York Law School uses lots of different teaching methods. Some days are mainly plenaries (the Law School’s name for interactive lectures). Plenaries can be fast-paced and full of information. They’re always recorded in case you miss anything and want to catch up. Some plenaries offer lots of opportunities for debate, others have really interesting guest speakers. Some of my favourites have included Jaffa Cakes and animated Supreme Court Judges! I have found over and over again that lectures I don’t expect to be interested in actually end up being the most fun and engaging; I never really know what to expect when I sit down.
My favourite sessions are often group work based. You learn with the same small group of people all year. So we’re really comfortable with each other and we are able to have fun whilst getting our work done. Most of my group sessions at the Law School are problem solving classes. These are known as Problem Based Learning (PBL), in which we analyse legal problems. This can sound a little vague when describing it but I promise it’s lots of fun. So far, we have had the opportunity to debate, act as a jury and conduct mock client interviews. Everyone is also expected to do guided independent study throughout the week. This variety of plenaries, group classes, and private study balances really well. I never have the chance to get bored of the way that I’m working.
Meeting Your Student Law Firm
Meeting your Student Law Firm at the start of term really accelerates the process of making friends and feeling comfortable in your new environment. It’s normal to feel a little apprehensive about starting university, but if you’re coming to York you have no need to worry about finding like-minded people. I never have to be alone at university if I don’t want to be; there’s always someone from my Law Firm around to grab lunch with.
There will probably be people in your Law Firm from all over the world, with all kinds of hopes and ambitions. Being a part of a diverse group is incredibly interesting; members of my group bring up ideas that I would never have considered because we all have such different life experiences.
Finding Beautiful Areas on Campus (and Your Favourite Study Spots)
Being on Campus East, the Law School benefits from some pretty stunning architecture. You’ll get to study in really well designed spaces; the PBL area in the Law School is a wonderful collaborative area and is always buzzing during term time.
My favourite space to do independent work in is the library at the Piazza Building. I like going to the library in the morning and getting one of the seats with a view out over the lake. The library is circular, and there are windows (and beanbags) facing all around the campus. At the moment there are baby swans on the lake.
There are lots of different places to work on Campus East, from coffee shops to private rooms. My friends and I are planning on booking one of the study pods on the lake this term – they are a very pretty and unique place to work.
The Structure of the Course
I’m constantly impressed by how well the Law course at York is structured and how it flows. Whenever I am researching a new topic, I find that the things I have studied previously come up. There’s no need to worry if you have never studied law before coming to York, as the curriculum guides you really naturally through complex topics so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. However, there’s always the scope to challenge yourself in each new area.
I’m also really enjoying the focus on coursework-based assessments. I feel encouraged to make good notes and absorb information in order to get good grades, but I don’t often feel stressed about remembering every detail at once for one final exam. I still feel excited about every new problem that I pick up. Each week I get the chance to research new areas of law; this helps me bring back interesting and different sources for feedback sessions.
Opportunities to Try New Things
My final thing to look forward to at York Law School is the breadth of opportunities available. Right from when you first join the department, you will get the chance to attend careers events, talks on different areas of law and social activities. You’ll also have the opportunity to apply for internships in diverse and interesting areas. So far I have attended events about legal technology, and problem solving sessions run by magic circle law firms.
The department is also really aware that students may want to work outside of the legal sector, so it’s easy to get advice about a wide range of careers. The Law Society at York organises all sorts of opportunities to gain experience in different fields, and also runs sub-societies in mooting and sports. I’m really enjoying spending first year exploring all of my career options by applying to loads of the schemes and scholarships open to me.