This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
What is a law degree actually like(14 Posts)
Hi all. DD is having some doubts about her course choice- Law LLB. She is thinking about Bristol, and has an offer for there.
Could anyone give any experience of what studying on the Law degree is actually like? Is it worth it in terms of career options after? For a while she has considered being a corporate solicitor but is not unsure as to whether “sitting behind a desk all day and reading documents” is the type of career she wants- anyone have their own experiences of being/knowing a corporate solicitor or other options of careers that could follow on from a Law degree?
Thank you all so much in advance.
I've no experience of a law degree but many years of working in a law firm as a legal assistant.
Law is definitely a good, well respected, well paid career. However, very hard work, long hours, tough targets. The gender pay gap definitely exists in the legal sector as well. It's quite a tough place for the working mother too (probably a long way off for your daughter).
Another thing to think about is even once you have a law degree, then you have to do the legal practice course which is very expensive and I'm not sure how funding works for that. Then you have to apply for training contracts, which is extremely competitive. Then you have to do a two year training contact before you qualify as a solicitor.
It's a tough route but can be worth it. I realise everything I've said does sound quite negative but I just wanted to put down everything you're daughter should consider.
It's quite early for her to decide she wants to work in corporate law too. There are so many areas, some new ones becoming more prominent such as environmental law which are really interesting!
I hope that's helpful. Best of luck to your daughter with whatever she chooses to study.
I would have done something less demanding and more practical tbh. On the other hand, it's very useful in general life to know contract law, your rights as a consumer, property law, matrimonial law, your rights as an employee.
We used to be told the profession is over crowded ie there were too many young students fighting for training contracts and waiting years before they got them. I don't know what the situation is now.
Not an awful lot of help, I'm afraid...
I loved it, but I am naturally interested in the law, and get a kick out of the academic stuff.
A law degree covers substantive law, and mine certainly allowed me to choose options that I was interested in. It is a huge amount of paperwork, reading, essays etc. You have to be able to construct a good argument in essay form. There was a fairly high drop out rate in the first year.
Career wise, I ended up as a solicitor, but not corporate. I did look at City firms, but they weren't for me.
I loved doing my law degree, did some really interesting subjects and found it fascinating. I work in NHS management now
My DD didn’t do a LLB but did the conversion course after MFL degree. I think if you are going to study any subject you should enjoy it. The great thing about law is that you don’t have to study it at university, but an intellectual academic degree is better prep for law conversion. DD is now a barrister.
Law grads do not all go into Law by any means. DD did go to Bristol and several friends did Law there. Bristol Law grads are well placed to get training contracts. There is very good support for law careers at the university.
There are avenues of law that are perhaps more exciting than corporate law but it’s a bigger job than reading all day! That’s a very naive view of the work! She could look at in house company law, smaller solicitor in local town, local government law, NHS or similar, or being a barrister. Loads of jobs are fine with a law degree, HR, Marketing, Property management: anything really. Just go to the best university she can get to, join societies and take part in as much as possible to gain experience and then make an informed choice.
You don’t need to study law to be a lawyer. You can do a conversion course and a legal practice course which is an additional 2 years after uni. Many city firms will pay for these 2 years for you if you have a good degree and go and work there afterwards (training contract). I didn’t do a law degree as am not interested in the academic study of law, only the practical side
There is a study YouTuber who used to do law at Bristol she has lots of day in life type uploads ...sorry can't remember name
I loved it at university and all through my career including now. I have 2 children at Bristol ( not reading law) and an older one (a lawyer) who went there but she didn't do law first. About half lawyers read law and half not. if you don't however you have to do the extra year on the GDL before the LPC course (and be aware the post grad exams are changing to exams called SQE1 which I suspect once in place people will do with their law degree and SQE2).
A law degree is really interesting even if you do not do law after. It is recognised as quite hard to get into university for and appreciated by employers even if you make a different career choice. It is also very helpful in business so useful in many companies or if you work for yourself.
Corporate lawyers are not just behind desks and if instead she would like to be in court that is another option she could choose later on or she might want to lecture in law or use her legal training to set up a business. However it is certainly a more sedentery job than being a tree surgeon (or an NHS surgeon too) but then so are most office jobs.
Still very competetive to get a training contract after graduating- although if you get one at a big city firm they will pay your fees.
It's also very achievable if you do a non-law degree (50-60% of lawyers have a degree in something else) so it wouldn't be closed off to her if she wanted to study something else and then work in commercial law.
She would also be eligible for almost any graduate scheme after doing a law degree (maybe not pharmaceuticals/ engineering or something that required specific scientific knowledge)- and a whole host of other options that don't involve a graduate scheme.
Essentially I would see it as two separate choices 1) does she want to study law? Does she think the content looks interesting? Does she like the uni and the course? Etc She needs to decide that quite soon!
2) does she want to work in commercial law? Or maybe another kind of law? She has more time to make this decision, although if she's sure she wants to do it, going to insight days and finding out what experience to get for her cv early on will help her get ahead in the competitive process.
I would also make her aware that a lot of people doing LLB will be on the commercial law route and it's easy to get caught up in that and assume it is your only option. Once she is at uni she could get in touch with the careers service to talk it through and find out what else is out there.
She really needs to do as much work experience as she can find to know what the job is really like.
Law is a tough career to choose. It’s fantastucally competitive especially in the corporate sector. She needs to be on course fir a first or very good 2:1 to be even considered by City or top regional firms. They mostly choose their trainees from their own summer intern schemes which are again very difficult to secure. She needs to fund a year postgrad study - some are sponsored but relatively very few.
If she gets as far as a training contract the hours are long, and the work often menial (photocopying a favourite!). Corporate work often involves all nighters approaching a deal deadline. This is not glamorous. The pay might be more than her graduate friends but she might not have much time to enjoy it. Then later, when she’s ready to start a family, she will find that the two are not necessarily compatible without outsourcing all aspects of domestic life.
However, a good law degree is attractive to many employers, and if the corporate life becomes difficult she can transfer to other areas eg smaller regional firms doing company/commercial work, local authority procurement/contracts, banking etc
As for the study itself, I found it fascinating. She needs to be able to read and absorb a lot of facts and concepts quickly and express and analyse them well in essays. She will also need to be able to discuss concepts in tutorials. The “core” subjects required by the Law Siciety can be dry but around that there will be lots of interesting choices of modules. It’s a higher workload/more contact hours than many other degrees.
She could also consider family law which certainly isn’t reading papers all day! You actually get to meet clients.
The YouTuber is Eve Cornwell, worth a look to get a recent insight.
I'm a lawyer (a barrister). I work in-house now for a large Plc. I found law firms too competitive and aggressive, and I was focused solely on generating billable hours during my insanely long days. I hated the city. Life in-house is - however - excellent. I get to be business focused, I don't have billable hours and I get to work across a diverse range of disciplines. So for me the answer to your question is "yes" to law and "no" to law firms x