The study of law involves the acquisition of a variety of intellectual skills. These skills will be central to understanding and critically analysing the rules and institutions which society establishes to secure and promote justice and order. In addition to being a preparation for the legal profession, knowledge of law, and the creative and imaginative powers of reasoning the study of law develops, are valued by many employers.
Features of LSE courses
We teach a degree programme with an emphasis on understanding law in context. In so doing we aim to encourage you to develop a broad outlook on legal issues, to gain an understanding of the functions of law and of the legal system, and to appreciate the place of rules of law in the construction of politics and society.
Our staff expertise covers an unusually wide range of specialist options.
The qualities that we hope you will develop while studying law are independent and original thought, and enhanced powers of reasoning about many varied aspects of human activity. These qualities will be of value even if you are not necessarily planning to become a lawyer.
The Department of Law organises an engaging public events programme. Recent public lectures have included "On Fantasy Island: British Politics, English Judges and the European Convention on Human Rights" by Professor Conor Gearty, and "The State of Freedom in Britain" by Shami Chakrabarti (author of On Liberty) and Professor Nicola Lacey. The Department also welcomes guest speakers such as Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and Sir Keir Starmer, former Director of Public Prosecutions for the Crown Prosecution Service.
In addition to the LLB degree, the Department offers a double degree programme with Columbia University Law School in New York. This LSE LLB/JD (juris doctor) programme is open to a limited number of LLB students and applications are invited during the second year of study. For further details please visit our departmental website.
You can study law at LSE in a three year LLB (Bachelor of Laws), or in a joint honours degree with anthropology.
Direct entry to the second year of the degree is not permitted under any circumstances.
What the selectors are looking for in an application
There is no ideal subject combination for Law. The selectors are looking for evidence of academic excellence, scholarly potential and curiosity. As with all programmes at LSE at least two traditional academic subjects are preferred: potential applicants are referred to the general advice on subject combinations and non-preferred subjects. Note that Law is a non-preferred subject.
A high level of literacy is expected and this is often evidenced by an applicant's choice of post-16 subjects. Applicants offering mostly quantitative subjects at A level should demonstrate their ability to cope with these aspects of the programme through their personal statement, teacher’s reference, extra-curricular activities or performance in GCSE or equivalent qualifications.
Selectors are looking for an original and interesting statement which outlines your enthusiasm and motivation for the study of Law. You may wish to reflect on any wider reading or experiences that have motivated you to apply to, or prepared you for, the programme, and you may wish to include your views on current legal issues. Your statement should also demonstrate your ability to produce clear and concise text.
The selectors are keen to know why you wish to study Law, whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how it relates to your current academic programme and what additional reading or relevant experiences (eg, attending court hearings) you have had which have led you to commit to this challenging degree programme.
The main focus of your statement should be programme-specific, and more importance is attached to your academic strengths than extra-curricular activities. If you do include details of activities such as music, drama, charitable or sporting involvement, the selectors are particularly interested in knowing how you have benefited from these.
Personal characteristics and skills that will be useful to students in their study of Law will include the ability to apply logic and follow complex lines of reasoning; high levels of accuracy and attention to detail; good communication skills; and the ability to ask questions and think independently. In addition you should possess intellectual curiosity and have the motivation and capacity for hard work.
Please visit lse.ac.uk/ug/apply/law for further information on admissions criteria.
Teaching and assessment
Most courses at LSE are taught through lectures and compulsory classes, which are small discussion groups. In some courses, you may have seminars instead where a short lecture leads on to group discussion. You can expect about 12 to 15 hours of formal tuition each week, as well as LSE100 teaching. In addition, the Department of Law runs the LAWS programme in the first year of study to facilitate students’ legal writing skills. All staff hold advice and feedback sessions during which students can discuss their progress on an individual basis.
You will undertake formative assessments each term and sit summative examinations at the end of each year for the courses you have taken. Your final degree is assessed on the basis of your performance in the second and third years of study. Some of the optional courses in your last two years are examined by essay. You must pass each set of yearly examinations to progress to the next stage of the degree.
A student with a law degree from LSE will normally be eligible to be considered for a place on the Bar Professional Training Course. You should check the position personally by obtaining the relevant regulations from: The Bar Council, 289-293 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7HZ or barcouncil.org.uk
To enrol for the Bar Professional Training Course, you normally need at least a lower second class honours degree.
The profession of solicitor
To qualify as a solicitor, you will need to serve for two years under a training contract with a practising solicitor, and complete a Legal Practice Course approved by the Law Society. Most law graduates will normally be granted a certificate of completion of the academic stage of training and may attend a Legal Practice Course before entering into a training contract. You should check the position personally with: The Solicitors Regulation Authority sra.org.uk/students/students.page. The SRA have a London office at 2nd Floor, 24 Martin Lane, London, EC4R ODR.
If you wish to gain further insight into the subject we suggest that you look at one or more of the following books:
J Adams and R Brownsword Understanding Law (Sweet and Maxwell, 2006)
T Bingham The Rule of Law (Penguin Books, 2011)
A Bradney et al How to Study Law (Sweet and Maxwell, 2005)
C Gearty Can Human Rights Survive? (Cambridge UP, 2006)
LSE offers an attractive programme of careers events with many of the major law firms, FTSE 100 companies, NGOs, charity and public sector organisations visiting to deliver targeted information and advice sessions to attract our graduates. A dedicated LSE Careers service sources and advertises vacation schemes, training contracts and volunteering positions, and runs sessions on applying for such opportunities. One-to-one careers advice is also available.
96.2% of LLB graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduation. Recent graduates have gone into fields as diverse as law and legal services, accountancy, banking and finance, government and politics, consulting, tax, charity and development, and education and academia.