Things to consider before studying law
Kirsten Ramcharan is a First Year Law LLB student attending King’s College London. With aspirations of becoming a lawyer, Kirsten talks about the main things she considered before choosing her degree.
As a first-year law student one of the questions I find myself being asked frequently is ‘Why Law?’ and, in all honesty, I usually don’t have a straightforward answer. There were many factors I considered before getting into law and each were significant in their own way. Perhaps the three main things to reflect on are:
1. Is law something I truly want to study?
Upon deciding whether you want to study law at degree level (or pursue it later in a career) it is easy to mistake a genuine interest in the academic subject with a fascination that may have come from external influence or pressure such as the media. The media’s portrayal of law may be a great way of sparking an interest in the subject, however, it is not a true representation of what a law degree entails. I found myself having to separate this from the subject by isolating what areas of law I was interested in. Personally, reading around the topic (whether this be through topical legal affairs or books that explored certain issues such as human rights), solidified that law was the right pathway. I was fortunate to have had work experience prior to choosing my degree which allowed me to become familiar with the daily tasks that lawyers undertake. There are many online legal experiences available that can also help provide a more accurate representation of what law entails. I’m not recommending you skip your next episode of Suits, however, engaging with the law in more practical ways can provide more of an insight before making your decision.
2. What skills do I need before considering the degree?
I found that studying law requires certain skills such as the ability to analyse, problem solve and express ideas fluently and coherently. You do not necessarily need to love reading but should be motivated to put in the work and digest large amounts of information; reflection on your current work ethic and method can help greatly with this. It is normal to struggle with some of these skills yet consider whether you would be able to improve them before embarking on the legal pathway.
3. What careers can I see myself doing in the future?
A degree does not necessarily lead to a specific career though many law students become lawyers as they find a passion for the subject. Consider what career opportunities a law degree will provide you in the future (there is a wide range!) and most of all, choose an area that you are passionate about. In looking at potential universities, consider your potential module options and whether these could interest you. At this stage it is completely normal to not know what future career you want yet consideration of your options after a law degree can help solidify whether this is something you want to pursue.