UCL beats Oxford and Durham ties with Strathclyde in new law school rankings

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Scottish unis Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee secure top ten spots

UCL (credit: LordHarris at English Wikipedia), Oxford, Durham and Strathclyde (credit: PaulShannonSBS via Wikimedia Commons)

University College London (UCL) has pipped Oxford to second place while Durham University has tied in tenth position with the University of Strathclyde. These were some of the more eye-catching results published recently in the 2020 Sunday Times ‘Good University Guide’.

Coming out on top of the list was (surprise, surprise) the University of Cambridge which has consistently ranked best for law and scored a perfect 100. Just behind UCL (2nd) and Oxford (3rd) is the University of Glasgow (4th), with London School of Economics rounding off the top five.

King’s College London (6th), the universities of Aberdeen (7th), Leeds (8th), Dundee (9th), Strathclyde (=10th) and Durham (=10th) complete a top ten in which there are few surprises.

Scottish universities appear to be doing particularly well: a total of four (Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Strathclyde) feature in the top ten, while the University of Edinburgh sits just outside in 12th position. Next up and drawing level with the University of Nottingham in 13th place is another Scottish uni, Abertay University. The University of Bristol finished 15th.

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It comes as little surprise the remainder of the top 20 are all (bar Kent) Russell Group institutions — a band of unis known for their research, reputation and academic excellence: Sheffield (16th); Kent (17th); York (18th); Warwick (19th); and Southampton (20th).

Other Russell Group players feature prominently in the power list which pits law schools against one another, and is largely based on stats received from the National Student Survey (NSS), the official annual survey of the experiences of around 330,000 students.

Queen Mary, University of London, however, could only manage 40th place — the lowest ranking of any Russell Grouper. The east London-based institution was beaten by London South Bank University (36th).

No Russell Group law faculty placed in the bottom 50 of the list of 101 unis. This section was largely reserved for former polytechnic universities, although the universities of Bolton (66th), Chester (69th) and Bradford (74th) were among the stragglers.

Bringing up the rear of the list was the University of Winchester (101st) followed by the universities of Kingston (100th) and Leeds Beckett (99th). Rounding out the bottom five were Canterbury Christ Church University (98th) and Anglia Ruskin University (97th).

The Good University Guide ranks UK law schools according to teaching, student experience, quality of research, average UCAS entry points and graduate employment prospects.

Top 20 Law Schools 2020:

Ranking Law school Overall score (out of 100)
1 University of Cambridge 100
2 University College London 96.5
3 University of Oxford 95.4
4 University of Glasgow 94.5
5 LSE 93.3
6 King’s College London 92.6
7 University of Aberdeen 92.3
8 University of Leeds 91.5
9 University of Dundee 91.2
10= University of Strathclyde 90.9
10= Durham University 90.9
12 University of Edinburgh 90.8
13= University of Nottingham 90.3
13= Abertay University 90.3
15 University of Bristol 89.8
16 University of Sheffield 89.7
17 University of Kent 89.5
18 University of York 89.1
19 University of Warwick 89
20 University of Southampton 88.7

View the Sunday Times (£) rankings in full.

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What about Brunel lol the place people want to sue?




IN THE LIGHT!!!!!!!🎶






What kid doesn’t dream about finally going to Abertay?


Head of Pupillage Committee, Blackstone Chambers

Thank you for this incredible insight. We’ll be sure to start valuing UCL graduates over those from Oxford.



Another angry nerd!



Meaningless when most firms and chambers have a subconscious bias towards Oxbridge.

Until Oxbridge is closed down we will never have a fair society.



I’m not sure it’s subconscious.



Agreed. It’s also close-minded.



It’s deliberate and rational, because Oxbridge graduates are cleverer and better educated than anyone else.



It is very conscious. The top 10% of Oxbridge are matched only by the top 1% at the next tier.



I’m keen to know how you measured that.



If you have to ask, then you will never understand.





What about suzzex uni ??






The Times uses rating systems that cannot apply certain data fields from Oxbridge. That skews the markings against them both.



“certain data fields” – I presume these particular fields are of some importance, otherwise why would they collect such data?


Brighton Lad

Sussex is a top uni. I went there and my mates and I all work at US, MC and City law firms.



Cool story brah, changed my loyfe.



Definitive ranking:

1. Oxford
2. Cambridge/ LSE
3. UCL/ Durham/ Warwick
4. KCL/ Nottingham/ Edinburgh
5. Bristol/ QM
6. Other Russell Group
7. All other



Probably fair enough if you moved 1. Oxford/Cambridge, UCL up to tier 2 and Warwick to tier 6. I would enver split Oxbridge in terms of quality bu Oxford and Cambridge do tend to attract different personalities of undergraduates. Though a generalisation, Cambridge has more introverted details-oriented people, Oxford more extroverted big-picture types.



In terms of employability I’d say Oxford tops Cambridge – maybe because of the different personality etc. I’d also have to disagree on Warwick. It’s definitely viewed as more prestigious than say Nottingham or Bristol.




1. Oxbridge
2. Ucl / LSE
3. Durham/ Nottingham/ KCL/ Warwick
4. All other

Scottish unis don’t count



Swear Scotland is part of the uk mate…

English Boi

Luke, it is not a part of the UK we care about when the focus is Money Law.


Scottish unis not taken into account because Scottish law degrees are not recognised as QDs and you’d have to do the GDL.

There’s only one worth mentioning anyway which is Edinburgh.


Warwick is a dreadful university, packed with badly educated, chippy wankers from state schools.



Warwick is propped up by its Maths and Econ departments. But it can’t be denied that Warwick law ranks highly outside of Oxbridge in terms of employability and prestige. Same with LSE tbh. Whether that is justified is a separate matter.



Warwick is perceived as a second rate university. Rarely do people from that place achieve positions of professional distinction – and rightly so.

Warwick maths grad

Bet I earn more than you pal x


“Pal”. How third tier. Boasting about money. How classless. Maths at Warwick you say? Adds up.


Know how to use question marks, unlike you pal? Yup.


Definitive ranking:

1. Oxbridge
2. Who cares



very funny, considering key departments of unis like LSE/ICL outperform Oxbridge both nationally and abroad in terms of quality and prestige…



So those that were rejected from Oxbridge have bleated for decades.



Definitive ranking:

1. Who can actually do the job without pissing the client or judge off in a way that causes problems to the firm or chambers.
2. Oxbridge
3. Who cares

Look, I know the only thing you have manged to do so far is go to university, so it think it is important. People will only ask you about your university on your first job application. After that nobody gives a fuck. It’s all about your own client following.


High Street jobby

Can’t wait to apply to all the MC firms in 5 years. My small fixed fee following is making 100’s of thousands.



Where would you place Sussex?



Cambridge over Oxford any day.


Kestrel Shelby-Body

Cam over Ox any day. Far richer and isn’t full of pseudo intellectuals studying arts.



Cambridge has too many science geeks. The sex parties at Oxford were far filthier and the attendees much better looking.



I’m still the waiting for an undergraduate-focused league table that ignores the nonsense that is research and student experience.

As someone who finally made it into the commercial world, I would want to see both law schools and business schools judged against 1) employment rates in area of degree (as a ratio of number of annual placements from that year’s graduating class within 6 months of convocation) 2) teaching standards based on objectively tested metrics instead of student reporting 3) university resources per student 4) faculty resources per student and finally 5) alumni engagement.

This would be a brutal ranking that would put many of the “top 20” institutions on their heels. They need a reality check.

Until that happens I will rely on the slightly more objective Shanghai Rankings.



I’m with you on research, but why shouldn’t the student experience matter? Who is willing to be less happy for three years in exchange for attendance at a slightly higher-ranked university?


Cambridge LLB

Because it’s far from an objective criterion, and what one likes another won’t. It’s a random result as the respondents to the survey have nothing to benchmark their experience against.



Granted it’s not entirely objective, but factoring in accommodation standards, amenities, extracurricular facilities and the quality of the town in which the university sits seems quite sensible to me.



I went to Oxbridge and then City. I can testify that City would have won *easily* on each of your metrics (ii) to (v). And yet I learnt far, far less there. It was like doing a GCSE.

Being left to your own devices, having to think for yourself, doing research, and not being spoon-fed is an infinitely better way to become a decent lawyer than having lots of shiny computer rooms and good “teachers”.



How come Kent/Sheffield place above unis like Lancaster, UEA (who both featured in top 15)?

So weird how rankings can be so inconsistent. Is there an objective ranking somewhere?

The only truthful figure seems to be Oxbridge at the top (where it truly belongs).



Sheffield is one of the original redbricks.


Cambridge LLB



UCL llb , LSE llm

Beware guys – UCL are coming for the thrown and also, we are on a par with LSE, or maybe perhaps better.



Throne* – Didn’t do well at A Level English did you….



Or their SATS even



Whilst in theory lots of different metrics dictate which uni is best, in practice all that matters is the reputation of the university to the TC/pupillage recruiter sifting through countless applications. In my experience/opinion the following list is the most accurate reflection of this:

1. Oxford/Cambridge
3. Bristol/Nottingham/Durham/Exeter
4. Leeds/Manchester/York/Warwick
5. Sheffield/Southampton/Newcastle/Liverpool
6. Other Russell Group
7. All other unis



Exetah is shet, even Kent uni is bettah



Exetah is a better name, though. I know more people with pretty shiet CVs with Exeter 2:1s who got pupillage than Kent grads.


Chorizo Hunter

Exeter alongside Durham? In their dreams



Where would you place Sussex?


Chorizo Hunter

All seriousness – other Russell Group? I gather it’s an alright Uni but have never come across anyone who studied there. One of those enigmas like Lancaster.



I place CVs from there in the bin.


Anon #2

I’d say:

1. Oxbridge
2. UCL/King’s/LSE
3. Durham/Warwick
4. Other Russel Group
5. Other



Where would you place Sussex?


Aberdonian Anon

‘Mon Aberdeeeen!


Case of the mondays

Associate at a US firm. Would move Warwick up to 3, but otherwise agree with this.



Cool story brah, changed my loyfah



Interesting to see the Universities which Blackstone Chambers visits. Bar UEL and a couple of BPTC providers, I’d say most are top universities?



Chambers go to the fringes just to appease the diversity obsessed do-gooders at the Bar Council. If they could get away with Oxford, Cambridge and London they would.



I guess even in that case it would depend on where in London. I find UEL quite odd on the list.



The reference to London was to UCL, LSE and King’s. UEL is not on the list. Nor is Queen Mary.


Redbricker of Counsel


I doubt that given the original red-bricks have had counsel and judges back to the year dot.

They are:




Who cares about “student experience”? Why is that one there? And what is the point on a ranking that has “teaching quality” that cannot assess the teaching in the best two universities in the country.


Non law observer

Its interesting to.see the perception of Warwick by those in legal.
I work in finance/consulting, not law but Warwick is considerably higher rated in my area. They tend to be everywhere in finance.

I gather it’s the Econ/maths/ppe and STEM etc. that is rated, while its law department is less respected



Warwick economics and stem is strong. It’s law department, however, is a different matter.



I’m not sure why there is so much hatred towards Warwick in this thread. Outside of Oxbridge and UCL/LSE, it is considered to be one of the more favourable ‘target’ universities by City firms. I’d say it’s ranked equally with Durham and say KCl, and better than the other red bricks, e.g. Bristol, Exeter, York etc.



Warwick is considered third tier. The issue is that it has a huge state school intake. So it takes insecure, badly educated people and then gives them a poor further education.



surely the results are tainted when you have students rate their own unis? tbh, everyone knows which unis are reputable without relying much on the tables, i.e. we’re not gonna see a huge influx of Strathclyde graduates anytime soon…


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