Student newspaper The Tab tells law students to ‘f*ck off’

Avatar photo

By Alex Aldridge on

Law students are “the charmless lovechild of nine grand tuition fees,” writes the editor of the UK’s biggest student paper.


The Tab has published an extraordinary attack on law students.

In an opinion piece that appeared today, the newspaper’s editor, Jack Rivlin, claims that the typical law student is a “charmless, robotic smuggard” and urges them to “please shut the fuck up”.

The polemic highlights a perceived tendency among law students to use their rudimentary legal knowledge in social situations to issue unwanted advice, often in incomprehensible jargon. This habit extends to commenting on social media posts and websites, claims Rivlin. He writes, not entirely unamusingly, of a fictional law student called ‘Tom’ who “thinks he’s Michael Mansfield QC writing to the Attorney General, but he’s just another idiot spouting bollocks on the internet”.

Rivlin, who graduated with a degree in social and political sciences from Cambridge University, continues:

“Tom is the charmless lovechild of nine grand tuition fees and the death of God — a play-it-safe bore who craves the moral certainty of the law. He’s a nitpicking, jargon-spouting robot with no self-awareness, and everyone really, really wants him to fuck off.”

However, the piece contains a series of unfortunate errors which detail-conscious law students will doubtless be quick to pick up on. For example, in his characterisation of ‘Tom’ Rivlin charts a journey from an undergraduate law degree to the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). The GDL is, of course, only undertaken by non-law graduates.

In addition, Rivlin seems to confuse civil and criminal law with his conflation of studying tort law and an imagined scenario involving ‘Tom’ assisting a friend who has been arrested for being drunk and disorderly. The law student was able to help because he “he studied it on his Tort paper”, writes Rivlin.

Nevertheless, when considered in a broader context, the piece represents a plucky attempt by a non-law graduate to rationalise his own career choices as he attempts to make his way in life at a difficult time for journalism. Next stop: the GDL?

As a law student, can you please shut the fuck up [The Tab]