Preparing to study Law
Here are some suggestions for how you might prepare to study Law at Leicester Law School:
A good law student has a broad awareness of current affairs and legal issues. One of the best ways to prepare for your law degree is to read a good quality British newspaper or news website every day.
Many newspapers have specific sections for legal news
- The Independent
- Daily Telegraph (online services require a subscription)
- The Guardian (You can also follow them on Twitter @GdnLaw)
These newspapers help to develop your awareness of issues affecting the UK political and legal system, and global affairs. If English is not your first language, reading English materials and discussing them (in English) with your friends or family will be of enormous benefit.
First year teaching assumes no legal knowledge, so we do not recommend specific pre-course reading, and the main textbooks are available as eBooks once you start the course. Even so, there are some relatively inexpensive recommendations that can help you get off to a good start for working and thinking like a law student.
Our first recommendations are books on how to study Law
- ATH Smith, Glanville Williams: Learning the Law (16th edition, Sweet and Maxwell 2016). This helps you to understand the legal system and the discipline of studying law. It has been published many times so if you use a second hand copy, look at a recent edition
- NJ McBride, Letters to a Law Student: A Guide to Studying Law at University (4th edition, Pearson 2017)
- A Bradney, F. Cownie, J. Masson, A. Neal and D. Newell, How to Study Law (8th edition, Sweet and Maxwell 2017)
- I Moore, C Newberry-Jones, The Successful Law Student (2nd Edition, Oxford 2022)
You may also be inspired to learn about ideas and views relating to justice, society and human rights by reading:
- A Lester, Five Ideas to Fight For (Oneworld Publications, 2016)
- T Bingham, The Rule of Law (Penguin, 2011)
Or by watching or listening to the following online talks, which may lead you to explore related ideas:
- “Justice: What’s the Right thing to Do?” Lectures from Harvard University on YouTube
- “We need to talk about an injustice” a Ted Talk by Bryan Stevenson, grandson of Rosa Parkes or the book and film based on his work called “Just Mercy”
- “Invest in social change” a Ted Talk by Toby Eccles
Learning should be enjoyable and pleasurable, so we recommend you find something useful and that you think you will enjoy. Preview books online and choose one or two that spark your interest. You do not need to read them all.
Leicester Law School, supports sustainable development goals and encourages the use of libraries and second hand book sales, as well as purchases which support charitable causes. You are encouraged to think about the source you use for hard copy books. For instance, Voluntary Action Leicester, which is connected to our Legal Advice Clinic, can be supported every time you purchase through smile.amazon.co.uk.
You may also enjoy reading works with legal themes such as:
- Charles Dickens, Bleak House
- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mocking Bird
- Franz Kafka, The Trial
- Books by John Grisham
In additional to the online versions of the newspapers mentioned above the following websites may be useful and gateways to additional information:
- Law: a student guide from the Guardian has several articles about what to expect at law school.
- The Student Lawyer is a free online resource written by law students and practising professions that brings together legal news and articles in an accessible format for future lawyers at all levels.
- The Twitter feed of the New Law Journal @newlawjournal
You may find these legal blogs interesting:
- Two blogs focussing on legal issues in the UK: Law and Lawyers and Charon QC
- Law Actually, the blog of an in-house lawyer from the telecoms industry
- Pupillage and How to Get It - the blog of a Leeds-based barrister who writes about the realities of entering the legal profession
The Leicester Law School is not responsible for any external sites.