Cambridge, Oxford and LSE prevail in ‘league table of league tables’

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Brings together rankings from Complete University Guide, The Times and The Guardian

Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Economics (LSE) held onto the three top spots in the University of Leeds law faculty’s combined league table for undergraduate law courses published this week.

Its table brings together the three main annual league tables: The Complete University Guide, The Times Good University Guide and The Guardian University Rankings.

Scottish universities appear to be doing particularly well: Glasgow secured 19th place and there are another four in the top 20: Dundee in seventh, Aberdeen in ninth, Edinburgh at 15th and Abertay (also in Dundee) a new entrant at 16th. (but note that only Dundee actually has an English not Scottish law-based syllabus.)

Otherwise, the results of the top 20 law schools in the UK remain fairly consistent with Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Economics in first, second and third place and with Durham, University College London, Leeds and York all staying in the top ten.

Some Russell Group universities have not done as well as might be expected. Manchester Met (39th) comes one place above Manchester University (40th), for instance. Liverpool makes it only to 45th, Southampton only 50th.

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This may in part be explained by the fact that some of the statistics on which rankings are based come from the National Student Survey (NSS), the official annual survey of the experiences of around 300,000 students. Last year the NSS was boycotted by many students in response to the UK Government’s highly controversial Teaching Excellence Framework, a new assessment of undergraduate teaching in UK universities which will be used as the basis for whether or not institutions can increase tuition fees.

This is the second year that Leeds’ law faculty has done this ‘table of tables’. Professor Alastair Mullis, head of the law school, tells Legal Cheek:

“Our combined league table is useful for us internally. And though the quality of universities and courses is a very complex story, particularly something like the student experience, we do take such rankings, and the statistics on which they are based, into account.”

The aim of the combined table (the Times Higher Education also compiles something similar) is to get a more complete picture of university performance because each of the three main rankings emphasise slightly different things. In particular, The Guardian‘s rankings do not include research.

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Dundee hater

Where’s Dundee?

Oh wait, it’s a crap tier university that thinks that it’s special for securing a one-off third place performance in the Guardian.

The hierarchy seems to be fairly predictable, however meaningless the underlying metrics are.


Wallace Willy

I know of various Dundee grads working as associates in MC, SC and US firms across the city. It has an excellent reputation both in academia and in practice and provides some of the best masters courses in the UK (e.g. Energy, Petroleum and Minerals LLM).

In my experience, Dundee (as with other Scottish universities) produces well reasoned and very competent lawyers who are (generally speaking!) very grounded and relatable to clients.

When you consider the high rate of student satisfaction, employability rate of graduates, range of studies available, sterling domestic and international reputation and an interesting and diverse alumni network (Tim Eicke, Donald Findlay QC), I find your argument pretty pathetic. Take your silver spoon fed prejudice elsewhere.



Lots of vagueness and generalisations, little substance. Probably the product of a Dundee education tbf.



You’re talking into a brick wall here mate. Some of these LC keyboard warriors have their heads stuffed so deep up their ass they can taste what they had for dinner last night.

Don’t waste your time arguing with them here.



The University of St Andrews law faculty became a part of Dundee a few decades ago. That’s why it is much better than most of Dundee’s other departments.



Haha sit down.



A joke university. Dundee graduates are, by definition, stupid and badly educated.



Think you are badly educated because:

i) you criticise people – who are you to criticise others? are you perfect somehow? it’s easy to comment when no one knows who you are behind the post, isn’t it?

ii) you assume graduates from Dundee are stupid based on what? As they graduated from there? Perhaps others did not have the financial circumstances of attending London-based universities or did not bother to study for the A-Levels in order to get high grades. With my utmost respect, I believe you are a fool! That’s why society is not evolving.

P.S.: Everyone is paying £9k, so shut up.



Completely agree that Dundee is a provincial city not considered among the elite law schools, but it’s not really a one off.

According to wiki, “In The Guardian’s 2019 law league table, Dundee is ranked 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK. In the previous year, The Guardian’s 2018 league table placed it 1st in Scotland and 6th in the UK. In The Guardian’s 2017 league table, Dundee was ranked 1st in Scotland and 8th in the UK. Similarly, in The Times’ 2017 law rankings, the school was ranked 1st in Scotland and 10th in the UK. In the National Student Survey 2017, Dundee was placed 1st in the UK for teaching.”

So it seems to be doing well all round notwithstanding it’s a bit unknown. Also from wiki, as someone else said, the UK’s judge at the ECtHr is from Dundee.



Dundee aside, fair enough list. The actual hierarchy for employment in city firms/corporate sets in the context of universities that offer qualifying English law degrees continues to be the same as it was 10 years back. Oxbridge first, big gap, UCL and LSE after them, slight gap, Durham, Kings, Bristol, Warwick, and Nottingham following, medium-ish gap, Queen Mary, York and Manchester, and then the rest.



I’m in a US firm, went to one of the unis in your bottom 3. Don’t agree. There is not a ‘actual hierarchy’. Only sad kids who want to pull rank on each other. How well you do or where you end up employed depends mostly on yourself and your results. The uni attended adds little.



Oxbridge and LSE the best unis?

Colour me shocked



Lacking excrement my dear old chum, Sherlock.



Great article Polly – very thoroughly researched and collated.



To all the people confused about Dundee, the University of St Andrews law faculty became a part of Dundee a few decades ago because of them not wanting to teach law with the Scottish/English differences. You can’t do law at St Andrews, only Dundee. That’s why it is much better than most of Dundee’s other departments.



I got expelled from my university because I would often wee myself in class debates and it made a nasty smell.



Exeter has a great reputation and is highly regarded amongst the top firms especially American firms. League tables don’t tell the full story..



Where can one find the full rankings?



Whichever University you attend it really won’t make any difference when you’re actually doing the job, making a summary speech or preparing a bundle. This cock measuring obsession with league tables is moronic, as is anyone who thinks that getting into one particular institution is the only important criterion for a career in law.

No one, except maybe your parents and old boarding chums, is going to care where your ex Uni is in the latest league table when your filling out schedules or facing the judge in court. I’m waiting for someone to be bashed over the head for the conch so someone can feel like the best for five minutes before it all starts up again.

If you’re good, get on with the job. If you still need gold stars and smiley faces all over your work to re assure yourself then you’re an idiot and should stick to something else. League tables are for the purposes of marketing and vanity. The bar is for litigation, happy cock measuring kids.



“Whichever University you attend it really won’t make any difference when you’re actually doing the job”. Yes, it will. Your university is the direct indicator of your cleverness. Frankly, if you are a graduate of any university other than Oxbridge, you have a second class mind, and therefore you are at a disadvantage when engaged in analytical thought. So you will be worse at doing the job than others who are brighter than you. Quite a difference, then.



Really? So an 18 year old who did not make the best job of their oxbridge interview (or did not bother because of a fear it would be full of arrogant idiots) will always be second best throughout their career? Gosh that is some seriously clever selection process. I bow down to their intellect.



Don’t be ridiculous. Oxbridge graduates are renowned for being out of touch, asphixy wank cock measures who do nothing other than pay each other on the back. Not the best at all, sorry 😘



😂🤣😂🤣😂👍🏼😂🤣😂🤣😂 Oh yes, anything other than Oxbridge is second class. PMSL



Yes, really, it won’t make very much difference at all. Being a good advocate has nothing to do with which University you went to. If you don’t realise that then you truly are an jdiot.



You really are thick. This needs spelling out to you: an advocate will not be effective if he is too dim to realise what points to make. Misconceived submissions rolled up in oratorical fireworks will get you nowhere before any judge or tribunal.


Oxford Grad

And clearly, a legalcheek commentator won’t be effective if he’s too dim to realise that an Oxford degree doesn’t magically make you intellectually superior to everybody else on earth… How would that even work? Someone as bright as me could have decided not to apply. Did the three years spent at Oxford somehow alter my brain chemistry and make me cleverer than that person forever? I’d be flattered by the idea if it weren’t such obvious bullshit…


People tend not to apply to Oxbridge because they know they are not up to it.


Ouch. But spot on.



This guy must be a parody of some sort. Nobody can actually be this stupid.


Planet Aberdonia

My only real groan is for the writer from a journalistic perspective:

Where is the link?

If not, at least embed or screenshot the table please?




I also googled and can’t find this ranking anywhere



Yes, whatever, stick your cock on a pigs mouth & fuck off



” Frankly, if you are a graduate of any university other than Oxbridge, you have a second class mind, ” 😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂😂🤣😂🤣😂



I went to LSE. Worked at 2 city firms in both investment banking and law. I can confirm that going to a top university ONLY sounds good. This is what may help you get your foot in the door, but it really does end there. This is primarily because you will be working with so many other graduates from the UK and abroad who went to a broad range of universities. These are the same graduates that will be interviewing you and they don’t look kindly on people that think their university actually impacts their ability to do good work. If you get into top unis- great. But I don’t think that singular fact is determinative of being successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it helps, but it’s not determinative.


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