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It embraces every aspect of our lives, from crime to the environment, from buying a bus ticket to resolving international disputes. Studying law offers you the chance to question how society is regulated.You’ll develop skills which are greatly valued by employers. You’ll have an advantage over many of your contemporaries..... a strong basis upon which to choose your future career.

Choice is vital to graduates in developing their abilities and fulfilling their ambitions. When you graduate in law you might want to commit yourself to working as a lawyer but, if you don’t, there are many other options open to you. Some law graduates choose the traditional path to the legal profession but many prefer to choose from a broader range of options. Remember - by completing a law degree you will have succeeded in a difficult test and you will have acquired skills that are highly valued by employers.

So what does a law degree offer?
Law embraces every aspect of human activity. Studying law offers the chance to investigate why and how society regulates itself as it does. A law student acquires knowledge of legal materials, and also develops perspectives from which to view such materials, the capacity for critical analysis and the ability to present and explain information and issues. At Aberystwyth for example, emphasis is placed on the development of these skills from the start. Students are trained and encouraged in the use of the law library. They gain experience in relation to traditional and computerised legal information retrieval systems. A key part of the law degree is the independent study by students, following up issues raised in lectures and seminars. So, if you decide on a law degree you can expect to spend a lot of your time reading and researching in the library. Nobody’s ever said that a law degree is easy but the rewards are great. If you decide to take up the challenge, what’s the right scheme for you?

Choosing the right degree scheme
Most law degree schemes offer a grounding in the fundamental principles and methods of the law. You’ll want the maximum choice possible in order to select the appropriate degree scheme. The Law Department at Aberystwyth, for instance, offers a number of different law degrees. The LLB is the most traditional degree. While it allows you to select a limited number of non-law options, you may choose to take all your options in law. By contrast, the BA Law provides greater flexibility - up to a third of your options can be in different disciplines. Lawyers with foreign language skills are in demand, so why not consider a law degree with French, German, Spanish or Italian?

Career Opportunities
Prospective employers value a law graduate’s intellectual training and a well prepared law graduate has a wider range of career opportunities than many other graduates. Recent law graduates from Aberystwyth for example, have persued a broad range of careers, including accountancy, politics, national and local government, social work, personnel management, television and journalism to name just a few.

Many law graduates choose to enter the legal profession, which has two distinct branches. The majority of professionally qualified lawyers are solicitors. Most solicitors are employed in private firms, undertaking general or specialist legal work, ranging in size from single solicitor high street practices to multi-national City practices. Solicitors are also employed in, for example, the Civil Service, local government, the Crown Prosecution Service and business. Law graduates who intend to qualify as solicitors must take the one-year Legal Practice Course either at the College of Law or at another educational institution offering the course.

A barrister in private practice at the Bar is self employed, working out of a set of Chambers. Barristers specialise in offering legal advice in difficult cases and in preparing, and presenting, cases for trial. Many barristers work as lawyers for law firms, for the Crown Prosecution Service or in government, business and industry. Law graduates who intend to qualify as barristers must join an Inn of Court and, on graduation take the Bar’s one-year vocation course. A period of pupillage follows successful completion of the vocational course.

For more information
The Department of Law
University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Hugh Owen Building, Penglais
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3DY
Tel: (01970) 622712 - Fax: (01970) 622729
Email: law-enquiries@aber.ac.uk
Web: www.aber.ac.uk/law

Written By: Daryl Fletcher, Department of Law, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

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