Oxford Law Interview


I’m Leslie I’m a 3rd year law student
at Oxford and I’m here to give you an idea of what to expect at Oxford interviews. This is an example of a case study you might
get. You are given 30 minutes to read the case and then you have to talk about the case
during the interview. So 30 minutes might seem like a long time it’s actually quite
short because the details of the case will actually be much longer than this. So I’m
not sure if you guys can read the text because the font is a bit small but in this case a
mother promised her daughter to pay her daughter $200 a month if she gave up her job in the
US and went to London to study for the bar to qualify as a lawyer. The daughter was reluctant to do so at first
because she had a well paying job with the embassy in Washington and she was quite happy
and settled. But the mother persuaded her that it would be in her best interest to do
so. So the mother agreed to pay her a certain sum of money as maintenance while she was
studying because she was not going to be getting salary. Eventually the mother agreed to purchase
a house for the daughter to live in. So she did. Then the daughter rented out the spare
rooms and got an income and used that as maintenance. Eventually after a few years the daughter
got married and she did not complete her studies which pissed the mother off and she sought
the possession of the house so she sued her daughter basically. The question for the court was whether there
existed a legally binding contract between the mother and daughter or whether the agreement
was only a family agreement and was not intended to be binding. So to begin with you might
be asked open questions like what do you think about this case? You might want to argue for
the daughter or the mother and you don’t have to use legal knowledge (you are not expected
to have any; it’s good to have some of course). So for instance it would be good if you could
argue from principle. So in this case you might be tempted to say that there was no
contract because none was drawn up and signed formally, so you think the mother should win.
But in fact, a contract does not have to be a written document and signed by the parties;
it could be oral and just as binding on the parties. So that wouldn’t be a very good argument.
Temptation to argue from a legal point of view should be avoided because the chances
are you will be wrong unless you know the law very well in this area. What can you say
then? If you argue from principle, you might for instance say that well there should be
no contract in this case because it was in context of a family agreement and if courts
were to find binding contracts in all statements made by family members, you make everyday
life very inconvenient because like if you promise your family member you will visit
him tomorrow and you didn’t you might potentially face a law suit right? So you will make life
very inconvenient and invite a lot more potential law suits. So regardless of what the law stands
on this is, you are saying that in principle, the law should not recognize this as a binding
contract in this case. So if you say that you have to be prepared for a follow up question
such as… so in this case you say well I mean the mother bought the house right. Because
it was in the context of a family agreement, the daughter studying for the bar and the
mother just promised to give her house but if she decides to take it away after a period
of a few years especially because the daughter terminated her studies, then it seems fair
that the mother should be able to get back her house right? But what if the mother were
to terminate immediately after the daughter relocated to London to study for the bar?
Wouldn’t it seem very unfair to the daughter to have no legal redress whatsoever after
she quit her well paying job and then she made the move to London which obviously took
up a lot of her time and resources. If you then say that if the daughter were immediately
to move to London and the mother were to immediately terminate her maintenance, there should be
legal redress for her. Then what would the difference be, in principle,
if the mother terminates it after a few years? What’s the reason behind it? Is the reason
because you feel that the daughter terminated her studies therefore she is no longer keeping
up her end of the bargain: therefore, the mother doesn’t have to keep up her end of
the bargain. Is this what you think the law should look like? For example, if you promise
someone a sum of money to paint your house and then the person paints your house but
doesn’t quite paint it to be the way you want it to look like and you go like oh I’m
not paying you any money because this is not what I actually really wanted. So you have to be prepared for questions like
this and I think an important thing to note as well is that you have to be prepared to
refute your own arguments because you have to be prepared to argue for both sides. As
a lawyer, that is one skill that you have to acquire. So if you strongly feel for one
side and you present very convincing arguments (this was what happened in my interview; I
argued for the mother initially and the interviewer just said ‘Imagine you are acting for the
daughter right now. How would you argue then?’ You have to refute all the points that you
just gave which is always not an easy thing to do. So you have to be prepared for that. Then there are other questions that interviewers
might ask which might test your ability to think on the spot and your ability to grasp
new concepts. For instance, in this case itself, it was said in the case (this is not the actual
case study that will be given; it will be much longer and much more detailed) but anyway
there was this sentence that says there is no doubt that the daughter gave consideration
for a promise by her mother to provide maintenance. The interviewer might ask ‘So consideration
in this context has a legal meaning. What do you think it means?’ If you know what
it means, that’s great. If you don’t, then you have to come up with something that
makes sense. If you are wrong, it’s ok because you are not expected to have any legal knowledge
but the interviewer will teach you on a spot what it means and then it will be about your
ability to grasp new legal concept quickly. I think that’s what interviewers might be
looking out for. This is an example of a kind of case you might
get and kind of arguments you might have to make. If you like more information about things
like this, you might want to visit us at www.gurume.co.uk The link is in the description below. That’s
all thanks.

7 thoughts on “Oxford Law Interview

  1. Thanks for the video! Could gurume put up more of these? I've been to your site and the resources are really good but I'd like more practice if possible. Thank you

  2. NO verbal contract is legally binding as it can be construde as entirely Hearsay only. the basic premise being He said she said which is childish and ridiculous.

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