Birmingham Law School's Dr Gavin Byrne talks about the kind of skills you'll need to study law successfully at university
Video: Skills required to study law
I think one of the really challenging things about studying law is the number of skills required. Let’s face it there is a high degree of snob value attached to studying law, if you tell your granny or your next door neighbour you’re thinking of studying law, you’ve had an offer to study Law at a good university, they think well done you, you must be very clever. I think the reason for this is because it tests a really wide variety of skills.
Being a good lawyer or a good law student is like being, say a good footballer. You can’t really exhaustively list every single type of skill involved. But just to give you an idea there are maybe four key skills that you might look to.
First of all law students need to be good with words they need to be good at expressing themselves in the English language. In addition you need to be comfortable with reading a high volume of material, some of which will be really interesting, some of which will be slightly less interesting. The next couple of skills I would perhaps mention are ones that maybe aren’t so obvious. To be a good law student you need to be good at argument. By argument I mean an ability to persuade others of your opinion. A way to develop that sort of skill is again to read the editorials of a quality newspaper on a daily basis. These don’t just put an opinion across but they try to persuade others of that opinion. The final key skill I would pick out is an ability to perform under pressure.