The LLB Year 1: what I learned this term

Our blogger discusses lack of time, challenging subjects and Latin in her second installment on studying an LLB

It’s safe to say that my first term studying an LLB Law degree at Bristol University has been akin to a bendy road… the lack of a more frequent blog is testament to that! I can honestly admit that it has been absolutely nothing like what I was expecting. If I was hoping for the warm familiarity of history analysis, or being able to shroud my uncertainties in impressive vocabulary like in English Literature, being told to ‘Think Like A Lawyer’ tears up expectation and drills a set of totally unexplored skills into you.

These skills – among them concise expression and uber-fast reading – seemed at first impossible to pick up. How is it humanly doable to read 100 pages on Latin phrases like ‘novus actus interveniens’ in a night and talk about it the next day in a 9am tutorial? The answer: enthusiasm, commitment and a hunger to understand.

One of my favourite modules introduced this term has been Contract Law. Seemingly brushed aside by many first years as less glamorous than studying Criminal cases like R v Woollin – determining whether a father throwing his baby at a wall was intentional or not – contract law has presented understated and thought provoking challenges. Contract is highly relevant to real life, with the abstract being what I was frequently frustrated by during the study of English literature. It delves into the detail behind offer and acceptance, the role of the postal service, what makes a contract binding and, most importantly, forces you to realise that nothing in law is as simple as it seems.

There is something very delicious about problem solving – and speaking from the perspective of a girl whose thoughts have for years floated around with a distinct lack of coherency, I have relished parcelling up creativity and presenting it in an attractive, neat way. This was further exploited by taking part and making it through the first round of the Law Society Mooting Competition (mock court) to be continued in February.

First term has shown me that, if you want to succeed, you need to balance your lifestyle – it isn’t all about locking yourself up with textbooks! Opportunities are endless – law students are all navigating the same choppy waters and, if we make it through to the other side, can only find endless reward. It soon becomes impossible to see anything without legal-tinted glasses, from signing the contract to my first house, to simply sitting down in a restaurant and ordering my food.

Information Overload – inevitable. The satisfaction when it begins to make sense? Priceless.

Sophie Landau is a first-year law student at the University of Bristol. 

  • Read Part 1 here –
  • And read the next in the series here –