If you absolutely hate math and you’re looking for a degree that has close to zero calculations, a law degree could be a great choice for you!
But are you ready for the academic challenges that a Law degree requires?
This guide will explore why you might want to consider studying a Law degree in Malaysia, what you can learn from studying law, as well as your career options as a Law degree holder.
The Basics of Law
What It Is
Law is a system of rules that state what we can or cannot do.
These rules are put together to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected so that we can live freely and peacefully, preventing social chaos.
If you don’t already know it, law affects every aspect of our daily lives!
We pay for our meals, stop at traffic lights and pay our taxes, because these are all required by law. If you break the law, you may have to face certain consequences, depending on how serious the offence is. It could be anywhere from paying a small fine, all the way to some serious jail time.
What Are the Various Fields of Law?
Law is generally divided into two main areas – criminal law and civil law.
Criminal law is something that we are most familiar with. It deals with actions that are considered harmful to society, such as murder, drug trafficking, burglary, etc. If found guilty, the guilty party could be either be imprisoned, fined or in some cases, given the death penalty.
Civil law on the other hand deals with lawsuits between individuals and organisations. If the defendant (the party being sued) is found liable, the defendant will need to provide financial compensation to the claimant (the person who is suing the defendant), but will never get jail time.
There are many areas of civil law, including:
- Contract Law: Regulates agreements entered by two or more parties (loan agreements, T&Cs, or even simple receipts!)
- Land Law: Rules that govern land and anything attached to it (property, trees, oil)
- Constitutional Law: Rules that govern how the country is run and where the power lies
- Tort Law: Allows individuals to claim losses suffered due to another person’s action (slander, negligence causing injury, nuisance, trespass)
As you can see, there are many areas of law that you can specialise in. While you are probably most exposed to criminal law that involves putting criminals behind bars (we blame it on the television!), that’s definitely not the whole picture.
You can always specialise in other branches of law outside criminal law, and work on things like drafting legal documents related to property transactions or advising clients on legal issues.
Studying a Law Degree
What Qualifications Do You Need?
In order to pursue a degree in Law, you will generally need:
(1) SPM / O-Level Qualification
- Minimum of 5 credits
(2) Pre-University Qualification
- A-Level or STPM: Minimum of 2Cs
- Or any recognised pre-university course (A-Level, South Australian Matriculation (SAM), Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT), and New South Wales Higher School Certificate)
If you are planning to practise law in Malaysia, you will need to have at least a credit in Bahasa Malaysia at SPM level (or a credit in “Malay as a Second Language” at IGCSE) in order to be exempted from the Bahasa Malaysia Qualifying Examination.
Remember that Law requires you to have a good command of language in both English and Malay, so make sure you’re comfortable speaking and writing in both languages.
How Long Is a Law Degree?
A Law degree is typically 3 years long.
But wait, that’s not the end of your journey!
If you plan to be a qualified lawyer (which is required if you want to practise law in Malaysia), you will usually need to pass the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) exam that’s approximately 9 months long, and then “read in chambers” for another 9 months. “Chambering” is a form of internship, where you attach yourself with a law firm to gain knowledge & experience with the work of a lawyer.
After your chambering period is completed, you will then be “called to the bar” where you are now a qualified lawyer.
Here’s a summary of your education pathway.
What Will You Study in a Law Degree?
In general, most law schools will require you to study core / compulsory subjects in your 1st year, covering topics such as Contract Law, Criminal Law and Legal System.
In your second and third year, you will still have some core subjects, but will also be able to choose some elective subjects depending on your interests, such as:
- Intellectual Property: Rights to inventions & designs (think patents, copyright & trademarks)
- Family Law: Deals with family matters, such as marriage and adoption
- Law of Succession: Deals with inheritance and wills
- Law of Evidence: Deals with what evidence must or must not be considered by judge or jury
Most universities will grade you solely on final exams at the end of each year, so you must be comfortable with this sort of assessment.
Remember that Law is an academically challenging degree, so you must be mentally prepared!
Why Should You Study Law?
With so many degree options out there, here are some top reasons why you should study law.
(1) Because you want to be a lawyer and practise law!
This may sound like a given, but you’d be surprised at how many people spend 3 years of their lives studying law for the wrong reasons! Don’t study law for the money or prestige, or because your parents want you to.
Study law because you have a clear idea about what the practice of law is really like, and you know that this is something that you really want to do.
(2) Intellectually challenging and stimulating
A Law degree will require you to explore the legal system, analyse the application of law and develop sound arguments to make your case, all which will keep your mind on its toes!
(3) Gain practical skill sets
Studying a Law degree will develop your logical reasoning and critical thinking skills that will be beneficial to you in future, especially if you plan to practise law. A Law degree can also be helpful in your everyday life, such as signing contracts or legal documents with complex language.
What Skills Do You Need to Study Law?
Here are some of the more important skill sets that you will need to develop in order to do well in your Law degree.
(1) Good command of language and able to communicate effectively
Language is one of the most important tools for a lawyer, so you must be able to express yourself clearly, effectively and persuasively, both in writing and in speech as well. Most exams are written exams, so you must be able to put your thoughts clearly onto paper.
(2) Ability to research information and summarise key points
Law requires MASSIVE amounts of reading, so be prepared! You will find yourself reading not just about the law itself, but also academic opinions, case studies and judgements. You must be able to pick up key themes and passages from articles & cases, and distill them into important points.
(3) Ability to think clearly, reasonably and logically
You must be able to think rationally and logically in order to come up with sound arguments that fit the facts of a case. Sometimes, there could be multiple angles to a case, so you must be able to apply critical reasoning.
What Career Options Do You Have with a Law Degree?
The most obvious career path for a law degree holder is to be a lawyer. Here are some of the most common legal professions:
- Litigation lawyer: Represent and protect a client’s rights in court. Various areas of specialisation include banking litigation, corporate litigation, criminal litigation, etc.
- Conveyancing lawyer: Represent and protect a client’s rights in property-related transactions
- In-house legal counsel: Provide legal advice to companies, such as banks, public-listed companies and multinational organisations
- Public prosecutor: Represent the government in legal proceedings
If you decide not to practise law, you still have other career options.
- Law lecturer: Many lawyers return to teach after several years of practicing law
- Journalist / Editor: Because you would have picked up good written and communication skills, you could also get into a media-related career
- Politician: Many prominent politicians studied law, including Tunku Abdul Rahman, Lee Kuan Yew, Tony Blair and Barack Obama
Where Can You Study Law in Malaysia?
Here are some of the most popular Law schools in Malaysia.
University of London’s Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) / UK Transfer Degree Programme
Campus: Kuala Lumpur & Petaling Jaya
Intakes: Jan, Apr, Jun & Sep
Estimated Fees: RM56,356 (UOL)
Partnerships with 13 law schools in UK for BAC’s UK Transfer Degree Programme
Awarded Best Brand in Legal Education (2012-2014) by BrandLaureate
University of London’s Bachelor of Laws (LL.B)
Campus: Kuala Lumpur & Petaling Jaya
Intakes: Jan, Apr, Jul & Sep
Estimated Fees: RM54,889
14 students have won University of London’s Malaysia Laws Scholarship, where only ONE student is offered full scholarship each year to study at King’s College London
The only law school in Malaysia to win 2 LAWASIA Moot competitions
Free trial classes for two weeks at the beginning of each intake