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So, you're deciding whether or not to do a law degree, a very popular choice for students. To begin with, its not as you will probably know, all fun and games. what you see on T.V. is mostly worlds away from what you'll be studying. In short, it's hard and there is a LOT of information to learn very quickly. A thing that amazes me with my peers and first year students is their suprise at the amount of reading that you'll be expected to do. its a huge amount, and you'll be chucked in the deep end with it, i can assure you! Law is a subject not for the faint hearted, its hard, its dull at times and it seems impossible to work out on many occassions. enough of frightening you! it is also a rewarding subject and the saying "knowledge is power" is very true. you learn your rights and your neighbour's rights and your pet dog's rights, and you can use it with great effect in the real world. it is a good degree to build on, and also its a great idea if you're not sure what you want from life and don't want to close too many doors. It is hard, but you get used to staying up till 6am working out a legal concept, but it really is worth the three of four years of misery for the recognition of a law degree. Books are very expensive, see http://www.geocities.com/petersykeslawpages/ for details.
After the last few opinions I've written (bar the one about the excellent Myvoice.co.uk), you'll realise that I made numerous mistakes when I originally picked my A-levels. Business studies was the first main problem, and then the absolutely appaling Biology classes that I have to suffer. But, in comparison, Law is a much better subject. The AS-level subject is comprised of three units - the Machinery of Justice (factual knowledge about the civil and criminal justice systems), Legal Personnel, and an in-depth look at Criminal Law. The course is extremely interesting - you need to be able to remember lots of facts - laws, sections, acts etc. But you also need to have an analytical mind. Having good essay writing skills is totally essential - being able to understand sometimes difficult concepts and write good analysis of their good and bad points is important too. So far in our course we have studied the main systems of justice - the various branches of civil and criminal courts, alternative methods of resolving a dispute (arbitration, tribunals etc...), the power of the Police, bail, the Crown Prosecution Service, sentencing, solicitors, barristers, 'fusion' between the solicitors and barristers profession, magistracy and we are currently studying juries and legal aid. The exams are made up of 4 questions, containing two sub-questions. For each of the four questions, you are given 37 minutes to answer it - the first sub-question is usually a 'describe' type question - for example: "Describe the selection of jurors and their role in a trial (civil and criminal) - 25 marks". The second part of the question is usually a 'discuss' type question - for example: "Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the jury in both criminal and civil cases. - 20 marks.". Those are two practice questions that I have been working on recentely. The two sub-questions are usually related. T he main problem is the time limit. The facts and discussion are easy to write, but often getting the details down on to paper will make your arm ache or almost fall off! The text we are studying from is Jacqueline Martin's "The English Legal System", which is a simple, easy to understand text highlighting briefly the main points of the system and explaining them in an easy to read manner. This qualification is a good starting point for those considering Law at university level, and those who want to go on and work in the legal profession. For those who don't, it's a good way to show a knowledge of applying the English language, and would be a valuable asset to one seeking work in business due to the fact that the subject can be very practical in helping with legal matters at work. It's also very interesting to study. You do have to go in to quite good detail, and as a general life education it's good too - for example, if a Police officer came up to you in the street tommorow and asked to search your pockets or handbag - would you know what rights you had, and the places that the Police are and are not allowed to search you? With this subject you get an interesting grounding in to the whole system. The workload of this subject is quite heavy - if your good at it, you'll be able to memorise the facts quite easily - easier than say a Science subject (leers unpleasently at biology book at spits at it...), and often the laws are based on quite sensible principles. To conclude, the subject is a very practical, enjoyable subject, which is interesting and thought-provoking quite often. Unlike many of the other subjects, the work isn't too demanding and isn't unnecessarily complicated. This I believe is a very good subject for lots of people. If your also doing this subject, and can stand the idea of doing business studies (you have both the stomach and the brains to do it - I di dn't have the first one) at A-level, it would be worth doing both - as they are both very practical courses for going on to work in business. -- So, that's most of my AS courses reviewed. Only one more to go - the dreaded ICT!! Thanks for reading, Tom p.s. I know, I'm going to get lynched on the spot for that title...
When I first started doing Law A Level I found it very difficult to get to grips with. A lot of it seemed very dry, but as the course went on, I began to see the relevance of all the facts. We always finished off the lessons with a discussion on any cases we had seen on the news and had an opinion on. This was a useful thing to do as it related what we were learning to current events. Also, it is great as a Law student to be able to give the legal facts and explain themn when you are having discussions with your family/friends about current cases in the news. The syllabus we followed (AQA Exam Board) was 1 year of the English Legal System, which involves judges, jury and the court system amongst other topics, and 1 year of Criminal Law. Criminal law was definitely the most interesting part of the syllabus for me. We covered topics such as theft and murder. It's great when the teacher says "we'll be doing murder next week"! It was really interesting to learn about the law and about our rights. Did you know, for example, that to be convicted of assault no contact has to be made? The definition of assault is causing someone fear or to feel threatened. The actual application of force is called battery in legal terms. One subject I would like to have covered (this is going to sound all wrong) is rape, but at A Level they don't study crimes of a sexual nature. In a way, I can see why this is, but it would be very interesting and useful to be informed of the law in that area. The course that I did had no course work and was assessed by 3X3 hour exams at the end of the second year. It depends what board you are with though. I found the exams quite straightforward and interesting! But maybe I'm just weird! Admittedly, some of the topics were difficult and uninteresting, such as European Law, but we also learned interesting things. One of them was about a case that got thrown out because the jury had used a ouija board in their hotel to give them their verdict! To anyone considering studying Law at A Level, I would say that is it useful to anyone, not just those considering Law as a profession. Indeed, Law A Level is not necessary to do a Law degree. It is considered a good subject by universities as it involves weighing up facts and making cases for an against statements. I worked very hard at Law and came out with an A grade at the end, which I was chuffed with. I am proof that anyone can do it! Also, if I decide to go into Law after finishing my degree then I will always have my Law A Level to help me. You don't need a Law degree to become a lawyer (solicitor or barrister). With any degree, you can do a one year conversion course and then do the relevant training after that. I like to keep my options open-maybe I will become a lawyer, but then maybe I will become a journalist, or a teacher, or an actress. Ha ha, maybe. There are so many people studying Law nowadays, I can't help wondering if the world actually needs all that many lawyers. I suppose in our compensation crazy society though, there will always be a job for a lawyer.
The college really did try to sell the idea of Law to as many students as possible. God damn it, I wish I didnt take any notice! This lesson should only be done if you are DEFINATLY going into Law as a career. I thought that it may just be an interesting AS/A-level to take up - but it isnt! Firstly, the syllabus is REALLY REALLY long! And you have to learn ALOT in order for you to pass your exams! This is no good to the crammers among us! Some things you learn about are interesting - like learnign about Soliciters, Barristers, Judges, magistrates, and juries. But on the other hand - there are really boring parts which just dont make any sense at all! For example; Appeal routes, Court structure, and Judicial Precedent! The amount of things to learn is horrendous! There is too much to take in! The best way to remember it all is to just review what you have gone over in lesson, when you have got home! I really regret taking this subject as it is just too much! A little advice is to just not take it!