The Complete Guide to Studying Law in the UK

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Have you always wanted to be a lawyer and dreamed of studying law in the UK? Our Complete Guide series is here to give you all the information that you need to know.

In this guide, we will cover every step of the entire admissions process for international students who want to study law in the UK, including:

  • Requirements for entering law school
  • Choosing the right law school
  • Tips for acing LNAT
  • How to write a good UCAS personal statement
  • What to expect at the admissions interview
  • General information about the UK’s legal systems
  • Applying for a UK student visa
  • Studying and living in the UK

Our guide is quite comprehensive, so we recommend that you skip ahead to the section that you need to read. We have broken down our guide into three sections – the first details all the information you need to know before you apply to UCAS such as entry requirements and how to choose law schools, the second section covers the steps of making a UCAS application and acing the interview, and the third section covers what you need to know after applying to UCAS including some possible outcomes after making your applications and other concerns such as tuition fees and coping with studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the UK Legal Profession

For most of us, what we know of the legal profession are simply impressions that have been highly dramatised on TV and film – most of us might not know what lawyers do exactly.

The term ‘lawyer’ is a loose term that might include: barristers, solicitors, judges, legal executives, paralegals, legal advisors, civil servants, and academic lawyers. Especially in England and Wales, there is a distinction between the duties of solicitors and barristers. In general, these differences are as follows:

  • Solicitors may work in any area of the law, but do not represent their clients in court
  • Barristers are instructed by solicitors to represent their clients or to consult on cases involving specific points of law

Generally, these differences relate to their representative abilities in court – typically, only barristers may advocate for their clients in the highest courts. This distinction between a solicitor and a barrister in the UK legal system is the reason why it is often referred to as a split profession. However, this divide is slowly being bridged with time due to certain reforms as solicitors are able to attend additional training to be able to represent clients in higher courts.

Solicitors may register with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which is the regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales, after completing training. They will officially be a member of the Law Society and appear on a registrar of solicitors in these jurisdictions. Solicitors may work in private firms, corporates, legal and prosecution services.

Barristers have to complete an additional year of the Bar Professional Training Course and gain experience through pupillage, also known elsewhere as chambering. Pupillage is extremely competitive in the UK as there are only 400 vacancies a year.

You don’t necessarily need a degree in order to enter the legal profession. There is also the option to enter the profession as a legal executive by taking the necessary CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) qualifications. If you want to enter the profession as a graduate but had taken a non-legal course, you can sit for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)

For Malaysians, graduates from most UK law programmes may return to the country to practice law, or opt to take the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) or complete their chambering in Malaysia, which are subject to stipulations by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board (LPQB).

Choosing a Law School

Researching law schools

There are a number of ways you could gather the information you need about law schools. For those who are not currently living in the UK, you could do research online using the UCAS website which provides good information about law programmes. UCAS’ website also provides links to the university websites which makes research a lot easier for you.

Another way you could research law schools online is by looking at university league tables. Rankings are not the be-all and end-all of law schools, but every league table will rank universities based on different criteria such as student satisfaction and research quality which can give you a picture of what to expect. Check out our article about Top UK Universities for Law which includes a league table and our own curated list of recommended UK law schools.

If you live in or have the opportunity to visit the UK, the most direct way to get information about law schools is to attend their open days. You would get the chance to talk directly to their academic staff and students, take a look at the campus, and get a feel for the university. Make sure to book a spot in any relevant talks on the open day so you can get all the information you need and maximise your visit. If you’re visiting the campus but their open day is months away, it might also be possible to contact the school directly and ask if there are any opportunities for a campus tour. Otherwise, you could still visit the university and casually take a look around the campus, even if you’re not able to access the law school.

Teaching styles in law schools

Law schools have different styles of teaching which we can classify into a few categories: academic, contextual, and vocational.

The pure academic approach is focused on core legal subjects and provides a thorough foundation of the legal system and the laws. This approach may not look further beyond statutes and law reports in its understanding of the law.

A contextual approach examines the law in a wider lens that examines the subject in context. The role and efficacy of the law is examined in relation to society, politics, and the economy. This approach may include elements of critical legal theory where students are expected to analyse problems within the legal systems such as contradictions, injustices, loopholes, and so on.

The vocational approach is focused on the professional training and skills required by a lawyer such as drafting, negotiating, analysis, research, and so on. These skills are typically covered during the vocational training stage after graduation, but some degrees do try to hone these skills through activities such as mooting, debate and law clinics.

Which jurisdiction?

The UK has more than one legal system – each country in the UK has their own regulatory boards and subsequently, their own requirements. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own legal systems which each differ from that of England and Wales. Do be aware that if you’re working towards the necessary qualifications to work as a solicitor in England and you decide to move to Scotland, you may need to convert your qualifications to be able to practice in Scotland.

Not all law degrees may be accepted in a different country. Be sure that your degree allows you to practice in the country where you intend to find work. It should be accredited by the country’ regulatory body such as the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), Bar Standards Board (BSB), Law Society of Northern Ireland, or the Law Society of Scotland.

BA or LLB?

Some law degrees are LLBs, while some are BA or BSc degrees and there are differences between them. Generally, when you’re taking an LLB degree, most of your time will be spent studying law, while a BA or BSc in law will involve other disciplines which means that you may study non-law modules on top of the legal studies you will undertake. Regardless of the title of degree, as long as it is recognised by the relevant bodies, you would be able to practice as a lawyer.

Other degrees

If you graduated in a different discipline and would like to enter the legal profession, you can sit for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) which is a one-year programme and allows you to continue on to do vocational training as is the same with an LLB or BA/BSc in law.

Students also have the option to do a joint honours degree which allows you to major in another subject in addition to law. A joint honours degree may put you at an advantage if you choose to practice a specific area of law in the future – for example, doing a science-based degree may help you understand certain scientific processes if you go into Intellectual Property (IP) law in the future.

Applicants with disabilities

UK universities generally provide good support for students with disabilities, including mobility aid users, students with impairments, long-term illnesses, learning difficulties and mental health concerns. There is usually a whole department dedicated to ensuring students with needs get proper provisions and adequate support throughout the course of their studies. If you require any provisions, it is best to consult the law school before applying to ensure that they can meet your specific needs.

Vocational training for international students

Due to stringent immigration laws in the UK and the small number of pupillage positions, it may be difficult for international students to complete vocational training in the UK – vocational training may either be pupillage to become a barrister, or a training contract to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC). While things could well change between the application date and graduation, it might be a safer bet to enrol at a UK law school that is also accepted in your home country or wherever you would like to complete your training. Most accredited UK law degrees should be accepted worldwide, but you may need to take extra exams or have your degree converted before you can complete vocational training in a particular country. This also means that you would need to do your due diligence before applying to research where you would be able to practice after graduation, and what qualifications are required in that country.

Campus location and student life

Although this is a more minor consideration, the location of the campus and student life will have a great impact on your wellbeing for quite a number of years. A city university offers a vastly different experience than a campus university due to how the faculty is integrated into the city. One important consideration is the availability of dorm rooms close to the law school. For some international students, student societies such as the Malaysian Society can help combat feeling isolated or homesick. A lively student scene or the local sports can help bring some balance to your student life too. Perhaps for some students, it is important to have a spacious library where you enjoy studying or you want to be somewhere surrounded by greenery. Whatever the case may be for you, it is important to include these aspects when choosing a law school.

Requirements for UK Law Schools

In 2018, UCAS received approximately 127,000 applications for law programmes which means it is highly competitive to get into.

IGCSE results

Law schools will typically look for minimum grades of B-C in English, Maths, or foreign language subjects.

A-levels entry

Minimum requirements for law can be varied. Most places will demand excellent grades in academic subjects for entry, with the English, Law and History subjects considered to be desirable, although it is not mandatory to take A-levels Law for entry.

Due to the highly competitive nature of getting into the programme, top universities will typically demand excellent results ranging between AAB-AAA*. Cambridge is known to be selective with the students they admit and often require at least one A*. Other schools requiring an A* for law include: Edinburgh, Bristol, KCL, Queen Mary, Durham, LSE, UCL, and SOAS. Some other universities only require a minimum of BBC-BBB and above.

International Baccalaureate entry

On average, 34-36 points is the minimum required for entry into most law schools. Top schools such as Edinburgh, Cambridge, and UCL will require a minimum of 40-43 points.

English Language requirements

Applicants from countries that do not use English as a medium of instruction may have to take additional exams that test their proficiency in English. It is a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirement for students from outside the UK and EU to show evidence of their English Language proficiency in order to obtain a visa. Additionally, some postgraduate law qualifications such as the BPTC may require you to take IELTS as we elaborate in the section Pathway to Becoming a Lawyer in the UK and Malaysia below.

English language requirements vary from school to school, but IB English and GCSE English results may be accepted in place of IELTS/TOEFL. Some universities may even accept a minimum of a B in the SPM 1119 (GCE-O) English Language paper in lieu of an IELTS/TOEFL certification. 

Otherwise, if you are required to take IELTS or TOEFL, a minimum IELTS score of 6.5-7.0 or a TOEFL score of around 92 are typically required for admission into law programmes.

Work experience

To be clear, having work experience is not a requirement to apply to law schools. However, it can help give you an idea of what you’ll be doing as a lawyer, test your aptitude for the practical aspects of the job, and to familiarise yourself with a work environment such as an office. Work experience will also bolster your application and give you some real-world examples to discuss during your UCAS interviews. Some may find it easier to draw from their own experiences when they’re giving a thoughtful reply during the interview.

As for the length of your work experience, it may not be essential as this is not officially part of the UCAS application requirements, but we recommend around one to two months of work. The purpose of working for a good amount of time is to demonstrate intent, dedication, and work ethics while you gain relevant experience.

The UCAS interview will be largely focused on the UK’s legal systems, but for international students, it is still worthwhile learning what lawyers do before applying.

Try to get in touch with a solicitor at a law firm or a corporation and ask if you could shadow them for a while. These types of observations can help you understand a lawyer’s scope of duties. You could start by doing research into nearby firms, then writing a letter or email addressed to the appropriate department that handles requests such as these. A reference from a teacher could help with your request. 

Example of a request letter for work experience

Dear Puan Salmah,

Request for Work Experience

I am very interested in applying for some work experience at this law firm, and I was wondering if such an opportunity is available. I am currently in the first year of my A-levels studying English, Law, and Mathematics and I would appreciate the opportunity to gain some practical experience during the upcoming holidays.

I would appreciate the chance to meet with a lawyer to learn more about the profession, and if it is possible, I would like to be able to observe them at work to gain some insight into what they do and how they interact with clients and other lawyers. I would greatly appreciate being able to gain first-hand experience on how law firms work and what legal professionals do on a daily basis.

If you require a reference, please feel free to contact my tutor, Mr. Chen, via phone at +6010 0000000 or email at [email protected].

Please contact me if you need further information or if you would like me to come to your office to discuss this in person.

Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Roberta Loh

References

In general, references can be a great testimonial of your character based on your proven attitude in and outside of class. A reference from a teacher, tutor, principal, etc. will help greatly with your application as it is their assessment of your academic aptitude and character.

From your time in your A-levels, you should already be developing your interpersonal skills as much as you work on acing your subjects. This might seem to be an abstract and difficult thing to improve, but you can try to picture yourself as what any great lawyer should be – empathetic, eloquent, resourceful, and a team player. Lawyers are no lone wolves, and often work together to pool their knowledge and to distribute the workload especially for bigger cases. Additionally, empathy would set a lawyer apart from the rest when they’re able to put themselves in their clients’ shoes to understand their fears and motivations, and advocate for their clients’ best interests.

As counterintuitive as it sounds, it is best for your referee to write their most honest opinion about you. Many reference letters are generic and can apply to anyone, but having an honest, heartfelt letter written by a tutor who knows you personally will really tell a reviewer about your demeanour and potential as an aspiring law student. The only real way to get such a glowing reference letter is to earn it – show interest in what you’re learning by asking good questions, meet with your personal tutor occasionally and talk to them about areas for improvement, and most importantly, be respectful to everyone.

UCAS Application Process

The UCAS application for law is due around mid-January every year, while the deadline for Oxford or Cambridge is due around mid-October.

Here is a breakdown of the whole application process: After submitting your UCAS application and paying the application fees (£25 or approximately RM140), you will receive an application number as well as confirmations of your application from each school. Then, you may be called for an interview – for international students, some schools allow you to be interviewed outside the UK, but this may require a fee. If you have been accepted, you will be given an acceptance letter, which could either be a conditional or unconditional offer. In the case of an unconditional offer, this means that you have a secured position in the school and programme you applied to and you will be given until around May to respond to their offer. If you receive a conditional offer, it will usually state what those conditions are in the letter. This is common for applicants who have applied using their predicted grades as the offer is based on the pending A-level results. You may only accept their offer once your A-level grades have been released to the university and all conditions have been met.

Make an Appointment with Britannia StudyLink Malaysia

We are a Kuala Lumpur-based education consultancy and we’ll be glad to guide you through the application process to study Law in the UK. You could make a free appointment with us to talk to one of our consultants by filling in our contact form or you can also contact us via WhatsApp (+6019 991 7575) to speak with us directly.

What is the LNAT and CLT?

Depending on which school you’ve applied for, you may have to take the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) or the Cambridge Law Test (CLT). These are aptitude tests that some schools require for entry but they are not knowledge-based nor do they have a pass/fail mark. Therefore, you do not strictly need to study for the LNAT or CLT, but knowing what to expect at the exam may help you do well at these tests which can help set your application apart from the competition. The LNAT and CLT largely test you on reading comprehension and argumentative skills. Generally, schools that require you to sit for a test will arrange the test sitting together with the interview. Be sure to check if your school requires you to sit for a test, and if so, whether you’ll have to make your own arrangements to take the test. Most schools do not require you to sit for a test for admission into law programmes.

UK Law Schools League Table - LNAT and CLT

The league table below displays law schools that are known to require admission tests and its ranking in the UK as of 2020.

UK Law School

Admissions Test

School Ranking in UK

University of Cambridge

CLT

1

University College London

LNAT

2

University of Glasgow

LNAT

3

University of Oxford

LNAT

4

Durham University

LNAT

5

London School of Economics

LNAT

6

King’s College London

LNAT

8

University of Nottingham

LNAT

12

University of Bristol

LNAT

14

SOAS University of London

LNAT

41

As of 2020, there are a total of 54 UK law schools, nine of which are known to require the LNAT and only Cambridge requiring the CLT.

Preparing for the LNAT

The LNAT is meant to test your intellectual reasoning abilities rather than your knowledge of legal systems and such. Therefore, there is no syllabus for you to study in order to take the LNAT – additionally, there is no pass or fail score.

The test is focused on your verbal reasoning skills, including your abilities in comprehension, interpretation, analysis, synthesis, and deduction. These are skills that are needed for the study of law. You can take LNAT practice tests here.

LNAT Time and Format

You are given 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete the LNAT which is a computerised test.

The test has two sections – the first section has 42 multiple choice questions to be answered in 95 minutes. This section is divided into 12 subsections, each subsection consisting of three or four questions. The second section gives you the choice to answer one of three essay questions within 40 minutes.

LNAT Section Tutorial

Section A – Multiple Choice Questions is aimed at assessing your logical deductive reasoning based on the information you are presented with. You are also tested on your objectivity when faced with a problem, and your ability to gauge the validity of an argument – for example, an argument that is not supported by evidence. Another important skill for this section is your ability to understand the scope or limitations of a statement (to what extent is the statement true?) and your ability to identify implications of a statement (if x, then what?).

Section B – Essay is aimed at testing your ability to construct persuasive and balanced arguments that is supported by evidence. It is as much of a test of your logical reasoning as it is a test of your persuasive skills in writing. Therefore, your English skills will play a big part in your performance in this section, including your essay structure and grammar. A good grasp on general knowledge and current issues will also help you greatly with the questions you may encounter in this section.

LNAT Sample Questions

Example LNAT Multiple Choice Question

Of Liars

There is not a man living whom it would so little become to speak from memory as myself, for I have scarcely any at all, and do not think that the world has another so marvellously treacherous as mine. My other faculties are all sufficiently ordinary and poor; but in this I think myself very rare and singular, and deserving to be thought famous.

Besides the natural inconvenience I suffer by it (for assuredly, the necessary use of memory considered, Plato had reason when he called it a great and powerful goddess), in my country, when they would say a man has no sense, they say such as one has no memory. When I complain of this defect of mine, they do not believe me, and reprove me, as though I accused myself of being a fool. They do not discern the difference between memory and understanding, which is to make matters still worse for me.

They do me wrong; for experience shows us, on the contrary, that an excellent memory is commonly coupled with feeble, infirm judgment. They also wrong me, moreover, when they make the same words which accuse my infirmity, also represent me as an ungrateful person. They bring my affections into question upon the account of my memory and from a natural imperfection, they make out a defect of conscience. “He has forgot,” says one, “this request, or that promise; he no more remembers his friends; he has forgot to say or do, or conceal such and such a thing, for my sake.” And, truly, I am apt enough to forget many things, but to neglect anything my friend has asked of me out of indifference, this I never do. And it should be enough, methinks, that I feel the misery and inconvenience of it, without branding me with malice, a vice so contrary to my humour.

However, I derive these comforts: first, I have derived from this evil my principal argument against a worse evil – the evil of ambition, which might have taken root in me. For my lack of memory is an intolerable defect for those who take upon them the burden of public affairs.

That, like examples demonstrated in nature, she has fortified me in my other faculties proportionately as she has left me unfurnished in this. I would easily have let my mind and judgement implicitly follow in others’ footsteps – as all others in the world do, without exerting their power – if others’ inventions and opinions had ever been present with me by the benefit of my memory.

That by this means I am not so talkative, for the storage of the memory is ever better furnished with material rather than that of invention. Had my memory been faithful to me, I may have deafened all my friends with my babble; the subjects themselves arousing and stirring up the little faculty I have for my powers of argument and development, heating and distending my speech. This would have been a pity – as I have observed in several of my intimate friends, whose memories supply them with an entire and full view of things, begin their narrative so far back, and crowd it with so many unimportant things. Though the story be good in itself, they make a shift to spoil it; and if otherwise, you are either to curse the strength of their memory or the weakness of their judgment.

Source: Adapted from Michel de Montaigne, ‘Of Liars’, Essays, translated by Charles Cotton.

Which quality in the passage is not used to characterise memory?

A) Good
B) Excellent
C) Feeble
D) Lacking
E) Necessary

Feeble was used in the third paragraph to characterise judgement, not memory.

In which of the following quotes does the writer use irony in the passage?

A) “My other faculties are all sufficiently ordinary and poor; but in this I think myself very rare and singular…”
B) “Plato had reason when he called it a great and powerful goddess…”
C) “…my lack of memory is an intolerable defect for those who take upon them the burden of public affairs.”
D) “…for the storage of the memory is ever better furnished with material rather than that of invention.”
E) “Had my memory been faithful to me, I may have deafened all my friends with my babble.”

The quote in A used ironic language to signify the author’s amusement at their own poor memory, as this language is typically used in the opposite way to brag about having a good memory, rather than one that’s poor. The other quotes used appropriate language in the way it is expected.

Which of the following are contrasted in the passage?

A) Entire and full
B) Forgetfulness and indifference
C) Mind and judgement
D) Inventions and opinions
E) Argument and development

Forgetfulness and indifference is contrasted in paragraph three in the quote, “And, truly, I am apt enough to forget many things, but to neglect anything my friend has asked of me out of indifference, this I never do.”

The other quotes were used in the essay to mean the same thing and were not used in a contrasting manner.

You can expect all the passages for the multiple-choice section to be at a similar reading difficulty as the passage above – many of them will include uncommon phrases and topics, and unusual styles of writing. The questions can also be tricky – there may sometimes be answers that come pretty close and it will require a close reading of the passage to answer accurately.

LNAT Sample Essay

The sample essay below is based on the following question:

Women now have the chance to achieve anything they want.”

How do you respond to this statement?

Example of an LNAT Essay

The statement is about gender equality and it argues that women are now equipped with all the opportunities necessary to achieve anything they desire without limitations. First of all, it is important to highlight the fact that this statement makes this claim about all women. Secondly, we should look at where there still exists gaps in what women are able to achieve globally. The income inequality between men and women is still staggering in parts of the world. Domestic abuse and sexual harassment is still rife everywhere. Many of these gaps in equality are slow to change, although some have been sure over time.

A lot of programmes, policies and initiatives today recognise women’s issues and are targeted at providing women with equal opportunity. There have been numerous government programmes and policies which are specifically targeted at closing workplace equality gaps. The Women’s Ministry recently relaunched their programme that encourages mothers who had taken a career break to return to work by providing tax breaks and monetary incentives to both employer and employee. It successfully increased the number of women in the workforce by 5% between 2018-2019. Besides that, there has been an increased societal acknowledgement of very serious women’s issues such as sexual harassment and domestic abuse. The #MeToo movement effectively highlighted the severity of sexual harassment and assault, especially in Hollywood. Additionally, the annual Women’s March is attended by millions around the world and it draws attention to inequalities faced by women everywhere. In recent years, women’s issues have gained better visibility which has led to various programmes and initiatives that are aimed at providing women equal opportunity.

Despite these encouraging signs, there are still many areas of gender inequality that are pervasive and have not changed much over time. Many of them have been long-term issues globally that often have relevant, but unenforced or ineffective laws. For example, most countries have criminal laws that protect women against domestic abuse and sexual harassment, yet it is still a serious problem globally as these cases often go unreported, or protection orders go unenforced. Besides that, policies set by institutions such as companies may enforce certain gender inequalities. For example, there are still major income gaps for women. This may be due to the lack of an anti-discrimination policy and companies may even forbid disclosure or discussion of salaries. In essence, there are still gender inequalities that have remained constant despite increased opportunities for women in other avenues.

We know that historically, change takes time and the right people behind it to work. However, when it comes to gender inequalities, so many major issues such as domestic abuse and income inequalities have remained commonplace problems, unchanged and failing to improve over decades, so much so that it should be a cause for concern. As we continue to advance in other areas of equality such as increased work opportunities for women, it may become easier for some to argue that progress has been achieved, so gender equality is met. This cannot be further from the truth as we have seen how laws and the legal system have failed enough women around the world.

In other words, while we have seen some positive progress in gender inequalities, especially in increased work opportunities for women and greater visibility of women’s issues, it is hard to argue that absolutely everything can be achieved by every woman, considering how domestic abuse and harassment continues to be a pervasive problem globally.

(575 words)

LNAT Essay Tutorial

To ace the essay section, the only way to be good at writing is to practice. What the examiners expect to see is a good argument delivered in a structured essay using good English. Your essay should ideally be around 500-600 words, up to a maximum of 750 words. Being able to type fast will certainly put you at an advantage!

It is important to note that you are being tested on your skills in generating arguments and communicating your ideas effectively on paper. This is not a test of your knowledge or your flair for poetic writing. Although 500-600 words gives you quite a lot of room to explore a subject, do try your best to make a concise argument. Be sure to spend a good amount of time developing a solid, nuanced argument as the quality of your argument is far more important than the length of your essay. The essay topics will usually be based on general knowledge, so you should have some understanding of each subject. It is best to pick the subject that you have the most arguments and counter-arguments for.

Consider taking the time to type a draft as well. This helps you evaluate your arguments before you spend time writing your essay. You don’t need to write your essay in full at this stage, simply jot down your ideas in a structure such as the following:

Introduction

  • Barriers for women. Women’s issues. Where?
    • Work income gap, societal, women politicians
  • Changes over time

Argument 1 – for

  • Women’s programmes, policies, initiatives
    • Incentives, programmes for mothers, return to the workforce
  • societal acceptance of women’s issues
    • Metoo movement and women’s march

Argument 2 – against

  • Long-term issues have laws but little changes
    • Domestic abuse
    • Sexual harassment
  • Income gaps
    • Many companies do not allow disclosure

Synthesis of both arguments

  • History: takes time for significant change
  • Some efforts, political and social, have made significant chgs
  • Some issues are pervasive and has not improved in decades

Conclusion

Summary

Next, you will start to develop these points into a full essay. The first part of writing your essay is addressing the proposition or premise of the statement. This is an argument or a stance that the statement in the question makes and you should elaborate about what you think it means in your introduction paragraph.

 

Introduction

The statement is about gender equality and it argues that women are now equipped with all the opportunities necessary to achieve anything they desire without limitations. First of all, it is important to highlight the fact that this statement makes this claim about all women. Secondly, we should look at where there still exists gaps in what women are able to achieve globally. The income inequality between men and women is still staggering in parts of the world. Domestic abuse and sexual harassment is still rife everywhere. Many of these gaps in equality are slow to change, although some have been sure over time.

Then, form your first argument. Elaborate and provide some examples to support your argument. The following paragraph structure is often used in academic writing and you may find it helpful: Topic sentence -> Elaboration -> Example -> Conclusion

 

The structure depends on how you have chosen to write your essay, however it is possible to put two points into one paragraph if your topic sentence can encompass both points. The following shows how you may use this structure for one paragraph that has two separate points:

 

Argument – for

Topic sentence

  • A lot of programmes, policies and initiatives today recognise women’s issues and are targeted at providing women with equal opportunity. 

Elaboration – Point 1

  • There have been numerous government programmes and policies which are specifically targeted at closing workplace equality gaps.

Example – Point 1

  • The Women’s Ministry recently relaunched their programme that encourages mothers who had taken a career break to return to work by providing tax breaks and monetary incentives to both employer and employee. It successfully increased the number of women in the workforce by 5% between 2018-2019.

Elaboration – Point 2

  • Besides that, there has been an increased societal acknowledgement of very serious women’s issues such as sexual harassment and domestic abuse.

Example – Point 2

  • The #MeToo movement effectively highlighted the severity of sexual harassment and assault, especially in Hollywood. Additionally, the annual Women’s March is attended by millions around the world and it draws attention to inequalities faced by women everywhere.

Concluding sentence

  • In recent years, women’s issues have gained better visibility which has led to various programmes and initiatives that are aimed at providing women equal opportunity.

In your essay, you may have to reconcile two sides of an argument – What did you argue for and against the statement? This is called a synthesis in writing and this is how you could bring two arguments together:

 

Example statement: 

Bananas are better than apples because they are high in potassium and they are easy to eat.

Counterargument: 

Apples are better than bananas because they are crunchy and cleanse the palate.

Reconciling the two arguments:
In conclusion, there are merits to both bananas and apples. While bananas are high in potassium and they are easy to chew, apples provide a crunch and are refreshing on the palate. Both fruits excel when they are used in the best scenarios – an apple would be great after a heavy meal, while a banana would be best eaten after exercising.

Example statement: 

There should be no limits to free speech because it is up to others how they interpret the meaning.

Counterargument: 

There are limits to free speech as hate speech can cause great harm to the community.

Reconciling the two arguments:
Some believe that free speech should not be limited in any way as they argue that the meaning behind what is said, which some may perceive to be hateful, is up to individual interpretation. However, there should be limits to free speech as hate speech has harmful effects on some groups of people which are tangible. If a message is widely understood to be hateful, then it has incited hatred against some groups of people. As much as it is important to protect free speech, It is more important to protect people from hate speech.

It takes some level of skill to be able to reconcile two opposing arguments. It demonstrates maturity in thinking as you are able to take in all sides of an argument and synthesize the different ideas to formulate a well-rounded conclusion. You need to be able to discuss opposing views in a logical, coherent manner. Take the best of both arguments and evaluate them objectively in your essay. This is where your judgement comes in – which argument is most compelling, or are they equally good arguments?

 

Finally, draw your essay to a close with a conclusion. Repeat all the points that you have made in your essay and summarise the key points in one short paragraph. If you wrote your essay with a good structure which ends each paragraph with a concluding sentence, you can simply summarise each of those concluding sentences in the final paragraph.

How to Make a Good UCAS Application

There are many factors that determine successful applications once you have met all requirements – although grades are important, you should assume most applicants also have good grades so you have to stand out with your application.

As international students face greater competition, it is recommended that you consult informally with the law school before submitting your UCAS application. Some simple things you could do to maximise your chances are to apply early, be strategic about the schools you apply to and to ensure the application is filled out correctly. Learning everything you can about the UK’s legal systems, gaining work experience, and learning what lawyers do will certainly put you at an advantage later on. However, with all things equal, the two things that set an outstanding candidate apart from the rest are their personal statement and their performance at the interview.

How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement

The personal statement is the most crucial part of your application. This is key in determining whether you get an invitation to be interviewed or if your application gets put to the side by the reviewer.

Your personal statement should include these key themes:

  • Why you want to be a lawyer
  • What you have done to learn about the profession of law – work experience, self-studying/research
  • Why you are the right candidate for their law school – your personal traits, qualities, and academic aptitude

Be mindful of the very basics of writing – ensure that your personal statement has been meticulously checked for errors, does not exceed UCAS’ limit of 47 lines or 4000 characters (roughly 500 words), complies with all their guidelines, and make sure it is not plagiarised – even copying a sentence is frowned upon as plagiarism is a big academic offence. Work on your draft weeks before the application deadline, seek feedback from others, and amend your personal statement to your liking before you hit the submit button. Be sure to display personal flair, academic merits, and any extracurricular activities that you have been involved in. If you have work or volunteer experience, a large portion of your personal statement should be about this. Discuss your experiences in relation to your future as a law student.

There are no fixed formats for writing a personal statement as it should be something that comes from you, but we have an example below which could give you an idea on how to go about writing yours.

 

Example of a UCAS personal statement for law 

My interest in law began when I read about the abuse of power by law enforcement officers during a peaceful demonstration. Living in Malaysia where corruption is common, it was no surprise that it happened, but it made me question the role that law might play in situations like these. Following this, I decided to learn more about the profession by seeking experience at a prestigious Malaysian law firm with a track record for tackling social injustice. By undertaking an internship at Chen and Associates, I furthered my knowledge of law in action and became familiar with legal practice when I sat in on a few cases in the magistrate court. Although the cases I was able to observe were only smaller financial and contractual disputes between businesses, I was able to understand the role of the judicial system in legitimising the outcome of such disagreements. I explored financial issues further during a taster course at a local university which concentrated on tort and contract law. This offered me a great insight into the function of legal systems and furthered my passion to be a lawyer.

I learned a great deal about law when I did research for my EPQ on income inequality in Malaysia. This developed my ability to critically evaluate facts and to make clear, objective judgements while considering all perspectives which I know to be essential skills for studying law. When I did research on labour laws, I discovered the case of Top Glove, a UK-based company, which was investigated over allegations of forced labour, forced overtime, and debt bondage of migrant workers in their factories in Malaysia. Top Glove generates massive profits as labour costs are low, while migrant workers often take up large loans to be able to work in Malaysia and are often misled about the work they will be doing. This made me realise how the biggest injustices such as the exploitation of migrant workers are often legal albeit immoral, and are multi-tiered problems linked to other serious crimes such as human trafficking. This case was an eye opener as I learned that serious crimes do not happen in a bubble – there are always external factors from the law that lead to injustice such as poverty, capitalism, and certain political stances on the protection of non-citizens. I scrutinised how laws have the potential to eradicate inequality, but more often than not, it can cause certain groups to be treated unfairly.

My time representing my secondary school in debate at the state level equipped me with analytical skills and the ability to think on my feet as I had to analyse evidence, evaluate the validity of an argument, and formulate a good counter-argument all while on stage. Effective arguments are always ones that are balanced and well-rounded. I still remember one of the topics I debated which was, ‘This house believes that corporal punishment is just’. My team had been placed on the affirmative which was challenging as we found few reasons to support the practice, but I think I learned more about corporal punishment this way as I was critical about every new piece of research we found which only drove me to read more about the subject.

I also volunteered as coordinator to organise a few debate meets and workshops during my A-levels, which improved my organisational and team working skills as I had to coordinate tasks and schedules with people I’ve never met before. I also took the opportunity to network and established the first inter-school debate club with two other schools as I thought it would be a great way to hone our debating skills.

I was active in the Kiwanis Club, a non-profit organisation, through which I participated in a few social action projects which benefit the local orphanage and homeless people. I play tennis twice a week which helps to hone my impromptu decision-making skills.

I look forward to being able to study law in the UK which I firmly believe will give me the foundation I need when I pursue a career as a human rights lawyer someday.

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Make an Appointment with Britannia StudyLink Malaysia

We are a Kuala Lumpur-based education consultancy and we’ll be glad to guide you through the application process to study Law in the UK. You could make a free appointment with us to talk to one of our consultants by filling in our contact form or you can also contact us via WhatsApp (+6019 991 7575) to speak with us directly.

Preparing for the UCAS Interview

Once you submit your UCAS application along with your personal statement, you have to wait to hear from the universities that you have applied to. Most universities do not interview candidates for law degrees at all, so preparing for a UCAS interview is only necessary if you applied to Oxford and Cambridge.

If you’re called for an interview, international applicants may be given the option to be interviewed online or in person outside the UK. For Cambridge, applicants may interview in person in Kuala Lumpur but it requires a fee of £150 (approximately RM810).

The interview is the very last stage of your application process, so it’s important that you prepare well. We will take a look at questions that have been asked in these interviews before so you can have an idea of what to expect, but you may just get an unpredictable question at your interview. Interviews can be highly stressful but practicing can help you curb the nerves and clear your mind to formulate a good and thoughtful response to a question.

Some typical themes in the interview include:

  • Why do you want to become a lawyer?
  • What have you done to show your commitment to law and to the community?
  • Why have you applied to this law school?

Use everything in this guide to help formulate your answers for these questions. Try to avoid simplistic answers such as, “I want to be a lawyer because my father was one,” or “It is a noble profession,” as it shows little initiative or personality in your answer. Interviewers are looking for answers that show you have given this profession a lot of thought and consideration. If you’re stumped on a question, think about what you have written on your personal statement.

Besides, all the research that you have put into choosing a law school is valuable during the interview as it demonstrates planning, and our guide has already given you a number of reasons why you applied to the law school you chose – this may be the school’s teaching method, accreditations, where you intend to be a lawyer in the future, student life balance, and so on. The work experience that you have undertaken, along with any other initiatives that you have made – including copious research for your UCAS application – all counts as your show of commitment towards becoming a lawyer.

If you’re overwhelmed by nerves, take a moment to think about the question and remind yourself of what your objectives are. All your personal motivations for wanting to become a lawyer might inspire your answer.

A big part of the interview questions are designed to test your communication skills and your abilities in logical reasoning. You are not expected to possess any legal knowledge at this stage, but you should know the basics of the UK’s legal systems. You may also be asked if you have questions for the interviewers – try to ask questions that are relevant to your interview, but not information that can be easily found through research online. A good question would be to ask when you will hear back from the school with an offer or about a specific module in the programme. 

While every school and interviewer may ask very different questions, we do know that the objective of the interview, to some extent, is to test the candidate’s:

  • Motivations for studying law (and the joint degree, if chosen)
  • Understanding of the profession
  • Knowledge of current issues
  • Eloquence and confidence while communicating ideas
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Ethical stances and integrity

The questions may be unpredictable so there is no real way to prepare for them, but it may help if you spare some time to think about these issues before going into the interview so you’re armed with answers at the ready in case they come up.

Body language

In general, be sure to demonstrate good etiquette by dressing and behaving appropriately during the interview. Be sure to speak clearly and assume a friendly and positive attitude. Try to make eye contact with the interviewers. Take a moment at the beginning of the interview to be aware of how you are seated and how your arms are rested – a pair of crossed arms may look defensive, even if it might be a natural position for you. Finally, try to ask your friends if you have any habits which may be distracting during an interview, such as clicking a pen repeatedly, chewing on your fingers, or touching your face.

After You Apply

So you have jumped through every hurdle, it has all come to waiting for an email and spending days refreshing the UCAS track website repeatedly. There are a number of outcomes that could happen, and we’ll take you through each of them along with our advice about what to do in these situations.

I have received some conditional offers, but I couldn’t take the A-level exams

Immediately notify the law school. With ample notification and a valid reason, exam boards may grant you extenuating circumstances, allow for you to defer your studies, or provide some other provision for your situation. It may help to explain your situation to your teacher and have them write to the relevant schools and boards.

I have good grades, but no offer

If you have outstanding grades and you were rejected from all your top choices, you could consider writing to the schools that have rejected your application and politely ask for clarifications about why you’ve been rejected. An alternative is to go through the UCAS Adjustment process (see below).

I have received no offers and I want to switch courses

If you have received absolutely no offers, you can apply for a different course through the Clearing system.

I accepted a lower grade offer, but I got better grades than I expected

If, for example, you originally received and accepted an unconditional BBB offer but you did better than you expected and achieved AAAs, you can go through the UCAS Adjustment process to swap your offer for a different conditional offer. Some other applicants may have missed their conditions or decided to swap courses, so there may be something available for you in Adjustments.

I got a conditional offer and I missed the grades

If you have only missed the required grades narrowly, you can contact the school to see if they would still admit you. It is a long shot as it is a competitive subject, but there is no harm in sending an email to ask.

If you are unsuccessful, it is possible to retake your A-level or IB exams and try to apply again after a gap year. Alternatively, consider pursuing your studies in a different degree and you can take the GDL later.

I got a conditional offer and I got the grades

Congratulations, you’re admitted! If you’ve met all of your conditions, you simply need to wait for your school to send you joining instructions.

I don’t have the grades and I want to pursue law elsewhere

So the rejection stings and the journey has been difficult, but not all hope is lost as you can always consider studying elsewhere. There are plenty of outstanding law programmes outside of the UK that have lower academic requirements. The good news is that A-levels and IB will be accepted in most universities in the world so you should have little issues finding an appropriate school.

 

Visa Application

The student visa application process to the UK operates on a point system. For international students from outside of the EU, you can apply for the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa with the following:

1) Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies document (30 points)

2) Funding (10 points)

  • You need to provide evidence that you will be able to pay for your tuition fees and monthly living expenses.
  • Do take note that international students pay a vastly higher tuition compared to UK and EU students.
3) Visa Application form
  • Complete the form online, then head to the nearest visa application centre to provide them your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph).
4) Immigration Health Service charges
  • This provides students access to the NHS. The health surcharge is £150 (approximately RM810) a year. The fee is payable online when you submit your visa application.
5)Visa fee of £348 (approximately RM1880)

Students may arrive in the UK up to a month before the start date of their law programme. Make sure that you have a valid passport and visa. When you arrive in the UK, bring along a copy of the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies document and evidence that you have funds to pay for your tuition and living expenses. These documents are to be presented to the immigration officer should they be required, so make sure that you have a copy on board with you. A good reference for any further concerns is the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

Fees and Funding

Securing funding will be vital before you consider studying law in the UK. Be sure to do research about tuition fees and living costs as places such as London would have vastly higher monthly living expenses. It may be a good idea to look into scholarships, although you may face some stiff competition as it is a programme that is highly in demand. Otherwise, there may be a discount or partial scholarship from the school for students with excellent grades so it might be worth asking about them before applying.

Make an Appointment with Britannia StudyLink Malaysia

We are a Kuala Lumpur-based education consultancy and we’ll be glad to guide you through the application process to study Law in the UK. You could make a free appointment with us to talk to one of our consultants by filling in our contact form or you can also contact us via WhatsApp (+6019 991 7575) to speak with us directly.

While you’re studying law

Most law schools will require students to dress appropriately for mooting programmes and court simulations – this means that you’ll need to get a decent suit that is up to dress codes at some point in your studies!

Law is often underestimated as an academic pursuit although it can be highly challenging. Expect to spend a lot of time reading dense material, often full of legal jargon, latin terms, and unfamiliar technical words. It will be very difficult in the beginning, but if you study hard from the get go, you will be thankful for it in your next few years of study. You are also expected to memorise key facts and judgements verbatim from important cases which can be quite difficult to do. As with many other demanding programmes, spare time will be scarce, especially during exam periods and your final year, but it is important to find a study-life balance amidst your packed schedule.

Burnout is common among law students, largely due to the large amount of readings and studying that they have to complete, in addition to the competitive nature of the programme. Therefore, it is very important to cultivate positive stress management techniques that can help channel how you feel into a more positive direction. It is very important that you take preventive steps to care for your health. Over time, stress can find a way to eat at you, whether that be physically or mentally. Find healthy hobbies, destress, and make sure that you maintain a social life outside of your studies. Keep a healthy circle of friends. Do consult your university’s wellbeing counsellor or psychologist if you feel that you’re in need of support – they are there to help you and they can teach you how to manage stress.

There may come a time when you might fail and need to repeat a module. If this happens to you and you feel bad about failing, just remember that the course is demanding for a variety of reasons. If your studies are starting to get overwhelming and you find that you’re struggling to keep up, you might want to consider talking to your university wellbeing counsellor and see if deferring your studies might be an option. It is best in some extreme situations to take a rest, recover, and return to your studies happier, rather than to struggle and continuously fail to keep up.

Pathway to Becoming a Lawyer in the UK and Malaysia

Once you have received your degree in law, you have two options depending on your desired career path. You have to complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), which is a vocational training in order to become a barrister in the UK. Otherwise, you could complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) which is a practical course followed by a two-year period in a training contract to become a solicitor.

The BPTC is a one-year course that allows you to be admitted as a barrister in England and Wales – Scotland and Northern Ireland may require different qualifications, subject to their respective qualifying boards. Taking the BPTC will require you to have passed the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) and scored a minimum of 7.5 in IELTS. Malaysians who have completed the BPTC in the UK can also be admitted as an advocate and solicitor in Malaysia with this qualification.

The LPC on the other hand will require applications to be submitted to the Central Applications Board – you may start the course before securing a training contract. The upcoming Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is a centralised exam beginning 2021 and is set to change requirements for being a solicitor in England and Wales. The SQE will be replacing both the GDL and the LPC. Scotland and Northern Ireland will each have their own system to qualify as a solicitor in the country.

As mentioned earlier in the guide, international students may have a hard time obtaining placement for a pupillage or training contract in the UK due to strict immigration laws and few pupillage positions. If you’re set on working in the UK when you graduate, you should apply for internships from your very first year of studies and try to find a firm willing to hire you.

Malaysians who have graduated in law from the UK have the opportunity to complete chambering in Malaysia, provided that their degree is recognised by the LPQB (the Malaysian Legal Profession Qualifying Board). In Malaysia, there is no distinction between barristers and solicitors in comparison to the UK. You may have to sit for the Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP), depending on your course, before you start chambering. The CLP is an exam conducted by LPQB and it consists of five papers, with the exam sitting in July. You will have to complete an Ethics and Professional Standards course while you’re a pupil.

You can complete your chambering with any senior counsel who has at least seven years of experience, which means that there are vastly more positions available compared to the UK. Following that, once you have completed chambering which takes about 9 months, you will be called to the Bar and enrolled as an advocate and solicitor in Malaysia.

Make an Appointment with Britannia StudyLink Malaysia

We are a Kuala Lumpur-based education consultancy and we’ll be glad to guide you through the application process to study Law in the UK. You could make a free appointment with us to talk to one of our consultants by filling in our contact form or you can also contact us via WhatsApp (+6019 991 7575) to speak with us directly.

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