If you’re reading this then it can be assumed you’re interested in studying law but are you confident you’re making the right choices about your future? If you’ve got the drive and motivation to complete a law degree I suggest you read on…
Before starting your search for a law school and degree you need to answer the question – why do I want to study law abroad? If it’s money you’re after then it is probably a good choice but there are many other reasons for choosing a law degree, including wider career choice, good promotion prospects and status.
You can study law in all of the popular study destinations worldwide:
Which country you choose to study law in is an important decision that will require careful planning. Some of the factors you should consider are:
- How far away from home would I like to be?
- Can I speak the native language?
- What are my living expenses likely to be and how do they compare to other areas?
- Am I looking for a job in the country after completing the course?
- Am I interested in the country’s culture and history?
Choosing a Law School
Once you’ve decided what country to study in you then have to choose a law school. This decision is even more important than which country you choose so I suggest you start with the following questions but remember this list isn’t exhaustive and there may be other factors that carry more importance in your situation.
- What is the Law School’s Ranking?
- Where is the Law School located, is it in the middle of a major city or in a quieter campus based University?
- What are the tuition fees?
- What law degree specialisations do they offer?
- How good are the facilities and law library?
- Do they have any distinguished alumni and lecturers?
- What are the entry requirements?
It is always worth picking the best ranking institution you can as these will have more prestige and your qualifications will be recognised by employers worldwide. The higher the ranking the more difficult it will be to get a place and the more expensive the tuition fees will be.
Choosing a Law Degree
In the UK and most other common law countries the primary law degree is the LLB or Bachelor of Laws, this is an undergraduate degree that typically runs for three or four years. In the USA the primary degree is called a juris doctor or JD.
Postgraduate law degrees are more diverse than at bachelor level and encompass taught degrees, research degrees and professional qualifications. The most common postgraduate law degree is the LLM or Master of Laws and can be studied full time for a year or part-time over two years. To practice law you will be required to complete one of these postgraduate qualifications after your LLB.
Many institutions offer a wide range of law degrees so you can begin studying at a bachelor level and continue at the same institution until you are a fully qualified barrister of solicitor. The law school at City University offers courses at all levels from the LLB to postgraduate and professional qualifications.
Make sure the law degree you choose is recognised in your country because if it is not you may need to study an additional qualification before you can practice as a lawyer.
If you do not have the required qualifications or English language skills to study an LLB straight away you can consider a foundation degree. ICWS in Swansea, Wales offer pathway programmes that take you through a pre-sessional English course, a foundation year and then through the three years of the undergraduate law degree all in one.
Dual degrees are also worth considering as they allow you to build skills in another subject as well as law but because of this they are normally a year or two longer in duration. IE University offer a law degree with a joint emphasis in business administration, the BBA + Bachelor of Laws combines teaching in common and civil law systems and has a focus on the laws of the European Union.
Another good example of dual degrees which boost your career prospects are those which teach law and a foreign language, Trinity College Dublin have an attractive mix of a high ranking and reputation, being in an alternative study abroad destination and they offer the LLB with either French or German languages.
Human Rights Law
Specialising in a particular field of study is a good way to boost your career prospects even further and choosing something of growing interest will ensure your skills are in demand once you qualify.
Recent political events in the Middle East and North Africa have increased the awareness of human rights in the international media. Amnesty International has recorded human rights abuses on an almost daily basis in countries where authoritarian regimes have faced resistance from their democracy-seeking population . If fighting for people’s rights is important to you then this may be the law degree for you.
Studying human rights law as a single qualification is normally only available at postgraduate level, although many undergraduate law degrees allow you to study individual modules in the subject. If you are interested in studying human rights at this level you will typically need a 6.5 IELTS score and a good bachelors law degree.
For more advice on studying abroad please visit our Study Advice pages.