Thursday, 11 December 2008

Criminal Law Masters?

Does anyone know of any good criminal law masters?

Not sure if I am looking for theory/substantative part either. I did criminology last year and I'm not sure if it was just the way it was taught, but it was highly boring/my teacher made me want to pluck my eyelashes out.

Help Please?


Android said...

Well, if you are convinced that you're not going to enjoy your masters, why bother? I think they're only worth doing if you are really interested in the subject and can get a distinction in the end or something...

Personally, I think there are better ways to improve your CV in preparation for the Criminal Bar, which would involve elements of advocacy.

Law Minx said...

I think very many masters programmes are an extension of theory/substantive law - after all that is where the great contraversies spring up, do they not? Perhaps, if you are not strictly set on a formally taught LLM, why not go for an M.Phil? At least that way you could dictate what it is that you want to say and how you want to say it - with the assistance of a supervisor of course.
Just a thought!

Bar Boy said...

Most masters are going to be heavily academic in nature and 2,000 hours spent on a subject can definitely cure you of any fondness gained at undergraduate level. I did equity and it certainly cured me !

An M.Phil is a huge task to embark on. I think, first off, you would want to look at an LLM or MRes that you can, if all goes well, then bump up to an M.Phil with another year's work. In the long run, it is difficlt to see that a research degree with its transferable skills would not be time well spent.

Anonymous said...

These days you cannot get into the Bar without a masters. I think that a masters in medical law and ethics would be a good one, i know of a pupil who has such an experience, i think it helps tremendously in the race for pupillage. But again, i think that interest in taking up a masters is necessary.

Your advocacy has to be on top of the level. Practice and effort can make this happen. You can take my word on that one.

I get the impression that you are need of careers advice which you should of got when you were in fact in your first year. The time for thinking was then, the time for deciding is now. No?

Lost said...

True Andro - thanks. I do need to be interested in the subject, criminolgy was interesting but I only liked the practical elements of it not the great dicussion of theory!.

Law Minx - I have looked at a few M.Phils however they all look pretty daunting!

Bar Boy - I was also told that an MRes would be better for me as I could then just choose what I wanted to research!

Anon- are you sure? Simon Myerson would disagree with you stating that a masters isnt at all necessary/ doesnt really make a difference. I really do enjoy Medical Law and Ethics, but I'm hard pressed to see how this can help me towards the criminal bar, unless I wanted to practice in criminal and mental health law..

But it does seem that there are far better courses for medical law than there are in criminal law. Plus my lecturer is great.

Lost said...

In addition Anon, its hard to try and think of what you want to do in in the first year past getting drunk and waking up every morning with a hangover!!

Anonymous said...

Lost, i think you have researched well and you have that interest you need to succeed at the bar.

The first year fools everyone down that 'let's drink and have fun' route. You may have had the 'must get a 2.1 attitude' hammered into you from day 1 like I was. Not like that that happened anyway!

I think you should ask your teachers what they think, it's the best advice you could get. Also, as my commercial tutor always says, "exploit any contacts ruthlessly". It's the only way you'll make it. Someone once toldme that chambers want barristers who can bring in work, and this may be through contacts who are solicitors. Make some to-be solicitor friends!

I always joke with a friend that you need to be 'sleeping, eating and dreaming' training contract in order to get one. A few of my friends who got one a few months ago were doing applications in the number of 60's. Maybe the same applies to pupillages?

And Free Rep Unit? That's an almost 'essential' thing to do if you want to be a barrister. (i'm sure you know most of this already).

And mooting? I always say you need to be a winner or a finalist. So get yourself there!

Bar Boy said...

A research masters can be useful, not just as a way of honing advanced skills, but as a way of making contacts in commercial sectors; not just with specialist solictors but, perhaps, just as importantly, with in-house legal departments. Whether they are sincere, or not, most commercial institutions will accommodate post grad students in helping with research for fear that they will get bad PR if they don't.

Aside from the holy grail of a BCL, an academic masters may not be of much use as a selling tool, but a handful of contacts in, say, construction company legal departments when applying to a construction set would certainly get you noticed.

To add to anon's sound advice, not enough is said about the subject, but you will need contacts if you want to get on and prosper. Merely being comeptent, and keen, is rarely going to be enough. You could be the next Sumption but if no one is instructing you, how will you eat ?

Lost said...

This is true Bar Boy.

I've hopefully made a few contacts by doing that week at the Solicitors.

I also know two major criminal law academics. Hence my post on jepoardised...

BCL is the holy grail, I am unlikely to get a first, and even if I did get a first they probably wouldn't take me!

Are both the Anons the same people? They seem completly different, could you sign off with a made up name to help me tell you apart!!

At the mo I can't fit FRU into my schedule!! What with Mooting, the legal advice centre and now being involved in a new pro bono activity I just don't have the time!! ( I am not busy normally but things do get hectic when I have to prep everything which I normally leave to the last day)

I'll talk to a few people when I get back to Uni, but I may register on the BVC online thingy just incase, that and I will need to have a conditional place if I am to get a scholarship which I think I can carry over a year or two?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anon is the same person.

I think FRU may be a good thing to do when you are on the BVC, then it may tie in with the new skills you're learning.

I also read somewhere that it is a good idea to write, e.g for newspapers or student news things whilst at university, especially if you're going to the Bar. This may be something you wish to consider.

Bar Boy said...

On the writing front, and linking up with Law Actually's recent thread, the ability to write, and in different styles for different purposes, does seem to be an area where many students are deficient (I am not excluding myself here). Writing a proper, discursive blog is something I think should be considered. A weekly technical blog in an area of practice in which the student is interested would, I feel, have merit. Aside from displaying both writing and knowledge skills, it could attract practtioner readers in the same field.

Lost said...

I sometimes do discursive posts however I do lack writing skill and style! I'll try harder.. :S