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Law degree

(22 Posts)
Theyearofthecats Thu 23-Nov-17 09:40:29

Is Law A level or a Pathways to Law evening class needed to get on a Law degree.
Dd is choosing A level options either for a Science or Law degree.
Will the course be harder if she has no previous experience in the subject besides reading the course books.

OP’s posts: |
goodbyestranger Thu 23-Nov-17 10:04:37

No, Law A level adds absolutely nothing and an evening class is entirely unnecessary.

latedecember1963 Thu 23-Nov-17 10:07:12

Our DS has just started a law degree. His A Levels were in Politics, Maths and History. He also did AS levels in Music and Critical Thinking. A level Law didn't seem to be an essential when he was applying, possibly because universities recognise that not all 6th forms offer it as a subject.

BeetrootTart Thu 23-Nov-17 10:10:18

No. I'm currently studying an LLB with no other relevant qualifications.

It's not a particularly difficult subject but there is an immense volume of reading and a lot to commit to memory.

goodbyestranger Thu 23-Nov-17 10:11:04

latedecember it's not an access issue, it's because other A levels are far more useful in developing thinking skills the best way for Law at uni. The A level is very simplistic.

BubblesBuddy Thu 23-Nov-17 10:42:04

A level Law - not for any good course. These courses are highly competitive and want good solid A levels. History and English are good options and any science, maths or MFL are good too. Lots of courses are flexible regarding A levels but many do not see Law as any advantage. Why don’t you look up the requirements at a few top law schools?

Theyearofthecats Thu 23-Nov-17 11:16:05

Thanks for the replies.
Although most unis don't specify A levels required for Law I wondered if she would benefit from studying the subject in advance.
I would prefer the A levels she chooses will be enough without extra study on top.
Dd has been told two fascillitating subjects would be an advantage.

OP’s posts: |
Shadowboy Thu 23-Nov-17 11:24:22

I did a law degree (hated it so not working in law now) but I didn’t do law at A level- I did biology, geography, art, English literature.

I too wanted to keep my options open at sixth form. I had an unconditional offer in the end after sitting entrance scholarships so not doing law A level had no impact on my access to the degree (LLB)

Theyearofthecats Thu 23-Nov-17 12:07:12

I suppose an advantage of studying it before doing a degree is to see if she enjoys the subject although she is reading the A level book.
College can help with work experience placements too I will ask if she can do a law one as well as science.

OP’s posts: |
CatAfterCat Thu 23-Nov-17 13:19:23

The only reason to do any Law before university I think would be to find out whether she actually enjoys it. DB is a law academic and has always said he prefers his students not to have done Law A level.

Theyearofthecats Thu 23-Nov-17 15:48:03

Our friends daughter did A levels and a 2 year pathways course.
She didn't get her first choice uni because of A level subject choices despite predicted A grades.
She got into another RG uni though.
I think it is because law is so competitive if she wants it as an option she needs to know how to get on a degree course.
Thank you everyone for your advice.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Thu 23-Nov-17 16:24:26

If she's undecided between science and law degrees, then a science degree followed by postgrad law is a good (often preferred due to the high level of analytical skills in science grads) option.

BubblesBuddy Fri 24-Nov-17 21:28:18

The problem with the GDL though (post grad law conversion) is that it will cost £9-10,000 in fees. Sometimes this is paid for by your employer if you have got into a grad scheme with a training contract or partially funded by an Inn of Court if you wish to be a barrister. However it is an option taken by many who self fund and still don’t get a training contract or pupillage.

I think there are well over 50 law degrees on offer from our universities. Some are much more geared to commercial law where you work for a company's legal department. About 40% of barristers went to Oxford or Cambridge. Some law degrees have few graduates who get a training contract or ever become a barrister. Therefore check the credentials of the course thoroughly.

Allthebestnamesareused Sat 25-Nov-17 15:47:55

As a solicitor I would say definitely do not do law A level.

FurryGiraffe Sat 25-Nov-17 15:55:51

I lecture in Law at university. A level Law isn’t needed, or in any way advantageous. For some students I’d say A level is a disadvantage: students who’ve studied it at A level sometimes come with preconceptions about the subject and what’s required and struggle to adjust to degree level study.

I do think a discursive subject at A level is helpful though (English, history etc). We don’t require one but students sometimes find the essay writing at degree level very hard if they haven’t had lots of essay practice in A level.

rightsaidfrederickII Sat 25-Nov-17 18:38:40

Uni staff here

No requirement for law A Level at any university, and indeed there are better courses to choose. I would suggest picking two that would suffice for a science degree as you've mentioned she's interested in that (is she more towards life or physical sciences?) and then the third as a rigorous essay based subject (English Lit, History, RS, Philosophy, Gov & Politics etc.)

Pathways to Law by the Sutton Trust is an excellent programme and she should do it if possible. No, it's not required to get into a law degree, but realistically if she wants a legal career then the bottleneck is at the point of getting a training contract / pupillage, and that's where it will help www.suttontrust.com/our-programmes/pathways-to-law/

BubblesBuddy Sat 25-Nov-17 23:47:32

The Sutton Trust course is a useful start if you qualify. It does have strict entry requirements though.

It really won’t help you get pupillage or a training contract if you don’t have a good degree from a high quality university course and a tip top cv to go with it, never mind all the other hoops you have to go through and the expense and applications for scholarships. How can it trump those basic requirements? Is there any evidence that it does?

It may explain all of that on the course but one weeks work experience is neither here nor there.

rightsaidfrederickII Sun 26-Nov-17 21:59:07

I agree Pathways to Law isn't going to be either necessary or sufficient to get a TC / pupillage, and that there are still other hoops to jump through.

However, once you have one bit of work experience it makes it easier to get more vacation schemes / mini pupillages, either within the same firm (if you impress) or with another firm (as you already have a bit of experience). It's also far more than just one week of work experience - there's e-mentoring from legal professionals, after school / weekend events and a residential trip.

It's certainly going to give any student who does it a head start on the position they would originally have been in when they started uni - some work experience (perhaps more than a week if they've leveraged the e-mentoring to their advantage), but also contacts, a good idea of what's needed in a CV etc. etc.

If a student can do it, I would recommend doing it; they're certainly not going to harm their chances of getting a TC / pupillage by doing it.

rightsaidfrederickII Sun 26-Nov-17 22:03:06

PS 90%+ of the sixth formers who tell me they want to study law have never heard of the LPC / BPTC / GDL etc and have absolutely no idea what they need to do to become a solicitor / barrister beyond doing a law degree. Schools and colleges just aren't telling them as careers advice is often either non-existent or crap. Don't underestimate the lack of knowledge amongst prospective law students; Pathways to Law will rapidly bring them up to speed, which is what most of them need.

BubblesBuddy Mon 27-Nov-17 13:26:58

I do agree about school pupils not knowing how to go about establishing a law career. It’s also rather sad that they appear to think they actually need a law degree when they don’t. In fact a law degree from some universities won’t help with some career paths much at all. I think it means that those pupils with better research skills or parents who know the time of day will have a greater chance of doing well. Schools should make up some of the deficit with good advice but clearly if pupils think they need a law degree, then they don’t even know the basics. One imagines lots of schools don’t give out information about the Sutton Trust either.

Getting a top degree in any academic subject can be a platform to study law. History, MFL, sciences, maths, Philisophy, even Classics and Music won’t stop you going on to be a barrister or solicitor. So you can study what you are really good at and then convert and it’s a great shame more people don’t know that.

I do see how the Sutton Trust could be useful, and I very much admire their work, but young people also need to be self-starters to be successful. No-one will just give them a mini pupillage or take them on as an intern if they haven’t put the effort into their application and ticked the right boxes. There is a lot of information out there but it is up to the young person to grab the opportunities that may be open to them rather than expect everything to be given to them on a plate.

redavocado Mon 27-Nov-17 13:36:17

There's no need to and as others have said. I think it's often preferable not to.

I did a non-law degree followed eventually by the GDL (conversion course). I really recommend this route. At 18 I wasn't mature enough to study law and I did much better in my exams than I imagine I would have otherwise.

Is your DD interested in a career in law or just in studying it? If it's the former, I'd suggest the science degree and then looking at conversion. The new route to qualification (SQE) may be in place by then or she might want to look at becoming a patent attorney, which is a potentially less competitive option and requires a science/engineering background. I do soft IP (copyright/trademarks) so can't really advise but someone else might be able to.

sassymuffin Tue 28-Nov-17 01:08:28

DD is in her final year of a law degree, her A levels were History, English Literature, French and Government and Politics. Nobody else that she knows on her course did Law at A Level.

DD was told by all of her preferred university choices that A level Law was not required and was not preferable to take.

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