Picking your A-Levels is no easy decision, especially considering what A-Levels are needed for a law career. Will Drama deter university admissions teams? Will Further Maths eliminate your social life? Is Law A-Level a necessity or the worst idea in the world?
And even if you are far beyond A-Levels and settled comfortably into university/GDL/LPC/BPTC life, did you make the right decision? The debate ensues below…
The Big Debate: Should I Take A-Level Law? – Yes
“Law is a great A-Level for not only law as a subject, but it typically builds on public speaking, reading and writing skills, therefore meaning most degrees you might choose will consider this a useful A-Level” – Caitlin Ord, MLaw degree student
There are many differing views on this subject due to the fact that there is an obvious range of legal professionals from both sides of the argument – is A-Level Law a useful course to study before undertaking a degree in the subject?
Studying A-Level Law will not make you an expert on the subject – A-Level Law is a basic understanding of basic principles taught at a basic level. The point of studying this subject is to give you an comprehension of the fundamentals before you begin to study it at a more complex level.
I spent a year studying the principles of law at A-Level, which was very helpful in my first year at university as it meant that I was not having to teach myself concepts such as precedent or the process of a trial concurrently to my actual content.
The same can be said for studying a year of criminal law at A-Level; I had an idea of principles and could recognise case names which again allowed me to inch my way into my degree slowly. I was able to focus on the way I was managing my time and get the rest of the subjects I didn’t have experience in on track as I had confidence in the topic I had studied.
I was not originally studying law at A-Level – I was studying maths before I realised that was a horrible mistake and tried to switch. Law was the only option available that didn’t sound horrific and my tutor gave me a textbook that I could read ahead in to catch up on. My point here is that I was sixteen-years-old and had never thought about law beyond knowing that stealing was bad but this random opportunity would shape the next half-decade of my life.
Many students come to university and are told simply, ‘This is the year to decide if this course is right for you’. This fits in well with the idea that first year is irrelevant and ‘doesn’t count’, but to me this was a foreign concept. I already knew this was the course for me; I had decided that in the previous two years. I spent my first year studying as passionately as I could but this is not the case for every student, and we saw some drop-outs as exam time approached.
On this point, law is a great A-Level for not only law as a subject, but it typically builds on public speaking, reading and writing skills, therefore meaning most degrees you might choose will consider this a useful A-Level. If law is not your subject, you have not spent a year realising that you’ve made a mistake and having to start all over again as a fresher.
A-Level Law is a great way to decide if law is the path for you, and an even better way to start off an education in law. It will allow you to make a start on your future and ease into a very complicated subject that I’m certain an older version of you will thank you for.
The Big Debate: Should I Take A-Level Law? – No
“You may find that you have to relearn certain aspects of law in a different way. Surely your time would be better spent gaining a whole new skill?” – Radhika Morally, LLB student
If you know you want to pursue a career in law, whether by studying aw at university or some other avenue, doing an A-Level could appear to be the best option.
Yes, some say it gives you the opportunity to dip your toes in before plunging in headfirst, but here are just a few reasons why you would be better served studying another A-level:
Opportunity to expand and develop a range of skills
You will be potentially studying law for 3 or 4 years, so use your A-Levels as a tool to expand your knowledge or skills in other areas. Something you have learned at this stage may open doors at a later date. Law, as a discipline and in practice, requires a range of skills, so it is much better to develop those transferable attributes through an A-Level that improves your logic or quality of writing.
Potential for confusion
Some may tell you that doing an A-Level in law puts you at an advantage, but in fact it’s quite the opposite! The way you are taught and the approach to studying varies dramatically from A-Level to university and so you may find that you have to relearn certain aspects of law in a different way. Surely your time would be better spent gaining a whole new skill?
Discourages overconfidence or disappointment
It is much better to begin a law degree with no expectations based on previous learning experience. As mentioned, the methods of teaching vary dramatically, so entering with a clean slate will provide you with the best basis for learning. Equally, it is just as easy to be put off by studying law at A-Level, which would be a shame! A degree gives you so much scope for choice to find what suits you personally.
So, rather than doing A-Level Law, find a subject where you can benefit from using the transferable skills on whatever path you choose.