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How can first-year law students keep busy during the COVID-19 pandemic?

How can first-year law students keep busy during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Joe Defries


In this article I’ll discuss how first-year law students can stay busy and productive during this unprecedented time. Self-isolation and a national lockdown has caused immense disruption for students, but there are still things we can be doing to make the most of our time. 

Degree work

The main issue for law students during this pandemic has been uncertainty surrounding the methods in which they’ll be assessed this summer. Universities across the country have responded by either cancelling exams, issuing coursework or continuing with exams but making them open book, among other alternatives. Therefore, each of you reading this will probably be in slightly different situations. I would encourage all of you, even if you no longer have exams, to review and consolidate your notes. Having spent months learning modules such as tort, contract or criminal law, it would be a shame to just close the books and lose academic interest. Engaging with course content will keep you occupied and allow you to reflect on what you’ve enjoyed most about each module. This could encourage you to do some further reading around a topic and develop a real interest in a particular area of law. Reviewing your course content will also give you the opportunity to understand how to approach future exam periods. 

Online courses 

There are a range of websites offering online courses in a huge variety of subjects. The ones I have found to be most easily accessible are FutureLearn and InsideSherpa. FutureLearn offers programmes which take anywhere between one to three months to complete and the interactive nature of their learning platform makes the process enjoyable. For a well-tailored virtual work experience hub, visit InsideSherpa. This website has been so valuable in allowing me to understand how City law firms operate, and it’s enabled me to explore other industries such as consultancy and investment banking. With more companies signing up every month, this is a great platform to increase your employability and learn the basics behind a lot of city jobs. 

Researching the predicted economic effects of COVID-19

Although everyone’s news feeds are filled with COVID-19 updates, it is important to explore articles about the economic impact and fallout of this pandemic in certain markets. This unprecedented situation will be a talking point for a long time – not just socially, but also economically. Researching the effects that COVID-19 could have on the high street, the stock market, US-China tensions and law firms will equip you well for interviews and improve your commercial awareness. While it may be distressing to read about such a worrying and present threat, being aware of what’s happening and where the impacts will be felt the greatest is important for aspiring commercial lawyers. 


Alternatively, if you’re staying on top of your university work and want to stay busy in a different way, exercise will help you to sustain good mental health and stay focused. While exercising in public should be kept to one session per day, according to government advice, you’re not restricted in your own home. You don’t need a home gym or lots of equipment, if you simply search for home workouts on YouTube you’ll find plenty of ways to stay active during this lockdown period.