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Straight Law: Not so straightforward

Man at fork in the road

More law students are opting towards doing double degrees these days and there are several reasons for this. If you’re currently studying a single law degree, or of studying a single law degree or you’re doing a double degree and thinking about continuing with just law, then keep reading! This post will focus on how to make the most of your straight law degree.

You don’t have to do a double degree!

For those of you who are currently studying a single law degree, or thinking of applying to study a straight law degree, good on you for not shying away from the idea! These days, many students are discouraged from going down this path and instead, there is a push towards doing double degrees. Ultimately, you need to remember that, like with any other area of study, if you want to go into the legal profession you only need to have studied law – nothing else.

Your second degree may be of some use to you, but it's not vital. A double degree is usually only worth it if the second degree is something you're genuinely interested in, or if it will lead you to a career you're actually considering. If you realise after some time that you're no longer interested in pursuing the non-law component of your double degree (which is quite common) follow your instincts!

Don’t do four law units in the same semester

Unless you’re super-organised and have no other commitments, doing four law units, especially when they’re all compulsory or heavy units, is going to be quite rough. Even though most law units demand three or four contact hours, you’re expected to do much more work at home if you want decent scores. The nature of law units requires lots of dedication and time, so it’s likely that your performance will be affected by the difficulty of juggling four law units at once. It’s definitely not impossible, but to get the most out of the units and ensure that you are working to your maximum potential, it might be better to stick to a maximum of three law units instead.

Work experience!

You’re probably spending less time at uni if you’re doing three or less units per semester because of lower contact hours, so having one less law unit to study for will take some of the stress off your plate. It also means you’ll have more time to do other things, like gain legal experience. Look for experience in the law field, be it volunteer or paid. Approach community legal centres, law firms or any other place that will take on legal work and start from there. Be careful, though. You don’t want to take on too much, because then you’ll end up in the same position as you would have been if you did four law units a semester. Balance is key.

Summer/winter school

If you feel like lightening your study load during the semester is detrimental because you'll graduate later, it really isn’t! You can always do summer or winter school. Most law schools offer law units, especially law electives, over the summer and winter semesters. This is a good way to spread out your units over the year whilst still ensuring you don’t graduate much later! Most summer units are offered intensively or even online, so you usually won’t be ‘wasting’ your summer at uni. Plus, the class sizes are usually much smaller, which means there’s more class interaction and a far more enriching class experience.

Do other concurrent study!

If you feel like doing a single law degree alone is just not enough, but you don’t want to commit to doing a double degree, there are other options! A lot of unis offer diplomas, or concurrent diplomas which are the perfect addition to your law degree. The diplomas are usually only a year long and the equivalent of one major, so you can add on a major in a language or even an arts major to enhance your law studies!

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