Due to the fact that law is an area that is subject to constant revision and change, those working in the legal professions must always be prepared to not only keep abreast of the latest developments, but to expand and enrich their understanding of them too. To this end, a postgraduate course in Law is ideal.
While studying Law at postgraduate level is excellent preparation for the Law Society entrance exams (also known as FE-1) required for training as a solicitor, or for the King’s Inn Entrance exams that precede becoming a barrister, it also enhances the employment opportunities for graduates in a variety of other areas. For instance, a host of businesses and organisations will view a graduate who has specialised in company law as a valuable asset.
Due to the fact that law is so vast and complex an area, the quantity of specialised areas is interest is considerable. At NUI Galway alone there are twelve different postgraduate programmes in Law to choose from. They range from the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (three years full time, four years part time) – which is for those who have not previously studied Law – to more specialised programmes such as the Master of Law in (LLM) in International Human Rights (one year full time, two years part time) or the one-year part-time Postgraduate Certificate in Information Technology Law, for which applicants will need to hold an upper first-class primary degree in Law.
The law must change in order to reflect the needs of society. This is apparent in the growing area of computing. Given the rapid rate of advance in technology and online interaction in the modern age (and the projections of same into the foreseeable future), the ways in which ideas are disseminated have grown, which has given rise to concerns over intellectual property. This is an issue that UCC’s LLM in Intellectual Property and E-Law (one year full time, two years part time) attempts to tackle directly. The course touches on areas such as copyright, patents and trademarks, along with a range of emerging fields such as Internet Regulation and Cybercrime. Apart from modules in the foregoing areas, the programme also offers optional components in Mental Health Law, Juvenile Justice and Contemporary Issues in Irish Constitutional Law.
Trinity College Dublin’s parallel LLM in International and European Intellectual Property Law (one year full time) covers similar ground, though it is more international in outlook. Among the modules on offer (students must choose six from what is quite an extensive and wide-ranging list) are Advanced European Union Law, Internet Law and Regulation, and Copyright and Innovation. As part of their assessment, students must complete a 25,000-word thesis on a topic related to some aspect of International and /or European intellectual property law.
While the foregoing may generally deal with issues of intellectual property and ownership, Independent College Dublin’s unique LLM in Comparative Media Law (one year full time, two years part time) concerns itself with the regulation of media in Ireland and internationally, with a focus on the laws on privacy, defamation, contempt of court and freedom of information and expression. As such, the programme is ideal for those with an interest in the legal and ethical issues surrounding freedom of expression worldwide. Subjects covered include Freedom of Expression: Constitutional Perspectives and Media Regulation. Candidates need not be restricted to Law graduates either: those with second-class honours primary degrees in Arts, Journalism or related disciplines are also invited to apply.
For students wishing to undergo more general postgraduate Law programmes there are plenty of options, one of which is available from UCD. The LLM – General (one year full time, tow years part time) requires, as standard, that applicants have a second-class honours primary degree in Law or in a programme where the legal component accounted for at least half of the curriculum. While the programme focuses on providing students with a well-rounded knowledge of legal matters, there is plenty of room for specialisation. Students on the programme may also apply on a competitive basis to spend their second semester studying at a law school abroad, such as at the University of Antwerp or at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.
For students with a background in another discipline hoping to study Law, there are numerous conversion courses available that will allow them to do so. Dublin Institute of Technology’s Postgraduate Diploma in Law (one year full time, two years part time) is one such option. The programme should be of great interest to those who may wish to enter a career in which law is a major (though not necessarily the primary) component. The course at DIT gives students a sound core knowledge of law through a combination of lectures, coursework and research projects. Tuition is given in how to access and analyse mandatory legal material, while a range of electives covering vast legal areas are also on offer, including Contract Law, Criminal Law, Equity and Refugee and Immigration Law. Graduates of the programme may go on to take the MA in Law, which is also on offer at the college.
The myriad options for studying Law, and for specialising in one of its many branches, ensures that there is a wealth of career opportunities for Law graduates, with many establishing careers in areas such as politics, economics, business, journalism and government.
Consider your options for studying postgraduate law by browsing on Postgrad.ie
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