You can have rubbish A-levels and still succeed in legal profession

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By Judge John Hack on

Legal Cheek Twitter hash tag generates rush of proud responses from those who pissed about at school but still became lawyers


Newbie law students may be cracking the cider bottles to celebrate their exam results, but do A-levels really mean that much in the modern legal profession recruitment game?

Graduate recruitment specialists tell Legal Cheek that even the top law firms are increasingly moving away from a forensic distillation of A-level results. They are far more interested in breaking down specific law degree module performance.

Indeed, university results are what matters — at least on the solicitor side of the profession. Top-flight Square Mile recruitment specialists indicate that a first-class degree from even a mediocre university will trump a “Desmond” (or for those born in the 1990s, a 2.2) from Oxbridge and an upper second from a Russell Group law faculty.

While that approach is not as prevalent at chambers — most pupillage committees still cast an eye over A-level results — it is gradually seeping into bar recruitment policies as well.

And as Legal Cheek’s Twitter hashtag (#LawyersWithRubbishAlevels) today showed, even lawyers from past generations have managed to overcome “rubbish” A-level results and achieve success in the legal profession.

Top marks (as it were) went to Stefan Cross QC. The solicitor silk informed us that he bagged an A-level “Auntie” (er … that’s BBC).

Another well known criminal law specialist — barrister turned solicitor-advocate Nicholas Diable — put his hands up to kipping through A-levels, ending up with a BED.

And bollicks A-levels also don’t seem to be an automatic block to nailing down a judicial appointment, as @BrummyBar points out.

Here’s a selection of other lawyers who battled into the profession despite spending a fair bit of time puffing on the fags round the bike sheds.