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Research: Non-legal employers favour law graduates over all other applicants

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They work harder and have an “aptitude for learning”

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Non-law firm graduate employers favour LLBs over all other degree disciplines, new research has found.

According to a poll of 500 UK businesses, law graduates’ “transferable skills”, “aptitude for learning” and “strong leadership and communication abilities” make them an attractive prospect for companies operating outside the legal industry.

Placing vocational subjects such as medicine and dentistry to one side, the research revealed that 89% of graduate employers believed that certain degrees were held in higher regard than others — with law coming in first and business studies second.

The research also highlighted that law graduates were more likely to have a “strong work ethic”.

For those leaving university with an arts or sports science degree the news was less positive. According to the poll — conducted by research outfit Marketing Minds — employers deemed these to be the least attractive subjects.

Author of ‘Is Law For You?’ Christopher Stoakes believes the research highlights a shift in how an LLB is perceived by employers outside law.

Stoakes, a former Hogan Lovells and Freshfields solicitor who is now a writer and visiting fellow at Roehampton Law School, claims law degrees are “no longer viewed as a narrowly vocational qualification”. Continuing, he says:

What this research shows is that a law degree is a passport to a wider range of careers and can be of great value to students regardless of whether they want to become lawyers. Students have tended in the past to choose law because they were thinking of becoming lawyers, but the number of training contracts on offer from law firms has dipped. However, a law degree is increasingly valued by employers more generally because of the transferable skills it provides. It teaches key employability skills such as analysis, reasoning, attention to detail and work ethic.

Since the financial crisis, annual training contract numbers have dropped back from a 2007-08 high of 6,303 to around the 5,000 mark. During that time, the number of students studying undergraduate law degrees has risen by 28%.