London has always been one of my dream cities to live in. I’ve previously had the privilege to live in one of the most interesting city in the world (Dubai) but still, nothing compared to the excitement when I knew I was going to London to the school of my dreams– LSE. LSE was also my dream university since IGCSE hence it is exhilarating to be educated in one of the top political science institutions in the world
LSE is amazing. No question about that. In the 3 years of law school, I was there, there was so much to learn and so much LSE could give. It was pretty much like a pot of gold on the end of the rainbow which wouldn’t stop giving. However, there were nights that I would just hide under my blankets to sleep off the stress and demotivating that is LSE. So what was it like studying in LSE and how is it different from studying locally? I’ve listed quite a few points below as well as my life in London in general.
1. Why LSE for Law? Isn’t it like, for economics?
That is very much not true. To be honest, I wanted to do economics when I doing my IGCSE. I did economics then and in A-Levels and thoroughly enjoyed every part of it. Well, it didn’t go as plan and I had to do another discipline. In college, I was very involved in MUN and since then I did develop the interest in international debates, pointing fingers and pressing liability as well as making alliance whilst destroying others. It definitely helped in building my confidence and even more my passion for talking very loudly argumentatively. Therefore, I chose law.
2. What was law school in LSE like?
Unlike the CLP I’m doing now, we only had at max 15 hours of lectures and tutorial (here, it can as many as 30 hours a week) and even then if we ever had 2 hours back-to-back, we’ll start groaning. Throughout all 3 years of university, we were needed to take 4 full modules each year. In my first year, they were all compulsory modules: Criminal Law, Introduction to Legal System (0.5), Property I (0.5), Contract Law (0.5), Tort Law (0.5) and Public Law. The (0.5) meant you’ll do one each semester. By the end of the school year, there will be a final exam.
Second year is when life gets more interesting. All the modules are free to choose so I chose: EU Law, Taxation Law, Commercial Contracts and Property II (Land and Trust). I loved every module of it and in it was so much to learn.
In my third year, all but one was free to choose. The compulsory module was Jurisprudence whilst for elective modules, I chose Elements of Accounting and Finance, Competition law and Company Law. Final year started with like a chocolate, it was bittersweet. It was the last 22 weeks in LSE of my university life and then it was adulthood. I chose the first because I wanted some knowledge on accounting whilst Competition Law was a module I was determined to take since the summer of 1st year (it was the closest I could get to anything Economics related).
© the BLSAdvocate
3. Why do you have so few hours of lectures?
12 hours of lecture is certainly not as it amounts to about 2-3 hours a day or classes. Most of my days start at 10am with the first lecture, a 2-hour break then a class at 2pm followed by another 1-hour window and then another class. You’re given this amount of free time to ideally spend it in the library doing extended and extra readings. After all, LSE isn’t called to have one of the largest libraries in the UK devoted to the social sciences for nothing.
Extended readings and reading list are mandatory for Law School students to compensate the short lecture hours you have. Lecturers just can’t afford to go at length about everything from A-Z about a case so well you’re just going to need to find that out yourself: from facts to court judgment and even read the judgment at length. For example, a chapter in Company Law was concerning “Piercing the corporate veil” where the reading was about 80 pages of pure court language and this is normal. Average individual reading time per chapter is about 4 hours for me. Unfortunately, reading lists are barely in existence here.
You’re also required to be very prepared during tutorial classes to get the full advantage. They’re much smaller in size, normally about 20 people at max. The teacher will just go in and start asking “what does the judge mean when it means “by object” doesn’t create any economic efficiencies?” “In what circumstances can an agent be made liable to the principal despite having done so outside the scope of his job?” “Why do you think the court was wrong in dissenting that the director did not breach his duties?” It’s not meant to be a mini and summary lecture but an avenue for you to demonstrate your understanding and test yourself as to how much you actually understand the subject matter. And indeed, you’ll feel small and tiny if you do not speak up.
I might sound like a total nerd but I LOVED my reading list. What I’ll often do to get different perspective is after having done the core reading, I’ll do the reading on the same chapter but from another book with another author. For any module, there are many textbooks available out there and each provides a different commentary on the matter concerned. Unfortunately, I now couldn’t afford the time due to the increase in lecture hours.
4. Do you get time off studies to do something else?
With 12 hours of lecture and at least 16 hours of reading time and 10 hours of homework time each week, it can average to about 8 hours of work time each day. 8 hours to sleep, 8 hours to work, the remaining 8 hours can be put into areas to gain experience and knowledge beyond the walls of your classroom. In my uni days (wow I feel so old now) I participated in quite a few student societies but the two societies where I was more involved in were International Council of Malaysian Scholars and Associates (ICMS) and the Kesatuan Penuntut Undang-Undang Malaysia (KPUM).
ICMS is a cross-border student society with an establishment in 6 different countries. It’s a very engaging and interesting society and knowing people of different backgrounds in different cities gives an interesting outlook on things. I was part of the Malaysian Public Policy Competition committee back then and it is one of the most memorable experiences of my student years.
On the other hand, KPUM is a law society but it was in the process of reforming then so there was a lot going on and a shortage of manpower too. I helped in 2 events which were dated back to back so my days were filled with 10pm meetings, Skype calls before going to school and running errands throughout the City of London. There is also much more to do such as debating society, music society, MUN and netball for example. Life at the LSE, and London, in general, is very fast paced and it only depends how much time you’re willing to invest in it.
5. What did you enjoy most and disliked the most?
Wow, how do I start? I loved
- The amount of independence you get for your studies
- The lecturers in LSE are so helpful and emphatic
- Classmates and friends are helpful
- The accessibility of public lectures and lots of them too.
- The busy and lively life of London
- Student society activities taught me a lot
- LSE taught me a lot
- Public transport is just amazing
- Traveling is accessible and affordable
- All those Tumblr posts you’ve seen
What I did not enjoy so much?
- The stress.
- The school fees and cost of living (£17000 a year and £1200 a month, yikes)
Looking back at the wonderful 3 years I had in London, I truly would not have it any other way. It taught me a lot from the independence of how to fix a light bulb to moving houses by myself, from zero knowledge about cases and statutes to flipping 200 pages of judgment in 2 hours. It taught me about resilience and most importantly, about how strong you can be once you put your mind to it.
I had my nights just asking “why I did law school?” but I never regretted taking a law degree. There were times when I look at my parents and how I felt “if only I knew the law, I could help” or “if only I could be a qualified lawyer, I could help my parents on X and Y”. Instead of saying the law is to give justice, I think it’s more about fairness and equality.
My advice to all law students, chin up and be strong. Take your time in university to explore the world much more and find what you enjoy most. Go do some volunteering or helping to organise an event. If there isn’t a committee you can join, make one! It’s going to be all worth it and you’ll make it through this.