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What really is ‘essential’ reading and what can you pass on?

What really is ‘essential reading’ and is it worth investing your (pizza) money? Well that’s precisely the question I’m going to be answering for you.

The essential reading lists are extensive, it is important both for your time and your bank that you know what is essential and what can be put aside. Like many law students, when I saw the essential reading list I went out and bought majority of the materials on the list, concerned that my grades would suffer without them. Today, most remain new and unused and my grades are completely unaffected. Everyone learns differently, so the materials that work for me might not for you but you certainly don’t need to purchase every book and guide on each topic.

Textbooks University Provide

We are very lucky that our University provides the essential textbooks for our first and second years because these are not cheap or easily available. For most modules, the content you will be examined on is heavily featured in the chosen textbook and often places an emphasis on the cases that are considered crucial by your lecturer. If you are confident on the content covered in the lecture then briefly read the chapters in the assigned reading just to reaffirm what you had learnt and they sometimes provide additional information that gives you those high marks. If you aren’t understanding something in class then read the textbook more thoroughly.

 

 

Other textbooks

In all honestly, the only time I have picked up an additional textbook is when I haven’t understood the assigned textbook or I have loathed it with a passion. It is highly likely that at one point during your LLB you will have an assigned textbook that you dislike to such an extent that you question your entire legal career. At this point, I would consider another textbook. The additional textbooks on the reading lists are often there to cater for this exact scenario and are usually useful alternatives. However, if you are still unsure then contact your lecturer, they are always happy to help. Would I buy them? Usually, there is no need. City’s Law Library usually stocks copies of the recommended textbooks and if there aren’t any physical copies, City’s Online Library often has a digital version that you can download or view online at any time.

 

Case Books

For some modules, it is recommended that you acquire a case book which simply gives you a summary of landmark and supporting cases. These are the books that I have never ever opened. If I have ever wished to read a judgement or case then I have either used WestLaw or LexisNexis to read it in full. This gives you access to a greater number of cases and doesn’t weigh a ton. Although it is important that you understand most of the cases, you do not to read every single one in depth. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend reading the casebooks and would save your time and money for more efficient ways of working.

Statutes

If you are allowed a statute in your exam, use it but never rely on it. However, it is useful if you have a complete mind blank in the exam or wish to use the exact wording. When you are studying, take some time to read the relevant statute or treaty. It will help you know where the relevant Act is for the exam and isn’t time consuming.

 

Revision Books

This one is solely down to preference and I wouldn’t recommend purchasing one until the second term when you vaguely know if you will need it. Throughout the course so far, I have only used one revision book and even then, I didn’t find it particularly useful as it didn’t provide the depth of knowledge I was after. I would be very wary about relying on revision books they rarely have enough information to be worth your time and your information can be found through resources on the internet. Although you do need to be careful that the websites that you are relying on are credible.

Journals

We always hear how we must read countless numbers of journals for each topic to understand the opinions of various academics. In all truth, I have barely read journals and it has not prevented me from achieving high grades. There are two occasions that I read journals. The first, when a lecturer or seminar teacher specifically says read this journal- chances are this will hugely benefit your answers in an exam (hint *EU Law* hint). The second, if once I have done my revision for the exam and I am confident on majority of the cases, all major points and supporting legislation. Only then will I consider giving myself extra information to learn. After all, quoting academics isn’t going to help you if you don’t know the law it relates to.

News Channels

I would highly recommend reading a newspaper, watching the news or downloading news apps. Staying in touch with the news is exceptionally important and taking 15minutes out of your day can provide additional information that will get you good grades. Furthermore, staying in touch with the news is essential for applications, you can’t be commercially aware if you have no idea what is happening around you.

My final thoughts, it is easy to look at the extensive reading list and feel terrified. Don’t overload yourself with information and if you don’t learn by using a method, don’t do it. Wider reading will help you gain a fuller view of the topic but realistically, you won’t have the time or the inclination to do this for every topic in each module. Whatever you do, do not buy every book on the off chance you may read it.

Enjoy your time at City and I hope this proves to be useful.

Written by Lauren Puttick
City University Blog Co-ordinator

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Featured

The importance of your Law Society

It is well known that employers favour those who have an active commitment in a University Society but what benefit does it provide and how can you get involved?

Social Events
We are the largest academic and the longest established legal society on campus. This means that we can provide our growing community with unique and fun social events. These can be anything from a relaxing Pizza Night to an opportunity to dress up to the nines with our Law Ball which proves to be a success every year. We understand that there isn’t always a chance to get to know students from other disciplines which is why we have made a conscious effort to join forces with other societies for many of our events. Join us on October 26th for our pre-Halloween party which will be co-hosted with our friends from the Psychology Society, the Drama Society and the LGBT Society.

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We have frequent social events throughout the year that are guaranteed to keep you entertained. So, practice your accuracy because our beer pong team needs you!
If you’re intrigued about the numerous social events we have to offer this year then join us on the 6th of October for our Meet and Greet which will be held in City Bar from 18:00- 23:00. Grab a soda or a cocktail and come and meet the crew!


Professional Events
One of the driving forces behind our Society is providing you opportunities to connect with prestigious firms which will help you make informed choices over your future career. Our Law Society provides exclusive events with some of the most desirable law firms. In recent years these have included Clifford Chance, Delloite and Ashurst, names which I am sure you’re all familiar with. The seminars and networking events hosted by these firms provide a valuable insight into the firm’s culture and the graduate recruitment process, these will put you one step ahead of the competition when you apply for your pupillage’s or training contract’s.

Our assistance doesn’t stop there. We also provide advice on study techniques; what materials are worth investing in and even funding options for the LPC or BPTC. We understand that we can be given amazing opportunities but are often unsure on how to make the very most of them. Therefore, we are hosting an event with City’s LPC co-ordinator, James Catchpole, on how to approach the Law Fair with confidence so you choose the ideal firm for you. This will be hosted on the 3rd of October at 2pm (room tbc) in preparation for the Law Fair on Friday the 11th of October. These events are highly recommended because as much as it pains us to say, the abundance of merchandise you usually acquire isn’t going to give you any sense of direction (unless it’s a compass).

 

How to I take part?
There are several ways to do this. Firstly, sign up for our membership, to experience all the events listed above. Membership can be bought from us at the Fresher’s Fair or online via the City University Student’s Union site

Secondly, become a part of our Committee. This provides a spring board for innovative thinking and a chance to be involved in an experience that increases your employability tenfold. All without any hindrance to your academics or social life.

All roles we have available can be applied to by sending a copy of your CV and a short covering letter to: lawsociety@city.ac.uk
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 8th October 2017 at 11:59pm

These are the positions that we currently have available:

Secretary:
This year we aim to expand our committee and increase our membership! As you can see, we have teams working separately but in close connection to each other. We are looking for a secretary who will build bridges between teams and individual committee members, arrange meetings, take and be in control of our email traffic. If you’re exceptionally organised and great with people this is an ideal position for you.
Communications Assistant:
Our Communications Officer, Fatema, will work closely with social and professional events as well as the social media coordinator and the Ball, Journal and Blog teams. We are looking for an assistant who will help Fatema and the Society in maintaining the overall communication within committee members. Communication is at the heart of everything we do so this is a role for anybody looking for responsibility and who wishes to be at the core of our society.
Social Events Coordinator:
This position is without a doubt the most entertaining position in the committee. You will be organising our socials and parties and our encouraged to get creative and go above and beyond to create fun for our members. You can organise themed parties, movie nights or trivia nights. For this position, we are looking for someone who is well organised but also fun and social!
Professional Events Coordinator:
This position requires you to contact law firms and companies and host our external speaker events and workshops. It will allow you to build your personal network and organise events to benefit City law students. We want somebody who is confident and articulate enough to organise events and talks, welcome our speakers to the University and maximise student participation.
Social Media Coordinator:
We are looking to recruit someone to be in control of our social media accounts while working closely with Fatema, our Communications Officer. This position also requires collaboration with our Journal, Blog and Law Ball teams as well as our social and professional events coordinators. This role demands basic knowledge of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you are a social butterfly then this a perfect role for you!
Course Representatives (LLB Years 1,2 and 3 as well as Postgraduates from the Gray’s Inn and Northampton Sq campus):
Course representatives are responsible for building strong relationships with their classmates and the Society. Your tasks will include lecture shoutouts and mingling with your classmates. This is a great position for students with good communication skills looking to socialise and get closer with their class! We are looking for confident and friendly reps, who are willing to make announcements in front of other students. Course reps will also be required to help the committee with feedback from students.

Journal Team:
We will be publishing the 3rd Edition of our City, University of London Law Society Journal! This is a very exciting tradition, which is growing and developing each year. This team will carefully select 12-15 writers for the journal and work closely with them.
Editor in Chief– We are looking to recruit an Editor in Chief, who will be responsible for the journal team, take initiative and make creative and academic decisions for the journal.
Journal Editors x6 – We are looking for 6 editors who will edit the articles written by our writers, help with the design and structure of the journal and organise a Journal Launch in March
Becoming part of the editing team will not disable you from writing for the journal. The journal team is the most academic team we have in our committee. We advise you to mention your creative and innovative plans for the journal and include your experiences in your covering letter.
Law Ball Team:
Law Ball Coordinator
Law Ball Assistant x2
Be part of a team organising the annual Law Ball – make it bigger and better this year! You will be responsible for putting together this black-tie event from finding a spectacular venue to selling tickets. Help us create an unforgettable night for law students this year. Event date: April 6th 2018.
Blog Assistant x3:
For this position, you will have the opportunity to write on (almost) any legal issue or relevant event that you are interested in. This will require research, proof reading and most importantly, creativity. All of which are skills that are loved by firms. You could even have the chance to interview partners and associates of firms. The commitment is relatively low with posts being required at a very maximum of once a week. You don’t even need to leave your bed for this role! In your covering letter please demonstrate your sense of humour and may the heartiest laugh win!

I hope this as proven to be insightful and we look forward to providing you with a memorable experience.

 

Written by Lauren Puttick, Blog Editor in Chief 2017/2018