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Solent, Cumbria and London South Bank outperform Russell Group rivals in law degree league table

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Cambridge bags top spot on latest Guardian list

Solent, Cumbria and London South Bank — credit Wikimedia commons

Solent University, the University of Cumbria and London South Bank University have outperformed a host of their elite Russell Group rivals in the latest law school power list produced by The Guardian newspaper.

Solent scooped 5th spot on this year’s comprehensive list, ahead of Russell Group duo the University of Glasgow (6th) and Durham University (7th), while Cumbria (8th) ranked higher than the likes of the University of Aberdeen (9th) and the London School of Economics (10th).

Elsewhere, London South Bank (11th) finished above King’s College London (12th), the University of Leeds placed 13th, while Scottish duo Abertay University and the University of Edinburgh secured 14th and 15th spots respectively.

The annual rankings assess university law faculties on a number of criteria including student to staff ratio, student satisfaction, levels of feedback and percentage of law grads with a career after six months. The newspaper’s number bods then generate a score out of 100 and rank the law schools accordingly.

The 2019 Legal Cheek LPC Most List

The University of Cambridge (1st) was once again crowned top law faculty in the UK, leaving its rival the University of Oxford to take 2nd place. University College London (UCL) and the University of Dundee placed 3rd and 4th respectively. At the other end of the table, the University of Wolverhampton finished 99th, the University of Salford 100th and Leeds Beckett University in 101st.

Sticking with law school rankings, the University of Leeds’ Professor Alastair Mullis has gone one step further and produced a league table of league tables. The rankings, now in their third year, bring together the three main annual tables: The Complete University Guide, The Times Good University Guide and The Guardian University Rankings.

In Mullis’ list, the top five law faculties are: Cambridge (1st), Oxford (2nd), UCL (3rd), University of Glasgow (4th) and Durham University (5th).

The Guardian is always interesting in that its focus is different from the Complete University Guide and Good University Guide (Times)”, Mullins told Legal Cheek. “However, anyone thinking about where to study law would be well advised to look at all three league tables, preferably over the last three years. That universities like Cumbria, Solent and London South Bank do well in The Guardian reflects high levels of student satisfaction in those places and good employability stats (though not necessarily training contracts in leading law firms).” Mullins continues:

“Sneering about their results misses the point. Clearly Solent is not a better law school than, for example, Durham or Bristol but the fact is that Solent appears, according to The Guardian, to be doing a really good job with the students it takes.”

Top 20 Law Faculties 2020:

Ranking Law school Overall Guardian score (out of 100)
1 Cambridge 100
2 Oxford 92.5
3 UCL 87.3
4 Dundee 86.8
5 Solent 84.4
6 Glasgow 84.1
7 Durham 83.4
8 Cumbria 83
9 Aberdeen 82.7
10 London School of Economics 82.1
11 London South Bank 82
12 King’s College London 81.2
13 Leeds 81
14 Abertay Dundee 80
15 Edinburgh 79.4
16 Kent 78.9
17 York 78.6
18 Nottingham 78.1
19 Worcester 77
20 Bangor 76.8

The full rankings can be found here.

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28 Comments

Anonymous

Lol, the Guardian league table is widely know to be complete bs.

(59)(2)

Anonymous

I think it’s actually the one known for being compiled solely on the basis of measurable criteria rather than sentiment and deference. The reality is even in a theoretical scenario where an ex-Polytechnic hired numerous world renowned teaching staff, poured millions into facilities such as their libraries and set a high entry criteria, traditionalists at the Complete University Guide and the Times University Guide would still rank them poorly out of a sense of tradition, not to mention the loyalty and self interest of the people doing the rankings.

Reputation matters for a lot but my observation is that it’s possible for an RG university to offer barely 10 hours of teaching for only 30 weeks a year and demand their students only do a couple of essays a module and despite that people still think they’re something special. As someone with experience of both what is now an RG university (the proliferation of members certainly looks like a cheap marketing stunt to me considering who they let in now) and the Open University, the OU was streets ahead in the quality of the courses offered and I’ve certainly not seen any evidence that RG universities produce better candidates for graduate employment either after five years as an interviewer for an investment bank.

Two questions then. How low does an RG have to sink before it is considered a bad university and how far does an ex-Poly have to go to be accepted as a good one?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Oh you are clearly one of those chippy “university of life” people who assumes that Oxbridge/RG candidates can’t be any good because of a view you have formed based on narrow experience and bias.

You are talking BS if your “investment bank” doesn’t regularly recruit LSE/Oxbridge candidates over and above others from less traditional unis

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Yeah right, and Linda Lu’s Instagram pictures ain’t photoshopped. LMAO

(51)(1)

Anonymous

“Just put Oxbridge at the top of the league so people don’t think we’re THAT insane”

(39)(0)

Anonymous

The classic Hampstead liberal gambit – fetishise the academic elitism of Oxbridge whilst simultaneously pouring scorn on rigorous academic standards in general. The irony is of course that if their hippy ideals (modular assessments, ‘decolonisation’, loss of rigour, faddish theorising) were implemented in Oxbridge, it would lead to them losing all prestige and respect; they’d become nothing more than polytechnics with medieval buildings.

(14)(2)

Anonymous

As I’ve said before to my little brother, nobody outside of the narrow world of academia and education gives a shit about league tables – I think you are better going for a RG uni that has the prestige of the RG, even if it is not as high in the league tables in your chosen subject as some old poly.

(31)(0)

Anonymous

‘student to staff ratio’ – meaningless for a variety of reasons (academic staff? teaching staff? what sort of contact time is structured?)

‘student satisfaction’ – unsurprisingly students will be happy with a university in which there is very little assessment and very little demanding work. also doesn’t factor in other things which make students unhappier and thus less satisfied (quality of life)

‘levels of feedback’ – again, there’s no point having reams of feedback on very basic work, nor is there any point having a highly detailed feedback system when the work isn’t challenging

‘percentage of law grads with a career after six months’ – what job? pulling pints at the local pub or bond trader at Goldman Sachs? again, pointless.

(36)(0)

Anonymous

Their ‘entry tariff’ criterion seems a bit dodgy too. Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian have higher entry requirements than LSE or Bristol? Really?

(17)(1)

Anonymous

Agree with almost everything but as a RG LLB [graduate in about a month] my uni gives very little feedback sometimes – my friend wrote a 5000 word essay to receive a total of 20 words’ feeeback, leaving them very confused about how they could’ve gotten a better mark

(4)(0)

Anonymous

One of my tutors once ticked six places in an essay, wrote ’58’ at the end and left no other comments.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

I stopped reading about this ranking when they placed St Andrew’s second overall…

(11)(2)

Anonymous

St Oxbridge is of course a thing

(Sarcasm but feel free to downvote regardless)

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Good to know where the next batch of changer barristers will have on their CV’s

(4)(0)

morocto

The fact that Solent went from last place in 2015 to 5th in 2019 in the very same Guardian league table really says it all about its relevance…

https://www.legalcheek.com/2015/09/cambridge-is-the-best-uni-for-law-and-southampton-solent-is-the-worst/

(15)(0)

Anonymous

With these subjective factor, much depends on when you ask people. People who have just done Oxford’s gruelling final exams might not feel very satisfied with their degree, but a year later when they find it’s given them the knowledge they wade through mountains of shit (sometimes called “being a trainee barrister”) they have much higher satisfaction.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

League table fluctuations really don’t matter in the real world.

An employer isn’t going to look favourably on Cumbria or Solent over a RG university, just because they scored higher in league table one year.

Universities have a reputation for a reason – saying they don’t matter is just unhelpful and naive.

(6)(2)

Anonymous

Agree. having graduated from Solent with a LLB, it took me years to qualify, though wasn’t really trying as such knowing I will be rejected pretty much at any top firm. I think probably only 20% in my year qualified either as solicitor or barristers and at least one other person I know works in a top international firm’s oversea office (somewhere in Asia). However he did do a LLM in a top US Ivy League university. How he got in, I will never know.

I eventually qualified in a small regional firm and somehow (by chance) made my way into a large international firm (a former UK firm that got M&A-ed). Looking back, the Solent badge does have a massive effect on your attractiveness as a candidate, especially at a junior level. However, once in practice, it’s how much you put in, how good a lawyer you are and the knowledge & experience that will count. The area of practice is also an important factor. I specialize in a niche area of law. Partners are happy as long as you can do the work and make enough money for them. You do get snooty clients and colleagues who think they are better than you but in general very rarely you feel that. In any case, you just have to work hard to prove yourself.

(15)(0)

Anonymous

That last quote is a good point. They’re are [as happy as] a pig in muck.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Thanks for the chuckle.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Anybody else waiting for LC to belatedly break the news that Skadden NQ has risen to 133K?

(8)(0)

Skadden HR

We have decided not to pay Legal Cheek £1000 to publish this information.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Yes. Genuinely shocked it’s taken this long to copy and paste.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Cue the whole ‘a league table’s relevance depends upon how well it correlates with my own agenda’ commenters.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

So many weird unis I never knew taught law, Solent, Cumbria, Leeds…

(12)(0)

Anonymous

Yeah, because University of Leeds has such an obscure Law department…

(3)(0)

Anonymous

This ‘table’ which will serve only to mislead children (never the Guardian journalists own children of course) in to wrongly believing they are attending a good university, when in fact they are not, is an absolute disgrace.

LC, which has previously helped disadvantaged young people, should not be giving it the oxygen of publicity – it is nonsense.

(8)(0)

Disgruntled City Guy

Fair point. I was one of those children, and luckily attended a redbrick studying law as I followed the crowd in my grammar school. Parent and family didn’t know much about universities and liberal elites tell you how great Goldsmiths is or the University of Westminster. But they will pay for private school education for their kids and die to send them to Oxbridge or other posh unis. Yet they preach the value of a state school education. People should just ignore that crap moving forward.

(3)(0)

Comments are closed.

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