What Is A Law Student? A Definition

There are lots of different people studying the law for lots of different reasons and at many different academic levels, and these people would all be defined as law students. Law students are based at universities and independent law schools and tend to be busy people who are involved in many extra-curricular activities. 

What are law students studying?

Law students in th UK, Europe, United States or indeed worldwide will be studying or researching any area of the law at any level. In many countries, the way to become a lawyer is to study an undergraduate degree in the law and move on through training programs to become a practising lawyer. Many newly qualified lawyers take the time to study at the postgraduate level, often known as an LLM, and some more experienced lawyers decide to move their careers in another direction with an LLM. There are a smaller number of postgraduate law students who are undertaking research masters or PhDs. This is often for areas of the law that have fewer taught courses or for those wishing to enter into an academic career once they have gained their qualifications.

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Where do law students study?

Most large universities have a law department or school and in countries with large private university sectors, such as the United States, there are stand-alone law schools as well. Those law students who are working for firms on training contracts are being paid, so are usually no longer considered law students. Most law schools have considerable links to the local business and law community and those students who know where they want to live should concentrate on local law schools.

What subject areas are included in law studies?

There are law conversion courses for students who already have an undergraduate degree in a subject other than law but wish to change direction into the field of law. Like an initial undergraduate law degree, these are general degrees and cover most areas of the law with the opportunity to focus on one area during the dissertation in the final year. At LLM level most legal subject areas can be studied and these often have geographical significance. For example, in cities with large financial industries there are a number of LLM courses in Financial Law, such as those at the LSE, or in areas with a large local oil Industry there are often Energy Law courses, such as those at the University of Texas. In Las Vegas in the United States there is even the chance to study Gaming Law.

What careers are they planning on?

Many undergraduate law students will be planning a career as a lawyer, but many will go into business or other very respectable career as a law degree is considered a prestigious achievement and en excellent stepping stone into many excellent careers. Those law students undertaking research degrees or a PhD in the law are most likely aiming for a career in academia, and in the United States some LLM programs are aimed at students who are planning a career in academia in particular. In some countries, the only way for foreign-trained lawyers to move there and practice there could be that they have to undertake postgraduate study at LLM level. Most law students undertaking postgraduate study are aiming to focus their careers as practising lawyers.

What are law students doing outside of their studies?

Almost all law schools have law societies for their students to join. This is the ideal chance to discuss the law with both law students and non-law students – what brings everyone together is that they all have an interest in the law. While studying law at undergraduate or postgraduate level there are plenty of opportunities to become involved in Law Clinics and Pro Bono work to gain more experience or to network with legal professionals. In the UK there tends to be more female law students than male as this table shows.


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