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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Guardian Article Either Poorly Written, Or Law School in England is Very Different from US

I came across this article in the Guardian that gives advice to students in England who are planning to study law. The article is written for students who are finishing secondary school, since law school is an undergraduate course of study.

But beyond that plain difference between the English and US systems of legal education, there were a few other passages that led me to believe that law school in England is very different from American law school. Here are a few parts of the article that led me to this conclusion:

Having a clear vision of why you are studying law, whether it's to pursue a career as a barrister or because you look sharp in a suit, will give you the motivation to succeed if you are struggling to get to grips with the subject. 
. . . 
The important thing is not to stress too much, just because it's law. Student Sheerin adds: "Your first year is for having fun and there is always a way to balance that with the academic pressures. Making sure you have friends on your course will mean you have a strong support network for when things do get tough."
While I am far more enthusiastic about law school than most other law students I know, even I think that if somebody's "clear vision" of why they should study law is nothing more than how good they look in a suit, that person should seriously reevaluate their priorities. And I would be fascinated to meet any American law student who agreed that the "first year is for having fun."

Perhaps my amazement is misplaced -- after all, law school is an undergraduate course of study in many countries, and the "fun" of beginning college-level education is certainly going to be more pronounced than the "fun" of leaving college or a job for even more school.

Or maybe law school in England is similar to law school in the US and this author is simply woefully misinformed.

Thanks to Legal Cheek, I find myself leaning somewhat in the direction of the latter theory. Legal Cheek draws the reader's attention to the photo that accompanies the Guardian article, which at first seems to be standard law-book stock photography. But a close examination of the photo reveals that the assigned reading in English law courses is very different from that which is assigned in American courses:

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