It is possible to study law at Trinity either for all three years of the Law Tripos, as a new undergraduate student, or for only two years, as a student transferring to law from another subject (a “changeover student”) or taking a second undergraduate degree (an “affiliated student”). With an intake of 10-12 undergraduate students each year, the College typically has 30-40 resident students reading for the Tripos, a group augmented by students visiting on various exchange schemes from around Europe.
Supervisions and lectures
Trinity’s Law Fellows are experienced in a wide range of compulsory and optional subjects, which means that most of our students are taught most of their subjects in College. For other subjects, we arrange teaching with expert members of the Faculty in other colleges. This teaching takes place in fortnightly “supervisions” in each subject, where around three students gather in the Fellow’s rooms to discuss a legal topic for about an hour. This format provides an amazing opportunity to sharpen your thinking and stretch your mind, an opportunity almost unparalleled in the country.
Your supervision teaching in College goes hand-in-hand with lectures offered in the Faculty. In some areas, you may find it is one of the Trinity Law Fellows who will lecture you in the Faculty, write the book from which you study and be there to thrash out and debate the issues in supervisions! The University’s teaching and research facilities are located in the David Williams Law Faculty Building and undergraduates spend much of their working day there either at lectures or in the Squire Law Library.
Trinity provides its law students with an incredible amount of support. From funding law-related activities such as mooting and summer schools to arranging career events, the college ensures that you are able to take your interest in law well beyond your degree. – Wahdana
The experience of studying law at Trinity benefits from the size of the intake of law freshers every year; with a larger group of law students than at most other colleges but a smaller group than in many other subjects at Trinity, it’s easy to form a strong and supportive community with people from various backgrounds studying alongside you. – Isaac
Well-structured supervisions by the experienced Law Fellows at Trinity made the law a lot more accessible and revealed how thought-provoking it can be. Their support and encouragement not only gave me the confidence to engage in these supervisions but also inspired me to never stop challenging myself intellectually. – Euchine
Erasmus+ Exchange Scheme
In most years, at least one or two Trinity students participate in the Erasmus+ scheme organised by the University. This allows them to spend their third year studying law at one of the Universities of Poitiers in France, Regensburg in Germany, Utrecht in the Netherlands or Madrid in Spain, before returning to Cambridge for a fourth year of study to complete their degree in the usual way. Students apply to take part in this exchange at the start of their second year – not when you apply to Cambridge.
I spent a year at the Université de Poitiers in France as part of the Law Faculty’s Erasmus exchange programme. What started as a frightening leap into the unknown became an opportunity to discover a new city and very different way of learning. My experience was wholly positive and eye-opening: I improved my language, made friends from all over the world, and learned a lot about a different country’s legal system. I am sure I will return to Poitiers soon, as it now holds many wonderful memories. – Sarah-Anne
Resources and opportunities
Trinity law students benefit from the College’s Law Reading Room: a law library and workspace just for law students, open 24 hours a day, with access to all the essential law reports, journals and texts. The Hollond Funds, established in honour of Trinity’s’ first teaching Fellow in law, and the Donoghue and Stevenson Law Fund, established to support education, learning and teaching in law at Trinity, offer a scheme for purchasing textbooks in the compulsory subjects, provide grants for worthwhile law-related projects, such as conferences, fieldwork, moots and summer schools, and can even enable Trinity graduates to undertake postgraduate study outside the UK after their degree, through Henry Arthur Hollond Travelling Studentships. The College proudly recognises the academic achievements of its law students, through a range of scholarships and prizes.
A Hollond Funds grant enabled me to travel to Panama as part of a Global Brigades Human Rights programme to raise awareness of legal rights in rural communities through legal clinics and educational workshops. We learned about community banks and encountered issues ranging from visitation and child support to marriage. Working together with Panamanian lawyers gave us a fascinating insight into the impediments to accessing legal services the community members face. We were made incredibly welcome within the community, and I was surprised by the negligible effect the language barrier had on our interactions with clients at the clinics and with the local children. – Tianyu
Trinity College Law Society
The Trinity College Law Society arranges talks, careers events and a regular programme of social functions for undergraduate, postgraduate and visiting law students, as well as Trinity students in other subjects who are interested in law. The Society also coordinates a range of moots, within Trinity, against other Cambridge colleges, against our sister college in Oxford, and as part of the Cuppers (inter-collegiate) mooting competition run by the Cambridge University Law Society.
An ideal place to live and study
Outside of law, Trinity offers a warm and lively environment with activities, facilities and groups to nourish every area of interest and endeavour. The College provides excellent pastoral care, should you encounter difficulties while in Cambridge. Trinity also has stunning grounds, historic buildings and its fair share of amusing traditions. For further diversion, there are 200 other law students in the Faculty, 30 other colleges, hundreds of University clubs and societies and some 120,000 people in the city of Cambridge. No-one need be bored or lonely, nor lack another pair of hands for table football.
Trinity Law Association
Trinity is privileged to enjoy a large and active body of law alumni, joined together in the Trinity Law Association (TLA). The TLA counts amongst its number many distinguished lawyers, including The Rt Hon. The Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe PC (Law Lord 2002-2009 and Justice of the Supreme Court 2009-2013) and The Rt Hon. The Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill (Justice of the Supreme Court since 2012). The TLA ensures that former students remain connected with the College and holds regular events to foster links between current students and the practising legal world. One of its most exciting and successful initiatives is the TLA Mentoring Scheme, which provides an opportunity for current law students and recent graduates to be paired with suitable members of the TLA who can act as mentors for the year.
Careers in Law
Trinity’s Law Fellows have strong links with the legal profession and are well placed to advise students considering careers as barristers or solicitors (or legal academics). After graduation, most of our students go on to practise law: our students have an excellent record in securing training contracts in law firms, pupillage in chambers and posts in government legal agencies. Many of our students choose to pursue career paths other than direct legal practice, taking them into policy and government, diplomacy, management and other professions, or work in the NGO sector. Some pursue postgraduate study in the UK or overseas, in certain cases with financial support from Trinity via the Hollond Funds. The following chart depicts the career paths of some 300 Trinity law graduates: