As graduation looms, so does the prospect of the ‘real world’ becoming a reality. Gulp. Especially with the past year and a half being so different (to put it politely), I for one can hardly believe that my undergraduate degree is almost over. While I have LPC and eventually training contract plans, a lot of my peers do not – a sign of just how flexible a law degree can be. With this in mind, I want to talk about three core skills I feel have developed through my legal studies so far. Take this as a reminder that being a solicitor, barrister or working in the legal field at all is not the only option – the broad applicability of these skills may surprise you!
One of the biggest skills I have learnt is both the value of good research and how to do it. Being able to read complex information and summarise it quickly is a skill that can be developed only through practice. The variety of sources you read during a law degree – from centuries-old case reports to modern-day academic critiques of all sorts of legal issues – develops research skills on a broad level. Such skills are easily transferable to any field beyond the legal sphere.
Writing with purpose
Some people argue that lawyers, and law students, are experts in talking for hours without really saying anything. How true this is or is not in the real world, I cannot comment. But when you must address several key issues of a problem question in only 2,000 words, I would say you learn to write both concisely and purposively. Every sentence, every word, must be precise and considered when discussing legal issues, or else you only add to the confusion potentially arising from a complex topic. So next time you need a report, a speech or an article writing, I’d argue that a law student is a good candidate for the job!
Even if you prefer essays to problem questions, this is a skill developed through a law degree. Whether you are solving the issues presented by persons A, B and C or you are discussing the problems arising from a specific law, you are learning how to come up with creative and innovative solutions. Moreover, you are learning to problem-spot, and how to gauge the relative importance of these issues. A great skill to have, but also one that can be easily applied to developing other skills, such as time management.
So, next time you hear someone say that a law degree must mean you want to work in the legal field, you can correct them. A law degree is one of the most varied degrees out there, in my mind (biased, of course)!