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School of Law

My first month as a Law Student at Queen Mary University of London

Read about Lisa's experience as a first-year law student here at Queen Mary


Choosing the right university can be an exciting but equally overwhelming task. I remember this time last year scrolling through UCAS not being able to decide on where to study let alone the course. I kept asking my sixth form tutors to help me make a decision, but I always received the same unhelpful response saying that it was my choice and I should do the research. Therefore, I decided to write this blog to give you an idea of what it is like studying law at my university and I hope this will help you in choosing the right course.

Three students standing in front of beautiful old bookshelves in the library

Why did I choose to study Law at Queen Mary?

After settling on Law, I thought about where to go. My grades were good enough to get into Oxford and Cambridge, but I never felt that this would be the place for me. I wanted somewhere more inclusive and diverse. Having somewhere to feel I belong was important to me and from the first day I visited the staff and students were so helpful. The university supported me before becoming a student and made me feel welcome.

I decided to study Global Law at Queen Mary because I wanted to combine my passion for languages and international relations with social justice. The university has got connections across the world and so I was never concerned about striking a balance between practical international experience and a strong theoretical education.

When I saw that Queen Mary has an in-house legal practice (QM Legal Advice Centre) where students can put their skills into practice by working with real clients facing legal issues, I was sold. I had never heard of this before and so it demonstrated to me that the university trusts its students and is invested in them too.

Lisa in a grey dress standing in a university courtyard in summer

Fitting in

Once I had sent off my applications to Queen Mary, I was so excited and felt like a year was so long to wait. It soon came around though and the next thing I knew it was a day before the big move. I got very nervous but did not want to admit this to anyone. I was worried that maybe I would not fit in and asked myself “what if this really is too hard for me?”.

After speaking to the people from my course, I realised everyone felt the same, a kind of imposter syndrome. I was trying to anticipate what everybody thought of me and whether I sounded smart enough to be here. To be honest, though, I wish I had spent less time worrying about that because everyone else had their own insecurities too and were so focused on themselves that nobody even thought twice about the way other people came across.

It may sound like a cliché, but Queen Mary really does feel like a family and that being yourself is the best way. Instead of asking ourselves the question “do I fit in?” we should be asking ourselves “am I being me?” because “fitting in” doesn’t come from a place of advantage or background instead it comes down to your individual motivation and passion for the subject. If you want to achieve, make friends, and do well there is always a space for you at Queen Mary.

Lisa and her friend posing for the camera in a snowy university campus


The big question: what is it like studying law?

It is a step up from pre-university level study, but it is possible. Law at Queen Mary is not as dry and inaccessible as people often say it is in YouTube videos or social media reels. Of course, I am not going to lie and tell you that I enjoy every aspect of my course as this is an unreal expectation. We are all going to find some parts more interesting than others. Always have in mind why you are studying to keep motivated as this will help you keep on track.

The first year at university is not too scary and the lecturers do engage with the students and explain concepts in a way that is simple to understand. I found the Law in Context module useful as it gave me the skill set, I needed to succeed in the rest of the academic modules, such as referencing, doing legal research, and reading case law efficiently. For someone who has never studied law before, I found it easy to catch up with those who had prior knowledge because the tutors let us ask questions and clarify anything we are unsure of.

And yes, before you ask, we do have a social life. That is just as important to Queen Mary as your studies. You need a break and to have fun in order to stay healthy and committed.

Social Life

Everyone enjoys something different and that is what is great about the variety of opportunities Queen Mary has. It is not all about drinking, of course, you can go to these events too, but for someone who prefers to stay sober, I have not had any difficulties in finding the right thing for me. In fact, there is too much choice!

With the Mile End Climbing wall only a 4-minute walk away from campus, I have spent many hours bouldering and rock climbing which I never thought would become a hobby of mine. I have also enjoyed some fun movie and games nights with the LGBTQ+ society along with a weekly yoga class to de-stress.

Another personal recommendation is to join QM ELSA (The European Law Students Association). You do not have to be European to join but given my heritage, I have found it nice to meet some other people with similar backgrounds to me. I am now working as one of the directors for the moot court competitions at ELSA and recently had a team meeting and Sunday brunch at the Italian Bear Chocolate in Soho which I highly recommend.

Lisa in a grey dress standing next to a statue in the library


I cannot speak highly enough of our legal career’s advisor, Afua Kudom, who studied law herself and is now advocating for the diverse places a law degree from Queen Mary can take you. I met her in person at two events and she is approachable and has a wealth of knowledge that she is willing to share with you.

The Law Department recently ran a series of events as part of Legal Week which included networking, exploring careers as a solicitor, life at the Bar, and many other great talks. The presentations were led by ex-students and professionals and gave invaluable insights into the legal industry.

All throughout the year, Queen Mary also offers fantastic programmes with prestigious law firms such as Reed Smith, Linklaters, and many more. If the solicitor route is not your thing, they also have strong connections with the Inner Temple that offer great advice to aspiring barristers.

I recently attended an in-person event at the Inner Temple, with a group of Queen Mary students, where we met a diverse panel of barristers who spoke to us individually about career opportunities and how to stand out when applying for pupillage. It was a very informative event and involved some wine and posh food which always makes a nice evening.

Want to find out more?

I hope this helped you get an idea of what it is like studying law at Queen Mary University of London. If you would like to find out more, please email us or book into one of our open days.

Good luck with your exams and we hope to welcome you to the School of Law next September.



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