“How hard is law school?”
As degrees go law is generally rated to be on par or slightly below medicine as far as the degree difficulty goes (if it’s any consolation these are reportedly also the most highly paid afterwards). It’s not an easy degree by an means, accredited law schools operate on a syllabus set out by the controlling professional bodies which keeps the level of graduates high in what is a field that relies a lot on the prestige of its members. Law is a definite increase on top of university acceptance qualifications and will very probably be hard enough to get in the way of compiling a proper student record of hard partying.
You will have to sometimes refuse to go out to get work done at university, there’s just no other way but my friends in other subjects have not had the problem of workload to the same extent that myself and my law friends have, so the consensus is that there is more to the course to cover. You’ll probably find it to be a very quick course trying to cover a great deal of information very quickly, the Scottish LLB (my course) tries to have a lot of students ready to study law further in two years while third year and honours provide an opportunity to broaden skills and cement them. The specifics of the degree will differ depending on the law school you decide to go to but the standard form in Scotland is a four year degree (three years to Ordinary/Pass level and an additional year of honours, sometimes two years for the pass degree to give more time) this is then followed by a number of post graduate options which take between 1 and 3 years depending on what you want to be able to practice after your degree. Graduate students can opt for a very quick degree which lasts 2 years.
So the pacing may take you by surprise – I was stunned when, on my first day, in my first lecture of higher education I was handed an assignment that would count towards my future employability. Law believes in learn by doing in a huge way. There’s really no messing about as a law student.
It’s not all bad – the course is supposed to stretch and it’s a really good challenge. It just won’t be as easy to maintain the sort of records of going out that people in other degree courses manage to do. You will hear people from the business school boasting about their 17-18 hour stints at the students union and your first thought will honestly be how they find the time. Many students on my law course have survived without becoming a studious recluse, myself included, and it will not stop you enjoying university as much as anyone else. Just consider that a lot of your academic success will be from a knack of pulling off coursework and exams which the markers like – like all English based subject law is also very subjective with the learned principles you have given providing a guide to your own style – your ability to compose, frankly, arty answers to questions is what will propel you though.
So, how hard is law school? Enough to be getting on with and you should consider if you feel up to the work before you start and always remember that in Scotland you are allowed a “false start” without losing your free education, so if you find it horrible after the first year be aware that there are options to get you away from it. Don’t believe the horror stories though – there’s no “book of laws” to memorise for the exam at the end of the year, it’ll resemble high school English and Modern Studies a lot more than the profession is probably happy with.