Life as a modern law student - a few thoughts

student depression
On the back of my half-hearted ‘back to school’ series, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about just what an awful time it is to be a law student (or any kind of student for that matter).  Not to put anybody off, of course, (but seriously - think carefully).

Let’s face it: graduate jobs of any description are hard enough to come by right now.  I know a couple of people who are/were tackling the LPC part time and have put it on hold half way through because they’re so fearful of ploughing in the rest of the fees and then coming out the other side with a useless diploma and no chance of a training contract.

Understandably, there is a lot of concern that many would-be students are taking the attitude that going to university is simply not worth the expense, hassle and stress.

The Law Gazette report this:

The biggest fall in university applications in more than 30 years has seen the number of candidates applying to study law drop by a record 5.2%, according to figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

Last year 13,858 people applied to study law at 26 universities that supplied figures to UCAS, but this year the number applying to start their course in autumn 2012 fell to 13,139.

Things aren’t even looking good for graduate recruitment schemes at the moment.  A few years ago, graduate training schemes were all the rage for students with almost any degree.  What a difference 2 or 3 years make.  Your average graduate is now more likely to get a bucketful of smelly stuff from a rocking horse than get accepted onto one of those programs.

Not long ago, a law degree was meant to be one of the more useful and versatile degrees out there, and one that would stand you in good stead for a wide range of graduate careers.  I’m not sure that holds true right now.

Other ‘friends of friends’ are considering jumping ship, all of whom are at various stages of their legal education. Right on cue, I’ve been fascinated to read about US blawgger Katie Luper who recently finished law school and jumped straight on an engineering course.  Kudos to her for that.  I don’t think many law graduates would have the guts to do that.  I know I wouldn’t.

So all in all, it’s an uncertain, scary time, folks. But if you’re a prospective uni student with absolutely no idea which path to take, do the responsible thing: flip a coin and let fate decide.

You’ll thank me for it.

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Comments

  1. In my second year I was considering changing to engineering, ever so briefly. I'm not sure if it was whether I actually wanted to do it or whether I thought my current beau's assessments looked much more appealing. I suspect it was the latter as my interest in building trebuchets faded.

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  2. Interesting! It's amazing what studying law drives some people to.

    During my first year as an undergrad, I was considering switching to English literature. I'd almost forgotten that myself.

    I compromised, did ERASMUS and studied in Sweden for a year! Looking back, I think I made the right decision. ;-)

    I like your use of 'beau' there. Had a conversation just the other day about this... I'd not heard of it before but heard it on Downton Abbey (and according to my gf, people still use this now... I'm not convinced!).

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  3. I used to hear it a bit in magazines... usually in titles where someone is dating someone called Beau. I think I've seen it in novels before, but not for a few years. The last time I remember was when I was 10 or so in a Princess Diaries book. I think it's in my head because of Downton though!

    I did the switch to English literature. Dropped political science for it. I enjoy it, but regret it immensely when I realise I no longer get to actually enjoy reading!

    I think the fact that studying law can be so dreadfully boring might be why, especially when you look at the fun and practical things other people are doing, not to mention all that group work! For me, as well, I honestly missed maths. I did once go through and do the bf's maths homework in my head because I was that bored/desperate for maths. I then realised how disgustingly sad it was and haven't done proper maths since!

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  4. Good thoughts (post and comments). I have a bit of a different perspective, as studying law is my second career choice. I was convinced by many people who said "a law degree is a golden key to many careers." At least here in the US, it is true that a law degree gives you an "in" to many careers beyond just "practicing law."

    On the other hand, when other student find out I have a job doing research and writing for a law firm, they tell me I am fortunate: even a lot of recent bar graduates are not finding work.

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  5. It's true... scary times to be in law school. I know many law students who'll graduate in May and they have ABSOLUTELY no idea what in teh world they'll do after taking the Bar. One girl said she could always go back to Bar Tending. I find that seriously sad.

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  6. O.B. - I didn't realise you had Downton down under. How about that! GF's roped me into watching this series... I kind of quite like it. But ssshhh... don't tell anybody else that! ;-) After your experience with English lit, sounds like I made the right decision.

    LY - yep... I think you definitely rank as one of the lucky ones. Still, you make your own luck and all that, right? ;-)

    Cowgirl - it certainly is sad. It's terrible in fact!! The worse thing about going back to 'menial' jobs is the tendency for people to get stuck there doing them ..."for ever and ever and ever." (Cue the creepy twin sisters from the shining) :-\

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  7. I think the really tricky (but lucky) one is if you get a non-graduate, menial-ish type job that pays more than a traineeship. I read a story in my first year undergrad about a law graduate who couldn't get into the profession straight from uni and did something fantastically "fun" but well paying in direct sales and had to decide if it was worth taking a cut.

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  8. Yep.. that sounds a nice 'problem' to have. ;-)

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