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25 Things You Didn’t Know About Studying Law


Are you contemplating studying law in the university or already a law student and wonder what is it about this profession?

Today, we bring you 25 unpopular things you probably didn’t know about studying law, so that you have a better idea of what you are getting into. This Article is brought to you by After School Africa. If you are new here, welcome. Love videos? Click the subscribe button of our Youtube Channel to continue exploring amazing opportunities.

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Now, let’s get to it.

1.     The future lawyer must be tech Savvy

Lawyers are often said to be good with even the most unnecessary argument. But if you choose to argue against the impact of technology in the legal field, you may find yourself out of business in the near future. For example, in the area of document review, advanced platforms such as Luminance can combine pattern-recognition algorithms, statistical analysis, and unsupervised machine learning to read, understand and learn from past interactions between lawyers and documents. The program can then accurately flag the potential areas of concern in a contract. This can cut down up to 85% of the time needed for contract review.

2.   The legal profession is at risk

Here is one of many examples that suggest this. OCBC bank in Singapore rolled out an online service to help Singaporeans prepare a will. Compared to hiring a lawyer for this purpose, which can be costly, this online service is provided free of charge and enables users to complete the will-making process in just 10 minutes. AI, Blockchain technology and machine learning has the potential to radically disrupt the legal profession.

3.   Alternative to legal services is gaining ground

Another way technology is leaving a telling mark on the legal profession is through the “alternative legal service providers” or “ALSPs” who have broken the mould of the traditional legal service delivery model by leveraging technology. According to report, ALSPs in North America and the UK have grown by a quarter in size the last two years.

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4.   Accountants are your direct competitors

Some of these ALPSs are the major accounting firms which have perhaps the greatest potential to make significant inroads into the legal services market. Indeed, the largest accounting firms “spend more on technology and training each year than the revenue of any law firm”. It is surely just a matter of time before they will be able to “run entire legal departments through a managed service or outsourcing model”.

5.     Law education is expensive

Law education is not cheap, irrespective of the part of the world where you are studying. Tuition fees for legal studies are among the highest in the world, and basically every stage of the process is lined with expenses. If you do not have a solid plan for financing your law studies, you may need to have a rethink.

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6.   Prepare to read a lot, then some more

May be you have some idea that there would be a lot of reading while studying law. But you have no idea how much time law students spend reading. Law students read an awful lot! May be that’s why many lawyers use spectacles. Be prepared to study long and hard hours as a law student.

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7.     You never stop learning

Legal studies and practice requires constant reading, and a lot of emphasis is placed on updating knowledge and staying current. The more up to date you are, the more relevant you are in the field.

8.     Law textbooks are not cheap

Law texts include articles, journals, publications, constitutions, case law files, and a host of textbooks and publications. And they are all known to be quite expensive, and highly relevant for your coursework.

9.     You will spend more time in school than students in other programs

Law students spend more time in school than students in other programs. For instance, in many countries in Africa, an undergraduate degree in Law takes five years to complete, as opposed to several other regular programs that take four years.

10.    You must spend one extra year in Law School

Once you are through with your undergraduate law degree, you are required to proceed to law school for further studies, usually not more than a year. It is similar to the one-year residency that medical doctors spend in hospitals in the concluding parts of their medical education.

11. The practice of law takes hard work

While law schools can teach you the law, the application to real-life situations which involves judgment calls, the need to identify what the client wants and what is in the client’s best interests, and the responsibility of making decisions that actually affect a person’s life, are all new challenges. It is a world where you are always learning

12.     Scholarships to study law are not common

It is common to hear about scholarships to study engineering, international development and biology, but scholarships for law degrees are not common. But you can still find them. Click here to find available scholarships for law degrees.

13.      People will solicit free legal advice from you

Even as a law student, expect people around you to attempt to nibble some legal advice from you every now and then. They somehow expect you to know everything about law, even when you are still a student. And they’ll expect to get this service for free.

14.     You get opportunities to travel

Travel opportunities are very common in the field of law. Many large law firms send employees abroad for periodic trainings, all fully-funded. You’ll also get to travel for court cases and other professional purpose.

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15.      You wear only white and black

As a law student, with all your fashion sense, you are only limited to dress in two colors; black and white; and you cannot style your gowns or wigs to suit your preference. There are laws for dress colors and designs, and thou shall not depart from them!

16.                        If you do not graduate from law school, you cannot practice law

If you fail a course, you will not be allowed to graduate from law school; so no legal practice for you. Before you can seek employment as a lawyer, solicitor or barrister, you must go to law school, pass all requirements, graduate, and be called to bar.

17.                        You do not have to go to court

If all you see to a legal profession is the court, docks, witnesses and a judge, think again. There are many career pathways in the field of law, some of which do not require you to appear in court. You can work in charity, civil service, activism, property law, finance, and even academics.

18.                        You must pay close attention to detail

Many lawyers thrive on spotting discrepancies in evidence, and exploring gaps in the constitution to secure favorable judgment for their clients. As a law student, you must hone your skills in paying attention to detail. You must see where everything fits before you begin, and you must prepare for every eventuality along the way.

19.                       In some countries Lawyers and Law firms cannot advertise

In many countries, lawyers and law firms are prohibited from advertising their practice in the market. While there is outright prohibition in some countries like India, law firms can advertise in some countries but under strict guidelines.

20.                     Career prospect is not what people think

Law is a well respected degree but its graduate prospects are not as good as universities like to make out. Entry level salary is quite low in developing countries. A good number of lawyers pursue their career in real estate and private practice. There is a stark contrast between what people think lawyers earn versus what they are actually paid.

21.                       You must have great work ethics

The workload will become easier if you are well organized and focus on working efficiently. This is not something you are taught; but you’ll have to learn to work hard, work smart and be organized during law degree.

22.                 Life revolves around your next tutorial or seminar

To start with, you will have lectures. Then you will be assigned reading to do, and answers to prepare for tutorials and seminars. Smaller group teaching sessions are key opportunities to test your understanding and give structure to your learning. The more effort you put into them, the more you will learn.

23.                     You’ll do a lot of online research

With readily available technology tools, law students don’t have to spend hours sitting at the library and searching for the right book. They can find good legal and law material online. This makes the work a lot simpler, but you’ll have to be mindful of where you get your information online.

24.                        You will encounter some Latin language

Law is the exclusive domain of the Latin language. Most of legal terminologies are derived from Latin. As a law student, you will have to deal with some technical definition and translation from Latin. This simply means that you will encounter a number of Latin phrases in the cause of your study.

25.                        You will study outdated information

It’s common for law students to study historical events and laws that are considered outdated or abolished. It’s just part of the trade. You have to know what you need to know and what you don’t have to know.

The legal profession is still an honorable profession. However, you deserve to have a picture of what it’s like in the present and the future. Which of these points interest you the most? Let us know in the comment section. If you are yet to subscribe to After School Africa, now is a good time to subscribe. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!!

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