What university subjects should I avoid?

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  • I don't know about "avoid" but certianly if there is an area of legal practice which inspires you then choose something related to that. For instance, if you want to work in commercial or coporate surroundings, Business Studies is a die-hard must. If environmental is your thing, perhaps Natural Scienes. Perhaps History and/or Politics if public law interests you? Remember there are about 40,000 subject combinations available across the country so if you want to do two at once to demonstrate your ability to handle the pressure (GDL/CPE's are very intense, which is why I chose LLB as I was terrified I would get ill over the winter and miss out on half the course).

    Research your area and read a few prospectuses and see what would match up - and don't be afraid to call the University and ask some searching questions of the admissions staff as this is your future and that is what they are paid to do. Perhaps even phone the Law Schools directly and gain their advice; they will be the ones best placed to direct you as to what.

    In terms of avoidances though I would suggest avoiding things like Surf Science (yes its a real degree) which are generally looked down on by professionals. Rule of thumb; the more academic the subject, the more it will be respected and the more analytical a mind you will develop the better set you will be for your GDL/CPE.

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  • It doesn't matter so much what course as what university you end up going to. Generally Oxbridge and Russell League + a few others seem to be where the vast majority of trainees and barristers are recruited from .

    You also need to get a 2i. So choose a subject you want to study.

    As to subject a lot of lawyers do History, Politics, English but there are a few scientists etc around. They don't care unless it is manifestly inappropriate (I think Anne is wrong - stay away from "Studies" or vocational degrees).

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  • I would agree with staying away from vocational/studies degrees. I have a high 2.i BSc in something like that and I'm fighting against it. I would suggest some form of traditional subject, maybe language based, at either Russell Group or Oxbridge. And nail a 1st or 2.i.

    As for your conversion, look out for LLM conversion courses (if you can afford it). I think they're generally a more rounded, in-depth course and will definitely make you stand out.

    Whatever degree you choose, use you holidays and extra-curricular activities wisely. There's a wealth of opportunities out there, find the ones that will make your CV look excellent and show your commitment.

    Lastly, approach this career choice with you eyes open. My experience is in pursuing a career at the Bar. It's incredibly tough and getting tougher, be sure to do your research and know what you're letting yourself in for. I think it's worth doing but please be sure you know what you're doing. I'm sure it's broadly the same with solicitors' arm of the law.

    Good luck!

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  • Business studies a 'die-hard must'???? LLM conversions???

    i don't really know why people are trying to sabotage your chances of becoming a lawyer but it's pretty simple: if you don't want to study law, which is fine, then the formula is pretty straightforward... Oxbridge or russell group uni, do a traditional subject: humanities, politics, ppe, english, languages etc, avoid 'studies' like the plague.
    do the extra curricular stuff, apply for vac schemes/mini pupillage and for god's sake do the GDL not an llm...

    oh, and get a first or high 2.1

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  • Well, I don't know why people are being so rude about a few suggestions I would have liked to have the options of myself! I most certainly am not trying to "sabotage" your chances but give you a few ideas to get the ball rolling, as it were.

    The general 'professional' snootery around "Studies" subjects is around things with no distinct link to anything like Media Studies and having spoken to a number of commercial firm graduate recruitment officers they speak about people who converted from Business Studies via GDL having the best grasp of commercial awareness out of their pool of potential lawyers. Of course if you don't want to go commercial then don't do it; choose something interesting that will motivate you to get a good result and ideally will help you specialise.

    The things about getting a solid 2:1 or 1st class degree with plenty of extracurricular in as good a Uni as possible i'm sure you're savvy enough to not need to be told. But don't be forced into a Uni for its reputation if you go on an open day (for goodness' sake go to an open day!) and find you can't stand life there - you will have to spend three or four years living there so make sure you like it.

    See if you can get some work experience early on - some firms can take A-Level leavers and even if you want to join the Bar or CILEX it gives you a taste of life in a legal environment and may help you choose early on where you want to go.

    But do try to speak to as many other people about it as possible; careers advisers, people in the profession, Law Departments (as I said above) and make a fully informed decision as this will affect your future - not theirs.

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  • Don't trust careers advisors. Do your research elsewhere. They have ruined my life. Durham and Hull are near the top in the university league tables for law. Sorry, apart from having from that are lawyers my knowledge is limited. I would avoid being a criminal lawyer. Do your research before deciding and don't believe 'experts'

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