5 things that will inevitably happen to you during your first year of law school

From caffeine addiction to the horrors of R v Brown

In many respects, you have to admire fresh-faced law students. Having survived Freshers’ Week, first-years are widely optimistic and eager to dive straight into their law degrees. Even the ‘Freshers’ Flu’ fails to dampen this positivity — rather, it is flaunted as a badge of honour that recognises their resilience.

As a law graduate, it is difficult not to reminisce about these simpler times — when life wasn’t consumed by countless deadlines, training contract applications and the existential question: What now?!

To prepare you for the trials and tribulations that await you, Legal Cheek took a trip down memory lane to identify five things that will inevitably happen to you as a law student during first year.

1. Caffeine addiction

At some point you’ll realise that what keeps law students going is not their hopes and dreams for the future but is instead caffeine. As your days grow longer and your workload steadily increases, you will depend more and more on caffeine to keep the incessant desire to sleep at bay. Whether it’s freshly brewed coffee or just coffee granules — the only thing that really matters is getting your next fix.

2. Law will slowly begin to take over your life

Slowly but surely, law will take over your existence. Your daily routine will consist of waking up and studying until your body forces itself to sleep. Your week will not be separated by days, but by law lectures and seminars. As you begin to memorise case names, these will become your friends. They’ll become your buddies with whom you’ll spend most of your time with. If at some point you get the rare chance to shave, you may even use a defunct gavel to groom yourself.

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3. The horror of reading R v Brown

As you discover new case law, there will be one that will undoubtedly stay with you forever: R v Brown. The 1993 House of Lords’ decision concerning actual bodily harm inflicted during consensual sadomasochist activities will come as a shock to some first-years. Whether this is in a response to the acts in question or the outdated views towards sexual gratification is up to you to decide.

4. You’ll never trust a bottle of ginger beer again

After reading Donoghue v Stevenson, the classic case which established the modern law of negligence, you will inevitably wonder whether your next bottle of ginger beer will come with an unexpected visitor, a snail, just as Mrs Donoughue found. Perhaps bring an umbrella next time you go to a torts lecture.

5. You’ll lose all ability to make 9am lectures

You may well begin first year with the intention of attending all of your 9am lectures. You may even go to bed the night before with the intention of walking up early: setting alarms with five-minute intervals, cooking up a healthy breakfast and exercising every punctual bone in your body to arrive at class on time. But, as you’ll soon find, 9am lectures become the new year’s resolution that will continue to be unfulfilled. If you’re one of the dedicated few that make it out on time, I commend you — just make sure to get dressed first.

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