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1 1 INTRODUCTION The study of law gives students the opportunity to engage in a subject that is challenging and exciting. Its dynamic nature and scope to cover subject matter from a broad array of areas makes it an attractive option to students from a variety of subject backgrounds. The potential career pathways it can open, combined with high employment rates, ensure that its demanding workloads are rewarded with job satisfaction. Today s modern society and the changes occurring within it ensues that law is an everdeveloping subject. Students can opt to study a broad legal course covering aspects of many different fields or choose to specialise their study (either at undergraduate or postgraduate level) to focus their attentions on the topic that they feel is most beneficial. With new developments come new specialisms and over the course of the coming years more research and emphasis is anticipated in many fields such as cyberspace law. In short this pathway offers its students an exciting and thought-provoking curriculum, one which will undoubtedly prepare them for a multitude of potential careers. CAREER PATHWAYS AND GRADUATE DESTINATIONS Students graduating from either the LLB or BA (Hons) courses are extremely attractive to all employers. Law is widely recognised as an intensive course that instils strong research, analytical and communication skills into its graduates, strengths which are valuable to all businesses and organisations. Subsequently law graduates enjoy high employment rates in a variety of settings. For those graduates that want to pursue a career in a legal field further study may be required, in the form of the Legal Practice Certificate (LPC) and, for those students without a qualifying course, the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). These additional qualifications open up career pathways as barristers and solicitors. There are also numerous legal professions students may go on to work in such as paralegals, legal secretaries and court staff. Other graduate destinations include the police, banking and teaching. In short Law opens many options to its graduates. POSTGRADUATE OPPORTUNITIES Once a student has completed their undergraduate qualification many will look towards the GDL and LPC courses. However, DMU also offers a wide range of Master's courses relating to various legal fields are also available and which may prove to be a more appropriate choice. Examples of these include LLMs in Employment Law and Practice, Medical Law and Ethics, and Sports Law and Practice.

2 2 A DAY IN THE LIFE Law students can anticipate a timetable that reflects the research intensive elements of their course. Generally they will have hours of scheduled time per week which will be split between lectures and seminars/tutorials. In addition to this students will be expected to supplement their learning with a minimum of 20 hours worth of self-directed study, involving reading, research and revision. Law students must have, above everything else, a passion and flair for reading and analysis as it will underpin all of their university work and be at the core of their curriculum. Students studying towards an LLB course will enrol on an average of three core modules per year with their final module being elected in an area of their choice. Those working towards a (non-qualifying) BA (Hons) will be asked to select two modules from law and a further two from their combination subject. Law topics will initially be introduced through a lecture, which may involve up to 400 students at a time. These will then be followed be a series of small seminar groups, holding students, giving them the chance to discuss the lecture topics and debate any issues that may have arisen. Assessments for law students compromise different formats. Throughout the course of the academic year students will be expected to complete a series of written assignments including essays, research questions and analytical problem solving. In addition to this they will undertake phase tests multiple choice questions based on a fictional legal scenario designed to test their understanding of the work they have covered so far. At the end of the year students will sit final exams to complete their assessment. Those studying towards BA (Hons) courses will also have to complete the necessary assessments of their combination subject. Alongside their studies some students opt to take part in work experience placements in local legal firms. These are fiercely competitive and students that are considering taking part should begin trying to secure them during their first year of degree. Most universities will have placement co-ordinators who can help supply initial contacts/firms that students can approach as well as helping them to draft application letters or prepare for interview. TYPICAL MODULES For LLB Law First year Constitutional law, Administrative law, Criminal law, Law of contract, English and European legal contexts Second year Civil Liberties, Criminology, Law of evidence, Family law, Consumer law Third year Law and medicine, Information technology law, Immigration and refugee law, Sports law, International child law

3 3 CHOOSING THE RIGHT COURSE When selecting a law course the first decision that a student needs to make is, whether they want to follow a BA (Hons) course or an LLB course. BA (Hons) Law courses can often be combined with closely linked subjects such as criminology, politics and psychology. LLB degrees are the qualifying courses, successful completion allows graduates to progress straight on to a Legal Practice Certificate (LPC) which in turn opens up career potentials as either a Solicitor or a Barrister. Many students will opt to study LLB Law, but there are also pathways in areas such as law and criminal justice, business law and law, human rights and social justice that carry the same qualifying status. The LLB curriculum is designed to reflect the areas identified by the British Law Society and Bar Council which are considered as essential to building a successful legal career. As a result there are tighter restrictions (when compared to BA (Hons) courses) on the module choices. Because of the progression routes available LLB courses are generally the most popular and require higher entry points. Students studying a BA/BSc (Hons) degree, in Law or any other subject, can still progress onto an LPC but they must first complete a law conversion course the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). This is an additional year s study which prepares students for the LPC. Many universities offer this course but students should be made aware that it carries an additional set of fees (up to 6000). Whichever route a student chooses they need to select a university that can fully support their learning through excellent teaching, facilities and work experience opportunities. A law degree is initially taught through a series of lectures and follow-up seminars/tutorials. In addition to this students will be expected to carry out extensive independent work researching cases and preparing assignments. Therefore, choosing a university that boasts state-of-the-art computer suites and a designated law library can provide the best overall experience. In addition to this some universities (including DMU) have mock courtrooms, where students can meet and practice their mooting skills amongst their peers. Experiences such as this allow students to develop confidence in key areas of their course and build skills that will be required of them in future employment. When considering which university to choose, students should look for those that offer them opportunities to build on their professional portfolio and work experience. Many universities enter their students into national mooting competitions, pitching their skills against those of students from other institutions. This gives them a great foundation in core legal skills such as fact management, legal research and the ability to think quickly and improves their confidence in public speaking all of which are attractive not only to legal employers but in all careers. One final area to consider whilst researching universities are work placements and opportunities. These may take place at local Barrister or Solicitor's firms or through the university itself. Some universities (including DMU) offer their own 'law clinics', pro bono drop-in sessions open to the public, staffed by current students and overseen by law professors. These are an excellent opportunity for students to gain access to a wealth of real life legal scenarios and to practise the skills that they have acquired through mooting and client interviewing. This is a student s chance to advise real clients with real problems and to put their skills, knowledge and expertise into practice.

4 4 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS One key factor that will be looked for by all admissions teams is a strong academic portfolio from all candidates. Entry onto a degree will be dependent on a student securing a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above, including maths and English language. Many universities are now taking the standpoint that a Key Skills equivalent is no longer acceptable. Currently there are no set subjects that students must choose at FE level, however, there are those that may be viewed as more suitable and/or advantageous to the student. Law is an intensive course that requires considerable time dedicated to reading, analysis and debate. Subjects preparing students with these skills will be of great benefit, and may include English literature/language, history and politics. Individual institutions preferences on students studying towards an A Level in Law do differ and therefore students should be advised to check university websites and prospectuses for further guidance. Applications from students currently studying towards more technical/scientific subjects such as maths, ICT or sciences would still be welcomed but they may be advised to discuss other activities they have undertaken to maintain a high level of reading and writing ability in their personal statement, for example, they may write for a school newspaper. Most universities will consider applications from students studying towards A Levels, BTECs, Access to Learning and International Baccalaureate courses. Subjects studied within these qualifications should show a student s natural aptitude towards research, critical thinking and strong communication skills. If a student is considering studying an alternative pathway to those outlined above they should be advised to contact individual universities to gauge whether or not this would be accepted. Entry criteria and UCAS Points for Law vary massively between universities, anywhere between UCAS points, making the course accessible to students with various levels of academic ability. One final note to consider for potential applicants is the law entrance exam (LNAT). This is not a requirement at all universities and is most commonly associated with the Russell Group. Initially the test was developed by a consortium of universities who hoped to devise a fair method of assessing a candidate s suitability for studying law regardless of their background. It is designed to measure a student s skill in key areas closely associated with law, for example, analysis, deduction and comprehension and comprises of a two and a quarter hour test split into two different sections. Section one has multiple choice questions based on passages that are provided on the day whilst section two tasks the student with answering one essay question from a choice of five. It is not possible to revise for the LNAT exam in advance but students can familiarise themselves with its layout and past questions by visiting the LNAT website. They may also benefit from regularly reading daily newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent to keep abreast of current affairs and their impact on the legal world (note, this is good practice for all potential law students regardless of whether they will be sitting the entrance exam).

5 5 APPLICATION SUPPORT As previously discussed places for university law courses are at a premium, it is an attractive course option not only for immediate school leavers but also returning students who wish to advance their careers with further study. Due to the competitive nature of applications for this course it is vital that any application, in particular the personal statement section, is 100% focused towards law and why the student feels that it will benefit them. As a general rule there are no hard and fast rules as to what a student should discuss in their personal statement for law, and as there are no specific subjects required there is an even higher possibility that each and every application will be different. There are however key areas that admissions tutors will be interested to read about. The first of these is to demonstrate a strong understanding of current affairs. Law is a subject which to a certain extent is governed by the events that take place around us. Tragedies such as the 9/11 bombings and the kidnap and subsequent murders of both James Bulger and Sarah Payne have been the catalysts for significant changes in the law. Students should be aware of how events that are taking place around them (in all areas including crime, economy and technology) have the potential to influence the curriculum that they hope to study in the future. Regular reading of newspapers and following news channels can help equip students with this understanding. Students may also be advised to undertake some legally based work experience in preparation for their university application that will give them an insight into the practical application for the subject. This may take various different forms, many students will contact local solicitors' or barristers' firms and ask to spend a short amount of time shadowing their teams and observing the work that they carry out. Other students may visit their local courtrooms and observe legal proceedings as they take place in an attempt to gain a better understanding of this particular field. Students should also be aware of any opportunities that their school or college can offer them. For example, some schools run their own mooting competitions which provide an excellent forum to gain skills in this area. Others may join a school debate team which will help to improve their confidence with public speaking and critical thinking. Some schools also have links with local universities to provide their students with even more options. For example, DMU currently operates an after school Law Club which is open to any student from year 12 or 13. It meets roughly once a month and any student that has an interest in law (regardless of whether or not they are currently studying it) can come along. Each session usually involves two activities, which range from industry guest speakers, visits to local courts and moots. Taking part in local events gives students an opportunity to ensure that their application can offer something unique. When a student discusses their extra curricular activities it is important that the focus is on the skills that they have learnt from it as opposed to the tasks that they carried out. For example, if they have shadowed a solicitor they would be expected to discuss what they observed, how the experience has motivated them and what skills they recognise as important in order to be successful within this career.

6 6 INTERVIEWS As LLB Law is a qualifying course it carries with it a compulsory interview. This is the university s chance to assess a candidate s suitability not only for the study of law but also for a career within a legal profession. Most interviews will involve a one to-one chat with an academic from the law course, lasting between 20 and 30 minutes. During this time students will be asked a variety of questions about their FE choices, HE choices and general interests. They will also be asked to expand on any points that they have covered within their personal statements. Students should use the interview as an opportunity to divulge more information than was possible on their initial application. Simply repeating exactly what is written in their personal statement is a waste of this opportunity, they should be aiming to provide the interviewer with information that they were not previously aware of. Essentially, those conducting interviews are looking for a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the course. They want to recruit students who are committed to their studies, who will contribute in lessons and complete their work to the highest standard possible. A classic mistake that a student can make at this stage is to claim that they are interested in law for the monetary benefits that a legal career can bring! Students attending an interview should spend some time in advance preparing. Familiarising themselves with recent news stories that have had a major impact on the legal world is one way that they can anticipate questions. They may also be able to incorporate current examples into the answers that they give, demonstrating a strong awareness of the world around them. Above all students should aim to show that they are ready and excited for the challenges that a law degree can bring and they will relish the opportunity to study it at a higher level.

7 7 LAW AT DMU De Montfort Law School is located in the Hugh Aston Building, a 35 million development that opened in September 2009 and is home to the Business and Law faculty. Its location is within close proximity of the city centre, close to local courts and many of Leicester s major law firms. Students benefit from a dedicated law environment with excellent staff support and facilities such as a mock courtroom and a new integrated law library, one of only a few in the UK. Our courses are currently ranked in the top 20 for student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2010), a testament to our strong teaching team and excellent facilities. Students who pass their undergraduate LLB course are offered entry onto an LPC (conditions apply), providing excellent progression routes for our graduates to pursue. Our course does not simply begin and end in the classroom, we place considerable emphasis on providing our students with opportunities to enhance their CV while at university. This includes taking part in regular mooting competitions, helping to organise work experience placements with local law firms and facilitating a drop-in law clinic for members of the public. We aim to provide our students with an excellent foundation on which they can build their future careers! ACADEMICS AT DMU All of s teaching staff are qualified lawyers and bring to their lessons years of personal experience. Across the faculty they are engaged in a wide range of different research topics from across all areas of law and our research profile has significantly grown over the last 20 years to its current high level. Many of our academics appear in national publications and their work is commended by the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) (conducted by HEFCE), who class it as 'internationally recognised' or 'internationally excellent'. Academic staff bring their own enthusiasm for their research topics to their teaching and lectures and seminars are often taught in dynamic and thought provoking ways. They encourage our students to formulate their own opinions on legal issues and to articulate these in concise and clear arguments. Students are assigned a personal tutor who is there to offer them support throughout the duration of their degree and help them to resolve any issues that may arise. FOR MORE INFORMATION For more information on DMU's law courses, open day dates and to request a prospectus please visit dmu.ac.uk/law or call (0116)

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