Law is one of the oldest academic fields in the world and it is a highly regarded qualification. It attracts on average between 12-14,000 applicants annually through CAO application and on average figures from CAO show that over 2,500 list a Law degree as their first choice. If we add the students who will take Law as one of their Arts modules, we will see the figures rise again. What is attracting so many young people to this demanding course?
What Inspires an Interest in Law?
Young people don’t get great exposure to the subject of law at school. So far there is no Leaving Cert Law course. Politics and Society (Leaving Cert Subject) is probably the nearest option for law enthusiasts. In Junior Cert CSPE, Law is one of the seven concepts. Students learn about the constitution, legislation and the courts. The Business course covers consumer laws while Home Economics looks at Family Law. These tasters might be enough to spur some individuals on to exploring law at a deeper level.
Those who possess a strong sense of justice may also be attracted to law. Laws shape the society in which we live, being able to make an impact on this could be a motivating factor.
Having a curiosity about the laws and how they affect us is also an indicator. Few of us are bothered reading the ‘T&Cs’ of our transactions - for others this is a source of interest!
There are also popular TV shows like Suits, The Good Wife and Better Call Saul which may be influencing career choice. Alongside popular courtroom fiction novels from acclaimed authors such as John Grisham.
In the litigious era that we are currently living in there are plenty of opportunities to spark an interest in law.
Who is Suited to Law?
If you wish to pursue a career in law you will need to be prepared to work hard!
Law students are constantly reading, researching and writing. Studying law and working in a legal profession is very demanding. You will be expected to work long hours, and many years of sustained effort will be required for you to get where you want to be.
Good memory skills are an advantage as you will need to know the law in great detail and be able to refer to laws when required.
Good argumentative skills are needed too. Arguments need to be evidence based. Being part of a debating club in school will help to prepare you in this area.
What Will I Learn?
There are many courses offered at Higher and Further Education. It is advisable to do your research as these courses will differ in course content and it is important to find the course that is right for you. You can expect to study some of the following modules: Criminal Law, Law of Torts, Constitutional Law, Contract Law, Property Law, EU Law.
Studying a law degree is about acquiring skills, not just knowledge. On completion of your degree, successful candidates will have highly developed skills in critical thinking, strong reasoning and analytical skills, develop their oral and written communication skills, learn how to argue from the basis of evidence and become independent thinkers. Law students learn how to approach tasks in a clear, reasoned and logical way. These skills are extremely transferable and make law students desirable to employers from many and diverse sectors.
Combining Law with Another Subject
If you are interested in law but are reluctant to fully commit to this sector you may consider studying law with another non-law subject. Popular subjects to study with law include: Business, Economics, Accounting, History, language (Irish /French/German/Chinese), Politics, Social Justice. If you choose to study Law through an Arts degree, you will have access to a wide variety of subject combinations. The question begs, why would you study law if you don’t intend on working in the field? Having law as part of your degree is very attractive to employers. It will give you the skills that you need to climb the career ladder to be a powerful and well-rounded leader.
If you are getting confused between the terms solicitor, lawyer and attorney -fear not, you are not alone. The language of law is quite confusing and differs across the globe. Here are some quick facts to help you out:
In Ireland and the UK, we use the terms Solicitor and Barrister. These are both referred to as Attorney (or more commonly lawyer) in the US. In the US attorneys takes on the dual role of solicitor and barrister. Barristers are referred to as ‘advocates’ in Scotland, South Africa, Israel and Brazil, and solicitors are called attorneys in South Africa!
Careers in Law
Law isn’t just about being a solicitor or barrister. There’s a huge range of other careers in the industry that you may have never even considered before.
Careers directly related to Law include:
Careers where a knowledge of Law would be useful: