The pointlessness of a law degree

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  • An interesting perspective, but completely wrong.
    Anyone tried winning an argument over a contractual clause against someone who knows the legal reasons why the clause is there, can justify its content and existence, when you cannot? Yes, you lose the argument for not knowing the law.
    Try being a tax lawyer, an IP lawyer (transactional or not ), a regulatory law (to give a few examples) without being entirely on top of the law in your field. A good law degree can be hugely helpful in being ahead of the game, which is not to say that you cannot learn on the job too.....

    What this article misses is the real reasons for not doing a law degree:
    a) You want to study something else at degree level (sciences, languages - all good and potentially useful);
    b) Law is on average more difficult to get into;
    c) Law firms discriminate against law degrees, because they forget to take into account that the degree is harder to get in for AND harder to obtain a 2:1 or above (look at the entry requirements and the exit degrees of students for law vs other subjects at one and the same university).

    Perhaps the author should declare what HIS degree is in and whether he enjoyed it and we will then see more justification for his unpersuasive arguments.

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  • Stand back and see the bigger picture (if you have an LLB you might know how to do it). You make it sound as though an LLB student was expected to start drafting a major contract 2 weeks after graduation. There is no degree that will prepare you for a “proper” career because individual modules at the academic level have to be just that - academic. There are principles to learn, one has be made aware of developments and the reasons behind them. Law is more than a collection of statutes and rationes decidendi. Studying philosophy or literature might load your head with big words and clever expressions but that can only lead to one thing: drafting documents that can only be understood by fellow nerds (ever read a book/album/play review and not understood half of what the reviewer had been saying??). I have studied computer programming and, as you say, algorithmic thinking helps put things in a logical order but it is no more of a stepping stone into contract drafting than learning to answer complex problem questions. Unlike the alternatives you mention, an LLB teaches you a mixture of skills that you can build upon. If a student fails to achieve his full potential, he has only himself to blame.

    Research cultivates the human mind, if nothing else. In any case, a lawyer who gets by without having to do some form of legal research at some point should consider calling himself an administrative worker, paper pusher, copy-paste clerk or similar. Your music analogy is weak. No one is saying that if you are doing an LLB you cannot at the same time engage in pro bono work or get work experience – that way you could start plucking those strings while learning to read sheet music.

    Unfortunately, your views seem to be endorsed by many professionals and therefore they will be accepted as correct. The world no longer needs well-rounded professionals. What it needs is money-making machines that have been taught enough to carry out mundane tasks. That is the same reason why “unimportant” degrees are being scrapped: society can no longer be bothered to waste money on something like exotic degrees. In a decade or two there will only be economists, accountants and, if you shout loudly enough and your views are implemented, Contract Drafters and Argument Compilers. Would you say that anyone wishing to become a GP should only learn about flu and possibly two other common illnesses? That way he could convert from history to medicine within a year and help 90% of his patients – it would make economic sense. How much skill does it take to identify flu and recommend drinking plenty of liquids?

    Your views do give me some hope, though. If you are right then I, and thousands of other LLB graduates, might simply take the fast-track Legal Executive route and skip the LPC and training contract madness. From what I hear, Legal Executives only learn what their specialist field requires. However, I am not sure how those elitist snobs view executives and the move might prove to be the last nail in the LLB graduate’s coffin.

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  • Whilst I would not say that a law degree is pointless, it is not where you learn about legal practice. I hold degrees in both history and politics and a law degree and I can hand on heart say that a law degree is not as academically demanding as my former degree. Learnt more academic skills on my BA, learnt the legal principles in my LLB and gained the practicalities of law whilst working as a secretary during my university years.

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  • I am on the final 3 month stretch of the LPC along with 6 other ex-GDL and 20 ex-LLB and there is no difference in the contributions made to sessions nor the results that are achieved by either camp. The LLB students have an advantage in being exposed to the need to arrange a Training Contract before the GDL students.

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  • I would imagine, from what I have observed, the most useful qualification is accountancy and the ability to juggle.
    Just think of racing through two accounts in court, in one day, through manipulation of the clients and to hell with justice; there is rent to pay and overheads.

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  • This is very true, I wish I had been advised of this prior to completing my LLB

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  • Hello. Seems you've stopped thinking straight since I've been away. Fact is that when I have a problem I don't brief anyone who doesn't know what they are doing. I mean if you are under the knife you don't want someone who has a degree in Estrucan pottery on the job with a few training DVDs under the belt. I like a bloke with a law degree from Oxbridge. Mind you, I might go for a Durham or Bristol type cos they probably had a bad day at the interview and couldn't describe an artichoke to an alien.

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  • This is brill, the comments are just as good. Posted it to facebooks Open Uni law student group where the subject of will we, can we, is it worth it is always on the agenda. Really funny with a generous portion of honesty including the comments. Thanks

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  • I'm doing the LPC... and the only thing fun about law (so far) has been the final year of my law degree. I'm holding on to that, because the rest is awful.

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  • Say what will about it's pointlessness if you have a 2:1 or higher in Law on your CV employers will think slightly longer before throwing it in the bin

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  • I have seen and read everyone's ideas but to be honest law is not as crucial as economics because everything currently runs with business you cannot tell me that you will only rely on your law carrier what if you don't have clients at the moment and you are not flexible yet you spent alot studying law........::seriously!!

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  • This article is absolutely SPOT ON. I remember after the 4 years of studying my law degree (joint honours) with American Studies, coming out of Uni foggy brained and wondering to myself what I had actually learned. I shortly came to the conclusion that this was NOTHING. Well, actually I had learned how pointless my law degree was. It was boring, tedious and monotonous and taught me nothing about the real world and the practicality of working in the legal sector.

    It is only now, 7 years later that I have taken it upon myself to retrain for possible work in the legal sector that I am actually beginning to learn something, from an online distance learning course no less - that costs a vast amount less than the pointlessness of my degree.

    I have learned a great deal from doing odd jobs here and there, met people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Yes, I don't earn much (yet), but I'm certainly learning more than i was when I was being forced to flog a dead in my law lectures. Turns about I'm a far better teacher than most of my lecturers could ever be....

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