Justin's application to Oxford Law
This post was written by Justin, a Finnish Project Access mentor. He is currently studying at Wharton Business School in the United States.
I applied to study law at Oxford approximately two years ago. Although I ended up somewhere completely different, the experience was one I still cherish to this day. It opened my eyes to the world of legal work and academia which I still incorporate as part of my learning in conjunction with my studies in finance.
The road to Oxford law is not as daunting as it seems. Nevertheless, the application process is efficient in filtering out unpassionate students and others who do not quite fit the Oxford mold. The first part of the application is your UCAS personal statement. This is relatively simple.
Primarily, you need to show passion for the subject matter. Whether it is books you have read, personal history or even internships, explain and more importantly prove your interest in law.
Secondly, you will need to tackle the LNAT. Although the exam seems easy and clear, the complexity is masqueraded by the simplicity of the format. One of the aspects of the exam that makes it challenging is the time limitation. However, it is important to remember that speed, although significant, is not the quintessential skill that helps you during the LNAT.
You can read as fast as you want, but without the ability to quickly digest information, identify main and sub-arguments with one readthrough or contextualize the excerpt, you will not perform optimally. I recommend reading literature reviews in the social sciences or humanities then summarizing on a piece of paper to prepare for the exam.
As a final step in your application, you will need to participate in perhaps the most daunting and exciting part of the process, the interview. The interviews usually consist of two individual sit-downs with different professors where you will discuss and argue a hypothetical legal case. No prior legal knowledge is required, however reading a fair bit of literature on legal ethics and some basic legal theory will support you immensely. I recommend Sandel’s work or even Haidt depending on your academic interests. Another good way to prepare is to participate in academic debates to hone your formal reasoning skills for both constructing an argument and picking apart one.