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Clearing FAQ 2: More of your questions answered

To help you get ready for Clearing, we’ve held various clinics and webinars, taking questions on all manner of Clearing related subjects. We want to be sure you can find the answers to those important Clearing questions, so here’s a write-up of some of the FAQs that we’ve received.

What should I include in my personal statement?

If you’re coming through Clearing you don’t need to submit a personal statement, but if you’re thinking of applying next year, there are a few key things that we can recommend including. Talk about what motivates you and why you’re interested in studying law or business. What can really help here is if you have any particular experience or extra-curricular activities that you’ve been involved in during the lead up to your application to university that lend themselves to the legal profession. This can range from work experience to things you’ve observed or researched, such as visiting courtrooms to watch cases or regularly keeping up-to-date with legal news. If you enjoying acting, for example, that would be a good passion and skill to have as a barrister. Charity work demonstrates a desire to help people, which we see as a big motivator in a lot of our students.

How long is the online UG course?

You have several different options when considering our online course. Starting in September you can choose from the 3 year full-time, 4 year part-time or 6 year part-time, and in January there’s a 4½ year part-time option too. All of these options are available through Clearing and which one would be best for you depends on a combination of how quickly you’d like to complete the course and how much time you feel you can dedicate to the course each week.

Does it matter if I’m not sure whether I want to be a solicitor or a barrister?

At the undergraduate level, it really doesn’t matter if you know you want to be a solicitor or barrister or neither. All we want of our students is to come to study with us with an interest in law or business and an eagerness to find out more so you can make that decision with all the information you need. In fact, even if you’re not sure about becoming a lawyer, that’s fine too. A qualifying law degree is a great starter for moving into loads of different fields and there are plenty of brilliant professionals who specialise in fields completely unrelated to what they studied at undergraduate degree level. The same applies to our business degrees; you can easily take the skills learned on these courses and apply them to other fields.

What subjects do we learn about on the LLB?

Our LLB consists of seven foundation subjects, which are required to make it a qualifying law degree. These are Crime, Contract, Tort, EU, Equity, Land and Public Law. You’ll also study some foundational work at the beginning of the course, looking at common law method and ethics – this is basically how our legal system works and how we make sure to work within it ethically and appropriately.

There are some academic and professional skills modules in there too; these focus on key skills that lawyers need, such as good writing and personal presentation skills.

Nearer the end of the course you get to make some module choices to tailor your education a bit. You can choose to focus in on areas that are of particular interest to you: Employment, Tax, Criminal Litigation, Human rights or Immigration.

Alongside these options, you’ll also have a few compulsory modules to take near the end of the course: Actions, Transactions and Law of Organisations. These help to bridge the gap between the foundational subjects and the ones you’ve chosen yourself so you can put them into a practical working context.

I want to be a criminal barrister – will the undergraduate law degree help with this?

Yes. Our LLB is a qualifying law degree so within the number of disciplines you study, you’ll study seven foundation subjects. This is sufficient for you to then go on to study the BPTC, which is the postgraduate qualification you need to become a barrister.

We also offer a great selection of extra-curricular activities that can enhance your experience and skillset to becoming a barrister.

If my A Level grades aren’t the best, but I study at ULaw, will I be able to get a job at a Magic Circle firm?

This would be very dependent on each individual case. We know that Magic Circle firms do typically look for strong A Level or equivalent results, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t consider candidates with a well-built CV by other means. This can be achieved through developing those skills and experiences that our Employability Services team specialise in helping our students enhance. Combine this with excellent results during your degree and it’s likely that you’d be able to overcome any difficulties that your earlier grades might have put in your way.

Can ULaw help students to get work experience?

Absolutely. We offer plenty of opportunities to get a variety of work experiences throughout your studies. The big one is pro bono – voluntary work assisting on active legal cases with loads of chances to get a taster of different elements of legal practice. This is great way of developing connections with law firms and chambers too, so we find a lot of students go on to get work experience within those firms or chambers.

The ULaw Employability team also have access to a great database of jobs and short work experience opportunities, some of which can be paid. These can be admin or clerical work to give you great insights into what it’s like to work within a firm, helping you develop commercial awareness – another key skillset to enhance your employability.

I like the idea of being a practising lawyer, but I’m nervous about having to read lots of books. Is it going to be a lot of books?

Not really, no. There is quite a lot of reading involved, but we’ve designed the course to make sure that the reading you do is really targeted. It focuses on the things that matter, with most of the reading being either online or with downloadable documents. We also like to mix up the ways that materials are delivered, so there’s a lot of in-class active participation and videos to complement the reading. We always aim to give our students plenty of opportunity to apply what they’ve read in a practical environment.

Can I visit a campus before accepting my offer through Clearing?

Absolutely. And this is something that we really recommend you do go to the campus to take a look around and meet some of the tutors, staff and students to really get a feel for the campus. If you’re considering a campus away from home then this will also give you the chance to check out the city you’ll be moving to as well.

And don’t forget our top tips…

  • Stay calm
  • Take your time and be sure you make the right decision for you
  • Try to arrange a campus visit so you know you’ll be happy where you choose to study
  • Interact. Don’t just wonder alone. Ask questions and get interactive to find out what you need to know

Our next webinar is taking place on Thursday 23 August to discuss Freshers’ Week. Be sure to join in if you have any questions that you’d like answered by our experts.