opportunities arranged for you to network, make links and get work experience.
Be wise with your time and get as much work experience as you can. Even studying during a pandemic, I have been able to make use of online opportunities, such as Forage's virtual internships with leading law firms.
There are also free online courses, which are a great way to show employers how you stayed productive and used some of your downtime wisely. It shows your commitment and ability to work, even outside of your usual structure.
Employers are often impressed by the extracurricular activities you have done at university. Sometimes these are what set you apart from another candidate.
Network, network, network
I have already mentioned this one before, but I cannot stress this one enough. Network as much as you can. This way you can secure work experience and build a relationship with your potential employers.
Non-legal work experience
Do not worry if you are unable to gain any legal experience just yet! Keep on trying and take on part-time non-legal jobs, maybe as a barista or sales assistant, a volunteer or working for the university itself. You will be amazed how much these non-legal roles are taken into consideration.
Whether you want to work in barrister chambers, become self-employed, or be a solicitor in a law firm, these firms and chambers are all professional businesses/environments, so any commercial non-legal role with client-facing experience will prepare you for the legal world.
So that’s all my advice, so far! I’m sure I will learn even more in my journey that is yet to come. I hope this helps you and if you go onto study Law, I hope one day we might even meet.
Syeda, second year Law student, ARU Cambridge, 2021
You can find out more about Law, and other degree courses, at one of our Open Days.