Updated: Aug 27
By Lily Edwards
Firstly, congratulations on securing a place as an LLB student! There’s quite the stereotype of being a law student and what life is like in law school (you’ll know this if you’ve watched Legally Blonde!). But as a graduate from the LLB, I’m here to tell you what it’s really like, and how you can be as prepared as possible.
Don’t do all the reading
The dreaded word… Reading. Well, I’m here to tell you that if you’re strategic, reading isn’t all that bad. Law has the reputation for being predominantly focused on reading, which is true to some extent, however one thing I learned is that it is almost impossible to read every single chapter, article, and case given to you. Your lecturers will usually set hundreds of pages per week in line with your modules, but this doesn’t make it all relevant. A good tip is to go over your seminar work before doing the reading, as this will give you an idea of what areas the lecturers want you to understand best, and what is examinable. You can then find these areas within the reading chapters and read around them. If you do choose to read the whole chapter, sometimes reading a revision guide chapter is a good idea to do first, as it gives you a general overview which helps you understand the more in-depth textbook information.
The same goes to articles and journals. You will probably be set per few a week to read, which can take hours on top of textbook reading! My advice is to read one or two a week, rather than skim reading all of them without understanding them. But make a note/download the ones you don’t read, as when your coursework questions are released you can go back and read any you didn’t at the time.
Keep records of cases and articles
This is a time-consuming piece of advice, but one that will save you time trawling through notes. Keeping a record of key cases, with basic facts, the judges and the ratio will be useful to you at exam time and when it comes to writing essays. It would be impossible to do this for every case you come across, but your textbook will usually outline ‘key cases’ and this is a good starting point. You should do the same for any articles you read, keeping a note of the author and their main arguments. This will be a huge help when it is time to write an essay but will also help you consolidate the information.
Read your feedback & talk to markers
One thing I wish I did more was talking to my lecturers and seeking feedback on my work. Every lecturer has office hours, and they are there to help you! After an assignment, you will receive a short paragraph on how you can improve, but talking face-to-face with a lecturer will be miles more helpful as you can ask questions and they will be able to help you implement any things you struggle with in future work.
Always prepare for & attend seminars
Seminar preparation is rarely fun, but as a graduate I can tell you that your future self will thank you for it! It can take time, and seem pointless, but by preparing for, and going to every seminar, you are re-enforcing the work you have learned from reading and lectures in a practical way. It seems daunting to speak up in seminars, but I promise, it helps to build your confidence - even if you don’t get the answer quite right! But even if you don’t contribute vocally every time, just going, and being engaged for an hour a week is what builds long-term understanding of the law, rather than a surface understanding through cramming before the exams.
Make friends in your classes
One way to make the LLB more enjoyable is to make friends in your classes. Before starting my LLB, I had heard many stereotypes about law students (again, probably from watching Legally Blonde!). But after 3 years of law school, I can confirm that it’s not really like the movies and after all, everyone is in the same boat as you! So, finding friends can really help, as it is a degree which requires long study sessions, so having friends who are doing the same makes it more fun!