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Legal Education >> Students >> studying part-time: interest, time and memory!

Message started by joannie on May 30th, 2008 at 10:13am

Title: studying part-time: interest, time and memory!
Post by joannie on May 30th, 2008 at 10:13am
Hi, what a great site.  I would really welcome any general advice or points to consider specific to part-timers.  Primarily for interest, I am returning to study part-time and want to do law, an ambition of mine for a while.  I have good experience of studying previously (have a PhD), and have already been accepted by Strathclyde.  

I am not working but I am involved in the children hearings system and also have some family commitments, so I can only manage p/t.  I am a little apprehensive and would welcome any comments on the following:

1. I am so excited abt studying most apects of law, but I have to say the thought of Commercial Law and Tax Law (in year 3 I think) fill with me dread.  Aaaaaaaaargh.    ::)  Are these subjects as boring as I imagine?  Can they be made interesting?  Do I have to accept that there are just dull aspects to any subject?  Will I be able to motivate myself to learn and do all the work necessry to pass these modules (sorry, realise only I can answer that)?

2.  The first semester seems to involve three modules through three evenings and alternate saturdays.  Is a part-time degree really a part-time degree, any comments on the demands of time and volume of work for part-timers?

3.  I am an older student and have not done exams for aaaaaaaages, am I going to be able to remember all the case law and statutes etc.  Any comments on the memory work needed?!

any comments or advice would be so helpful,

and finally, could anyone suggest a useful read for the summer??



Title: Re: studying part-time: interest, time and memory!
Post by CraigStirlingLLB on May 30th, 2008 at 10:29am
Whilst I can't comment on some aspects of your question, I have to say that Commercial Law and Tax Law (or Revenue for me) aren't half as bad as you think...

For Commercial Law, it was split into two modules; the first module looked at agency relationships, partnerships, the formation of companies, and piercing the corporate veil; the second module looked at the sale of goods, insurance, etc etc. I have to say that the first module was a lot more interesting, so don't worry!

As for Tax, if you can avoid answering a question about employment income tax, then you'll be fine! I have to say, stuff like Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax are rather easy; this subject really is just straight to the point.

And if you have a PhD, you'll have no problem remembering cases and statutes etc!

Good luck.

Title: Re: studying part-time: interest, time and memory!
Post by zurich_allan on May 30th, 2008 at 10:43am
Hi Joannie,

First of all, well done for having the drive to get back into the education system after already getting as far as a PhD, a lot of people say enough is enough well before you have! So for the first part I can see that motivation will not be an issue for you. To help you out a little with your questions:

1. There are always dull parts to any area of study, this is a definite. From the modules you've mentioned though, Commercial law is actually a lot more interesting than you'd imagine from the title, I don't think you'd be bored with it at all. Taxation on the other hand I find dull as dishwater. Unfortunately it is a core subject to the degree, so you just have to grit your teeth and get on with it. The vast majority of the subjects will have something that grabs your interest, so for every taxation and residential leases, there is a criminal law, human rights or family law.

2. The part time course is definitely part time. Especially for the first year or two if you just make sure that you attend all of the classes and take good notes, you'll manage to get by with perhaps an additional couple of hours revision for each subject a week. By the time you reach year three, you might have to step it up a bit - not in terms of class time but in terms of self study to maybe 3 - 4 hours a week per subject if you're aiming for good grades, but even then that would only add up to a total of around 24 hours a week including self study. For full time I would be expecting 40 - 50 hours, so there is a clear difference.

3. Speaking from experience, it will take time to get back into the swing of things with studying and revision. I had a seven year break between my first degree and my law degree, and I found it a steep learning curve at that time to re-adjust. In that first year I was achieving mainly 'B's for most subjects, however by my second year I managed to get back up to 'A' standard for around 80% of subjects. It's just one of these things that you need to keep persisting and you get there. Case law you'll be fine with, as you won't need to recall screeds and screeds of cases off the top of your head for exams. Better to cite 3 or 4 key rulings that are relevant than demonstrate memory skills by remembering a dozen that are peripheral to the question being asked. As for statutes, some subjects allow you to take a statute book into the exam with you if statutes are particularly relevant to them.

The fact that you're showing an interest in finding out about these areas already at this stage indicates to me that you're preparing yourself well for beginning, and I think on that basis along with your proven track record in education that you're going to be absolutely fine.

Title: thanks
Post by joannie on May 30th, 2008 at 12:58pm
thanks very much, craig and allan,

very reassuring - 'piercing the corporate veil' - I like that very much!  The way you put it actually sounds interesting, so maybe commercial law wont be too bad after all.  Tax Law, well, as you say, there's always some bits you dont like, and maybe this is when you just have to feel the pain and do it anyway!!

I am from a working class background, first generation at university, did really well, but always thought Law was for others, of a different social class, and not for me.  So, before I pack away my laptop and notebooks,  I think I am going to go for it.  90% really excites me and there are bits I simply cant wait to do!  The rest, I will just have to manage.

Final question if anyone is still out there:  could you recommend one law book, maybe an introduction to scots law or something like that, so I can use my time now.

thanks again, very reassuring and greatly appreciated,


Title: Re: studying part-time: interest, time and memory!
Post by CraigStirlingLLB on Jun 3rd, 2008 at 5:08pm
If you're interested in just a general overview of the subject and its different aspects (but still with a bit of detail), try 'Scots Law: Student Guide', by Nicole Busby, Tikus Little, et al (Nicole and Tikus teach at my law school and are indeed excellent! lol).

Hope that helps.

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