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Posted Oct. 9, 2017

Where To Start When You Get To Law School

Staring Law SchoolStudying an LLM is an important decision and one that you have now made so you must be very excited to be starting your new LLM student life! 

As you begin to prepare for the year you will realise that getting ahead of your fellow students and coursework will soon become something that you need to get used to.

You want your LLM year to be worth the effort you put in and any extra work can make a huge difference.

Top tips to starting law school

Here's a list of things we think you may find helpful to equip yourself before you fully kick start the year.

1. Settling in quickly

Settling into your LLM life doesn’t just mean settling into your new residential accommodation. Exciting as it may sound, you need to be quick to move beyond your room and start making new friends and exploring utilities around your area such as libraries, cafes, shops, ATMs and gyms.

Before the LLM program starts it’s a good idea to visit your campus (don’t forget to print a map!) and check out all its facilities that you’ve already read about in the law school brochures such as libraries, reading rooms, gyms, cafes, etc. You can also try and find the rooms where your seminars are likely to be held, so that you don’t waste time on the morning of your first day of class trying to find where to go. Keep a look out for campus tours where you can ask questions about campus facilities.

2. Gathering information

The first few weeks are the best time to gather basic information to help you advance through your LLM student life. Information on seminar venues, relevant library sections, key contacts within your program, course information, deadlines, etc.  are all useful. You can also attend information sessions and events across your university, which will tell you more about student life on campus and using campus facilities. Make sure you sign up for library tours, students union events, career events, etc. Although you might wonder how to fit on all these activities into a packed semester, a smart way is to have a scheduled planner handy at all times.

3. Building on your networks

Speaking of making new friends, it will help to start thinking of building professional contacts early on. LLM programs usually attract students from a variety of backgrounds including legal professionals who are looking to specialise in a particular area of law and those interested in pursuing research aiming to join the academic profession. The first few days before seminars will be a good time to get introduced to your class mates and find out about their interests.

4. Planning your time

It might be too early for you to know at this stage on submission deadlines or coursework preparation, but it’s never too early to come up with a plan of how you will manage your time through the semester. You can have a look at the LLM planner which is usually up on the law school website, to get an indication of important dates and get them all in your diary. You can also schedule your weekly routine in the early days by assigning time for activities such as library reading hours, meeting classmates to discuss LLM topics, attending information sessions, etc. This can also include planning time out with friends, attending networking sessions and going to the theatre.

5. Familiarising yourself with coursework

It is essential that you have an idea of what modules you plan on studying through the LLM course and what dissertation topic you wish to focus on. You may think it’s still early but it’s never too soon to make a start on your LLM program. The better prepared you are, the easier your LLM journey will be!

Take a look at the LLM guidance handbook that the law school provides for information on the kind of assessments that each course involves. You can talk to alumni during information sessions to get an idea about seminars and what the module conveners expect from you.

Enrolments and inductions

Once you have accepted your offer to study LLM at your preferred university and completed pre-enrolment processes, you will need to complete full enrolment when you arrive in person on campus. This will be followed by a series of induction events that will introduce you to the LLM study program and help you choose your modules.

Law school enrolments

Enrolment is a very important step that gets you formally registered with the college and allows you to begin LLM lectures and familiarise yourself with law school facilities. It is strongly advised that you check with your college beforehand for up-to-date information on the dates, times and locations for enrolment!

1. Read the instructions

When you arrive on campus, you will be given instructions to attend enrolment in college on particular days. This information may be shared with you via email or updates on the college website, so make sure you check regularly. Also, it is advisable to check dates that have been allotted to you for enrolment – these can be limited as induction events follow soon thereafter.

2. Bring the required documents

Make sure to carry the required IDs and documents that are listed in your enrolment instruction pack. Most importantly, you will need to show your pre-enrolment documentation and reference numbers that you were given at the time of accepting the offer. Enrolments are usually done electronically by college representatives on the day, so it should all be done quickly.

3. At the enrolment

Once you arrive in college, follow the instructions and visit the designated spots for completing your enrolment. There will be several information points where you can ask for guidance at any point. It can be a good idea to ask any questions or concerns that you may have so that your transition to settling quickly with campus life is dealt with early on. 

Law school induction events

Typically, induction events take place immediately after the enrolments end. If enrolments take place over weekends, then induction events will span from the following Monday until Friday. You will likely then have only the following weekend to get ready before your LLM classes begin! During induction week, you will be invited to attend events and session to introduce you to the faculty and get to know about the LLM specialisms that are being offered. It’s a good idea to decide on events that you plan to attend in advance and prepare questions that you could ask.

Induction sessions will probably include:

  • Campus tours
  • Presentations by faculty on LLM specialisms
  • Guidance on selecting taught modules, essay topics and tutorial support
  • Guidance on dissertation schedules and writing
  • Presentations on student facilities and services including library tours, gym memberships, learning and development courses, etc.
  • Information about career events, moot courts and internship opportunities
  • Local city tours covering important landmarks

Checklist for inductions sessions

1. Take notes

Scribble away as much information as you can so that you can refer to it later. Induction sessions can be a bit exhausting if you attend several sessions in a day.

2. Carry a campus map

It will save you a lot of time finding your way or asking for directions if you print out or down the college map on your phone.

3. Attend info sessions on utilities

Students often skip sessions that cover a tour of the library or give essential information on support facilities on campus. It’s better to attend them so you don’t waste time figuring things out once classes begin.

4. Make the most of networking opportunities

Some of the induction events on LLM programs are followed by networking sessions where you will get the opportunity to ask specific questions to faculty/alumni. Make the most of this opportunity.

5. Make friends!

Induction sessions are the best time to make LLM buddies. You may end up meeting people who decide to take similar modules as you or who plan on doing the same specialisation. This can help in sharing your experiences and putting together a study group.

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