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Admit it, Law is the hardest degree

Time for me to slag off my course

Law. £9000 a year for around 10 contact hours per week. That’s around £40 for each contact hour. But is it really worth it? Law students have to learn hundreds of cases for their horrific three hour exams. There’s no reading week and they’ve got to deal with the dreaded WINS module. Then there’s the constant rejection from law firms and constant stress about the future. As will quickly become apparent in this article, a degree in Law has many downsides.

So, I guess it’s time for me to slag off my degree. Here's hoping I don’t get sued for this.

The Cases

Every Law lecturer says it’s impossible to get good marks in their module without reading the cases. Each module has dozens, if not hundreds of cases. Many take over an hour to read if you actually want to understand the judges’ drawn-out and pretentious language. You’ll probably have forgotten most of it by the exam anyway because you only need to revise the key points to write a decent essay. But then, due to the law being so complicated and confusing, you’re never really sure if you’ve even got the key points right. Many Law students gave up on reading the cases long ago and now just use Google.

The WINS module

WINS is the bane of Sheffield Law students’ lives. It stands for “Without It, No Success”, but could more accurately be named “Without It, You’ll Do Exactly the Same”. The weekly lectures, monthly seminars and occasional workshops focus on general concepts such as essay writing, diversity in the legal profession and the significance of internationalisation. Whilst it may be good for a future lawyer to have a basic awareness of these topics, the fact that WINS is non-credited and rather repetitive means that attendance, concentration and effort levels are nothing short of atrocious. As Law students have a never-ending list of work due for their credited modules, WINS is often thought of as little more than a pain in the arse.

No reading week

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Out of all undergraduate degrees, Law arguably has the most reading, including cases, articles and textbooks. It’s easy for Law students to feel swamped by recommended reading, never mind the vast array of further reading. No matter what the lecturers say, there simply aren’t enough hours in the week to get it all done. So why on earth does Law not have a reading week? I’m saying this from a purely academic perspective, of course, not because I want an extra week off uni to go on the sesh or anything like that.

Constant rejection

“After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that we will not be progressing further with your application.” Law students know that sentence all too well. Due to the high volume of applications law firms receive for work experience and training contracts, a student could apply to 20 firms and get the same rejection email from every single one of them. Before long, you read “after careful consideration, we regret…” and then rage quit your laptop. Unless you’re an “exceptional candidate” (i.e. you play a sport for your country, you’ve got Grade Eight on seven instruments, or you fly to Kenya every weekend to volunteer building schools for orphans), you may find that all the hours you spent perfecting your applications were a waste of time.

Constant stress

Law students are always stressed about the future. You’re worried you won’t be able to get a job due to the hugely competitive nature of the legal profession, especially if you haven’t managed to get any work experience. You’ve also got to figure out which area of law you want to work in for the rest of your life, which is a pretty daunting prospect. That’s if you even want to be a lawyer anymore and haven’t been put off by your degree.

Are there any positives?

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If you're genuinely interested in law, you might enjoy a Law degree. If not, you’re screwed. But at least employers will think you’re clever if you can write “Law degree” on your CV, even if you only got the grade you did by all-nighters, cramming and lots of coffee. They'll never know of all the lectures you skipped, assignments you should've started weeks sooner and whole areas of the law where you don't have a clue what's going on.

To any stressed-out Law students out there, try to relax and enjoy yourself during your degree. Just think, if you become a lawyer in the future, you’ll basically never have fun again, so you might as well make the most of it now.