My name is Tom and I studied the integrated program in Law (LL.B.) at the University of Mannheim from 2017 to 2021. After completing my bachelor's degree, I have decided to become a lawyer. That’s why I am filling in the gaps in my legal knowledge in phase two of the integrated program to prepare for the first state examination. A bachelor's degree in Business Law (LL.B.) opens the door to a variety of career paths, and I am happy to advise you!
If you decide to become a lawyer after earning your bachelor's degree and passing the three civil law examinations, you will have four difficult, but exciting semesters ahead of you.
In phase two of the integrated program, you will learn about the other two subject areas that are relevant to the state examination: public law and criminal law. From first- and second-degree murder (Mord und Totschlag) or fraud and extortion in criminal law to the question in public law of how laws are made in the first place and whether my neighbor is allowed to build a car park next to my house.
After two years, you have to take the remaining three state examinations in criminal law (1) and public law (2). In the eleventh semester, you will conclude your studies with the oral examination in all three subject areas: civil law, public law, and criminal law. The final grade of your first state examination is based on your performance in the civil law examinations at the end of your bachelor's program and in your focus area.
In phase two, you will be able to fully focus on your legal studies. You won’t have any business administration courses. In Mannheim, unlike at other law schools in Germany, you only need to focus on two subjects areas: criminal law and public law. You have already completed civil law and can generally have it recognized (Abschichtung). This is the great advantage of the integrated LL.B. and state examination program in Law.
You can only take the four additional semesters if you have previously completed phase one of the integrated program in Law (LL.B.). However, it is generally possible to change universities before you complete the LL.B. program.
We have a great relationship with our fellow students. The others in the program are not selfish. They don’t hide books or rip out pages, as often seems to be the case at other universities. Instead we support each other academically. There are fewer students in the master’s program than there were in the bachelor’s program, i.e. our courses are smaller. This way, you'll benefit from individual supvervision by teachers. Plus, there are no clear boundaries between the semesters, which means that students from advanced semesters might participate in our courses to repeat certain topics before the examination. This way, we get in contact with older and experienced students, too, and can get valuable advice.
The University of Mannheim also offers many extracurricular activities. For example, we can participate in a variety of sports, spend Thursday nights at the Schneckenhof party, and join one of the student organiziations or the departmental student committee.
After completing the first state examination, you have a variety of options. Many of us choose to do the preparatory service (Referendariat) and go on to take their second state examination. Your career options are as varied as the subject areas: you can work as a prosecutor at the Regional Court, as a lawyer, tax advisor, or in the law department of a company, just to name a few examples. There is a high demand for Law graduates in many fields!
The combination of Bachelor of Laws, Business Administration, and state examination is unique in Germany. Since it is very different from a traditional law program you will often have to explain your program and the principle of Abschichtung to your parents, friends, and colleagues—and often fail to do so.
People often say, “That's not a real law program!”—but that’s not true: we learn the same content and write the same state examinations as any other law student in Baden-Württemberg—only at different stages of the program. After graduating, we also have the same opportunities as other law students, or even more because we additionally have economic knowledge. So don't let others fool you.
As a law student, you also have the opportunity to study abroad for one or two semesters. Since the first state examinations in civil law (Zivilrechtliche Staatsexamensklausuren) take place in the beginning of September, most students choose to take the examination in the eighth semester. The opportunity to sit the exams and write the term papers is offered in all four semesters of phase two, so you can complete them at any time after you return. Generally, you will take longer to complete your program if you spend a semester abroad because you need the four semesters in phase two to prepare for the first state examination.
The law school has partner universities all over the world where you can study without having to pay tuition fees. You will attend law courses at the university abroad that will allow you to gain interesting insights into a different legal system. If you plan to study abroad, the University of Mannheim will grant you an academic leave of absence. You might count courses you take abroad toward the beginners' exercise course in criminal law or public law. However, since you need to be proficient in German law, you should still take the exams when you are back in Mannheim. After your stay abroad, you still have the option of Abschichtung, i.e. to split the six state examinations, provided that you fulfill all the requirements.
I did not study abroad. That’s why I suggest you contact the international coordinators at the Department of Law for further advice. They will be happy to answer your questions.
Make sure you register for the state examination in due time. You will have to submit a lot of documents. So it can easily happen that you forget something during the registration process. Once the deadline has passed, you can no longer submit anything. You will have to wait for the next registration period, which is six months later. This also means that you will no longer be able to benefit from Abschichtung, which means you will have to take all six state examinations at once.
Of course, you can work as a working student or student assistant during phase two. But the program and the preparation for the state examination require a lot of hard work. You need to have a lot of organizational skills and discipline to be able to manage both work and university. I think it's almost impossible to work more than 12 hours per week.
These links will be your best friends:
Legal aspect of examinations
University of Mannheim and state examination office of Baden-Württemberg
First state examination and Abschichtung
Information on the first state examination
Application for admission to the first state examination
Would you like to learn more about studying Law at the University of Mannheim?
Then have a look at the program descriptions: