Why Should You Study Law in the UK
Law as a career has been in demand all around the world. Law is a challenging study field, but totally worth attending. When it comes to studying law abroad, the UK has always been an attractive destination for Indian students. Even Mahatma Gandhi studied Law in the UK (at UCL). At present, Law is among the top 3 highest paying degrees in the UK. In this post, we will provide you with an overview of studying law in the UK and why you should consider the UK to study law.
Studying Law in the UK
Benefits, Eligibility, Application Process, Top Universities, Cost, Career Prospects, and Salary
Co-authored by Jaya Ghosh and Tanmoy Ray
Benefits of Studying Law in the UK
Studying law in the UK is about gaining a deep understanding of core legal principles and concepts which enable you to become a highly regarded lawyer. Furthermore, your law degree in the UK aims to equip you with a wide range of skills and knowledge from different disciplines where law issues are attached.
Prestige and Recognition
The UK law system was developed over 900 years ago. Since then, it has heavily influenced legal systems internationally. The UK forms the basis of law systems for many countries. Additionally, English commercial law is commonly used as the governing law for global contracts.
The UK has a long and respected history of legal education. Its law schools are highly regarded around the world. According to QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Law & Legal Studies, 3 of the top ten universities in the world for studying law are in the UK.
Universities in the UK provide an extensive and analytical understanding of fundamental legal principles and practical skills. Students learn the content of law and legal analysis, gathering experience in the areas like mooting, arguing, and negotiation. The learning process is enhanced through Mock courtrooms helping students gain valuable experience in a real-world setting.
Excellent Career Opportunities within the UK
Studying law will open up many career opportunities after graduation. For example, you can become a solicitor, which is the most common job for LLM freshers, with earning potential of at least £25,000 per year in the UK.
Graduates will also have a range of LLM job opportunities at prestigious law firms and government and international corporations. The LLM degree salary has the potential to go up to £100k+ per year!
International Career Opportunities
The UK’s legal system is based on common law, which is used in many other countries, so studying law in the UK can open doors to international legal careers.
The UK is also home to hundreds of international law firms. London is home to more commercial and international arbitrations than any other city in the world. For this reason, hundreds of international law firms have offices in the UK, making it an ideal place to start a successful legal career.
Wide Range of Law Courses
UK law schools offer a wide variety of programs, including traditional law degrees, as well as specialized programs in areas such as international law and human rights law.
Popular law degrees
- LLB – Bachelor of Law
- Graduate LLB – Fast track LLB leading to a postgraduate degree in law
- LLM – Master of Law
- GDL – Graduate Diploma in Law
- LPC – Law Practice Course
- BPTC – Bar Professional Training Course
- QLTS – Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme
The best part of studying law in the UK is the shorter duration of the program. A bachelor’s degree can be completed in just three years and a master’s degree in one year.
Like most degrees in the UK, law courses can also be combined with other subjects such as business, management, accounting, criminology, and policing. Combinations and courses options include:
- Single, joint, and multiple-subject combination
- Full-time, part-time, and flexible study options
- Sandwich courses (courses with an industry placement)
Can a student pursue Law without LLB?
If a student has not studied law as their bachelor’s degree but wants to build a career in law, such as a solicitor, which is one of the most common jobs after LLM, they need to complete a Graduate Diploma in Law.
Key Benefits of Studying Law in the UK
- LSAT is not required to study in the UK
- Complete an LLB in three years
- In the UK common law originated and is recognized globally
- Work experience with law firms while studying
- Experience benefit from an international and multicultural university
- Avail one-on-one time with professors and learn through lectures and small tutorial groups.
- Internationally recognized qualification
- Students can apply to up to five law schools
- Studying law in the UK can also be a great opportunity to experience British culture and immerse yourself in a vibrant, multicultural society
Eligibility Criteria for Law Degree in the UK
The eligibility criteria for a Bachelor of Law vary from university to university; but in general, students will need the following to apply –
- Typical International Baccalaureate requirements: 34 points.
- Universities need a minimum C or B, or level 4 and above score in English, Mathematics, and in certain cases, a foreign language is also considered
- Students need to complete three A levels with AAA and AAB scores
- The eligible age is 17-18 years
- It is compulsory to appear for the English Language Proficiency tests like IELTS (6-6.5), TOEFL (80-90), PTE (55-59), or CAE (160-169)
Documents required during the application
- A valid passport
- IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, or CAE scorecard
- Academic mark sheets
- A resume (only if required)
- Letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose or essay
- For LLM: Some universities also may require a research proposal, and/or writing sample, and/or interview, as part of the application process.
Best Universities to Study Law in the UK
- University of Oxford: The University of Oxford consistently ranks as one of the top universities in the world for law, and its law program is widely considered to be one of the best in the UK.
- University of Cambridge: The University of Cambridge also consistently ranks highly for law, and its law program is known for its strong emphasis on legal theory and history.
- London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE): LSE is a well-regarded university for law, particularly in the areas of international and European law, as well as the socio-economic and political aspects of the law.
- University College London (UCL): UCL is one of the top-ranked universities in the UK and its law program is known for its research strength and innovative teaching methodologies.
- King’s College London (KCL): KCL is consistently ranked among the top law schools in the UK and its law program has a strong reputation for its international focus and emphasis on human rights law.
Other Top Universities to Study Law in the UK
- University of Warwick
- University of Bristol
- Durham University
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Sheffield
- Imperial College London
- University of Glasgow
- Queen Mary University of London
- The University of Law
- University of East London
How much does it Cost to Study Law in the UK?
Here’s an overview of the estimated costs that an international student can expect to pay when studying law in the UK:
- Tuition fees: International students generally pay higher tuition fees than domestic students. The average undergraduate law degree at a UK university will cost between £10,000 and £38,000 per year. While graduate law programs can cost between £11,000 to £20,000 per year.
- Living expenses: International students will also need to budget for living expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, and other miscellaneous costs. It is estimated that living expenses for an international student in the UK will be around £12,000-£15,000 per year.
- Travel and Visa costs: Travelling to the UK from another country, as well as obtaining a student visa can be costly. The visa application fee can be around £348 and it is recommended to budget for the travel costs, which can vary depending on where you are traveling from.
It’s worth noting that these are just estimates and costs can vary greatly depending on the student’s individual circumstances and lifestyle. Some universities may offer scholarships or bursaries for international students. So, it’s worth checking with the institutions directly to see if any funding opportunities are available. Additionally, students can also look for part-time work to help cover expenses while studying.
Career Prospects after Studying Law in the UK
The career prospects for graduates of law programs in the UK are generally quite good, as the legal sector is a large and diverse industry.
- Legal practice: The most common career path for graduates of law programs is to become a solicitor or a barrister. Solicitors typically work in law firms, providing legal advice and representation to clients, while barristers typically work in chambers, specializing in advocacy and representing clients in court.
- Government and public sector: Graduates of law programs may also find employment in government and the public sector, in roles such as legal advisor, policy analyst, or regulator.
- Business and industry: Many graduates of law programs also find employment in business and industry, working in roles such as legal counsel, compliance officer, or contract manager.
- International Law: Graduates of law can also find job opportunities in NGOs, international organizations, Embassies, etc.
- Other: Law graduates can also consider other career paths such as roles in media, human resources, and academics or teaching.
The majority of the graduates with LLB graduates prefer to practice law in the traditional manner either as a solicitor or a barrister while the rest of the law graduates choose career paths widely available in the private and public sectors.
Besides the traditional roles, law graduates can find opportunities in journalism, business, criminology, and many other different fields. Students with a Bachelor of Law degree can also choose to study master of law (postgraduate) degree.
Is there any requirement for any Bar Exam to Practice Law in the UK?
International graduates of law programs in the UK generally do not need to take a bar exam in order to practice law in the country. Instead, they will typically need to complete a period of practical training, known as a “training contract” or “pupillage” in order to qualify as a solicitor or a barrister.
Solicitors in the UK are trained and qualified through the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). After completing an undergraduate law degree and gaining a training contract at a law firm, solicitors must complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) before they are authorized to practice as a solicitor.
Barristers in the UK are trained and qualified through the Bar Standards Board (BSB). After completing an undergraduate law degree and gaining a pupillage, barristers must complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) before they are authorized to practice as barristers.
Salaries for Law Graduates in the UK
- LLB: Graduates with an undergraduate LLB degree can expect to earn a starting salary of around £20,000 to £25,000 per year, depending on the field of law and the type of employer. With experience, this can increase to around £40,000 to £60,000 per year for a solicitor and £50,000 to £90,000 per year for a barrister.
- LLM: Graduates with a Master of Laws (LLM) degree can expect to earn a starting salary of around £30,000 to £40,000 per year, depending on the field of law and the type of employer. With experience, this can increase to around £50,000 to £70,000 per year for a solicitor and £70,000 to £100,000 per year for a barrister.
Career Tips for International Students Studying Law in the UK
- Get experience: Gain as much practical experience as possible while you are still in school. This might include participating in a clinic or externship program, working at a law firm or organization as a paralegal or intern, or even shadowing a lawyer or judge.
- Network: Build relationships with professionals in the legal field by attending networking events, joining a professional association, or volunteering. Establishing connections can open doors to job opportunities and provide valuable mentorship and guidance.
- Develop skills: Building upon your legal knowledge, students should consider developing additional skills that will make them more competitive in the job market. for example: learning a second language, a technical skill like IT or Project Management, or a soft skill like negotiation or teamwork.
- Be open-minded: Be open to a variety of different career paths and consider different types of employers and practice areas. Many students go into private practice, but there are also opportunities in government, the public sector, and in-house legal departments.
- Seek out career advice: Talk to people working in fields that interest you and ask for their advice and guidance. Career services at your university can also be a great resource for finding job opportunities and getting advice on the application process.
- Be persistent: Finding a job in the legal field can be competitive, so you may need to be persistent and flexible in your job search. Be prepared for rejections, and never give up, as this is a common experience for many job seekers.
It’s also worth noting that starting a career in law takes time and effort and it’s a process that often takes years, but building a strong base of knowledge, skills, and connections will put you in a better position to find a rewarding and successful career in the field.
There is an exceptional growth and craze among students to study LLB in the UK. This is basically because of two things — Firstly, the United Kingdom is a center of prestigious Law schools. Secondly, unlike law schools in other countries, UK-based ones require lesser requirements to fulfill.
Studying Law is not only energizing and judiciously demanding; but also students develop communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and the capacity for independent thinking.
Students have ample opportunities for developing skills such as legal research, negotiation, and mooting. Mooting means the presentation of a legal argument that brings the law alive and qualifies you to research your case and construct an argument to defeat your opponent, a skill of enormous value.
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