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Revealed: The staggering differences behind universities’ LLB places

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Exclusive: There are more law students at Liverpool than Oxford and Cambridge combined

More law students starting their degrees in 2016 accepted offers to study at the University of Liverpool than any other university.

A grand total of 580 aspiring lawyers accepted offers to study at Liverpool in 2016, according to UCAS’ end of cycle data. By Legal Cheek’s number crunching, only two more universities surpassed the 500 mark. These were the University of Leicester (515) and Leeds Beckett (505). Other law schools dominating the ranks include Nottingham Trent (480), Northumbria University (470) and City, University of London (460).

The Russell Group universities, popular recruiting grounds for top City law firms, also attracted their fair share of wannabe lawyers. Aside from Liverpool, the University of Birmingham had the second largest Russell Group cohort (450), with Exeter following on 420. Four-hundred-and-ten aspiring lawyers accepted degree places at Bristol in 2016, while the same can be said of 400 Leeds students and 375 Cardiff students. The London School of Economics had the smallest Russell Group law cohort with 185. Oxford had 235 acceptances; Cambridge had 215.

By contrast, 16 universities’ 2016 law cohorts did not hit triple figures. Buckinghamshire New University took on 35 lawyers last year, Suffolk 25, and at the very bottom of the table sits the University of Cumbria, with just 10 new students. A list of all universities ordered by the number of law students who accepted places to study there in 2016 can be viewed below.

What’s perhaps more interesting than the university intakes themselves is tracking internal university trends. It’s no secret law student numbers are on the up; over 23,000 people started law degrees last September, a 5% increase on the 2015 figure. This trend is reflected in a number of individual higher education providers. At Aston University, for example, the number of students taking up law degrees has increased massively, from 115 in 2014, to 170 in 2015 and 220 in 2016. At the University of Bristol, the increase is more subtle but it’s still there: the figure was 335 in 2014, rising to 400 in 2015 and 410 most recently. The universities of York, Roehampton and Suffolk provide further examples.

But it’s certainly not increases across the board.

By way of example, 665 started law degrees at BPP in 2014. This figure fell by some distance to 535 in 2015; now it stands at 240. Other examples include the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent. At the former, 255 people agreed to a place on Southampton’s undergrad law course in 2015; 195 did so in 2016. At the latter 95 accepted offers to study law in 2015, just 50 did the same in 2016.

Table of UK law schools by 2016 acceptances

Law school 2016 acceptances
Liverpool 580
Leicester 515
Leeds Beckett 505
Nottingham Trent 480
Northumbria 470
City, University of London 460
Birmingham 450
Essex 445
UWE 445
Exeter 420
Kent 415
Liverpool John Moores 415
Westminster 415
Bristol 410
The University of Law 410
Leeds 400
Portsmouth 400
Birmingham City 390
Cardiff 375
Queen’s University Belfast 375
Manchester Metropolitan 370
Sheffield Hallam 365
Coventry 360
De Montfort 340
Hertfordshire 315
Durham 310
Hull 305
Manchester 305
Queen Mary University of London 305
Lincoln 295
Nottingham 295
Swansea 295
Salford 275
Sheffield 270
Strathclyde 270
Newcastle 260
Reading 260
Sussex 255
Warwick 255
Chester 250
Middlesex 250
Surrey 250
Oxford Brookes 245
Aberdeen 240
BPP 240
Keele 235
Oxford 235
King’s College London 230
Aston 220
Southbank 220
Cambridge 215
Lancaster 215
York 215
Ulster 210
Edinburgh 210
East Anglia 205
Brunel 200
East London 195
Southampton 195
Northampton 190
Plymouth 190
University College London 190
Central Lancashire 185
London School of Economics 185
Anglia Ruskin 180
Edge Hill 180
SOAS 165
Teesside 160
South Wales 160
Aberystwyth 150
Canterbury Christ Church 155
Dundee 155
Huddersfield 155
Bournemouth 150
Wolverhampton 145
Greenwich 140
Birkbeck 135
Robert Gordon 135
Bradford 130
Derby 130
Edinburgh Napier 130
Roehampton 130
Staffordshire 130
Sunderland 125
Abertay 110
Gloucestershire 105
London Metropolitan 105
Kingston 100
Bedfordshire 95
West London 95
Bangor 90
Royal Holloway 90
Stirling 85
Winchester 85
Brighton 70
Liverpool Hope 60
Southampton Solent 50
Glasgow Caledonian 45
Bolton 40
Buckingham 40
Worcester 40
Buckinghamshire New 35
Suffolk 25
Cumbria 10

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17 Comments

Anonymous

Leeds who?

(3)(2)

Anonymous

because their standard for entry is “anyone who passes A levels”

(7)(2)

Anonymous

I think that some are even “anyone with a pulse”

(4)(2)

Anonymous

Worchester?

(1)(0)

Snowflake

Not even going to rise to this..

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Should be 300 max.

How can they even accommodate over 500 in one lecture theatre?

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Why would they have to? They could easily have 2-3 teaching streams with that number of students – all they have to do is ensure they have anough staff and the other facilities to go with that. Sheer numbers aren’t limiting on their own.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

A friend of mine did their LLB at Cumbria and said it was brilliant. No wonder with so few students. They probably had one on one tuition.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

How’s their job in KFC going though?

(12)(6)

Anonymous

Yeah…small cohorts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I had the misfortune to fall for the sales patter of the staff at Bradford Uni. By the way that number (130) is bull – they have not had more than 100 in any year group since the Noughties. In my first year (2013) there were 82 of us and we had 12 law-specific staff for the whole school (although the head of law and one other staff quit about six weeks into term). Our tutorial groups were supposed to be 20-21 students (although most never turned up). So yes, we usually had the lecturer (or quite often the teaching assistant, who had barely graduated a year earlier) and about 8-10 students. Contrary to the sales patter, there was no individual law school – instead it was subsumed within a much larger business school. The only law-specific structure was a small cottage away from the main teaching building, where the law staff were supposed to have their offices. Even then you’d be lucky to catch any of them in their office at the times advertised on their door.
For me the real crunch was attending Manchester Law Fair in late 2013 and receiving the same types of response (“Bradford teaches law?”, “Why did you choose Bradford?”). The clearest one was a regional law firm partner who was very polite until I asked him which uni’s they recruited from – “Well Russell Group, naturally”). Would they consider Bradford graduates? “Only with a first, and even then only if they did their postgrad at a decent law school.”
I graduated with said first and a master’s from York and am now about to start a TC. Many of fellow Bradfordians are either working as paralegals or in other industries. I can think of only about 20 from my year group who actually went into law after graduation. The low staff-student ratio didn’t help one iota.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

AAB was the requirement for Liverpool when I went there (that was before the A* grade existed) so I doubt they have lowered their standards.

(2)(3)

Anonymous

ABB now

(9)(1)

Anonymous

That would be close to the equivalent of A*A*A nowadays. When this is compared to the actual AAB offer (and generous acceptance of those who have marginally missed their offers), Liverpool seems a lot less selective nowadays.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

ABB offer. BBB accepted

(2)(0)

Anonymous

One of the crucial questions no one seems to answer in these stats is not how many start, but how many finish? I don’t know about the position now, because the regime has changed so much, but the institute at which I studied had an intake of around 300 – but only 65-75 graduated each year (ie 75% drop-out rate).

The stats above indicate that the intake is a lot lower now, but I think that is because they recruit other than through UCAS.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

That’s because it would be embarrassing- having to admit that a significant chunk dropped out after paying thousands of pounds.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I would think The Open University would be in the top-3 for numbers enrolling on the LLB programme.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.