How important is your law degree

Attention! These ideas about law school are wrong

Before studying law, I studied at a university of applied sciences for public administration, where I did a bachelor's degree in general administration, which qualifies me for work in the higher service.

I came to law through this undergraduate degree alone, so I don't want to miss this time - even if it makes me a little older than most of my fellow students.

The three-year administration course covers a few subjects that you will encounter in law studies, but these are treated very superficially and are aimed at pure application.

The lesson plan - it's very schooly - also includes notification technology, economics, IT and some psychology. The training is tailored to the job of administrative clerk and takes place in almost all federal states as a dual course of study with good prospects of being hired.

If you really want to get into the civil service, your chances of success in administration studies are also much higher than it is for lawyers.

Of course, this is also evident in the remuneration, but the FHöV training only lasts three years, you do not have to pay in advance financially and the pressure is not as immense as in law studies.

Gained valuable experience before studying law

If you are generally interested in law and the work of administration, but are looking for a practical, broad-based education, this could be a good alternative to studying law. The same applies, by the way, to financial administration, administration of justice or the courses of study at the university of the Federal Employment Agency.

Should you happen to consider taking the same path as I did, inform yourself in good time about any repayment obligations and the financing of the second degree, as you can no longer take advantage of student loans.

If you ask me if I consider my undergraduate degree a waste of time, the answer is clearly “no”. In law - apart from the expert opinion - I started from scratch, but without the first degree, which I stumbled into rather haphazardly, I would not have thought that one day I would end up in law.

Misconceptions about law school

My idea was that law students would memorize paragraphs and write pleadings that they would then have to recite in American television fashion. That scared me off. In truth, studying in Germany focuses more on teaching systematics, you learn analytical and logical thinking, you have to read, argue and formulate a lot.

In contrast to some other courses of study, there is no corresponding school subject for law, so that you actually only find out during the first semester whether law appeals to you and whether you are suitable for it.

While it is said that German, mathematics and Latin are important, your focus should be more on your interests and talents than individual grades.

The most important thing is that you have a very good command of the German language. The more precisely you can express yourself, the better. You should also have a strong understanding of the text and enjoy writing - but less in the style of a poem analysis than a discussion. The sometimes swollen language and the "expert opinion" style, which is used up to the first state examination, you will quickly internalize with a little feeling for the language and practice.

Law degree without Latinum?

In law there are a few Latin expressions that you then learn, such as vocabulary or definitions, but you do not need a Latinum to study. Not the Graecum three times. The same also applies to economics and law - this subject does not exist in every federal state anyway and it does not give you any real head start. The universities assume that you will start your studies without significant prior knowledge and will consciously start from scratch.

Regarding math or “arithmetic”, you need it no more in law studies than in everyday life.

At this point I would like to propose the thesis that computer science is more relevant as a school subject for law. You should not be averse to logical thinking and systematics and you should be able to get involved in if-then structures.

It is also an advantage if you are interested in social contexts and politics. You should enjoy the discussion and be happy to exchange arguments. If you don't get bored of newspaper articles on legal issues, that's a good sign.

Because the law degree is usually perceived incorrectly by outsiders, it is difficult for someone from a law-free environment to assess the degree.

Unless you have a judge for your father, your mother is a lawyer or someone you know works as a corporate lawyer, you have to rely on the help of people who hardly know you.

It is all the more important to seek advice from someone who knows what he is talking about. In making your decision, I would therefore rely less on the assessment of teachers, job center consultants and other non-lawyers, but rather go to the study advisory service of a law faculty near you.

Even if you prefer a different location, you will be informed about the basic requirements and challenges in law studies here.

You can also visit the student council or library and ask law students from different semesters for their opinion. Lawyers are often very communicative and happy when they can talk about themselves - so don't be afraid to ask!

Law studies: That shouldn't put you off the least

What should scare you off the least is the prejudiced image that law students sometimes cling to and is further fueled by the cult figure of a certain Justus from M. Law is not an exclusive club, but a mass subject and in reality the vast majority come in jeans, T-shirts and on bicycles. Even in M.

When the decision to study law has been made, it is advisable to contact the Admission requirements familiarize yourself with the universities that are suitable for you.

You should read how exactly the matriculation works and note down deadlines. Especially if you intend to study at a university with an NC, have not taken a "standard" high school diploma or if it is a second degree, you have to inform yourself a few months in advance, as the application here is different and often takes place earlier.

If you want to apply for student loans or want to move into the dormitory, you should also research this early on.

Choice of law university: gut feeling and state

When choosing a university, you should primarily pay attention to two things: the state and your gut feeling. The state because you will write a state examination at the end and the examination modalities of the individual states differ.

And your gut instinct, because in the end it will all depend on the exam grades and not on rankings, fame and famous alumni.

A good reputation does not hurt, of course, but since you take the same exam as all other students in the same state, you can enroll at the university that suits you best without hesitation. Factors here are of course the university city as such, but also foreign language programs as well as additional qualifications and “exotic” chairs, such as for medical law or space law.

Be sure to read the study regulations

Especially at the beginning of your studies and your student life, you should feel comfortable in your new adopted home in order to get off to a good start. If you want to change your location later, this is not a problem after the intermediate examination and, by the way, you can also go to those universities whose NC you are currently missing.

At the beginning of your studies, you should definitely read the study regulations of your university to find out which certificates you have to provide and how much time you have for this. You should also find out about repetition options and understand how the individual services are related.

For example, you can only take certain exams if you have passed others, or you have to write a term paper in the same semester as a corresponding exam.

That varies from university to university and can also change from one semester to the next. So always read the study regulations that apply to your year. I made a four-year plan for myself at the time.
In addition to the most important exams, it contains time slots for internships, trips and projects such as a moot court.

This is especially helpful for people with a tendency to chaos, as you don't lose sight of anything. Most universities also offer sample study plans that you can use as a guide.

Tips from experienced law fellow students are worth their weight in gold

What is generally worth gold are tips from fellow students who have already had a few semesters behind them.

They can provide you with old exams and report on the peculiarities of the individual professors. They also know which employee is more accommodating in terms of missed deadlines and at which chair a job is currently vacant. The following applies here: collect information from several people, the overlap is then usually applicable.

Unfortunately, many people start their studies with wrong expectations and consider dropping out after a few weeks.

If you don't completely dislike law, you should give your studies a chance and hold out at least one, if not two semesters.

Abort law studies? Definitely hold out for four months

Always ask yourself what motivated you to start this course and whether anything about these reasons has changed.

There are only four months between the start of the lecture and your first exams. Since you can't start anything new in the current semester anyway, you should gather yourself up for the time - you may recognize the first connections while learning and the study will begin to be fun.

Or your aversion is growing steadily, so that you can break off your studies full of conviction and never have to ask yourself whether law might not have been the right thing after all.

More information, tips and literature tooEducationandLegal clerkship can be found at

By the way: Test the NJW and the training magazines JuS and JA now for free with a trial subscription.

This text is from the study guide 2017/2018, which you can order free of charge here.

You can download the current study guide here.