‘Prestigious’ US law firm seeks ‘Oxbridge educated’ barristers only

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A “prestigious” US law firm was looking to recruit a barrister to join its London office. However, the successful candidate must have attended either Oxford or Cambridge.

Yes, that’s right. The advert (in full below) stipulated that an unnamed US law firm was “seeking an Oxbridge educated barrister” to join its London office. Stringent educational requirements aside, the ideal candidate will have at least two years post-pupillage experience at a “highly rated chamber”, as well as a “real passion” for international arbitration.

First spotted by RollOnFriday, the US firm’s advert was posted by legal recruitment agency Marsden. It has so far remained tight-lipped over the identity of the US firm, with a member of staff telling the website: “I’m not at liberty to disclose anything about any of my clients”.

Casting an eye over the advert, Polly Jeanneret, human resources lawyer at Halebury, told Legal Cheek: “It’s not discrimination of itself here in the UK unless one could demonstrate that the requirement indirectly impacted on a group of people with one of the protected characteristics of discrimination. But it is incredibly unsophisticated and out of touch.”

It won’t come as a surprise that Oxbridge grads remain in high demand across the legal sector, however most firms and chambers are a little more subtle about it in their ads.

At the 20 biggest chambers by pupil places, 74 of their 100 most recent tenants studied at either Oxford or Cambridge, according to Legal Cheek’s Chambers Most List. Meanwhile, stats published by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) earlier this year suggested that around 15.5% of practising barristers attended private schools — more than double the UK as a whole (7%).

The 2019 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List



Fair enough for being honest

This is unspoken anyway for other law firms

Oxbridge grads are just the best grads after all



Agreed. I didn’t go to Oxbridge for under or post grad but one must recognise the students from there tend to be generally very good.

Can’t really fault a firm for saying out loud what every other organisation think. Better to be honest than waste people’s time.



I would love to study at Oxford, even if I I know that there is just one Law out there, nonetheless Oxford suits people of high intellect which then makes such studies more enjoyable for them


Kestrel Shelby-Body

Cambridge is where the intellects go you rascal






‘Oxbridge grads are the best grads’. I have to say, I feel ashamed to have studied at the same University as BoJo, Cameron and May. Sorry to say.



I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this comment was made merely to spark controversy and is not a reflection of actually views.



I mean given the current expansive approach it shouldn’t be hard for them to make an indirect discrimination case. They just need to read the Guardian.

I’m informed often that Oxbridge has less black students and less women graduate with firsts both of which the unis have, under the pressure from equality of outcome types, said is a problem. Thus this app makes it harder for black people than white people and women than men to work there.

That’s how easy it is to establish indirect discrimination. Now they’ll have to objectively justify it.



As you probably know, discrimination may be claimed only where a certain protected characteristic is being treated leas favourably, in a direct express form, or in an indirect more broader form. Such characteristics are age, sex, sex orientation, pregnancy, disability, race, and religion. Education does not fall under these characteristics and any person may therefore be expressly opting for specifically educated candidates, although they also put off many other sometimes equally talented people in this way.



And to disprove the logic behind your point on race, there is absolutely no real racial drive behind such advert as one would have to objectively prove that the company did indeed wished to discriminate say black people (which Im quite sure they care less about, they just want highly intelligent people, including highly intellectual black or asian people), thus proving any such claim, on such poor grounds, would very likely fail in an employment tribunal, let alone for the reason that Im quite sure that this company, whoever they are, are already employing black and asian people. Your claim has very poor foundations my friend, I would argue that any such discrimination lies in your head only and exclusively and you should stay off making such misleading statements publicly 😉



Actually, it could win an indirect discrimination case; a seemingly neutral provision that disproportionately affects certain protected characteristics. In this case they can argue it on the grounds of sexual orientation and age.



**I meant sex not age



Where on earth in the Equality Act 2010 does it require proof of discriminatory intent to found a claim of indirect discrimination? The answer is it does not.

The simple fact of the matter is that this recruitment policy makes it objectively harder for a black person to get this job than a white person and objectively harder for a woman to get it than a man. This is simply mathematic – white people are more likely to have Oxbridge degrees than black people, men more likely to firsts than women. Oxbridge will for some reason admit they don’t think that should be the case – i.e. there is something wrong with the system.

They can probably resort to proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. But that is a different question.



*shouldn’t be the case



If you are saying that it is “objectively” harder for a black person to study at Oxford, then you are implying that Oxford has such policy to discriminate against blacks (and others). I do not believe that this is the case as that would be a fiasco and there would be numerous claim being filed against Oxford in the courts. Your implication is based on wrong assumption. You then inject such wrong assumption into the recruitment process of some 3rd party, claiming there is indirect discrimination per se. I would NOT want to be in an employment tribunal with you as I would feel embarrassed by your assumptions about Oxford university. You have lost your case by using personal assumptions and beliefs to make out discrimination. Sorry :)))


Archibald Pomp O'City

“If you are saying that it is “objectively” harder for a black person to study at Oxford, then you are implying that Oxford has such policy to discriminate against blacks (and others). ”

How the bloody hell does that follow? How does the relative level of difficulty it might take a group of people to study at Oxford imply that Oxford has a policy of discrimination against that group? Are you saying there can be no other reasons, likely or unlikely?


You may argue but you will most likely be unsuccessful.

There is merit in an institutional racism claim here.

I pity the Partner who signed off on the Job Spec.



Why are you turning this into racism? You people are always raising the race card needlessly, so boring.

Silly person.



I don’t think that there is a race issue here. I am merely responding to the point in the article that this isn’t a discriminatory practice under UK law. I don’t think that is entirely right.

I don’t think this should be a discrimination issue. But its important people appreciate the width of the legal regime we live under.



Oh I see, fair enough! Thank you for responding so nicely btw



Fewer. Clearly not an Oxbridge grad.



Oh, AND objectively to justify ..
mind, probably have to go to Eton to get unspoilt infinitive…



If you cannot coast a first I would not have time to interview you, regardless of ethnicity or gender.



What relevance is how many women graduate with firsts? Exams are marked blind. There is no way for discrimination to take place when the examiner doesn’t know anything about the candidate.


Kestrel Shelby-Body

Fewer black students and fewer women*



Oxbridge graduates are very attractive. I have a crush on one.



Which means you love yourself lol hahah 😉



Top prize for the week’s worst banter right here ladies and gents



The only thing I would advise Marsden recruiter, in order to be politically correct, is that they would re-write their ad, stating that they PREFER Oxbridge educated barristers, although equally talented people from other educational background will be also considered. EASY 😉


Not Oxbridge-educated

Is the law firm advertising for an Oxbridge-educated barrister in the hope that he or she can provide guidance on the hyphenation of compound adjectives?


Greenberg Glusker

Top tier oxbridge titans only






Let’s tun this mofo

100 angry posts




If you are sucessful and coining it in at the Commercial Bar you are not going to want to become an employee. Only attractive to someone who’s practice is pretty ropey.



Very true. Most applicants will be shet bazzas and those that didn’t get tenancy after their second six.



True. If you are a barrister, you join a firm because you have failed. (Most failed barristers end up offshore.)



Whose. Where do you recruit these substandard comments ? Clearly not Oxbridge.



Did you recuit. Can’t do past tense at Oxbridge it would seem.



Very true. Imagine leaving self-employment, working at home or in an actually pleasant office in a nice part of town, compared to being slave driven in a faceless corporate office.

Oh but we have an on-site gym.



What non-Oxbridge graduates constantly fail to grasp is the difference in how much work it takes to complete an Oxbridge degree compared to the same subject at another university.

An Oxbridge degree can involve typing 2/3 3,000 word essays every week. This is alongside hours of reading and lecture attendance. Your writing is then critically assessed on a one-on-one basis with a leading academic in the field. On some courses, you may have to learn a language from scratch alongside all the reading and typing.

At other universities, you get a reading list and may have to write one essay a month.

There is absolutely no like-for-like comparison in the depth of knowledge gained or the amount of work completed over three years between Oxbridge and the rest. Other universities could choose to set more work, but they don’t.


Russell group grad

I think I did one essay in three months.



This is very true.

I think the other thing which people can often fail to grasp is the difference in standard between entrance requirements. When I was applying to university – which, admittedly was before the introduction of the A* grade at A level – loads of universities, including Durham, LSE, UCL, Warwick etc. asked for exactly the same grades as Oxbridge – namely, 3As. This made it look like they were all making offers to students of similar ability. However, whilst Oxbridge may only have provided offers which said ‘AAA’, they looked to individual scores on AS-papers to separate people who were getting 80-85% from people who were getting 95-100%.

Similarly, it is an open secret that the standard to get a first or 2:1 at Oxbridge is much higher than that at other universities.

I can see it from the point of view of people who went to another good university. They look their Oxbridge-educated competitors and think, ‘he or she has the same A level results as me, the same degree, and the only difference is the name of the university we each went to’. However, the truth is that, in substance, they do not have the same A level or degree results.

^ What the hell. My comment isn’t even posting. Is LC now censoring comments before they are even posted? This is a joke.



Exactly this. Non-Oxbridge graduates can spend 4 nights a week in the Students Union whilst their Oxbridge peers are reading in the library and might go out once a week. It’s not a life for everyone, but we have to stop pretending that the only difference is in the name of the university.

This is why firms and the best chambers seek Oxbridge graduates – they really do know how to put the work in.



Agreed. Having taught at Oxford and LSE the difference in quality in terms of what is expected from students is staggering. Many of my students at LSE would simply not write an essay at all, to which there is basically no sanction. Many would not turn up to 2-3/9 classes per term. The classes themselves at LSE often felt like pulling teeth as no one had read anything or turned up to the lecture.

Oxbridge tutorials can be hard if the students aren’t engaged but there is nowhere to hide so the students are forced to do at least some work and they certainly won’t get away with not writing an essay. Equally those tutorials where the students have done the reading can be some of the best experiences one has ever had – two to four extremely bright people having an hour-long chat about a topic they are interested in.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some very smart students at LSE and the ones who were engaged were a pleasure to teach. But many had got sucked into a culture of half-arsing it and at the end of the day, they were paying the same amount of money a the Oxford students for a vastly inferior learning experience.



Oxbridge bears so much unfair criticism for the fact that other universities will not raise their standards and demand more from their students. Essays may not count for the final degree, but they are proof you’ve actually opened a book.

Oxbridge isn’t stopping other universities from offering supervisions, language tuition, essay titles or journal access. The gap is so great and will stay that way because other universities think one essay a month is a reasonable amount of academic work for a 19 year old.


Most universities offer ‘language tuition’. All of them have to offer you access to academic journals for the purposes of your course. Not sure what you mean by ‘essay titles’.

Agree on the point re: there needing to be more essays.


So true. The interview weeds out the cleverest people. If you apply to Oxbridge and you don’t get in, it is because you weren’t bright enough.


This thread is solid gold!!


Marcus Garvey

I went to UCL and had a brilliant time, but only wrote an essay (2.5k) roughly every month or so on average (would tend to be the case that I would have three to hand in at the end of a term). Can’t help but feel oxbridge grads have at the very least been forced to practise more often!



Only Cambridge looks for AS module results across the board. Oxbridge doesn’t.

The entry tariff is very similar for Oxford-LSE-UCL-KCL-Durham, at least for law.



Oxford doesn’t*, apologies.



Ok. This is a fair comment. I’m the commenter above and, in truth, I went to (and therefore only know about) Cambridge. However, even if what you say is correct, I presume Oxford (i) still looks at GCSE grades, (ii) still looks to teacher references/predicted grades, and (iii) still has interviews. Therefore, the point still stands. The entry standards are much higher to get into Oxford (even if, technically, the tariffs are similar)

There are two other points which I didn’t make above that I can make now.

First, and again, I can only talk from personal experience, but there is definitely something to be said for the ‘type’ of person who makes a second application to Oxbridge. When I was at school, I remember there was a small group of people whom all the teachers and students thought had a strong chance of getting into Oxbridge if they applied, a larger group of students whom people thought ‘had a shot’, and an even larger group still who didn’t seem to have a hope in hell but applied anyway. From memory, the only people who took a gap year and made a second application after they’d been rejected once already were people in the first group. It seems to me, therefore, that a lot of candidates self select.

The other point to make is that, when one looks at the Bar (or in this case an unnamed US law firm), it is easy to see that loads of people went to Oxbridge and therefore form the impression that it is some sort of magic ticket. However, if you looked at everyone who was rejected from top-tier sets (and firms) you would see hundreds and hundreds of Oxbridge graduates too. It’s not as if these sets and firms are simply recruiting the ‘typical’ Oxbridge graduate. Rather, they are recruiting the best Oxbridge graduates. The point I am making is that, even if you accept there is significant overlap between the best students at UCL and the worst students at Oxbridge, there is still a very big gap between the best students at UCL and the best students at Oxbridge.

This last point can be illustrated quite easily. Here is a website listing the top performer on the BCL every year and the university they went to for their undergrad. Since the second world war, there are only three (!) people who weren’t either (i) educated at Oxbridge, or (ii) educated abroad.


Oxbridge candidates get rejected at the top sets because schooling/ethnicity may play a factor too.

I once volunteered in an office with someone who had the BCL, years of legal voluntary research experience and went to a state school. He had a final round pupillage interview at the same chambers as someone from my BPTC course.

I found out years later that the guy from my BPTC course who got the pupillage straight out of undergrad went to the same London private school as three of the Head of Chambers’ children. The other guy from the office, despite his BCL and wealth of legal experience, got his pupillage two years later at a set I wouldn’t call ‘magic circle’.

The old snobbery and prejudices extend to factors outside Oxbridge; it seems to me like not even the BCL is decisive.

Another Anonymous

I agree with your points about the highly selective nature of Oxford beyond simple A-level grades and on subsequent selection within the Oxbridge cohort.

Cambridge did use AS UMS scores to select the best applicants from a pool of applicants holding roughly similar A-level grades. The point that has not been made is that Oxford colleges set their own exams to achieve the same end which is arguably more reliable. Cambridge colleges do the same now.

Anonymous from above

Hi, thanks for the response.

LSE, UCL, KCL and Durham all look at GCSEs. They also have an entrance exam (the LNAT), which they use in the exact same way as Oxford. Cambridge’s CLT is a bit different and I don’t know how it weighs up to the LNAT in terms of difficulty, time pressure, skills assessed, required knowledge , etc.

Even less selective universities like Bristol and Nottingham will say that they will weigh your GCSEs in your application (check their website).

I think that the only ‘crucial’ factor that ensures that Oxford and Cambridge entrants have ‘something’ above entrants to the ‘second tier’ pf universities (for lack of a better word) is the interview.

I think that your argument would be better if you admitted that the candidates on entry are fairly similar (perhaps with the exception of Cambridge, which has a far higher entry tariff than the others), but that Oxbridge adds more values by issuing more essays, by allowing for personal, 1-to-1 feedback on those essays, etc.

The BCL stat you gave proves very little I’m afraid. It doesn’t control for other factors that could make getting the prize easier or harder (course selection being the main one). It doesn’t tell us who came 2nd, 3rd, and so on. It doesn’t control for university ‘representation’ (Oxford is by far the most well-represented university in the BCL), which increases the likelihood of someone from that university getting the top grade. And it stands to reason that someone who has gone through 3 years of a particular style of system and examination will be better at it than someone who has been brought up in a different system, possibly overseas, and is therefore in less of a position to ‘game it’.

I won’t be returning to this conversation, but I’d like to thank you for being civil and for (unlike many others!) substantiating your points.


Haha, well thank YOU for the civil reply 🙂

My point with regards to GCSE grades isn’t that other universities don’t look to GCSE grades. Rather, it is that you would need better GCSE grades to get an offer from Oxbridge than you would from Bristol, Durham etc.

I know very little about the LNAT. Do candidates sit it before or after Oxbridge makes offers? If before, is the ‘score’ taken into account (or is it just pass/fail)?

The points you make about the BCL are reasonably fair. However, the factors you mention clearly aren’t the dominant ones because so many foreign-educated students top the BCL. If so many Australian-educated people can top the BCL, why do people from UCL, Durham, Bristol etc. virtually never do so?

Finally, whilst it speaks to a slightly different point, BSB stats show that Oxbridge graduates consistently out-perform graduates from other ‘top 20’ universities by quite a margin.


Entry tariff? Pah! The best at Oxbridge do not know what entry tariffs are, they don’t make school exams hard enough for them. I never knew what entry grades were necessary, but then I always came top of everything.



The comment at 12:13 on Apr 5 went from about 5 down votes to over 120 dislikes during a short 1 hour period on Sunday afternoon.

During the same period, the comment at 1.22 went from about 10 down votes to over 40.

Rather than engage with the points made, some chippy person has clearly just spammed comments they don’t like. It is frankly embarrassing.



Yes – someone was clearly ‘triggered’!


Ultrasound or Ultimate or Ultrasound

I would disagree ever so slightly on the point about the essays being done every week. None of those essays contribute towards the final mark as they are not coursework, therefore it does not have to be done to a higher standard.

Those universities that have compulsory coursework which would have a weight of 50 percent of the final mark and the dam with the rest of the topics would have an equal weight of 50 percent. It then leads to the conclusion that the coursework is done in much greater depth with research.

Doing an essay or a bunch of them at Oxford don’t count, and often they get more government funding and support and have an endowment fund on top the government funding. Which does not even lead to that many black or Asian people joining.



I am a mixed-race woman who went to Cambridge.

Believe me when I say that grades and your love for the subject over partying matters more to Oxbridge than where you went to school or where your parents were born.



And here we have a bright example that race does not matter to Oxford. Thank you



I tell anyone no matter what their ethnicity that they need to love the subject they want to study more than any perceived CV points/political career/parental pressure/avarice/Harry Potter experience they hope to get from Oxbridge.

You can’t buy your way in like you can at the Ivy League. I’m grateful for that and have no time for chippy people that spend more time seeking attention and whinging about privilege than revising for their A Levels or reading something interesting for the interview.

Free at last; Free at last

Thank goodness for the mixed race girl who went to Cambridge telling us that there is no racism there. Phew. Now everything is right with the world.


But what exactly do you mean by ‘racism’ there? In the admissions process? During supervisions? In course content? From other students?

I’m not denying that racism exists in the world, but I don’t personally believe bright students who can cope with the workload and who are genuinely academic are turned away because of their skin colour.

Why would they shoot themselves in the foot like that and instead take someone who can’t be bothered?


My pupil supervisor is Black (as am I) and went to Oxford and he is also from a less affluent part of East London. If you have the prerequisite grades and indeed love the subject, race is not a factor. The problem with perceived racism is the ‘Urban Myth’ that Black people cannot make it at or into Oxbridge. This same ‘Myth’ exists within poor working class White communities. Simply put, the ‘your not good enough’ syndrome from the older generations that saw Oxbridge and the legal profession in general as the preserve for the elite, rich establishment.
I’m glad the younger generations are finally beginning to see through this forelock tugging mentality…


Why are there so few black people at Oxford and Cambridge? The population of this country is 3 percent black and at Oxbridge its less than 1 percent.

By comparison half the students 50 percent of them went to private school when they only present 7% of the school population going to private school. Why do you think that is?

Another Another Anon

My experience has been that a lot of ethnic minority students apply for the most oversubscribed courses at Oxbridge (sometimes because of parental pressure) – Law, PPE, Medicine.

There can be up to 10 people or more applying for each place. Many don’t get in not because of racism in the selection process, but because they are up against 10 or more other candidates.


Once you adjust for prior attainment black people are slightly overrepresented at Oxbridge.

If you adjust for degree performance once there, students from private schools are underrepresented.

Another Anonymous

Oxbridge essays add up to around 80,000 words per year. If you are aiming for a good degree they will be well researched and well written. That they don’t directly contribute to degree classification is irrelevant – except for the fact that final examinations then may require more than 30 hours to cover four years of study because there is no ‘coursework’ element.

Which is why, despite working much longer hours with small group or one to one teaching, first class degrees are half as commonly awarded at Oxbridge compared with award rates to students with similar prior attainment at other universities.

Specifying an Oxbridge background and a first is a very efficient selection method because in conditions of an oversupply of candidates it will not matter if some good candidates are overlooked as the brightest and hardest working will be captured.


Sick of the lies

Hi, do you have any proof for this claim?

“Which is why, despite working much longer hours with small group or one to one teaching, first class degrees are half as commonly awarded at Oxbridge compared with award rates to students with similar prior attainment at other universities.”

Because Unistats seems to contradict it.

Cambridge: 28%! (
Oxford: 20% (

UCL: 20% (
LSE: 16% (
Durham: 17% (


Another Anonymous

In 2016-17 at all universities 50-60% of students who achieved A*A*A – A*A*A* were awarded firsts in all subjects – it is inappropriate to restrict the analysis to law degrees because the discussion was framed in terms of ‘how much work it takes to complete an Oxbridge degree compared to the same subject at another university’ and half of lawyers go down the GDL route.

‘Oxbridge students spend 13 hours more per week on independent study than students at other Russell Group universities and 14 more than students overall; total workload is higher at Oxbridge across a range of disciplines – at Oxbridge, total working hours typically amount to over 40 hours a week, meaning time spent studying more closely resembles full-time work than at other institutions’.

Another Anonymous

Yes I do have proof of this claim. I posted it and it disappeared. Here it is again.

‘Oxbridge students spend 13 hours more per week on
independent study than students at other Russell Group
universities and 14 more than students overall;
• total workload is higher at Oxbridge across a range of
disciplines – at Oxbridge, total working hours typically
amount to over 40 hours a week, meaning time spent
studying more closely resembles full-time work than at
other institutions’

50-60% of all students with A*A*A – A*A*A* are awarded firsts. Twice the rate at Oxford/Cambridge.

Another Anonymous

In fairness and following the direction you took in mentioning UCL and so on I ought to clarify what I meant in my final paragraph about capturing the brightest and hardest working. Once Oxbridge candidates reach the interview stage outcomes are arbitrary; if evidence of this is needed one only needs to consider the success rates of second application attempts and first attempts, and a good number of able pupils don’t apply in the first place. Taking both factors into account some of the brightest and hardest working pupils inevitably go to UCL and three or four other universities.

However diagnostic tests are defined by their sensitivities and specificities and recruitment isn’t very different in that it aims to find the most suitable candidates while including as few as possible unsuitable candidates. Because of grade inflation and the massive expansion in universities, the awarding university is now for better or worse more important than the class of a degree. Narrowing the search to Oxbridge sacrifices sensitivity in favour of specificity but it is a more logical strategy from the recruiter’s perspective than setting a minimum degree class unless a shortage of suitable candidates is expected.


I second the point, made above about some inadequate loon spamming the thumbs up/down icons. This comment just made a leap from 1 to 31.


Jeremy Corbyn

Yeah but aren’t most of the essays that you write at Oxbridge on topics such as “How to act like a twat” and “This history degree is really going to help me when I become a lawyer”?



They force you to read interesting books and to think critically. I know, this can be a bit much for most people.



They force them to think critically, that’s why everyone that studied there seems to have exactly the same opinions on global warming, feminism, etc.



Beg to differ. Always been plenty of Conservative/conservative and religious people there (most colleges have a chapel).

But it makes some women nervous in the profession to admit to other women from the same academic background that they enjoy being at home with their children.


Most degrees require critical thinking. I don’t see any difference. When I applied for uni I decided to go to a Russell group uni that was closer to home and for which I got a scholarship. I applied to Cambridge and got an interview but I decided not to go – it never was for me and only my parents (might be hard for some of you to accept not everyone who applies actually takes the interview). Does this mean that I shouldn’t be allowed to apply for jobs (even though I got nearly full raw marks in most of my A levels?). It seems unfair, I’m not a bar grad but I have a TC with a magic circle firm. The bar is clearly quite backward with diversity.



I don’t disagree with that first part, but frankly if you’ve never been a part of a pupillage interview process you’re not really qualified to say whether or not the bar is backwards or diverse. Have you seen the BSB’s diversity statistics for pupils?


What no-one mentions though is the fact that most of the ethnic minority pupils are concentrated at the criminal bar, not at the high-earning commercial end.


3VB, 4 New Square, One Essex Court. There are BAME pupils at the commercial end of the bar. Bear in mind there aren’t that many commercial pupillages up for grabs. 14% BAME would be in-line with the UK population.


You got a link to evidence for 14% BAME for commercial

The people in the Inn dining hall always look very, very different from the ones pottering around Temple.


I don’t have a link to match the rigorous standards of your casual observation of the Inn dining hall, no.

Another Anonymous

You don’t see a difference between thinking and ‘critical’ thinking, or between ‘critical’ thinking at Oxbridge and ‘critical’ thinking elsewhere?

Because as others have pointed out there are differences between any sort of thinking at Oxbridge and elsewhere, qualitatively and quantitatively.

Old Geezer

A lot of people here think Oxbridge is the ultimate and that everyone aspires to go there. That is part of the problem. Many people do not want to study there, some cannot afford to (may surprise some people), some are required to stay at home during University for cultural reasons and some are put off by stereotypes. But you have to remember, for so many in this country, Oxbridge is the pinnacle of everything so they cannot imagine that anyone would not want to go there. Whether it’s the posh kid at Eton or JAGs, or the working class kid at a comp who stands out and his teachers want him to excel, the country is obsessed with Oxbridge. So if you say you don’t want to go there, the assumption is that you are a liar and probably would not have got in anyway. No other developed country has this obsession like the UK. Even in the US, their Harvard/Yale/Princeton obsession is nothing like here. You will see people from so many different Universities at the top of firms and even the judiciary.


True and also not true. In regards to supervision, you are right. You will be grilled by top academics and researchers 1 on 1 or in a group of 3 every week. However, I compared my workload with that of my cousin who is at Russel Group, and she does not have an easy time like many here seem to think.



If a oxbridge educated barrister from a top tier set is jumping ship within two years he/she is probably struggling to build a practice so why take one? (albeit I accept that some will have realised that it wasn’t for them, though a very busy barrister is unlikely to think that way).



Because some people don’t have wealthy parents to bail them out for cash flow issues or rent.

It’s ruddy difficult to build a practice, and rent payments don’t stop.



Don’t be silly: anyone in the advert’s desired “top rated Chamber” won’t have cash flow issues unless their practice has never got off the ground. Chambers rent is a proportion of earnings, so although those rent payments don’t stop, they remain in step with earnings.



Not everywhere. Each set has their own policy. My first set claimed a straight percentage of earnings while my second one had a fixed rate plus a percentage. If you haven’t been paid for 3 months then these add up.



True. Clients don’t always pay or don’t always pay on time.



If your clients don’t pay and this is harming your practice, that is your fault.

If you are decent and clients want you, they will pay and pay on time. If you hack off the good clients because you aren’t good, don’t respond to emails, etc. you will become increasingly desperate and take instructions from crap clients that stroll into chambers looking for a barrister. You know you are storing up problems later down the line.

(I accept in the first year or so the position is different which is why getting into a great set makes such a different as you have access to better clients that pay)



You have no idea

Wait til you get mugged by reality someday


If you can’t make a practice here, you can’t make it anywhere


You are utterly clueless and naive. The Bar’s failure to firm up payment enforcement is one of the worst social mobility failings in the profession. But the Bar Council and BSB do not care about social mobility, they just care about percentages of BAME and female judges, silks and new tenants.


What are you talking about? What has it got to do with the regulator. I’ve had two non payers. I’ve issued on one. No defence filed but paid. Other case, LBA and paid.


So you can work on 18 month credit terms. Many cannot.


Women leave the bar for firms at that stage quite often, and tend to do very well in the long term.



Nope. Think a tier or two below.



This may not even be part of the brief from the firm (although we can probably assume that it is what they’d ideally want). When recruiters post adverts they often haven’t even been briefed on it, they just write an advert so they can send CV’s without having to cold BD. The recruiter would know if they have an oxbridge barrister, the firm would definitely been interested, so they’ve put it in the advert.



I often find non-Oxbridge graduates to be idiots. Literally idiots.



Non-Oxbridge grads are by definition second rate.



Fair enough and makes sense from resource allocation. Letting Oxbridge do the candidate filtering is economically efficient. Why spend added resources trying to find a few other options from a far wider field?



The recruiter was quick to type, slow to consider the backlash. It was in no way illegal to post such ad, however, it highlighted a popular stereotype, immediately prompting a public reaction. Next time, the recruiter should consider using a more equivocal language to present a certain recruitment need (e.g.: we prefer Oxford educated candidates, however, we will also consider other outstanding candidates from other universities).



Who cares about the reaction? Clients? Almost certainly not, indeed many would see the attitude as a plus. Non-Oxbridge grads who were interested in applying? Who cares about them, they are not getting a job.



Clients want Oxbridge as they want the best.



Clients don’t care. The only people who think university is important are students, due to the fact they have not yet achived anything other than going to university. The fact that so many think an essay a week is difficult, shows a lack of understanding of what practice is. Nobody will ever ask you about your grades once you are in practice as nobody gives a fuck about how well you did in a history tutorial 5 years ago.


Has to be



I am at Oxbridge currently. I can tell you with certainty lots of the ppl here at shit just like everywhere else. It comes down to the outdated admissions system, nepotism and family connections (as if I have to confirm what everyone already knows).



Mixed-race and the first woman from my family to go to university (Cambridge). You are full of shite.



4.00pm has a point. The bottom 50% of Oxbridge are pretty fungible with the top 25% of the next tier of the Russell Group. That 50% are nothing special. But the top 20% of Oxbridge may have one or two peers per year in each of UCL, KCL etc and they are the ones that this firm are looking for. That calibre are much more prevalent in Oxbridge than anywhere else so it makes sense to save time and effort and narrow the search. When I’m interviewing I’m not looking at someone in the middle of the Oxbridge year, if there are not prizes coming out their ears then I would need a really good reason to commit time interviewing them.



But it turns on the interview. The fellows are trained to discern the best brains. No offer from Oxbridge means you weren’t bright enough. Sorry.


Libeturd Leftie

You don’t really believe that… this sophistry is as tragic as it is laughable. The fellows choose those that they believe will be the best fit at Oxbridge, not the brightest… how do you even measure that metric???

Do I deny that Oxbridge students are amongst the brightest in the UK and maybe the World, of course I don’t but to preen and over inflate the value of two Universities over all others… in the UK is short-sighted and moronic.

If the US Law Firm prefers or demands an Oxbridge Grad, fair play to them, but that is all.



The pro-Oxbridge comments here are basically spot-on. I’m a reject myself but the overlap in intelligence and industriousness between Oxbridge and the rest is actually very small.

Although if a candidate has managed to get into a proper commercial set despite being non-Oxbridge they’re likely to be as good if not better than their Oxbridge colleagues surely?



I am a Cambridge grad and I have to say I find non oxbridge people often just as good from a technical point of view. It’s just that they’re animals with no erudition, they don’t think for themselves, are often incapable of insight , narrow minded, incapable of considering unconventional or controversial ideas, boring to spend time with and have no real sense of humour. They frequently seem to confuse pedantry with being a good lawyer or being a grammar nazi with being intelligent.


Liberturd Leftie

You sir have to be #TROLLING 🤣😂

If you are not then you need to get over yourself, as you appear to be masking shortcomings with your singular identity as an Oxbridge Grad… #sad



American firm. That’s a ‘shop’ on Legal Cheek.

Who wants to do shop work?


Quinn Latham Sterling, MBA




Multiple people have pointed this out and LC has deleted every single one of their comments so far. What a site.



Agreed that it is better to be honest rather than waste peoples time just for the sake of keeping up appearances. It’s not “discriminatory” in the sense of the legislation, and lots of Chambers have this as an unspoken unofficial policy but waste candidates time that they take through to second round just for show.


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