R (on the application of PACCAR Inc and others) (Appellants) v Competition Appeal Tribunal and others (Respondents)  UKSC 28January 6, 2024
Navigating Law School as a First-Gen StudentJanuary 6, 2024
Article by Dikshya Adhikari.
Reading time: four minutes
A law student’s guide for thriving academically at university.
The initial step for those with an interest in pursuing a career in the legal field is to study the LLB at university. Law students must concentrate on a wide range of subjects, that will enhance their research, writing and public speaking skills and this process can be exhausting at times. For example, one of the modules is called Constitutional and Administrative which is about understanding the laws around the constitution and interpreting them.
Don’t only concentrate on your marks
Unpopular opinion but it is a waste of time to devote all of your attention to your academics during your legal journey. This is because there is much more to being a law student than just your grades. Part of the university experience is get to meet people you wouldn’t ordinarily have been exposed to and forming platonic relationships with your fellow class mates and lecturers. Another non-academic perk of university is finding yourself; this can be through a new skill or hobby which could be blogging or cheerleading.
Make a good impression
Making a positive impression in the legal profession extends beyond academics. It involves steering clear of any involvement in illegal activities that could tarnish your reputation. To bolster your professional image, consider channeling your efforts into social work. By dedicating time to community engagement, volunteering, or participating in initiatives that contribute to the welfare of society, you will be able to showcase your commitment to social responsibility.
Apply for internships
As soon as you graduate from your first year of law school, look for a paid or unpaid internship to assist you in getting practical legal experience. Additionally, you can obtain important experience ahead of time, which can help you secure a paid internship as soon as you graduate from law school.
Most people may not think much of it, but if you want to attend a reputable graduate program, you must accumulate as many volunteer hours as possible. Many prestigious law schools frequently ask for your commitment to society in the form of volunteering; in this situation, your application of having the most volunteer hours may make you a standout applicant among others.
Take part in moots and debates
Moot courts and debates are crucial competitions to take part in if you want to practice research, reasoning, and advocacy. Not only will you gain experience with actual court procedures and practice, but you will also develop:
- time management skills;
- the capacity to convey your submissions in a clear and understandable manner;
- confidence building;
- the ability to overcome any stage fright or oral disruption; and
- the ability to study and research case laws and precedents in moot courts.
Moot court is a hidden gem for discovering your own potential and honing your litigation skills.
Stay in touch
It is important to stay in touch with your professors and fellow classmates. Keeping up positive relationships with your professors might also help you obtain a special reference letter for your career or future education.
You can also benefit from being an alumnus of your university long after you’ve graduated and build connected with other alumni who could be legal council members and even judges.
Seize the day and any opportunity that aligns with your goals in pursuing a job or legal education. Never underestimate yourself because you possess the capability to excel in your law degree. Acknowledge that bumps and mistakes are inevitable on this journey. This holds particularly true when you are the first law student in your family and you have to navigate without the guidance of friends, a support system or legacy notes.
As an individual without a legal background, who has to communicate in English as your second language, the fear of failure can be daunting. The worry of becoming a subject of mockery might hinder us from venturing into new territories. However, embracing these challenges and exploring uncharted paths is an essential aspect of the law student experience.