Rachel Asaker, who has just finished her first year of Law at Warwick University, shares her thoughts on what studying Law at University, is really like.
Why did you choose to study Law at University?
I cannot exactly remember what made me want to become a lawyer. The people I met, the TV shows I watched and the admiration I had for this job played a large part, but before deciding I was really going to go down that pathway I did my research.
Crucially, I gained experience through multiple internships and summer courses to be sure that it was right for me; and I would encourage all potential Law students to do the same. Before I develop any further, let me say that law school is nothing like what you may have seen in “How to get away with murder” or “Suits”. The teachers are not all scary and sadistic, and unfortunately you do not get to deal with high-profile cases alongside your classes. It is a lot less exciting, but still very fun!
How have you found the course content so far?
In my first year, studying the law of Torts was a definitive eye-opener as I tackled themes such as the negligence of public bodies, defective products, defamation… All of which are puzzles of rules and case law that often does not make any sense but help you learn about humanity and how far the law has gone to protect us and our institutions. You are often confronted with harsh and complicated situations or cases that require deep reflexion and long train of thought.
Sure, some modules are more interesting than others, I would be lying if I said I thoroughly enjoy reading 100 pages of Contract or European Union Law, but you will very quickly see that modules like these are applicable in your everyday life and help develop your critical thinking, even if you do not realise it at first. However, most law schools offer an extensive choice of modules that range from Islamic to Medicine Law or even Shakespeare and the Law, so you will definitely have the opportunity to explore very different aspects of the legal world. You will also feel your memory get better over time. It has to, with all the information you need to store!
Now you are in your second year, were there any surprises?
One thing to be aware of is that law school is intellectually and physically draining; the few hundred pages you are given to read per week will often seem overwhelming but with the right method there is always a way to succeed. I found myself thinking in a way I never did before. Mooting and debating are extremely stimulating and will widen your vocabulary and eloquence. Case studies and problem questions make me want to dig deeper about the things that make the English legal system so unique and different, and understanding the complexities of small domestic problems or large commercial disputes is truly fascinating.
What are the best things about studying Law?
One thing I appreciate the most is the solidarity between law students. We help each other for assignments, share our knowledge and sources when we have exams or essays to write… You will find it very easy making friends. Another great thing is that you don’t have that many lectures or seminars, which means a lot of free time. However, this is needed to study and complete all your readings! For each hour of lecture, reserve approximately 2-3 hours of additional reading and note-refining to truly be able to understand the subject. But if you manage your time well, you will definitely have the opportunity to relax, go out and have fun. Your social life and sleep do not have to automatically disappear simply because you study law!
Any top tips for those considering studying Law?
I would advise any law student to go to as many library workshops or other academic events organised by law societies or the law school, as they can be very helpful in figuring out how to write a legal essay or even get into the right mindset to write a piece of work or prepare for an exam. Another thing students think about very early (sometimes too early) is applying for spring weeks or training contracts. This is often done in your second or third year and is very stressful and time-consuming. It is easy to get lost and not know which area of law you want to specialise in (commercial, human rights), or if you want to work in the legal world at all. The careers office is always here to help guide you figure out what formation is right for you. I know it has helped me a lot.
I would say that studying law is tough, and you must have a real interest for it to get through this degree. It takes time to figure out the right method to approach all the workload you get but if you have the right motivation and a strong mindset, you will see those years fly by.