So, you pretty much know all the details and info on studying a Bachelor of Laws at UNSW — if you need a quick refresher, have a look right here!
But do you want to know how people really feel about this degree?
Well, you’ve definitely come to the right place! Meet Sophie, a final year Law (and Commerce) student. We ask her those questions you really want to know the answers to!
So, let’s get started!
Why should you study a Law degree at UNSW?
A Bachelor of Laws provides you with the knowledge you need to navigate your way through the world of law and also invaluable skills that are useful no matter what career you end up in. The UNSW Law Society also has a big presence on campus and provides many exciting social and academic opportunities!
Top 3 Pros of a Law degree
#1: Variety of subjects
“For me, something that I really enjoyed about the degree is that there’s a really big variety of subjects that are well-suited to different mindsets. The subjects range from private (i.e. between private individuals) to public law (i.e. Government stuff) and essay-based to problem questions,” Sophie said.
“I think the courses are really well structured so it is clear what is required of each component of the subject to do well,” Sophie told us.
This means that you get a real taste of all the different areas of law so you can work out what you’re most interested in later down the track!
#2: Getting involved in the Law Society
Did you know that the UNSW Law Society is actually the largest law society in Australia?! Now, that’s pretty exciting because you’ll have the chance to join and you definitely should!
Sophie was actually the former Co-President of the Law Society so she knows exactly what it’s all about.
“I think the beauty of UNSW Law is the Law Society because it sets up a support structure for students, learning and development opportunities, career opportunities, tutoring and education learning sessions, social events and then also public interest in social justice and initiatives plus competitions i.e. mooting and negotiations,” she explained.
“The Law Society and their work with the Law Faculty helps develop you into a very well-rounded and highly-skilled person so you get a really great degree and have an edge when entering the workforce,” Sophie said.
It’s definitely worth checking out the UNSW Law Society because they really support their students and offer so many different social and academic opportunities!
#3: Small classes
“Their one to small group learning is a key tool that gives them an edge,” Sophie said.
So, there’s only around 30 to 40 people in your lectures which are run like seminars! Now, that’s pretty sweet because the learning environment is a lot more interactive and tailored to you!
Top 3 Cons of a Law degree
#1: Large workload
Now, this has to be expected — Law is a pretty full-on and challenging degree!
“Starting initially, there is a lot of readings and a lot of content to be across,” Sophie said. The good thing, she told us, is that “it becomes easier over time”.
You just have to try and stay on top of it all!
#2: Rigid degree structure
“Something to be aware of with a Law degree is that you don’t specialise in your degree — you don’t really have a major like you do in Commerce. For example, a Finance major in Commerce has a majority of your subjects based around Finance but this is not the case with Law,” Sophie said.
“A law degree is more general in that you have a lot of core subjects to get through and then you do get some electives, but it’s quite rigid in its structure compared to a Commerce or Arts degree, so you don’t get as much of an opportunity to tailor your learning,” she explained.
“That’s probably a con because some people won’t want to do all the subjects, but you have to do all of them,” she said.
If there is a particular area of Law that you’re interested in, you would specialise in that after your undergraduate degree.
#3: No, that’s it!
So, there isn’t really another con! The skills you learn from the degree are highly sought after in many careers. So, you’re pretty flexible in terms of careers, even if you don’t choose to become a lawyer.
When Sophie was asked whether she had any regrets about the degree, she simply answered, “No,” because it’s given her a lot of opportunities and she’s made a lot of great friends.
What do you wish you had known before starting Law at UNSW?
#1: Get involved!
Sophie gave a really good piece of advice which was to “get involved and take every opportunity that you come across”.
You wouldn’t believe how quickly your time at uni flies by so you have to make the most of it! By getting involved, you’ll also make more friends and really enjoy the campus life.
#2: Just ask!
“Don’t be afraid to ask your lecturers for help,” Sophie said.
Now, this is a big one because if you don’t understand something, there is at least one other person in the room (if not, way more) who also doesn’t. Plus, that’s what uni is for — learning and asking questions.
#3: Marks matter but don’t worry TOO much!
“One thing that nobody really told me is grades do matter in your earlier years, but also don’t stress too much over them — just try and do your best,” Sophie told us.
“I never knew how much grades matter and they matter to some extent but it’s not like you should break your back over doing really well in the first couple of years — although it all adds up if you’ve done well in earlier years. It’ll help you later on,” she explained.
So, the best thing you can do is try your best and run your own race.
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
#1: More interactive classes
“I would also say the thing about UNSW that really differentiates itself from other law schools is that they run their lectures like classrooms — so they’re seminars,” Sophie told us.
“It’s a lot more close contact learning, rather than being in a lecture hall with like 400 people where you don’t get to actually ask a question,” she said.
#2: Mentoring program
“In the earlier years, the Law Faculty provides free tutoring sessions with older law students that will help run you through the courses and teach you the skills that you need to know,” Sophie told us.
The Law Society also runs a mentoring program called LawPLUS Peer Mentoring Program and it’s available for all first year law students. It’s a great way to settle into uni, learn the ropes and get mentored by students who were once in your position.
#3: Good reputation
UNSW is ranked as #2 in Australia and #13 in the world for its Law degree — now that’s pretty impressive!
“With a high ranking comes more exit options too so you’re put on a higher footing when they’re looking to recruit, just because you have that name value of UNSW — the UNSW reputation is a very strong factor,” Sophie said.
What inspired you to choose Law at UNSw?
Sophie had always been quite interested in becoming a lawyer because she liked how the career path looked and how it was all laid out.
“I think just the variety of things that you can do with a law degree — it’s so expansive and that was another reason why I chose it,” she said.
Her Dad also went to UNSW and she thought that “it just seemed like a really good institution in itself”.
During high school, Sophie did a lot of debating and through this met a fair few people who did Law which also inspired her to study it in university.
What are the possible career paths?
“What I think is really good about a Law degree is even if you do it, you don’t have to become a lawyer and it gives you a lot of opportunities in different career paths,” Sophie said. And she’s definitely right there!
By completing a Bachelor of Laws, you could obviously go on to become a lawyer. However, it’s not for everyone and luckily since a law degree is so versatile and valuable, you really could end up in almost any industry!
There’s no doubt that it’s a great degree to have and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to have that Legally Blonde/Elle Woods moment!
These are just some of the positions you could find yourself working in one day:
- Lawyer (and there are so many different areas)
- Trial consultant
- Jury consultant
- Compliance specialist
- Court reporter
- Legal affairs manager
And the list goes on and on and on… A law degree really does open up a window of different opportunities!
Tanna Nankivell is a Senior Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films.