04 / 02 / 19
Many others, including myself, have found our way to Dundee through various paths and choices and discovered a veritable hub of students from the North of Ireland. Whilst it is nice to feel at home here in Scotland, it is important to remember that our stream follows a different time scale from our Scottish colleagues, and as such we must focus on our goals at a much earlier stage.
The Need for Focus
Every year of university is important, each semester designed to enhance your knowledge and understanding of law. It is tempting to dedicate 1st year purely to the social side of University, however the most important aspect of any law degree is twofold: the degree classification itself, and the acquisition of legal experience.
For students from the North of Ireland, exams begin to affect your degree classification in 2nd year. Regarding this, Clare McGowan, an Irish alumna of Dundee, who works for Herbert Smith Freehills, gave this advice:
“You need to master exams in first year even though they do not count towards your degree. If you do not grasp them in first year, you will struggle in second and third year.”
So, whilst your Scottish friends may have an extra year of grace, you must try to focus on preparing yourself, to build a strong base upon which to achieve your desired classification. It is important to remember that most law firms require a 2:1 or above for application consideration.
Many law firms when assessing vac scheme applications, which are a crucial part of gaining experience, will ask for first-year grades and subsequently base their assessment on them. These vac schemes provide critical insight into the character of a law firm and the format of a future traineeship. Moreover, many law firms will use vac scheme attendance as criteria during the traineeship recruitment process.
Therefore, maintaining focus and a high standard of academic results in 1st year will make life much easier for any Irish student seeking to capitalise on their time, and any available experience.
This blog was written by our Treasurer, Tiarnan Cahill.