Why study Law at Pembroke?

The College's Library is well-stocked for the basic requirements of the undergraduate course and a designated working space for law students is also available. As well as academic literature for the course, this area also contains career development information for students graduating from Pembroke. This information is often sent to the law tutors by law firms, Inns of Court, Chambers and graduate programmes at other universities. In addition, many legal resources are now available online.

Various activities and benefits are unique to Pembroke lawyers. Some of these are detailed below, but please also see the videos on this page for more detail:

The Slaughter and May Book Scheme

Given the high book costs for law students, Pembroke College has instituted a scheme to purchase law text books for its undergraduate and graduate students. Under the scheme the College aspires to provide each of its law students with the main text books for every taught course they take. This is obviously a significant financial benefit to undergraduates and is made possible by the generosity of the leading international law firm, Slaughter and May.

The Blackstone lectures

Every year the college hosts the Blackstone lecture, followed by a drinks reception and lunch. These lectures are perhaps the most prestigious legal event at Pembroke, and of all our activities they attract the most attention from the legal world outside the College. Past speakers have included Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, former President of the Supreme Court and Lord Neuberger, Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury, President of the Supreme Court.

The Blackstone Society

The Blackstone Society is the student-run law society at Pembroke which organises various events, including:

The Blackstone Dinner

Every two years the Society hosts a dinner for current and former Pembroke lawyers and a distinguished after dinner speaker.  This is a great opportunity for current Pembroke Law students to meet those who are now in practice, as well as for the tutors to stay in touch and catch up with students who have left Pembroke.

The Pembroke High Achievers’ Event

Every year Pembroke awards a significant prize to the undergraduate(s) who by the middle of their second year have made the most academic progress. The prize is awarded at an annual event, usually held in the Spring term, at which we celebrate the achievements of the winners and the achievements of those who have received first class degrees in Finals in the previous year. These recently graduated students are also asked to give a brief presentation to the current undergraduates on their tips for academic success, and the discussion is then followed by a drinks reception and dinner. It is a great opportunity for us to celebrate the academic achievements of Pembroke lawyers and to keep in touch with those who have recently graduated.

Other study skills sessions

The law tutors at Pembroke recognise that many undergraduate students will have had no contact with legal reasoning before they come to study at Pembroke, and that the academic backgrounds of the students will be very different. Some students will have studied arts subjects at school, some languages and some mathematical or scientific subjects. All will have to make the significant transition from A levels and the school environment to the independent study of law at degree level. For this reason, in the week before the first term of the first year the law tutors provide a series of seminars on the techniques necessary for the successful study of law at Oxford, so that first year law students can begin their first term confident in the knowledge that they can achieve what is expected of them. This will be supplemented by further sessions to develop other study skills throughout the course, particularly as students approach exams.

Mooting at Pembroke

A moot is a fictitious legal case which proceeds on the basis that all the facts are agreed, but the competitors must debate the law that should apply to them as if they were barristers in the Court of Appeal or the House of Lords. The idea behind mooting is to supplement lectures and tutorials so that students can develop their legal skills in a completely different context and improve their understanding of how the law works, and mooting provides particularly important experience for students who hope to go to the Bar after graduating. Pembroke lawyers have various opportunities for mooting:

The Crystal Moot

For the first time in 2014 we will run the Crystal Moot, sponsored by a distinguished QC who was formerly a lecturer at Pembroke.

The Blackstone Moot

Again, for the first time in 2014 we will run the Blackstone moot. This was invented by the current Blackstone Presidents and will require the mooters to concentrate on Blackstone’s commentaries.

The first year criminal law Moot

In the first term of studying criminal law with Dr Rebecca Williams you will take part in a very informal criminal law moot. This is so that you have chance to learn how to moot in a supportive environment so that you are well-equipped to go on to take part in the other College or Faculty moots.

In addition to the Pembroke moots there are also various Faculty wide moots, and all students take part in a Faculty moot in their first year as part of the Faculty’s Legal Research and Mooting Skills Programme.