After graduating from Sheffield with a BA in Politics, I returned to Sheffield to study an MA in law. While my parents at the time both put their head in their hands at the thought of their son returning to yet more years of study(!) I knew it was the right choice for me and my decision was vindicated by the quality of the teaching and facilities on offer:
While unfortunately situated on top of a massive hill (and so testing your already limited willpower to attend an early morning lecture after a night out), the department has all the facilities that you expect and need to study law. It boasts a very good library stocked with a wide range of legal materials, from statute books to the latest legal magazines; computer rooms with quick internet access and flexible opening hours; and seminar rooms that are spacious, light and equipped with modern teaching equipment.
All the lecturers and the seminar leaders were absolutely brilliant, being both very knowledgeable and very approachable. When I started my MA I was really concerned about my ability to get a training contract and which sector of the law I should work in, and I soon found that I could knock on any of the lecturer's doors and ask any naive questions. Like all courses, the MA was taught on a modular basis, delivered through weekly seminars and lectures; with exams held at the start of the spring term and at the end of the summer term. The only recommendation I would make, now I have the benefit of hindsight, is that perhaps there should have been more emphasis on giving presentations and mooting, as I think if more students were forced to do these early on then they'd be more comfortable when they have to start doing them in a work situation in front of clients.
The course itself
As I had already studied Politics for my undergrad course, I had to convert to law in order to qualify for the LPC (the course all potential lawyers have to complete before starting a training contract). I considered the traditional one year conversion course (known as the "GDL") but chose to study the MA, an alternative two-year course only offered by Sheffield, and which also gave direct entry onto the LPC or BVC. I felt the course would give me a broader knowledge of the law (as the course covered a much wider range of legal subjects than the traditional GDL) and a greater opportunity to work part time to help fund the course (though this was also of good value costing only £3000 for the two years).
As I said, the course is spread over two years and is therefore slightly less intensive than other conversion courses, and I therfore also worked part time and still managed to have a life outside of my studies. The work expected was however definitely a big step up from my undergraduate degree but this was largely due to the quantity rather than its difficulty, and I also found the methodology for structuring legal questions and answering them very different from anything I had done before. The course also requires a lot of reading so it does help to try and be organised.
I'm aware that there are probably loads of other questions that I haven't answered within this review, and so please feel free to ask me any others you may have and I'll try and answer them as best I can!
My daughter is currently reading Law at Sheffield University, and cannot speak too highly of it. You do need top grades to get a place, but the teaching standards are very high and the degree is a highly respected one in the legal profession and amongst other employers. She even enjoyed Jurisprudence and Property! Quite a recommendation for the teaching, that! Aside from the course itself, she really loves Sheffield itself and the rest of the University - so do all her friends. Quite a lot of them stay on in Sheffield, which says a lot for the city. If anyone is thinking about university entrance, and hasn't made their mind up yet, do have a serious think about Sheffield. If you live in the south, and perhaps suffer from preconceived ideas about northern cities, think again!