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Your non-law guide to a career in law – everything you need to know about converting to law
Northern Law Student
Reading time: three minutes
Revision is a personal topic; everyone has different strengths and different ways of revising. Law has such a variety of ways that you can be assessed, so there’s no catch-all way of revising. I’ll talk you through the way I revised for my conversion and hope that this helps. It certainly worked for me.
Problem questions – flowcharts
A lot of my MA Law exams included scenario questions. Scenario questions are amazing because they allow you to follow a simple structure and just input the facts into that.
I wrote out a step-by-step guide for each question that could possibly come up. Each step included a brief outline of what that step entailed and what the law says about it. Plus, in a different colour, a list of authorities (statutes and case law) that I could use depending on the specific fact pattern we were given.
These really helped me because you can get caught up in the detail of a fact pattern and forget the overall picture of what you’re trying to do. A flowchart can help you to remember where you are within the fact pattern, and thus hit all of the relevant parts needed to catch marks in the assessment – it stops you missing out steps!
Essays – planned structures
If your exam includes essay questions, the best way to revise is to plan out multiple essay questions. Write what goes in your introduction, each paragraph and your conclusion. Have a headline argument and make sure you really hammer that down. When an essay question comes up in the exam, adapt the argument that you had to fit. Make sure you include all the same authorities in your essay, as backing up your points with the law is essential!
I found that having some essays planned relaxed me and stopped me having that inevitable panic in the exam when something I’d not prepared for exactly came up. I’d done the groundwork and the intellectual side was figuring out how to adapt it to fit this new question.
These are my favourite to do, as you can get your teeth stuck into an interesting area of law. You can delve into the books, the databases, find commentary and opinions on the law and even find out why it may need changing. You’re no longer regurgitating information but moving it forward, and I love that!
The way that I approached these was firstly by just reading anything that interested me on my chosen topics. I read law firm websites, practical law notes, summaries, judgments and textbooks. I watched YouTube videos and listened to podcasts – everything is relevant!
Next, I organised this information into sections and subtitles and figured out what I needed to read to update my knowledge on certain areas that I was going to focus on. I then wrote up a brief plan of my project and wrote a short outline of how the relevant law stood currently. Having a basic knowledge of the area in this law is essential – if your understanding of the area of law is flawed then your whole essay will be flawed too!
Finally, start writing your first draft. You’ll end up with about 20 drafts and this is good. Get going and get that first one finished and hopefully the next draft will just be tweaking that about!