Perhaps you are considering pursuing a law degree once you complete your matric year.  You need to be working towards getting an admission point score (APS) of 43 points. You may have already started working on doing well in the mandatory subjects like English and Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy.  The University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) is one such university in South Africa that eagerly opens its doors to law students.

Do you want to be an advocate or do you want to spend your day dishing out legal advice?

You may still be uncertain as to why you became interested in the field of law in the first place. Are you still trying to figure out how Elle Woods won the court case in "Legally Blonde"? Well, if Elle Woods could make it as a lawyer, then surely anyone else can succeed in the law field too.

Whatever your reason is for wanting to dip your toes into the legal jargon, Superprof is ready to serve as judge and jury to help you with your law-related decisions.  Let’s start off with a quote that may make you all the more willing to pursue the law field.

“Everyone wants to say they hate lawyers, and yet I’ve never met a parent who didn’t want their kid to be a lawyer.” Jessi Klein

Does the above quote make you dream of wearing your graduate hat? Graduating as a lawyer from law school...

But first, let’s look at the basis of an LLB degree

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All You Need to Know About the LLB Degree

If you are adamant that law is the way forward for you, you can opt to complete a four-year LLB degree at an acclaimed university. After 4 years of devoting your time specifically to the field of law, you can work towards becoming an advocate or specialise further in the law field. You also have the option of getting two degrees in a mere 5 year’s time. You may have heard that you can either complete a BA Law degree or a BCom Law degree.

Either way, many universities advise new law students to complete a BA or BCom degree first by choosing Law as one of their majors. Upon completion of the respective degree with a focus on law, students will be able to grasp if the law field is in fact for them or not. By completing a full BA or BCOM degree, students like you can learn things from other subject disciplines that will be valuable for you in your career as a lawyer.

How do you make the decision on whether to pursue an LLB law degree, BA Law degree, or a BCOM Law degree? If you are mainly interested in English and social sciences then you would more likely prosper if you do a BA Law degree. If you have taken a keen interest in the commercial field, you would be better off focusing on a BCOM Law degree. If you do either a BCOM degree or a BA degree first, you can further study pure LLB for another 2 years in order to join the legal profession in South Africa. You must, however, keep in mind that you will pay more to complete another degree and then an LLB law degree than you would pay if you started with an LLB degree in the first place.

Would you benefit from knowing more about what studying law entails? Look at these legal terms for insight into what to expect when you study law.

Courses in Law: What to Expect?

scales of justice statue
Law is so specialised that individual countries have their own statutes. - Source: Unsplash

Do you know Latin? Well, in your LLB course, you might encounter many Latin words. Latin is a dead language, so why is the language still used in law? Well, Latin adds a bit of formality to simple concepts. For example, pro bono is Latin and means, ‘for free’. Pro bono surely does sound more professional than the English alternative, "for free".

If an attorney had to say that he or she would handle your case for free, it does not sound as if the attorney will put any effort into the task.

It is much the same as the term ad hoc. When ad hoc is used, it can be defined as, ‘when needed or necessary". If an ad hoc committee is formulated, the committee is formed because the committee is needed at that time.

Along with learning some Latin words, you can also learn some law jargon that originated from English terms.

Further your interest in the field of law by reading more about the top law firms in South Africa!

During your law course, you will focus on the four main types of law that are used to shape society.

While you will learn both criminal law and civil law during your law course, the four main law types that we will consider deal only with civil law.

What is civil law?

While criminal law deals with issues that can be considered offensive to the public, society, and state, civil law deals with more personal types of disputes.

When it comes to civil law, the four types of law include:

  • Tort law deals with transgressions by employers, individuals, and even corporations
  • Family law specifically deals with issues of child custody, divorce, and adoption matters
  • Contract law is focused on anything that has been signed in a contract. Contractual disputes can arise when one party in a contract is not fulfilling his or her role
  • Personal disputes work on addressing personal issues such as solvency, bankruptcy, and any other type of personal injury

When you are studying law, it becomes essential to know the difference between these types of law. You could always rope in a Superprof law tutor to assist you with any legal terms that you are battling to understand.

judge working at desk with gavel
There are four distinct areas of civil law. - Source: Pexels

Why Should You Study Law?

While you might think that by studying law, you can become a public prosecutor, the possibility of career options that you may have is endless.

Think about this for a second, you would not consult a para-legal advisor about divorce or child custody-related issues.

So which type of lawyer do you need to call in to deal with a divorce or custody-related matter?

Well, you should call on a family lawyer to help you with a messy divorce and and to assist you in negotiating child custody issues.

Did you know that you could become an attorney or an advocate by studying law? You may want to further research the roles of both the advocate and attorney and what their careers entail with regards to the law field.

You may wish to broaden your horizons and work as a registrar or a Master of the High Court. Along with these career options, you can use your LLB degree to assist you when you start your career as a Law lecturer as well.

There are a vast amount of career options that you will gain entry into if you choose to study law. There are also many tutors available to help you succeed in grasping all that you are studying in the law field.

law student working on laptop with Lady Justice statue on desk
Study Law and make a difference through pro bono work. - Source: Unsplash

Study Law in South Africa to do Pro Bono Work

Pro bono as mentioned is the Latin term for doing for the good of the public. Of course, the reason why you could be studying law is to assist all those clients in need who do not have enough money to afford legal aid.

Most of the law firms across South Africa partake in some type of pro bono work and you could be one of the solicitors who engage in free work for the betterment of someone in the public.

Then again while pro bono means, ‘for free', it doesn’t mean you don’t have to earn at all. You can offer your time for free but you can still calculate and charge for your travel charges.

Pro Bono work can include mediation and advocacy.

Want to know more about what completing a law course could mean for your future,? Find competent law tutors on Superprof to seek advice from.

Study Law with a Law Bursary

The University of Pretoria mentions the various law course options that you have at your disposal, however, securing a law degree does not come cheap!

If you are an enthusiastic law scholar, you should consider looking into getting a law bursary.  

You may want to look into the Allan Gray Orbis Fellowship Bursary, the Bridgestone Bursary, and the Attorneys Fidelity Fund Bursary.

Now that you have gained a closer look into pursuing an LLB degree, and you have a taste of what to expect from a law course, you need to contemplate which areas of the law you do actually want to focus on. You can also start dreaming about the type of lawyer that you would like to become.

Look at all the possible career paths that you could follow if you choose to study law with the help of a law bursary.

If all else fails, law tutors are available throughout South Africa to assist you to better understand your study material. With Superprof tutors, you can get your first law tutorial, pro bono!

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Laila

Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.