You keep hearing that law school is not for the faint of heart. But what is behind this empty phrase? 12 things that should help to understand the myth of law studies – an aid.
1.Law degree is a mass degree
If you decide to study law at a university, you must be aware that you are one of around 910,000 law students in the USA. There are usually over 100 students for each professorship. The fact when looking at these numbers is that you are waiting in vain for personal and intensive support in this course of study. This is particularly evident in the lectures in which you and several hundred fellow students listen to a professor. At some universities, lectures are often offered twice and the law students are usually distributed among them alphabetically. If you want to reduce the level of anonymity a bit, then take a look in advance.
It looks different in the working groups of the law faculties. Here, you will learn how to work legally in the individual areas of law on the basis of cases in small groups of around 30 fellow students or LNAT tutors, click here for more information. Nevertheless, your personal legal development is not in the foreground, because time is short and the learning plan needs to be adhered to after all. Therefore, a high degree of commitment, discipline and initiative is definitely required for successfully completing a law degree.
2.Grades from school mean nothing
Many universities have numerus clauses for admission to law studies. This varies between 1.6 and 3.2 depending on the city and the number of applications received. Although there is also the possibility of studying law at some universities in the USA without admission, most of the new students have a good Abitur and are only used to above-average grades. This changes suddenly with the beginning of law studies. Even if the points scale ranges from 0 to 18, you first have to get used to the fact that with nine points you already play in the top legal class. Especially at the beginning you can be happy when you reach the magical pass limit of four points. The average grade for term papers and exams is usually between four and six points.
Nor are the best high school graduates automatically the best law students. The legal work is difficult to compare with any school subjects. Even an excellent high school graduate can fall on the face at first at the beginning of the law degree. But don’t let that discourage you! Perseverance and ambition are required here.
3.Law and justice are two different things
In law studies you have to realize quite quickly, sometimes sobering, that law and justice don’t have much to do with each other. It is part of the tools of a lawyer to subsume a specific case under an abstractly formulated provision. Here it can happen that the murderer viewed from the “human” eye only leaves the court with a fine, because he did not fulfill any murder criteria and also acted negligently. So if you want to satisfy your great need for justice by studying law, you are not necessarily at the right place with law. Nobody in law school is interested in your personal opinion anyway. There is no room for “living out” one’s own sense of justice, at least in the legal main course.
4.There are no semester breaks in law studies
In the undergraduate and graduate courses, it is planned that the three small and the three large certificates are taken in civil law, public law and criminal law. Such a certificate consists of passing an exam and successfully writing a term paper. If you pass the three small certificates you have passed the intermediate legal examination. After passing the three big certificates, you are entitled to register for the first state examination.
In most cases, the exams are written during the semester. The facts of housework, on the other hand, are only made available during the lecture-free period. It takes an average of three to four weeks to work on such a housework, but it is particularly difficult to process at the beginning of law studies and so it can take six weeks before you finally get to the end.
In addition, 12 weeks of compulsory internships (either three times four weeks or two times six weeks) must also be completed during the lecture-free period. The so-called semester breaks or, more appropriately, the lecture-free time is often packed to the max.
It is therefore advisable to book a nice vacation from the outset, so that you will then be forced to only invest the planned time in doing the housework, because what takes a long time is not always good in Law.
5.Use compulsory internships for yourself
The internships just mentioned offer a great opportunity to finally get a taste of the practical side of the law alongside the school-based study of law. For this it is really worth not to go the easiest way and to do the compulsory internship with the nearest field-forest-and-meadow lawyer, but rather to deal intensively with the choice of the internship.
You can get in touch early on with great law firms or other legal institutions that you find exciting and get a real picture of your future professional field at an early stage. The further you have progressed in your studies, the better you can lend a hand. It is therefore advisable not to consider an internship in a large law firm after the first semester.
Through university groups such as Elsa, legal internships are also possible worldwide, which allow you to get to know a foreign city abroad in addition to a selected company. You can also polish up your foreign language skills with such a compulsory legal internship abroad, similar to an Erasmus stay. Good preparation definitely pays off here.
6.Set priorities when preparing and following up the events
Your schedule in the first semesters is packed with lectures and working groups. Attending all events on a regular basis and thoroughly preparing and reworking them is almost impossible. Therefore, it is definitely not the end of the world if you decide not to attend a certain lecture or just sit down in a lecture and let yourself be “sprinkled” a bit without preparing yourself effectively for it.
It is much more important, however, to take the study groups of the law faculty seriously. There you will learn the legal craft directly on the case in a small group. In addition to regular participation, these should also be thoroughly pre- and post-processed in order to get the best possible added value from the event. In the working groups you can contribute, work effectively and even ask a question without being critically examined by 400 pairs of eyes. This offer is just too good not to take advantage of it!