Map Oxbridge Applications, 14 – 16 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AR

Why Law?

Oxbridge interviews are notorious for being packed full of weird and wonderful questions, designed to test our knowledge of rigorous academic concepts and the thought processes behind the way we figure difficult problems out. Some questions, however, are much more straight forward: but that’s not to say that they’re any easier to answer! A question as seemingly simple as ‘Why Law?’ may not require you to have read reams and reams of academic articles or case file after case file, but it can nevertheless present a significant stumbling blocks for otherwise promising interviewees. In this blog we’re going to take you through the main dos and don’ts for answering this question in your interviews, helping you to prepare a rock-solid response which will be sure to impress your interviewers.

1. DON’T give a generic response

Despite being incredibly academic gifted student who has conducted plenty of in-depth research into the field of law, plenty of candidates simply blend into the sea of equally-gifted students by giving a standard answer to this question. It’s best to avoid responses that just reference a general interest in things like the judicial process or criminal law, since these are such popular areas that plenty of others are guaranteed to have said the same thing. If at all possible, avoid talking about crime altogether, given that it’s likely to be so common given its prominence in current affairs.

DO talk about niche or specific areas that interest you

If you really do want to talk about crime, try and narrow your focus down onto one specific area of criminal law. The writings of which academics particularly inspire you? How has criminal law developed into the 21st century? Think about delving into areas that other students may have neglected, either because they are more obscure or perhaps because they may seem to be less attention-grabbing on the surface. Showing an ability to get excited about all aspects of law, even those which may not be as Hollywood as crime, will show your interviewers that you are serious about your application.

2. DON’T be too vague

Along with giving a response that tutors may have heard several times that day comes giving a very vague or general answer. This is a classic pitfall, with students letting themselves down by offering general phrases such as “it is important to society” or “it is the core of life and policy”, which can come across as if you have not thought independently about the subject you’re applying for.

DO be specific in your reasoning

It’s best to think of some specific examples which back up your reasoning for wanting to study law. A good candidate will think critically about how law can benefit society in granular details; perhaps think about a specific societal change for which law was important, or think about a specific theory of law and focus on its role in modern nation states. One of the main aims of a question like this is to demonstrate to the interviewer that you recognise the rich and varied nature of law as a discipline.

3. DON’T reference family or friends

As is understandable, many students will have become interested in law by virtue of a family member or family friend being involved in the profession whilst they were growing up, and although this is a perfectly valid motivation to make you consider law as a topic, it can seem a disingenuous or slightly cliched thing to bring up in an interview.

DO focus on your thoughts as an individual

The key is to present your own individual role in developing an interest in law. Tutors are not looking for someone who comes from a long line of barristers; they’re looking for someone who has an individual passion for studying the law and all that comes with it. Focus on reading or personal experiences you have had that relate to or have motivated you to find out more about the law. There’s so much you can talk about without relying on your parents!

4. DON’T reference the legal profession

This question is not intended to find out why you may or may not want to be a lawyer, but rather why you are academically interested in studying the law at university. Tutors at Oxbridge universities are familiar with students using their degree as a means to an end, and this is NOT what they are looking for. Rather than someone getting through a degree for a certain career at the end, they are looking for someone who is passionate about studying and is going to get stuck in to the academic side of the law. Additionally, your interviewers are unlikely to be practicing lawyers themselves, so may have a different view on how ‘great’ they think the profession is.

DO focus on law as an academic topic

You need to show your interviewers that you are interested in studying law at university, so think about what had attracted you to studying law at university rather than being a lawyer. Which are of the course or specific modules are you most interested in? How might this fit more generally into your wider interests in terms of law?

The interview process can be very stressful indeed, and is full of questions that probe your academic achievements and potential on the course you want to study. Within this environment, a question like ‘Why do you want to study law?’ is intended to put you at ease, giving you the chance to give the interviewer a good understanding of who you are and what you are like as a person. It’s important, therefore, to grab onto this opportunity with both hands, using it not only to show your personality but also to subtly show just how much extra reading, work experience, and research into the course you have done. Despite what it may seem, this is not at all an easy question to answer on the cuff, so it’s good to start thinking about your interests and motivations nice and early to ensure that you get your interview off to a good start!


Mock Interview Package

Want to chat further about interviews or about our mock interview packages? Call us on +44 (0) 20 7499 2394, or email [email protected], and one of our Oxbridge-graduate team members will be happy to chat with you.

Mock Interview Package x4

The interviews for Oxford and Cambridge are, arguably, the most important part of your application. The package gives candidates four subject-specific mock interviews, designed to recreate the real interview environment, and help candidates gain confidence in the process of how to get into Oxford or Cambridge.

Oxbridge Applications Logo

Our Oxbridge-graduate consultants are available between 9.00 am – 5.00 pm from Monday to Friday, with additional evening availability when requested.

Oxbridge Applications, 14 – 16 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AR

Added to cart

View Cart