by Virginia Szepietowski

Read this article and look up any areas you don’t understand. If you are able to use this content in your personal statement and interview you will make an incredibly memorable impression on the university admissions panel.

In your personal statement you must look at law not only as a career but as an academic subject. You must demonstrate to universities that you understand the wider impacts of law on society and that you take a genuine interest in the subject.

If you were able to discuss how legal regulation is insufficient to regulate cryptocurrencies and suggested a solution to this complex issue, you would instantly distinguish yourself as an incredibly desirable potential law student.


Executive Summary

Cryptocurrency poses risks for users, and challenges for regulators primarily by facilitating illegal activity through its anonymity including: theft, money laundering, market manipulation, tax evasion and drug trafficking. The regulation of such activity through cryptocurrency is minimal, particularly within the UK, as regulatory bodies do not yet fully understand the underlying technology or its effects and dangers. They remain tentative to regulate cryptocurrency as an unknown entity which does not fit current legal and regulatory frameworks. A new approach must be taken to encompass the benefits and mitigate the risks of such advanced technology on a co-operative and cross-jurisdictional scale. Regulators should encourage controlled implementation of cryptocurrency using permissioned, rather than permissionless, distributed ledger technology to maximise the remarkable blockchain opportunities.

  1. What is cryptocurrency

The origin of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin[1]is arguably the origin of cryptocurrency and consists of three distinct parts. Firstly, the desire to remove governmental power and control in favour of an anonymous online community.[2]Secondly, the theory of a decentralised digital cash, free from financial institutions.[3]Thirdly, the invention and implementation of the distributed ledger technology which made it possible.[4]

Cryptocurrency is a decentralised digital medium of peer-to-peer value exchange that utilises technology, such as blockchain, to verify transactions. With no central governing body, mathematical algorithms are used to control the creation of ‘tokens’ and to verify the transfer of funds documented on the ‘ledger’. The tokens only exist as part of the network and because they are not ‘fiat currencies’ backed by a Bank of England reserve, they are not redeemable for another commodity such as gold. This brings in an interesting debate as to whether they are even ‘currencies’ at all.

Currently they are not interchangeable on each other’s networks, hence the rise in popularity of online exchanges. These exchanges are the primary method for obtaining cryptocurrencies.  Cryptocurrencies can also be obtained through ‘mining’, which involves receiving a reward for operating a ‘node’ (computer) on the network, or by participating in an initial coin offering (ICO).


  1. Current challenges facing the market
    • Manipulation

Market manipulation is conducted by ‘whales’ who acquire enormous influence by owning large stakes of cryptocurrency.[5]Using their power to employ techniques such as ‘rinse and repeat’[6], ‘painting the tape’ and ‘buy and sell walls’[7], whales cause smaller investors to panic sell or buy, fluctuating the market to the whales’ advantage.[8]Alt-coin cryptocurrency markets are more susceptible to manipulation due to their scale and liquidity. Amateur traders invest in alt-coins looking for the next ‘digital gold’ after bitcoin, but expose themselves to scams.[9]

These techniques remain unregulated on the cryptocurrency market, despite their illegality on traditional markets. The regulation of whales is an elusive notion, particularly considering the US government has flooded the market with thousands of confiscated bitcoins, creating major price fluctuations.[10]Cryptocurrency users are anonymous, therefore regulators cannot track market manipulation by monitoring the activity of individuals. Retail investors inevitably pay the price for such manipulation. Current Market Abuse Regulation and the Financial Services Act 2012 is not equipped to prevent, detect or punish such manipulation.[11]The FCA do not have access to transaction reporting data nor can they monitor activity on the blockchain.

  • Fraud and ICOs

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are an integral part of the cryptocurrency eco-system, offering tokens in exchange for fiat funds. Fraudulent ICOs are becoming increasingly common with sham founders using false whitepapers to attract investors before disappearing with investors’ money upon completion of the ICO.[12]‘Pump and dump’ ICO schemes also continue to be a problem whereby scammers cash out after artificially driving up prices, leaving genuine investors with coins of little or no value.[13]There is no specific UK ICO legislation; some ICOs could be subject to IPO regulation whereas other ICOs do not constitute an ‘investment activity’. Investors must rely on the issuer’s accurate disclosure and applicable legal compliance.[14]The FCA’s unhelpful advice is “to be prepared to lose your entire stake”.[15]

  • Cybercrime and hacks

Bitcoin and Ethereum have suffered huge thefts, such as the Japanese exchange Mt Gox losing 500 million bitcoins[16], resulting in huge price fluctuations and communities divided on how to deal with the aftermath. After the collapse of Mt Gox, bitcoin’s price recovered extremely well, demonstrating that even realisation of the biggest threat cannot deter cryptocurrency users.

The anonymity of cryptocurrency makes thieves and hackers untraceable, and stolen funds are almost impossible to follow. Without the private keys to a digital ‘wallet’, funds cannot be forcefully transferred and reclaimed in the same way as traditional bank accounts. The stolen cryptocurrency cannot be recovered, and exchanges hold no responsibility for theft. This remains a major hurdle for regulators, particularly with regard to consumer safety.

If the above challenges are not addressed, consumer fear itself will become a challenge to the market. This may lead to a price collapse and ultimately the failure of the cryptocurrency eco-system.


  1. Risks posed by using cryptocurrency

The risks posed by cryptocurrency can be categorised into three parts: personal, state and systematic risks.

  • Personal risks
    • Personal loss through financial instability

Bitcoin’s drastic price increase is comparable with a ‘bubble’ whereby individuals have invested not because of bitcoin’s ‘potential’ but because of the belief that the price will increase.[17]The threat of the bubble bursting poses the risk of huge economic losses for individuals worldwide.[18]An interventionalist stance would be required to deal with the governmental pressure arising from a significant financial collapse. The government can bail out the banks, but it cannot bail out bitcoin.

  • Theft and recovery

Individuals take a personal risk by placing their cryptocurrency into exchanges and wallets which are vulnerable to hacks since it is almost impossible for law enforcement to trace and recover stolen funds. Similarly, if a private key is lost, funds from a wallet cannot be recovered. Cryptocurrency users do not enjoy insurance or protection schemes to recover lost funds.

  • State Risks
    • Tax evasion

Regulators must classify cryptocurrency in order to begin to regulate it. This proves difficult as bitcoin’s practical use has evolved from a currency to an investment instrument. Cryptocurrency is considered a ‘single pooled asset’ for Capital Gains Tax purposes (TCGA 1992)[19]. Henceforth, authorities can initiate regulation of cryptocurrency as it would for assets. However, cryptocurrency’s anonymity forces HMRC to rely on individuals’ honesty in self-declaring gains and income earned from cryptocurrency.[20]A wallet’s private key can be passed down to children, illegally evading inheritance tax on large sums.

  • Facilitating criminal activity
    • Drug trafficking

Bitcoin notoriously facilitated anonymous payments on dark web sites, such as Silk Road, promulgating the illegal drug trafficking trade. After Silk Road was shut down, bitcoin’s price continued to grow, demonstrating that bitcoin is not popular solely for its online drug purchasing abilities.[21]Arguably, cash also plays a role in facilitating drug trade, however cryptocurrencies allow this trade to take place on a vast online and global scale.

  • Money laundering

Cryptocurrency can be used as a high-tech money laundering device, hiding financial transactions from law enforcement authorities. ‘Tumbling’ services mix illegally-obtained coins with others, confusing the trail back to the source.[22]Regulators have difficulty tracing proceeds of crime once converted into cryptocurrency due to its obscurity and anonymity on the network. Tracked accounts cannot be frozen on the decentralised network without the private keys. Currently 4% of European criminal proceeds are funnelled through cryptocurrencies, therefore regulators must tackle this in its early stages.[23]

  • Terrorist funding

Many hail cryptocurrencies as an enabler of terrorism because of its ability to anonymously transfer funds to rogue nations and terrorist organisations. However, one could argue that an encrypted information-exchange app facilitates terrorism, used by terrorists and citizens alike: WhatsApp.[24]

  • Systematic risks
    • ‘Proof-of-work’ systems losing miners

Permissionless decentralised cryptocurrencies that rely on ‘proof-of-work’ could simply stop functioning if miners were to cease work.[25]

  • Abuse of majority share of network

If an individual or company were to gain a majority share of the network’s computing power, it would give them phenomenal power to alter the rules and edit the ledger. Tokens could be counterfeited, transactions could be reversed, and the finality of payments would be brought into question.

  • Unknown future effects

The effects of widespread use of cryptocurrencies and self-executing financial products are unknown, which in itself is a risk. New vulnerabilities and risks are likely to surface.


  1. How may these risks be mitigated?

Cryptocurrencies have advanced the boundaries of existing regulatory frameworks, and new techniques are needed to control the advanced technology on a global scale.[26]

The UK’s first cryptocurrency trade body introduced a Code of Conduct with self-regulation at the heart.[27]This is problematic as it does not extend to ICOs and it relies purely on honesty. Other suggested means of regulation include the infamous New York ‘BitLicense’, which was so burdensome it drove bitcoin companies out of the state.[28]A changing approach to legal and financial regulation is required to implement new policies addressing new technology.

  • Cross-jurisdictional legal responsibility

Permissionless cryptocurrencies lack a legal personality to be brought into a regulatory perimeter. They are nationless and function independently, therefore can be regulated only indirectly.[29]Additionally, cryptocurrencies are used for activities which under existing laws would be regulated by numerous regulatory bodies. Only globally-coordinated regulation will be effective within the blurred lines of cross-jurisdictional legal responsibility. Criminal activity including money laundering, theft, fraud, drug trafficking and terrorist funding could be mitigated under this regulatory advancement.

  • Third party exchange & wallet regulation

Exchanges are the bridge between fiat and cryptocurrency, making them an ideal target for regulation. Exchanges could be licenced and monitored for how they send, receive and store cryptocurrencies, ensuring they are held against FCA regulatory benchmarks for safety, efficiency and legality of use. Monitoring capabilities are also required in order to implement applicable standards of consumer and investor protection, market integrity, anti-tax evasion, anti-money laundering and anti-terror finance[30]. Such regulatory efforts would establish trust in the cryptocurrency system.

Similar regulatory principles could be applied to wallets. Ideally, the immediate anti-theft mitigation would be through education of safe practices and the dangers of 3rdparty wallets and exchanges.

  • Compatibility of parallel markets

Cryptocurrencies should be compatible with regulated financial entities to ensure their monitored adoption. This will help to mitigate the risks of money laundering and tax evasion. Furthermore, the introduction of stability is likely to reduce systematic and financial ‘bubble’ risks.

The strongest argument for rules and regulations is that they will prevent an average person from committing such crimes with ease. However, rules or regulations cannot prevent the issues entirely. The risks highlighted are already rife among traditional banks, evidenced by HSBC’s $1.9 billion fine for money laundering in 2012[31]and the extensive secretive banking rules in many countries which present similar tax issues.


  1. Does current regulation sufficiently mitigate the risks posed by the use of cryptocurrency?

In light of the challenges facing the cryptocurrency market, the risks of using it, and the extent to which they are currently regulated, stricter regulation is certainly required. The challenges, risks and benefits of cryptocurrency stretch the boundaries of current laws and compel authorities to reassess traditional regulatory stances to accommodate technological advancements in order to provide consumer protection and market consistency.

The FCA exercises a ‘hands-off-wait-and-see’ approach, adopting a stance of “technology neutrality” when addressing cryptocurrency regulation.[32]The consumer protection measures extend to posting warnings on its website. This seems inadequate in comparison to the FCA’s strict regulatory framework for other financial service providers with regards to enhancing consumer protection, market integrity and competition.[33]

The self-regulation approach adopted by the UK is not sufficient given bitcoin’s mainstream adoption. Higher priority must be given to consumer protection, not only when monitoring exchanges to prevent theft, but also when scrutinising ICO schemes. Consumer loss of trust in the market would undermine the entire cryptocurrency eco-system.


  1. Changing regulatory approaches

Fresh regulatory approaches should be implemented consistently, co-ordinating the regulatory burden across all jurisdictions. Regulation should embrace cryptocurrency’s benefits and technological advancements by adapting and creating laws to manage it, rather than narrowly combatting only the criminal activity facilitated by it. The risks posed by cryptocurrency should not dilute the extraordinary market-changing evolution of blockchain, recognised by governments and financial institutions as having benefits for wider application in the legal and financial sectors.

While regulators should take steps towards regulation, they must not rush to do so before fully understanding its uses, benefits and risks. Regulators must remain vigilant and diligent in the meantime in order to address new technological challenges as they arise to protect consumers. This should entail a more ‘hands-on’ approach than the FCA’s clumsy ‘warning system’.


  1. Adaptations rather than mitigations

Regulators should make adaptations rather than mitigations of cryptocurrency’s challenges and risks. Established UK institutions could create a privately-issued cryptocurrency using a permissioned blockchain whereby the ledger is distributed and accessible by all users but can only be edited and updated by authorised participants. This would eliminate the dependence on an honest majority in the ‘proof-of-work’ bitcoin system and add a layer of consumer protection. If banks were to issue cryptocurrency via a permissioned blockchain, they could retain control over the supply of currency and amend the transaction rules when required, giving policy makers more leeway, for example, when interest rates are negative.


[1]Satoshi Nakamoto, ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’, (3 January 2009) <> accessed 6 June 2018

[2]‘The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto’ (A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto) <> accessed 6 June 2018

[3]Wei Dai, ‘b-money’, (1998) <> accessed 6 June 2018

[4]Satoshi Nakamoto, ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’, (3 January 2009) <> accessed 6 June 2018

[5]‘Whale Watching’ (TMTalks, December 14, 2017) <> accessed 6 June 2018

[6]Neeraj Pandey, ‘Bitcoin Whales Technique 1: Rinse and Repeat’ (Koinalert, February 24, 2018) <> accessed 6 June 2018

[7]‘Major Problems in the Cryptocurrency Market – Hacker Noon’ (Hacker Noon, January 25, 2018) <> accessed 6 June 2018

[8]‘Major Problems in the Cryptocurrency Market – Hacker Noon’ (Hacker Noon, January 25, 2018) <> accessed 6 June 2018


[10]Rakesh Sharma, ‘How The US Government Handles Its Massive Stash Of Bitcoins’ (Investopedia, February 26, 2018) <> accessed 7 June 2018

[11]‘Market Abuse’ (FCA, December 20, 2017) <> accessed 7 June 2018

[12]Thuy Ong, ‘SEC Charges Founders of Fraudulent ICO Backed by Floyd Mayweather That Raised $32 Million’ (The Verge, April 3, 2018) <> accessed 7 June 2018

[13]Anna Irrera, ‘U.S. Regulator Warns of Cryptocurrency ‘Pump-and-Dump’ Schemes’ (Reuters, 15 February 2018) <> accessed 14 June 2018

[14]‘Regulation of Initial Coin Offerings’ (Oxford Law Faculty, 6 February 2018) <> accessed 14 June 2018

[15]PatrickCollinson,‘Bitcoin Investors Could Lose All Their Money, FCA Warns’ (The Guardian, 12 September 2017) <> accessed 14 June 2018

[16]AdrienneJeffries, ‘Inside the Bizarre Upside-down Bankruptcy of Mt. Gox’ (The Verge, 22 March 2018) <> accessed 14 June 2018

[17]Cherry Reynard, ‘Is Bitcoin A Risk To Wider Financial Markets?’ (Forbes, 31 December 2017) <> accessed 14 June 2018

[18]Gian Volpicelli, ‘If the Bitcoin Bubble Bursts, This Is What Will Happen Next’ (WIRED, 20 December 2017) <> accessed 15 June 2018

[19]‘Capital Gains Manual’ (GOV.UK) <> accessed 14 June 2018

[20]‘Capital Gains Manual’ (GOV.UK) <> accessed 14 June 2018

[21]Christopher Woody, ‘NARCONOMICS: ‘The Real Drugs Millionaires Are Right Here in the United States’’ (Business Insider, 16 March 2016) <> accessed 15 June 2018

[22]Joshua Fruth, ‘’Crypto-Cleansing:’ Strategies to Fight Digital Currency Money…’ (Reuters, 14February 2018) <> accessed 15 June 2018

[23]KieranCorcoran, ‘Criminals in Europe Are Laundering $5.5 Billion of Illegal Cash through Cryptocurrency, According to Europol’ (Business Insider, 12 February 2018) <> accessed 15 June 2018

[24]‘Tech Giants Are under Fire for Facilitating Terrorism’ (The Economist, 8 June 2017) <> accessed 15 June 2018

[25]Andrew Tar, ‘Proof-of-Work, Explained’ (Cointelegraph, 20 June 2018) <> accessed 15 June 2018

[26]‘BIS Annual Economic Report 2018’ (Bank for International Settlements, 17 June 2018), <> accessed 18 June 2018

[27]Jennifer Boldon, ‘World Trade Center attacks two events, not one’ (Kennedys Law)<> accessed 18 June 2018

[28]Chrisjan Pauw, ‘BitLicense Approval Shines Fresh Light On New York-Crypto Relationship” (Cointelegraph,1 June 2018) <> accessed 14 June 2018

[29]‘BIS Annual Economic Report 2018’ (Bank for International Settlements, 17 June 2018), <> accessed 18 June 2018

[30]Financial Services, The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017

[31]Robert Peston, ‘HSBC to Pay $1.9bn in US Money Laundering Penalties – BBC News’ (BBC, 11 December 2012) <> accessed 14 June 2018

[32]‘FCA Publishes Feedback Statement on Distributed Ledger Technology’ (FCA, 15 December 2017) <> accessed 19 June 2018

[33]‘Best Bitcoin Exchange in UK – Cryptocurrency Exchanges List’ (forexbrokerz) <> accessed 19 June 2018

When you’re looking at the next stage of your studies as you head towards a career in the law profession, the choice of law degrees available at UK universities can be completely overwhelming!

Law with business, law with humanities, even law with a foreign language – there’s just so many options for you to mull over before you’ve even started the UCAS application process.

That’s why we’ve created this short guide to help you make an informed decision on which type of law degree is right for you- read on to discover which path will give you the best chance of employment.

A straight law degree

A degree that focuses solely on the law means that you’ll be studying every element of the legal profession including current legislation, legal principles, contracts, criminal law, constitutional law and human rights.

These straight law undergraduate degrees typically last three years and you can choose the modules that interest you the most and feel have the most value to where you want to head with your future career in your third year.

In your first two years, you will be expected to study compulsory modules to give you a thorough overview of the legal system, laws and guiding principles, but in your third year, you’re given a little more freedom.

A law sandwich

Here’s where things get a little more interesting. Many universities now offer ‘law sandwich’ courses that give you the option to study law alongside another subject. This can be particularly useful if there’s a certain industry or area of law that would like to pursue as many employers will be interested in candidates who have an insight into the work they do.

Law sandwich degrees are spread over four years, and during your third year, you’ll spend time in the industry gaining hands-on knowledge and experience. The great thing about law sandwich degrees is that this year of your studies doesn’t necessarily have to be spent in a legal setting.

For example, if you’re studying law and accountancy, you could choose to spend your third year at a financial services firm instead and gain some experience working in that profession. This could be valuable once you’ve graduated and start seeking employment.

Before you choose the law degree you want to study, take some time to consider the areas or industries that interest you the most and could offer you the best chances of employment once you’ve graduated.

If you’ve been invited to undertake the LNAT exam as part of your university application process, then congratulations! You’re just a few steps away from gaining a place at law school.

The LNAT examinations are used by several universities to assess the suitability of applicants for a place on their law degree courses, but many potential students can find this part of the process stressful and a source of worry and anxiety.

This stage of the application process is split into two parts. This first is a multiple-choice question exam that lasts two hours and fifteen minutes. It is then followed by an essay-based assessment where applicants are given a question to respond to in an essay style. This part lasts just forty minutes.

Applicants aren’t expected to have any specialist knowledge of the law at this stage as this will be something you will learn if your pass the assessment and gain a place at law school. What assessors are looking for is judgment and reasoning skills as these will be crucial later on in a law career.

This makes the LNAT something that you can’t really revise for as there’s no simple black and white answer to any of the questions at either stage, but there is something that can help you ace the LNAT exam.

The UniLaw LNAT masterclass is run by lawyers and law students who have previously taken the exam and passed with exceptional results. During the day-long course, you’ll learn expert techniques on critical and logical thinking, the skills you’ll need to distinguish between similar questions and how to process large amounts of information quickly as well as other skills that can help you get amazing results.

You’ll also be taught how to answer an essay-style question on a subject you know nothing about and how to argue your case decisively and persuasively. We’ll also share our secrets on the best essay structure and how to make your answer stand out from the crowd which are both critical to your success at the LNAT exam stage.

So, if you’re looking to gain top marks in your upcoming LNAT examination, thenclick hereto find out more about our LNAT masterclass or get in touch with the UniLaw team today.

Remember, spaces are strictly limited so make sure you get in touch as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.


As an aspiring lawyer, barrister or solicitor, you’ll want to be able to keep your finger on the pulse of all things legal.

If you’re looking for a little light reading, want to do some research before an interview for a university place or just want to keep ahead of your classmates with what’s going on in the legal world, then here’s some of our favourite online sources that are well worth keeping an eye on.

The Law Society Gazette

The independent professional body for solicitors, the Law Society has its very own gazette that covers a wide range of legal topics, breaking news, advice and blogs from industry professionals. All posts are completely free to access.

There’s also a unique career counselling area where you’ll find a series of FAQs from those hoping to join or already in the legal profession, so it’s an excellent resource for students seeking to get an insight into the role.


Powered by, LegalWeek is a hub of useful legal publications from around the globe and provides detailed analysis and news stories.

It also has a dedicated career ladder blog that offers expert advice on career development for individuals at any stage of their legal careers and a wide range of statistics pulled from regular surveys conducted by the publication. These could be very helpful when you embark on your own academic journey towards a career in the law industry.

The Lawyer

A one-stop website for the latest legal news, international deals and disputes plus comments on the most recent cases, The Lawyer is great for helping those hoping to join the legal profession find out more about the legal environment and how law firms operate.

It also features a handy market reports section that can offer some great insights for essays and University assignments, plus you can sign up for free email alerts and receive breaking legal news direct to your inbox.

Law Cheek

This is one of our favourite resources for aspiring legal professionals. Legal Cheek showcases some of the latest legal stories in a simple and easy to understand format as well as offering a range of legal events for students.

Their job section is also particularly useful as its geared towards those just breaking into the legal sector after Uni, so its well worth keeping an eye on this upbeat and slightly quirky website.

All Universities expect to see an attention-grabbing and succinct personal statement as part of the UCAS application process, so it’s essential that you create the right impression from the start.

Although many law school applicants can find the whole personal statement creation process daunting, with a little expert help, you can create a winning statement that engages the decision maker and makes them want to find out a little more about you.

As this is your first opportunity to tell the reader about your achievements and ambitions, you’ll want to wow them to help fend off the countless other applicants who are hoping to win a place at your University of choice. Read on for some expert advice on what you should include in your personal statement when applying to law school.

Explain your motivation for applying

University decision-makers will want to be assured that your motivation for studying law comes from a deep desire to succeed in the legal profession. They want students that will stay the course, so you’ll need to get across just how passionate you are about law and what led you to this decision.


This should take up the majority of your 4,000 character allowance and detail the subjects you’ve taken at A level and how the skills and subjects will help you in your law degree studies.


In this section, its time to discuss any interests you have outside the classroom such as voluntary work or hobbies that could be closely linked with the law profession.

Work experience

Your University will want to see that you’ve had real-world experience, so detail any paid or unpaid work experience you’ve had so far. If you’ve struggled to gain any experience in a relevant field, our Lawyer for a Dayoffers an intensive one-day workshop that can really impress decision makers.


Keeping to the most relevant hobbies, briefly detail any activities you enjoy and be sure to mention any legal publications you read or subscribe to show your commitment to the subject of law.

Personal statements take time, editing and most importantly, effort to get right. Our one-day personal statement workshopis ideal for anyone wishing to study law at degree level and was created by UniLaw’s team of solicitors, barristers, judges, law students, and UCAS application experts to give you the skills to get noticed.

You’ll also learn how your personal statement is used by Universities, uncover the secrets to a great statement and best of all finish the day with a full 1stdraft for you to finish off at home.

To discover more about our one-day personal statement course, click here.

If you’ve come to the point that you need to choose your AS Level subjects, but want to know what grades you’ll need to be accepted on to a degree level course to study law later on down the line, then read on because we’ve got some great advice for you.

As one of the most respected professions in the world, getting ahead in the law industry can be tough, but a place at one of the best universities can certainly help make things a little easier for you to start and break into the legal sector.

The grades you need to get a place on a law degree varies from university to university, but two things are very apparent and well worth knowing before you choose your AS or A Level subjects.

What’s in a grade?

The first thing you’ll need to know is that the higher your grades are, the more likely you are to be accepted by the university of your choice. Seems like common sense, but if you’re serious about making it in the law world, you’ll need to impress by getting good grades.

Secondly, universities don’t expect you to study any particular subject to get these grades and don’t have a wish list of A Level subjects that you should have studied to gain a place on the course. If English is your strong point, then aim to study this as an A Level option as it gives you a far better chance of getting the highest possible grades and also gives you plenty of experience writing essays – this is an integral skill you’ll need to hone in order to be successful at degree level.

Likewise, if chemistry is your thing, then don’t be afraid to choose this subject as you could find yourself working in a legal capacity for a chemicals company once you’ve graduated, given you have an appreciation for the work they do.

Writing a personal statement

One final tip is to consider taking one of our personal statement workshops when you’re coming to the end of your A Level studies. Not only will you discover what law schools look for in your personal statement and learn the skills to help your application stand out, but you’ll also uncover secret ways of targeting your chosen universities and get one-on-one help from real lawyers and UCAS experts to help you create a compelling personal statement.

Click hereto find out more about our one-day personal statement workshops.

There’s no doubt about it, if you’re going to make an impact in the legal profession you’ll need good grades at every stage of your academic career. But what’s also important is work experience so you can get a thorough working knowledge of working practices, processes and a solid commercial awareness of why legal service providers exist in the first place.

If you’re looking to embark on your next phase on your journey towards your dream legal career, you’ll no doubt be one of the thousands of potential students seeking to go to one of the many law schools dotted around at Universities all over the UK.

But with fierce competition for every single place on each law degree course, having a little experience on your side can help you outshine the other potential candidates vying for your spot in the lecture hall.

However, with so many legal implications when it comes to taking on work experience students and the whole data protection act to consider, may legal firms are wary of letting students any further than the office meeting room, never mind giving them access to confidential personal data!

So how exactly are you supposed to overcome this potential stumbling block?

UniLaw has created a unique one-day intensive workshop to help would-be law degree students get a real taste of being a lawyer for the day. Our imaginatively titled ‘Lawyer for the day’ course is open to anyone thinking of pursuing a degree in law to give them hands-on experience and provide them with an understanding of the English legal system, allow them to develop strong reasoning and analytical skills and provide them with the ability to communicate complex issues clearly and concisely.

There’s also a mock trial for attendees to take part and by the end of the day, you’ll have a unique insight that will allow you to decide if a career in law is the path for you.

You’ll also be able to demonstrate your commitment to your future studies by mentioning your attendance at the workshop that is run by UniLaw’s elite team of top barristers and city solicitors, influential judges, law students and UCAS law experts.

Click hereto find out more about this unique one-day course experience and how by attending you can get a leading edge when it comes to those personal statements and university place applications.

Regardless of whether you’re hoping to land yourself a space on a law degree course at University or plan to ask a local legal firm for some work experience or perhaps a traineeship, you’ll no doubt be required to demonstrate some level of commercial awareness at the interview stage.

This is enough to send some candidates running for the nearest exit, but the subject of commercial awareness isn’t quite so daunting if you follow these five golden rules.

  1. Understand that all legal firms operate to make a profit

You’ll need to communicate that you understand that any legal services provider (aside from charitable legal providers) operate just like any other business with the aim of making a profit.

Just because they help people with their legal needs doesn’t mean that they’re giving away their precious time and knowledge gratis, so this is the first point that you’ll need to get your head around.

  1. Show an appreciation for their bottom line

Like any business, law is all about profitability. Knowing that law firms keep a keen eye on their bottom line and cash flow will be an integral piece of knowledge that will put you in good stead as you begin your working or academic career. This impacts on a day-to-day level because it has implications for billing and time spent on cases, as well as which cases are accepted.

  1. Keep your finger on the pulse

You’ll not only want to show that you understand the commercial side of the legal profession to some extent, but in any type of interview you’ll need to show your enthusiasm for the subject. You should be able to prove that you’re keeping an eye on any breaking news stories or notable mergers or cases that are currently in the media.

Good resources for this include Legal Week and The Lawyer for the latest commentary, hot topics and legal commercial news.

  1. A new way of thinking

Showcasing your commercial awareness isn’t just about regurgitating stats and a script on ‘what commercial awareness is’, it’s more about having an understanding of how and why businesses operate in this space.

You’ll need to gain knowledge about the markets law firms operate in to fully grasp commercial awareness when it comes to the legal profession, so do as much reading as you can to get a holistic view of the legal services industry before your interview. 

  1. Expect (and want) to learn more

Going into an interview for a traineeship or academic course all guns blazing and telling the interviewer that you know everything there is about commercial awareness isn’t going to get you very far. You need to showcase your understanding at present and show that you are excited to learn more as you embark on your placement or course. Be clear that you appreciate there’s still much more to learn about commercial awareness.

The team at Uni Law would like to let you into a little secret when it comes to choosing your A-level subjects, if you’re thinking of going to law school.

Basically, it’s this – take the subjects that you’re strongest in and expect to get the best results at the end of your course.

This might seem like an odd piece of advice, but Universities are looking for the highest grades possible when they accept students on to their law degree courses, so whatever subjects you choose, they need to be in areas that you excel in.

All universities vary in when it comes to the grades they’ll accept for entry on to law degrees, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t aim high and try to get the best grades you possibly can just because you think that’s what they’re looking for.

There’s little point in studying politics or social sciences if this isn’t a particularly strong subject for you as the grades you receive at the end of your A-level studies will be disappointing. Instead, it’s a far better idea to play to your strengths and do well in your final exams and assessments to get the best grades you possibly can.

During the application and interview process, the University decision makers are well versed in making a call on which candidates to accept for their law degrees and can see value in almost every A level subject.

For example, if English is one of your strongest subjects, it’s a good idea to choose this as an option for your A levels as a good grade demonstrates excellent essay writing and text interpretation skills.

For those with an interest in theatre, drama is a good choice as there are several valuable skills to be learnt from communicating to an audience and retaining vast amounts of information that can be experienced from reading and memorising scripts.

If science is a strong subject for you, don’t be afraid as selecting this as an A-level option as many corporate clients seek out legal professionals with an interest and appreciation of the sciences, so it may pay dividends later on in life.

So, you see, it’s not the subjects you take that will ultimately affect your success in gaining a place at law school, it’s your grades. Be sure to choose a subject you believe will give you the best possible results and most of all, enjoy.

Interviews give law degree course tutors the opportunity to compare applicants to see who they feel would be able to keep up with the demands of the course and get the best possible results.

It can be a nerve-wracking experience for applicants who might not have had much practice in an interview situation, but this is the perfect time to meet with the tutor face-to-face and showcase everything you have to offer. This is also a chance to emphasise why you deserve a place on the course.

To help you make the best possible impression, here are some great interview tips to help you nail that place at law school.

Create an action plan

To make a great first impression, make sure that you’ve got a solid action plan in place before heading off for your interview.

Ensure that you can make the appointment at the assigned time and plan to arrive ten minutes early. It’s a good idea to check out train or bus timetables beforehand as tutors won’t take kindly to latecomers.

You’ll also need to set aside time to research some hot topics in the legal industry as you’ll be expected to show your enthusiasm for the subject during the interview.

Practice makes perfect

You are certain to be asked some questions about your application as well as why you want to study at this particular university. To ace this part, make sure that you do your homework on the course and university a few days in advance.

Ask a teacher, family member or careers advisor to practice a few mock questions with you. This is a great way to identify any areas where you could use a little more prep work and to give you some confidence before the big day.

Make the effort

It is essential that you treat this interview in the same way you would an interview for a job in a legal practice, so make sure that you suit up and look sharp when you get ready.

The tutor will also be watching your body language, so try not to slouch and make regular eye contact as this shows that you’re confident and able to communicate well with others – an essential skill if you’re looking for a career in the legal profession!

Finally, remember that this is your chance to ask questions too, so if there’s anything that you’d like to find out more about or aren’t sure of, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.