“Why Law?” – The question you’ll almost certainly be asked by any interviewer or future employer if you choose to go into the legal industry. Here are a few words of wisdom to get you thinking about how to go about answering this question.
Probably the easiest and hardest question you can be asked at any interview. Easiest because you should have an answer to it since you applied to study it for 3 years. Hardest because its a question which can be very difficult to answer without sounding cliche and contrived.
The bottom line is, you SHOULD and MUST have answer to his question because after all you’ve applied to study law for at least the next three years of your life, and the admissions tutors expect you to have an honest, genuine but unique reason behind it. So here are my top tips which will, hopefully, get you thinking about how you can go about answering this deceptively easy question.
1. The Trigger
What was the initial trigger that made you start researching into a degree in law? It could be anything, but whatever it is, be honest about it. If you watched an episode of ‘Suits’ or ‘Silk’ and that inspired you to look into the legal world, admit it, but make sure you then back it up with some concrete research and/or work experience which shows that you took this trigger seriously enough to investigate whether or not it was right for you.
My personal trigger was when I was in year 8 and I took part in a Magistrate’s Mock Trial competition, where I was the prosecution barrister. Your example need not even be directly related to law. For example, you might have had a keen interest in politics or economics and through exposure to those subjects you found out how the law works in those fields. So whatever triggered your desire to research a degree into law be honest about, the tutors will appreciate that, even if your trigger is somewhat out of the ordinary. The main thing is to show that following the trigger, you took the initiative to research the subject, to get exposure to the subject in the real world, and to show that you are curious about learning more.
2. The bigger picture
You may not know the intricacies of how our legal system works or how a Bill is put through Parliament, but that does not matter, the tutors don’t expect you to know the ins and outs of everything. What does matter is that you demonstrate to the tutors that you understand the impact the concept of ‘the law’ has locally, nationally, and globally. Perhaps you watched a news program about injustices in countries which are under dictatorships, which got you thinking about the idea of the law, and how for some people it does not exist, because the law is a person and not a means of justice? Or maybe you listened to a lecture on iTunes U about which type of law is best, a law which protects the majority, or a law which protects the individual? So you could discuss your choice to pursue a law degree as being part of a bigger picture, in which law plays an integral role.
3. Don’t just repeat your personal statement
The tutors have read your personal statement, they know what it says, so when they ask you ‘so, why law?’ don’t just regurgitate your personal statement. Yes the reason you have for choosing law will be in your statement, but that doesn’t mean you need to reproduce that word for word in the interview. If you mentioned something in your statement which inspired you to study law, say it, but then go on to elaborate on it. Why did it inspire you? What have you done since to make sure law is right for you?
So those are my words of wisdom, which will hopefully get you thinking about ‘why law?’ My final world will be this: don’t think too hard and long about this question, otherwise you run the risk of sounding rehearsed and fake, it should be an answer which flows naturally from you since it was YOU who chose the subject! And most importantly; be honest. Don’t give the tutors an answer you think they want to hear, because chances are 9 times out of 10, they’ve heard that answer a million times before. Be honest and be you!