Making the switch from your non-law undergraduate degree to becoming a law student is an exciting step in the right direction and probably one you have been planning for a while. There are quite a few new things to adapt to, but there are also a lot of skills and knowledge that you will take with you.
Here are a few tips to hopefully help make the change a little easier and let you enjoy the excitement of finally being a law student!
Take some time to get familiar with legal resources
Whilst your researching skills will remain invaluable, the resources used for researching the law are very different and can take some time to familiar with. It can be really helpful to take advantage of any opportunity to learn more about navigating around these websites to find case law and statute as soon as you can. Your university library may run sessions specifically for this purpose, so watch out for any emails and sign up if you can. You can also find great resources on the websites themselves about how to use the site in the most efficient way.
Getting familiar with the sites is something that does get a little easier the more you use them and there are always new things to learn. However, taking the time early on to give yourself a good head start with the basics can make things a little easier when you have deadlines and need to use these websites under time pressure.
Don’t forget to take what you have already learnt with you
Whilst the content and resources are different, most of the skills you will need are the same so don't panic that you need to be starting from scratch because this is definitely not the case! Like any subject, there is information to be learnt and applied and this will very likely be familiar territory to you. If you have your own ways of dealing with this, then keep using them. If you later realise that something does not quite work as well then you can always adapt or find new ways.
You will have realised that everybody does things differently during your previous studies and studying law is the same – find what works best for you and stick with it! Usually after studying for three or four years as an undergraduate, your law course will be a lot shorter so trying to use the skills you already have can also really help you to find your feet much quicker and use your previous years’ experience of studying to your advantage!
There are plenty of advantages to being a law student – make the most of them all!
While you have been deciding to make the switch and getting ready to become a law student, you might not have known many people in the same position and you might be starting at a completely new university and with a group of new faces.
Don’t forget that you might now also have access to a more focused support system to a career in law and have further opportunities available to you that you did not have before. You will likely be able to get involved with more pro-bono activities and have an employability team ready to help you with applications and assessment days! Make the most of having these resources available to you and embrace the advantages of being a law student outside simply studying the subject.
Try to also remember that everyone on your course have most likely gone through similar experiences to you and are all making the same changes and adapting to studying the law at the same time. The process of switching is exciting and being surrounded by other people who you have a lot in common with will offer you great support and the opportunity to talk about your future legal careers - which you might not have had previously!