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

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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



Hahahahahahah, nice alternative facts there mate.


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.



It’s what the clients want



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



So on point



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.



You ok hun?



This is absolutely lol


Strand Poly

QM above UCL? What a joke


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.



QMUL Law is a good school with some great specialised LLMs but most people wouldn’t think twice to choose KCL over QMUL: better students, way more international, with better career prospects (just take a look around at any MC/US firms). The same reasons why most people would choose LSE/UCL over King’s.
This list seems more appropriate:



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.


Indeed, I went to KCL and in fact decided to do so instead of going to QMUL. I would have preferred LSE or UCL though but couldn’t get in. I don’t want to question your word but almost all the people I know from my cohort got TCs in the City and mainly at MC/US firms.
This seems rather useful (King’s is 4th amongst US firms and 9th amongst MC):


“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.



QMUL is a great uni



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!



Bath is a good uni though.



Why abbreviations just for UEA and UCL? I don’t like it.


Max from Finance

You silly bard. What exactly is your issue with this?



UCL is the official title of UCL



UCL means UCL.



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!



100+ comments incoming


Fuck the Guardian with a BBC

Funny. the best law schools as followed:



Charlah from Exetah

Exeter, LOL.



‘Ranks Exeter above KCL or QMUL.’

Cool story brah, changed ma loyfe.



These rankings are beyond a joke


Oxford BA Law

The real rankings are:

Kings College

The rest don’t matter….


Linklaters Trainee

Trump University takes the number 1 spot!!!


the truth legal williams


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




Why on earth is Warwick on the list


oxbridge elite

should be…

why is durham on the list



King’s College


money man banks

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


money man banks

Kings are shite. I would rather go Warwick.



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



Haha triggered students!



London South Bank?
Give me a break.


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