Analysis

Which uni law graduates earn the most?

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59

102 law schools, ranked by median grad salary

This is what it says on the tin: every university in Great Britain, ranked by how much its graduates earn five years after leaving with an undergraduate law degree.

The figures come from the government, combining Department of Education data on people’s degrees with data from the taxman on how much the same people are earning five years later. They only cover people who were living in the UK before starting uni — so not international students — and are looking at their first undergraduate degree, not second degrees or law conversion courses or a master’s.

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There are also some disclaimers, such as “it should be noted that figures do not control for differences in the characteristics of graduates (e.g. prior attainment) or region of work, and so comparisons should be made with care”.

Yeah, right. Here’s the full list…

Median earnings of law grads five years after graduating — 2016/17

Rank Uni Median salary
1 Oxford £67,000
2 Cambridge £58,500
3 LSE £44,700
4 Bristol £42,900
5 Durham £42,100
6 Nottingham £41,800
7 Warwick £41,500
8 KCL £39,300
9 UCL £37,500
10 York £36,400
11 Glasgow £35,100
12 Edinburgh £35,000
13 Exeter £34,700
14 Reading £34,200
15 Aberdeen £33,500
16 Leeds £33,200
17 Manchester £32,800
18 Southampton £32,400
19 Birkbeck £32,100
20 Newcastle £31,900
21 East Anglia £31,700
22 SOAS £31,100
23 Strathclyde £31,000
24 Buckingham £30,800
25 Sussex £30,100
26 Queen Mary £29,800
27 Robert Gordon £29,800
28 City £29,400
29 Leicester £29,400
30 Brunel £29,100
31 Dundee £29,100
32 Roehampton £28,900
33 Surrey £28,800
34 Oxford Brookes £28,300
35 Birmingham £28,300
36 Cardiff £27,700
37 Kingston £27,400
38 Open University £27,200
39 Bournemouth £27,100
40 Kent £27,000
41 Sheffield £26,700
42 Brighton £26,500
43 Westminster £26,200
44 Canterbury Christ Church £26,100
45 Glasgow Caledonian £26,000
46 Portsmouth £25,600
47 Edinburgh Napier £25,200
48 Essex £25,100
49 Lancaster £24,900
50 Cumbria £24,900
51 Liverpool £24,800
52 Stirling £24,800
53 Buckinghamshire New £24,700
54 Nottingham Trent £24,700
55 Greenwich £24,300
56 Northumbria £24,000
57 West of England £24,000
58 St Mary’s £23,800
59 Chester £23,400
60 Staffordshire £23,100
61 Hertfordshire £23,100
62 Hull £23,100
63 Anglia Ruskin £23,000
64 Gloucestershire £23,000
65 Plymouth £23,000
66 London South Bank £22,900
67 Southampton Solent £22,900
68 Salford £22,900
69 Keele £22,800
70 Abertay Dundee £22,800
71 Winchester £22,700
72 Coventry £22,500
73 Sheffield Hallam £22,500
74 West of Scotland £22,500
75 Bangor £22,400
76 Croydon College £22,300
77 Leeds Beckett £22,200
78 Liverpool John Moores £22,200
79 West London £22,100
80 De Montfort £22,000
81 Manchester Metropolitan £21,900
82 Aberystwyth £21,900
83 Middlesex £21,500
84 Swansea £21,500
85 South Wales £21,500
86 Sunderland £21,400
87 Northampton £21,300
88 Birmingham City £21,300
89 Lincoln £21,200
90 Derby £21,100
91 East London £20,800
92 Bedfordshire £20,600
93 Teesside £20,500
94 London Metropolitan £20,300
95 Edge Hill £20,100
96 Central Lancashire £19,900
97 Huddersfield £19,900
98 Wolverhampton £19,200
99 Bradford £19,000
100 Bolton £18,500
101 Bradford College £17,800
102 Blackburn College £14,900

 

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59 Comments

Anon

Tough result for Blackburn. Better luck next time.

Grad

Stop being such a snob

Holy smokes

Five years after graduating… jesus

Ex Barrister

Yes, it’s a bit of a reality check after all the MoneyLaw articles isn’t it?

Kirkland NQ

The point is you just don’t go to university. After all, I was talent tracked prior to stepping a foot onto the grounds of Harvard before going to smash all deals, all forms and all equity.

Jack Swallows

This is literally 95% of legal cheek – salary.

I know that’s what law is all about but can’t we have something less miserable & more engaging?

Anonymous

You must be lost – you’re looking for the Medics Cheek page.

Realist

I understand your point, but actually I think this article is more valuable than all of the daft NQ salary articles put together. It makes it clear what the grim reality is for the vast majority of wannabes trying to enter the profession.

Bluntly, if you haven’t gone to a top university, get real and pick a different career. Working in personal injury in a regional office of Irwin Mitchell, or Slater & Gordon is probably the best you will do do. That is not ‘just like Silks’, and you’d almost certainly be better off focusing your efforts outside law.

bob

Jesus how are salaries this low after 5 years? I’m a NQ at US firm from a London university and most of my friends are also at City firms where NQ pay is at least 70k – this doesn’t reflect what my experience is of 2016/17 graduation.

Spartan

Not all law students end up becoming lawyers.

Anonymous

Nor do all law students end up in US firms, or end up practising at the moneymaker end of law. Bit of a throwaway comment, OP.

Ex Barrister

You are operating in a tiny bubble. NQ rates outside of the City are far lower than you think, many grads are still working as Paralegals because they can’t get a training contract and legal aid lawyers earn very little.

Bristol LLB

Think about the number of law students studying across the UK in any one year, and compare that with the number of training contracts at any of the top 50 paying firms…

I’m not gonna bother with the maths but I expect the ratio to be well over 100:1.

Get out of your bubble once in a while… anyone earning north of £60k after 5 years is in an insanely privileged position when compared with the average national income

Realist

That’s why this article, in stark contrast to so many others, is so valuable

Bristol educated GLD lawyer

It’s pretty bad when GLD lawyers help to pull up the average everywhere except Oxbridge.

Anonymous

If I am to accept that this list is an accurate depiction of life in law following one’s studies, I do not see why anyone considering attending any of the universities below Edinburgh (at #12) should bother, especially since tuition fees tripled in price. My alma mater is in the top half of the list, and I certainly wish I hadn’t bothered and picked a STEM subject instead.

Also Anonymous

“I’m so clever and great. My cynicism about life makes me interesting.”

The one true Anonymous

If I was as clever and great as my impostor claims, I wouldn’t have studied law. The cynicism is pre-existing. My magnum dong makes me interesting.

Anonymous

Lol

Thugg Lyfe

Spittin’ rhymes like Biggie ma man

Jax

The figures appear skewed actually. Some students would earn significantly more than others, whilst some at the same uni would be low.

Therefore an extreme salary of 100,000 after 5 years, would average out a 20,000 salary, if you have more than others earning a lot than the average is higher

I’m surprised by Brunel, a place I hate due to my bad experiences. 5 years later 29000? Come on

A

Never heard of straffordshire

Staffordshire

We’ve never heard of you either

The Mayor of Strafford

Nestled between Darby and Shrewsby

Anonymous

Given virtually every law grad from Edinburgh or Glasgow will stay in Scotland, they must have an incredible student to solicitor conversion rate in order to best Exeter, where plenty head for the City.

Anonymous

Though Glasgow and Edinburgh pretty much get the best Scotland has to offer whereas Exeter gets those that were rejected by Oxbridge, the London unis, etc. Also the Scottish legal profession is a ridiculous closed shop so there is much less competition for the better jobs – they don’t get swamped by Aussies etc.

Anonymous

People only go to Edinburgh or Glasgow if they are second rate. The brightest Scottish students head to Oxbridge.

Ex Barrister

What kind of person writes something like this?

Scot

This is absolutely not true. Glasgow best in Scotland for law. Famously brutal law degree back in the day – definitely harder than anything Oxford or Cambridge law students have ever had to do.

There is also the key bit about Scotland being a different jurisdiction. Why would anyone wanting to practise Scots law go to Oxbridge for undergrad?

Timrous Beastie

Edinburgh is always going to be number 1 for law. Class matters.

Anonymous

Only someone English would write that. There are only a handful of Scots at Oxbridge, especially for law as an undergraduate since it is tantamount to leaving Scotland behind. And in recent years that number has reduced further because of tuition fee differences. Most of the best head to Edinburgh without thinking about going to England.

Anon

It’s true that traditionally the best go to oxbridge first to study something other than law. They then do the 2 year LLB at Edinburgh.

But you’re right that the average trainee at someplace like S&W doesn’t think about heading to oxbridge

Anon

True. As with anywhere in the U.K., the brightest people head to Oxbridge.

Eek

“Come study law at Blackburn College, in five years time you will earn slightly less than a shift manager at McDonalds.”

Stats Fan

That figure is a median, i.e. the middle of the range. There are therefore a number of people with law degrees earning less than £14,900. Ouch.

Eek

“Come study law at Blackburn College. In five years time you will earn slightly less than a shift manager at McDonalds.”

Eek

Sorry, did not mean to post this twice.

Anonyman

How many of these graduates, realistically, went into law? Chances are a significant number could be doing something entirely different; this list is therefore verging on irrelevant. People who go to Oxbridge earn more. Well, obviously.

Bristol LLB

Quite- I train weasels for a living

Anonymous

Aston ?

Football fan

Villa

Anonymous

Ha!

Car fan

Martin

Mornington Legal Cheek

Amis

Anonymous

The numbers of law schools is insane. The US, with 5 times the population of the UK, only has twice as many law schools. Further, the US arguably has a greater litigation culture and therefore has a greater need (rightly or wrongly) for access to legal services.

It is completely unreasonable how many law degree providers there are. Pure nonsense, and there needs to be a cull by the SRA.

Realist

Caveat emptor. If people are stupid enough to squander their money on courses in the lower 75% of the table, it’s their loss. People who make poor life choices experience poor life outcomes. Quelle surprise.

Realist too

If someone cannot get into a top law school, but wants to practice law and is happy doing High Street conveyancing to eventually earn £70k as a partner in their 50s, why is that a poor life choice? Perhaps that person came from a family where their single parent was on the dole and so this was a step up from them. The level of snobbery and arrogance from a clearly silver spooner is evident. Everyone is different, and we also have different circumstances. Some of the people I went to Uni with who got firsts went to work in Bristol, Nottingham, Birmingham and Leeds. They earn half what I earn currently (City trained now in-house in FS in the City about 5 years pqe), and I got a 2.1. My salary does not mean I made better life choices than them. I met an Oxford trained partner at a top firm in Birmingham who said that some of the NQ salaries in the US firms were more than he earns. He has lived a great life, and together with his wife raised his kids there.

Random passer-by

Firstly, English (and Welsh) law schools are not only attended by English people. We have some of the most competitive law programs in the world. I was at a redbrick and law school was full of the cream from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Cyprus, the Caribbean and India-Pakistan. This is just the undergrads, and many go home after the LPC/BPTC to practice in their own countries. We also had a few mediocre late 20 something year old Canadians who couldn’t get into law schools in Canada and so were looking for a back door into practice. Also many of the London Unis (LSE, KCL, UCL and now SOAS and QMUL) are really popular with European students with no Common law tradition in their countries. KCL is like a French/Belgian Uni.

Secondly, take a look of the numbers at law schools in the States. When I was at Uni, LSE had 90 law students, my Uni had about 150 graduating. There were probably 2000 law students at the top AAA Unis in the country. Harvard law school and NYU law school have about 2500-3000 law students between them in a year. Law schools over in the States are huge, and the fees put off a lot of foreign students, so once you move past the T14 and some regional powerhouses, the quality of students is shocking.

Money over bullsh*t

All law degrees teach the same content. The quality is all the same across unis. Its all about the money. Lets not kid ourselves.

Jane

Only go to the top few universities if you manage it if you want a decent career in most things. My older offspring earn £100k plus as lawyers in London because it was planned and they picked the type of law carefully and the firms (as did I).

However money does not matter to some people.

Anonymous

You are (or were) a lawyer, and your children are also lawyers? Hmm.

Jeremy Rogers

@Jane. Learn to write. Your grammar is rubbish.

Realist

Warwick is a dreadful university. Full of badly educated, chippy people from state schools.

Anonymous

All the decent places are going to turn like that now that having a private education is going to be treated the same as having a criminal record. I stopped giving to my old college appeal now all they bleat on about are the percentage of state school students.

Real

So true. Won’t be long before universities are stuffed with gauche plebs from comprehensive schools.

Bitter Loser

you seem to have a chippy axe to grind

Bitter Loser

The most significant point shown by this study is that median grads from all universities, including those from oxbridge, are a bunch of losers. Not even earning MC NQ salary after 5 years! Completely dispels the myth that ‘clever’ ppl get rich.

anon

The failure to include international students in the data undermines the study. At some unis, especially for law, international intake is very high- at some unis well over 50% This makes it a) less accurate due to significantly smaller sample size and b) distorts the statistics as international students may have a tendency to earn significantly more (or less idk) than their peers who were resident in the UK before uni

BIGGUS DICKUS

Have none of you retards noticed that the salaries are for people who graduated in 2009 and had their income assessed in the 2015/2016 tax year? We’re literally talking about the generation that graduated into the GFC.

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