Yesterday, Jonathan Sumption- an accomplished historian, barrister, and now a Supreme Court Judge- has, once again, condemned those who study a law degree and hope to practice. Instead, he believes that it is meritorious to study a non-law subject with the hope that this will provide a wider understanding of the world; then completing the law conversion course to complete the progression into practice. Lord Sumption, himself, studying History and completing a brief spell of teaching before completing a law conversion clause and becoming one of the best lawyers of his generation.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Lord Sumption asserted that lawyers- both barristers and solicitors- need a broader understanding of how the world ticks and they have become far too specialised. He claims that this specialisation breeds dull lawyers which lack creativity, and, he believes that it is unfortunate that many lawyers cannot speak another language. These comments are the latest in a long line of comments aimed at the merits of studying a non-law undergraduate degree.
These comments should not deter one from studying law, as it is a misconception, and, indeed, a dramatic generalisation, to suggest that those who study law do not have a broader understanding and are narrow minded. Space does not permit a full examination of the advantages of studying law, but, needless to say, there are plenty of great lawyers who study law as an undergraduate degree. Lord Sumption’s comments must be taken instead as an indication of the importance of gaining a broad understanding and not to become absorbed in the legal jargon of principles so often encountered when studying law.