Warwick and Edinburgh leapfrogged by London South Bank in shock new Guardian law degree rankings

Dark days for regional Russell Group-ers

London South Bank University has ranked higher than Nottingham and Warwick in a new eyebrow-raising law faculty power list.

Compiled by The Guardian newspaper, the annual league table assesses law schools on a number of key criteria including quality of teaching, level of feedback, student to staff ratio and percentage of law grads with a career after six months. The newspaper then generates a score out of 100 and ranks the law schools accordingly.

The new 2018 results show that London South Bank University — in Leicester City F.C. fashion — has rocketed up the league table. Ranked a humble 58th on the 2017 list, the uni has climbed a whopping 45 places to tie 13th with Queen’s University, Belfast. This puts the former polytechnic ahead of City law firm recruitment favourites such as the University of Nottingham (15th) and the University of Warwick (24th).

It was, however, business as usual at the very top of the table. For the fourth consecutive year, the University of Cambridge has been named the top law faculty in the United Kingdom. With the University of Oxford taking second, Queen Mary University of London — rising two places on its 2017 ranking — finished third.

Further down the law school pecking order, Durham University scooped fourth, narrowly beating the London School of Economics (fifth) and the University of Dundee (sixth). Elsewhere, the University of East Anglia bagged seventh and the University of Leeds — rising an impressive 14 places on last year’s result — landed eighth. Rounding off the top ten were the University of York and University College London in ninth and tenth place.

But spare a thought for the regional Russell Group-ers. Cardiff University (53rd) and the University of Manchester (56th) were only able to secure mid-table finishes, while the University of Southampton and the University of Liverpool ranked a disappointing 60th and 66th place respectively.

2018 Top 20 Law Faculties:

Ranking Law school Overall Guardian score (out of 100)
1 Cambridge 100
2 Oxford 88.2
3 Queen Mary 81.9
4 Durham 78.1
5 London School of Economics 76.5
6 Dundee 76.3
7 UEA 74
8 Leeds 71.3
9 York 68.8
10 UCL 67.3
11 King’s College London 67.2
12 Edinburgh Napier 66.3
=13 London South Bank 65.9
=13 Queen’s, Belfast 65.9
=15 Kent 65.6
=15 Nottingham 65.6
17 Aberdeen 65.4
18 Robert Gordon 65.3
19 Edinburgh 65.2
20 Ulster 64.8

The full rankings can be found here.

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Ginger Beer Snail

Guardian rankings aka the joke of league tables.

Any prospective student who looks at these tables and thinks that Dundee/UEA are better than established universities like UCL/KCL/Exeter/Bristol/Edinburgh will get a pretty big shock .


Warwick is a crock of poo anyway

If you do an LLB at LSBU, you can work part time, network, get to know working lawyers and get ahead

Not Amused

The list is highly misleading and highly politicised.

It represents a form of harm to young people who read it.

What young people need is a single list which tells them how employable they will be. In that top 20 there are institutions where, if you attend, getting a job afterwards will be substantially harder.

It is arrogant and unhelpful for the Guardian to pretend its view is of value. One of the biggest problems for social mobility is the ideology of the left – the poor born kid gets told by his left-wing teacher that ‘Random Uni A’ is “just as good”. It isn’t. The rich born kid may well get told the same by the Guardian. But the rich born kid’s parents say “don’t listen to the idiots at the Guardian, you’re not going there”.

All to often there is no one to properly advise the poor born kid.


Stop using such patronising language as ‘poor born kid’. You do it every time and it’s v annoying.


Completely agree. Aside from the patronising tone, it’s a disgusting use of the English language.


Completely agree, “poor-born” is such a weird and ugly phrase, and it doesn’t even express the concept of cultural capital which is what Not Amused is struggling to express here.

Travis Bickle

This is one of the rare times I completely agree with NA. The Guardian League Tables ought to be shut down for wilfully misrepresenting the reputation of far superior institutions of higher education with politically-motivated garbage rankings.


I think the problem lies equally with recruiters who prefer a posh Durham dunce to a smart kid who went to South Bank University.


The clients don’t give a shit about your background as long as you get the job done.


Making up a completely hypothetical scenario based on your stereotyping and bias.

I would just like to say I hate you with every inch of my body and hope you die NA.

Travis Bickle

QMUL is perfectly decent for most subjects, but to rank above UCL, LSE or even King’s for Law is laughable.


KCL is a dump. Law is QMUL’s best subject, it has appeared in the top 10 for law for nearly 20 years. Otherwise it’s an average institution. Seeing QMUL above KCL is not exactly the outrage of the century…and you have Leeds and UEA above UCL and KCL and you’re whining about QMUL?!
Sounds like a few KCLers (and perhaps UCLers too) are chippy about the uni next door beating them..which to be fair is par for the course for them. FWIW, I went to Durham.


Oh look, somebody absolutely definitely not associated with KCL at all, no siree. The students are just better. BETTER, you hear.

Sarcasm aside, I know KCL very well indeed. The career prospects, relative to other RGs including QMUL, are nothing to write home about. My ex studied there, hardly anyone at all got training contracts. None of her friends did – including the ones who got firsts. She got a medium sized firm in the regions. I work in an American firm, I’ve seen plenty of QMUL grads over the years – both at my firm, places I’m looking to jump to, people on the other side, friends etc. There’s certainly no preference towards KCL (!) or even LSE, UCL.


“almost all the people I know from my cohort got TCs in the City and mainly at MC/US firms”

You obviously don’t know many people then. Obvious KCL plant. TCs at KCL are c.10% of the year. KCL definitely does not feature more heavily than QMUL at US firms. I don’t need a ****ing student guide. There are c.20-25 US firms in London. They all have websites. You can search by school. You can’t do that for the MC, but you can for the US. In fact, I’d say there are more QMULers at top US firms than KCLers.


Forgot to note the seething insecurity coming off the KCL stude who prays the uni he goes to (which is average, but he kids himself) is going to save him from mediocre academics. What matters is who you are, not your uni…saying firms filter out x good RG universities in favour of your own is a particularly tedious insecure lie.


😀 If you say so…
Just please tell me which firms should I check?
Cleary: KCL – 22, Qmul – 0 (maybe an error but could not find any)
Latham: Kcl – 40+, Qmul – 6
Sullcrom: KCL – 3, QMUL – 0
Skadden: KCL – 12, QMUL – 3

Next time please include where you got your figures from if you don’t need a ***ing student guide that is based on … figures …


Antitrust, I don’t even need to check those numbers to know you’re lying or can’t search properly and/or are being selective. Because I actually know at someone who went to QMUL at Sullivan & Cromwell where you say there’s 0.

I repeat, QMUL is a perfectly respectable university. It is as respectable as KCL. Both are not particularly impressive. Neither will stop you getting a training contract, it’s not a factor. They have the same A-level entry at both places, if you have AAA* at QMUL and the same at KCL, you have to be monumentally arrogant to think the latter will have you looked at more favourably. Again to repeat, I’m an associate. In a US firm. University is really not a big factor.


Remember the saying about lies, damn lies and statistics…?

Because King’s has a much larger cohort than the other UoL colleges – it used to be about 300 for many years. UCL, where I went, was about 120. QMUL about 150. LSE, 120-150 too I think.
And then if you just pick people who “went to King’s”, you’ll have a large number of people who didn’t do their undergraduate law degree there, which is what this article is about. Many will have undergrad BAs there or postgrads. I wouldn’t be surprised if you found more King’s grads than UCL on a search like that, but doesn’t mean the law faculty is better at one and it doesn’t mean the preference of the firm is for the other.
When I resigned from my last firm to move to another, the UCL numbers dropped, so under Antitrust’s logic, my firm started liking UCL law grads less.


I partly agree with this UCL Anonymus. That is why I would never say that King’s is better than UCL for LLB. However, the larger cohort only applies for the first two years as there are many double degree students (King’s/Sorbonne or now Assas, King’s/Humboldt, King’s/HKU) who do not come back to the UK after completing their second year and do not pursue a career as an English solicitor. It is indeed a disadvantage in the first 2 yrs in terms of quality of education as there are just simply too many students and less feedback. But the cohort is around 150 in the final year so I am not sure it makes a big difference in terms of representation at law firms (maybe before when there were less international students but now nonUK are the majority).
(Ps: under double degree course I don’t mean year-abroad or erasmus courses but proper 2-2yrs (Paris) 2-3yrs (Berlin / Hong Kong) courses with the partner universities).


Yes, but all UoL colleges year to year from my knowledge – at least around the years when I was there which wasn’t that long ago – took probably around 50% international. It applies for the straight law courses too – and by international I also mean EU. Of say, 120, we had maybe 50-60 who were EU/international, many went back home too. But what I’m trying to say is the numbers you’re getting at are wrong.

I’m going to waste some time here, I don’t know why I’m going to do this….but hey ho:

Take your L&W example. Over 40+ KCL grads, right? But if you filter just by “London”, those working in the UK, you’ll see there are 15. OK, but how many associates went to KCL? There are 6. But how many associates did undergrad law? 4 out of 6 – 1 did history, another did a postgrad. And 1 of those 4 did law with european studies which tbf is a different degree to the straight undergrad. And of those 4, what were their backgrounds? 3 have firsts. The one girl who got a 2:1, worked as a paralegal before getting a trainee position as an unknown pharma company, a client of Lathams, she managed a secondment there and a perma associate position, (possibly contract though) after qualification. Another 1 of the 4 trained at CC and moved to Latham as an associate. They are also all years and years and years apart from one another – one associate left KCL in 2002!

OK, so 6 associates, 4 who did law, (3 being straight law). What about the other 9? 1 did history, 2 did undergrad at Oxford and masters at KCL, 1 did the 4 year dual Paris degree, 1 did a Bsc, 1 went to nottingham and did a diploma at kcl later on in life (after a spell at sandhurst) and 1 partner and 2 counsel did straight law at KCL.

So you quoted over 40+ going to KCL (presumably for law) but actually there are 3 associates, 1 partner and 2 counsel that did straight law there, and only 1 person, of those, a single person, started their career at Lathams after leaving university. It also doesn’t account for all the quirks and nuances in their CVs generally.

I’m not denigrate your university, but comparing numbers like this is silly. Relating it back to QMUL, it really is probably similar both in terms of rep and in terms of people at US firms and probably MC firms at least at the associate level with undergrad law, but there’s no quota either way. Honestly, getting a TC really depends on your experience and personality more than the uni. And associate jobs much, much more so.


Look at QMUL’s teaching staff – we poached most of Oxbridge/UCL lol.


Wow, I was wondering why the teaching at Oxford was so poor – turns out they all went to Queen’s!

Entitled Millennial

I should be guaranteed a TC at a top MC firm as I have a degree in basket-weaving from London South Bank!


At first I was just disappointed that my uni was low down; but this list can be seriously damaging to smart kids who don’t know any better. Obviously it’s none sense ( Manchester 63rd) but if someone thinks this list is at all authoritative and goes to a worse university because of it- when they could have gone to a Russell- there could be so much wasted potential. It’s quite sad.
Be cool if u did something to help legal cheek. Like educate

Tim NicebutDim

Agreed – I went to Lancaster Uni based on the ranking tables with A*AB at A-level, a decision that partly contributed to my difficulty in securing a tc.

I guess common sense did not go hand in hand with academic achievement for me!


Lancaster is actually decent though.

You can get into the LLB course at LSBU with BBB or worse, probably with Cs even. Try bagging a top City firm TC then…

Time NicebutDim

Yeah agreed – not a bad uni at all, and really enjoyed my time there. However, it isn’t that well recognised by most city practices.


True indeed! I fell in that trap… Chose Bath over Warwick for politics… I will always regret my decision!


Clearly UCL has a better reputation than LMU, and Edinburgh than Dundee. And that reputation is likely to be a big help in getting a job in a conservative field such as law. But the list doesn’t pretend to rank on the basis of reputation – it sets out quite clearly what its criteria are. It may well be that it would be wiser for students to ignore the criteria chosen by the guardian and focus on reputation when choosing a university. And I completely agree that it is important that less well-connected students are made to understand the importance of a university’s brand, as distinct from anything to do with the quality of the teaching it offers.

But all this doesn’t mean that ranking universities on the basis of something other than their reputations is not useful. It is useful, and necessary, to look beyond the assumption that the older and prettier the university, the better it is.


All magic circle and US firms scrambled to London South Bank this morning! Every single law student got offered a TC!

Fuck the Guardian with a BBC

Funny. the best law schools as followed:



‘Ranks Exeter above KCL or QMUL.’

Cool story brah, changed ma loyfe.

Oxford BA Law

The real rankings are:

Kings College

The rest don’t matter….

the truth legal williams


the rest are good but this is where the money is!

money man banks

I got an idea, next time this year around bpp will be top! Thats how shite the Guardian league tables are!


having done UG at Warwick and masters at Kings, I agree, K is just hype with little substance. the teaching standard there really needs to be revamped.

other than that, kings sound more royal I suppose


look at the metrics, one of them is about school infrastructure, which means the new swanky buildings of the newly established unis gets a huge advantage.

next, nebulous criteria like staff satisfaction and student satisfaction should be removed altogether. students may be miserable at a uni but hey that doesn’t mean the uni aint great at pumping out quality students? no hardship no gems

and warwick’s law school really needs a makeover, the management there is atrocious and they are bleeding quality professors whilst ransoming students with high fees.

money man banks

Warwick is an excellent law school with high quality teaching. I will admit the management is bad but as for highs fees that’s the name of the game baby . And as for professors being bleeding out, what the hell do you mean?


I think charging London uni fees (actually Warwick fees are even higher) is crazy, I understand the premises in London may be money sucking, but Coventry shouldn’t be that expensive?! cmon warwick doesn’t even has its own law building – its squeezed together with social sciences and philo with ridiculously small rooms.

I think he means losing quality professors over time – which I agree.


The rankings are a pile of politically motivated garbage. Most things aside if you’re prepared to work hard then that’s accountable for what you can achieve after University. I go to Cardiff, which is a decent, Russell Group university and I managed to secure a TC at my first choice firm. There’s a lot to be said for actually liking the university you’re at, as oppose to going because it’s high up in the league tables and hating it.


Bizarre rankings that have the potential to mislead promising A level students who aren’t swimming in the sort of circles allowing them the advantage of knowing where they really need to apply in order to have a great career.

Further, the better of the less-established unis could actually benefit from a more accurate ranking system. Rather than being seen as a bit of a joke the tables would be seen as genuinely useful, and a ‘best of the rest’ position at around 35-40 would be a legitimate point of pride, rather than the current false rankings.

Jones Day Partner

We exclusively employ from South Bank and Queen Mary.

Mary Swathswallerssohn

I think I met you at a networking event last night. Are you the striking man with the silky grey hair and of an athletic build? I think I left one of my earrings on your wife’s bedside table, can you check later?

Jones Day Partner

What was your name again? Anyways, please feel free to pop round to pick up your earring. Please come wearing your red lingerie and a face full on makeup, otherwise I may not recognise you.


This league table seems a bit suspect… my uni was quite low down in 2017 and now we’re in the top 50.


It’s really quite disturbing just how much pleasure law students seem to take from tearing down other people’s law degrees based on the rep of a university. Surely no other degree has it to this extent? *yawn*


It’s simple – to get a top TC or at least to make it easier for yourself you need to attend, in order either Oxbridge, LSE, other London unis, rest of RG. Attending a mid-ranking uni (UEA, Kent, Sussex etc.) doesn’t make it impossible but much harder. Students need this making clear to them and anyone who does their research will see that cachet / prestige comes above Guardian ranking.


I’m an MC NQ. My intake of circa 50, in this order:

Durham, Oxford, Cambridge (60%)
Warwick, UCL, KCL (20%)
India/ international (20%)
Other good RG (15%)
Poly (5%)

Competition higher than people think. Majority have firsts + GDL/LPC double distinctions, and a fair few have top masters (ie US, Oxbridge), previous careers + all the normal soft skills.


you need to be an outlier. ie the person from the poly in my intake is a machine and a much better lawyer than the oxbridge/ harvard lot.


Yeah but poly means Bath Spa etc. Places like UEA are much better but not RG cachet. There are a fair few knocking around the City.

Yeah K Bruv

I don’t think they have all the ‘soft skills’. Most lawyers are arseholes.

BIll Ponderosa's Cousin

Demonstrate value
Engage physically
Nurture dependence
Neglect emotionally
Inspire hope
Separate entirely

Remember the system.


Why use the system when you could just rely on the implication?

warwick offer-holder

is warwick school of law that bad, thinking of my insurance choice instead. warwick or sheffield what do you guys think

LSE Graduate

Warwick is good enough to secure TC at Irwin Mitchell. Other than that you’d be lucky to get a job at McDonald’s!

Soas Graduate

I had werk experiens in bare firms and now I be a Legal pa at a small high street form my uncal owns. Anyting is possible wiv da rite drive n connexton


about 20% of the cohort at CC comes from Warwick, so…that’s quite significant for a single uni outside of Oxbridge

warwick offer-holder

because when i went there seemed pretty top also i heard that firms and chambers regard it pretty higly


Asking this question on LC is stupid since most of the commentors think University priestiege > anything else. Warwick is a good uni take the league table rankings with a pinch of salt.


Warwick is unfortunately situated. So far from the coast. It is a long way for your fish and shellfish to travel before hitting the plate. Just another consideration / warning for you.


*whence you came

highly likely that you’re from oxford brookes instead

lse student

remain, multicultural and corbyn. up yours oxbridge hater


Yes, this is closer to reality. Far more Durham, Notts and Bristol grads in my MC law firm than from LSE, UCL, KCL. LSE students never fail to surprise just how bad they are at interview.


That is because LSE has one of the worst law school programmes. They choose to focus on policy rather than actual practical knowledge.


What the fuck does this have to do with one’s capacity at interview?

Passionate LSE Defender and Upholder of the Status Quo

LSE has a far smaller law cohort (around 170 people – see http://www.lse.ac.uk/intranet/LSEServices/planningUnit/informationManagementAndStatistics/pdf/Table%20C.pdf). They have a higher percentage of international students.

Only 30% of those 170 students actually stay in the UK after graduation. This is understandable when we see that, across the country, the percentage of internationals who stay on in the UK after graduation is extremely low (see the figures in this Quora thread here: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-percentage-of-international-students-get-jobs-in-UK-after-graduation).

LSE also do not benefit from a) having a large non-law cohort, which b) actually wishes to convert to Law. If anything, LSE loses some its few remaining law undergrads to high finance. LSE in general has a smaller student body than every other RG university in the UK against which it has been compared (see the table here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_universities_in_the_United_Kingdom_by_enrolment).

All of the statistics above reduce the number of potential applications LSE students and alumni will eventually make to City law firms. Hence, even if LSE students had the same success rate as Oxbridge ones, they would still be underrepresented compared to other universities.

People chatting shit as Anons need to learn to control the data. If not, then the whole ‘how many alumni work at x’ exercise becomes pointless.

Oxbridge Graduate

I received offers to study at postgraduate level in IP law at LSE, UCL, KCL and QMUL and talked to few IPL professors at various universities and law firms around Europe and they all UNANIMOUSLY said the same:

When it comes to international REPUTATION of those universities there’s no question the ranking is as follows:
1. LSE
2. UCL and KCL

However, when it comes to QUALITY of the LLM programme and teaching staff they ALL agreed the list goes as follows:
2. KCL
3. LSE
4. UCL

I decided to go with quality over reputation and accepted the offer from QMUL, as most professors and law firm partners told me the same thing: employers know EXACTLY which institutions “ride on the name” established by other disciplines, and which ones really do offer good education that will help you in your professional career.

LL and P

You are talking about the LLM. QMUL is top drawer for IP/IT and International arbitration. If you want EU or construction law it’s KCL, public law is UCL and PIL/HR or finance it’s LSE. The undergrad program is generalist and so general rep is importamt, hence your first list is key for a job in the City.


That’s true but a little bit off. QMUL is known as the best for IP in the country – both nationally and internationally. Many/most have also received offers from Oxford…but they go to QMUL because it’s IP.
INTERNATIONALLY – no question about the order you mention. But NATIONALLY UCL and LSE are seen as fairly equal, and LSE more of specialist Economics school; for a subject like law seen about the same. INTERNATIONALLY, KCL has a great rep in the Far East and the EU especially, but DOMESTICALLY, it doesn’t – and is seen as some way below UCL and LSE. At the moment KCL is pretty much in the same league, and viewed in the same league as QMUL – they’re similar in that they’re both quite strong for humanities, both quite weak for sciences/maths (relatively), and overall pretty good, but not great institutions which do some things well (law/humanities).
In terms of UK law firms, they don’t generally have much of view – they consider the academics first and foremost. You need a first from either university for a US TC, and you could get away with a high 2:1 with an interesting background/ECs for an MC TC. The uni isn’t going to make or break it – and LSE/UCL will be the same actually.
Generally in the UK at least, if you’re good enough to get a first and you’re in that top 5-10% employers aren’t that interested; you tick the academic box. If you’re one of the mass of 2:1s, the university won’t be the thing which swings it for you – Oxbridge definitely helps. But that’s because you probably have better academics from start to finish – and speaking from experience, you have longer holidays, lots of very active societies full of intelligent people and it’s also very easy to meet law firms at college dinners etc.


Using how happy students are as a metric is obviously silly. Remember that study that showed that BPTC students were, on the whole, delighted with themselves? People at Oxford are generally stressed out. Because the work is intense and challenging.

legal cheek cheeky cheek ass wipe

how sad the end of thread has come and legal cheek is still business.

Alexandra Varga

As a former LSBU Law student I can only agree and vouch for my alma mater. Studying Law at LSBU was a life changing experience, the teaching crew is the best, they care about the individuals on the law courses and deliver both academically and practically excellent modules.


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