This is how much you stand to earn as a law grad, uni by uni

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Official stats show how much law grads are earning five years on

It’s official: Oxbridge is the place to study law if you want to make serious bank.

Government figures show that the average Oxford law graduate is making £72,600 five years after finishing their degree, while the median Cambridge LLB grad makes £59,900.

That puts Oxbridge at the top of a league table that ranks 99 universities in England, Scotland and Wales by graduate earnings in 2017/18. Those covered by the figures would have graduated five years previously.

The data excludes international students and people doing a second or postgraduate degree — so it’s a good gauge of how UK students doing their first degree get on financially after studying law. It works by matching people’s education records to information held by the taxman.

On the other hand, it doesn’t “control for differences in the characteristics of graduates”, such as how poor they were entering uni. Some institutions take a much higher proportion of disadvantaged students than others.

The boffins also point out that “higher education will have a range of personal and societal benefits that extend beyond earnings, which by its nature are not captured in the statistics presented here”.

Anyway — here’s the league table.

Median earnings of law grads five years after graduating — 2017/18

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

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I went to Bradford and am earning 40k as a partner at my firm now so take that!


M is for....

That seems like a decent salary but rather limited for a partner. The Government Legal Department or whatever they are calling themselves these days pay that to their non partner lawyers as a minimum per their job ads. Most local authorities pay in excess of £56,000 to their locums

Not that £40k isn’t a decent salary but I would be expecting more as a partner and that doesn’t even include all the MoneyLaw outfits legal cheek are obsessed with


Kirkland NQ

I’m not sure if I’m more sad that you went to Bradford Uni or that you decided to post on here that you’re earning less than the pot washer in the ‘land’s staff restaurant as a “partner”



5 years after graduation?


RG graduate

Tbh no surprises here


Beef Wellington



Salmon en croute




The Oxford number should be higher but one of their grads accidentally became an equity partner at CMS and brought the average down.

He was in debtor’s prison until rescued by the Greenwang Glusker LLP merger.



I suppose article writer doesn’t know what he was writing about.
Average for Oxford and Median for Cambridge it absolutely is not the same
it is like to match sour and salted
and if it is average – it means nothing.
So, someone assumed correctly. Figures for Oxford has not to be taken into account



Why is Oxford so much higher than the ‘bridge?

Are students intending to be Bazzas more attracted to the Oxford course? What’s a Bazza likely to be on after 5 years?


Lord Harley

At the Commercial Bar, 300k if you’re good, 400k if you’re very good, 500k if you’re very good and lucky, more if you’re the next Sumption.



Wow. Makes even the likes of Kirkland seem like peanuts.



it’s not exactly the same as drawing a salary though. A barrister’s receipts are gross and do not include expenses such as costs of staff, office space, travel, insurance, pension and sick pay etc.

The Bar Council estimates expenses to be 50% of revenue, then you have taxes.

£300K gross probably means between £80K and £100K net. Good wedge of course but thoroughly average.



Ga, you’re quite right – I was referring to gross receipts.

However, there is no way expenses are 50% of revenue at the Combar.

Rent, chambers contributions, Practising Cert and insurance are more like 20% of revenue.

300k gross would represent an income of around 240k.


Yes, was talking gross.

But at the Combar, expenses are more like 20% of revenue.

300k gross equates to an income of around 240k.


There’s no way in a million years expenses are 50% of revenue at any commercial chambers. I would be surprised if the average was much above 30% and may be less.

My rent is 10% of revenue, chambers’ expenses plus clerks fees another 14%, bmif insurance and top up plus practising certificate plus data controller registration another 2%, sundry other expenses like travel, computer, books, office equipment maybe 3%. I haven’t included pension as I don’t see that as an expense (and its up to you whether you pay into one). Sick pay isn’t an expense rather a loss of earnings.

Commercial Junior

Yea, the 50% figure for the Commercial Bar is utter rubbish. My figure, including extra expenses (laptop, travel, insurance etc.) comes in around 18-19% most years. I would add two further points.

First, every commercial barrister I know takes more than 5 weeks of holiday a year (a fairly standard figure at the MC). Any solicitor here who has tried to instruct Counsel in August knows this. I have only ever taken less than 10 weeks off across a year once – and that was 9 weeks. It is usually closer to 12 weeks. So you need to factor that in when comparing.

Second, many sets have a new practitioners scheme of some sort that makes starting in practice easier; so reduced rates or rates stepping up for the first few years.

Chancery barrister

Not sure why this is getting downvoted.

Chancery bar is the same, albeit knock off £100k for each stage.



Went to UEA and now make 150k 3 years out of uni. The above can’t be right.






A UEA graduate qualifying age 24 at a US firm – entirely possible – means the above states are WAY off.



BS. US firms don’t recruit from UEA. Fact.


Not way off

It’s the median. One UEA student making big bucks doesn’t move the needle. Would only really do so for an mean average.


Interesting to see Bristol above LSE.

Imagine boring your socks off at LSE for 3 years on the basis it’s the third best shot at a big commercial TC only to find you’re earning less on average than the kids who spent 3 years gurning at Bristol.



A lot of LSE law grads will go abroad or go into roles in government, NGOs, which won’t be paid as much. If I’m looking at CVs for law firms, I’m going with the LSE grad every time. As you imply, nobody chooses Bristol as their first choice university, it’s third rate.



LSE grads are corporate bores at the age of 17, shut up


Just FYI

LSE’s upper quartile (top 25% of earners captured) is nearly the same as Camrbidge’s upper quartile.

Take a look at the breakdown in the table provided.



This is 5 years after graduating so assuming you do x1 year LPC and x2 years as a TC, these are basically the NQ salary rates


John Nash

Quick maths.




Funny, there was a dude who transferred from Bristol to LSE and said Bristol 1st yr was harder…



Hilarious. Have you thought about doing stand up?


Just FYI


Former Bazza

@ Lord Harley, those figures are way off, even if you are a busy baby junior at a so called MC set. How many Bazzas do you think gross over 500k?

Rent at the better ran and managed sets, can be as low as 10% of receipts, but shouldn’t be any more than 15%

At 5 years tenancy at a proper commercial set you are probably billing anywhere between 150-250, depending on how busy/lazy/competent you are


Lord Harley

Don’t mean to turn this into a competition and I’m conscious this is getting pretty vulgar, but purely for empirical purposes, at my set (not MC), 150k gross is not uncommon in first year of tenancy. 200-250k gross possible in second year. Don’t get me wrong, you’d have to work hard to hit these figures. But as a general rule, that is what baby juniors do.


Former Bazza

150k is as you say not heard of, in a genuine commercial set , in the first year of tenancy.200/250k is possible but very unlikely. It would take you having a few week length trials of your own, and being led in another half dozen trials that went the distance.

There are no baby juniors beneath 5 years call grossing 400/500k. There were only 125 Barristers who grossed more than a million last financial year, and only 200 that billed more than 500k. These are the Bar Council figures.



@ Former Bazza: For what it’s worth: 4 years into tenancy, I grossed 325k on the back of 2 trials, 1 of which settled before day 1. You would not need to do 8 trials which go the distance to make 200-250k even 2 years into tenancy. That’s enough money chat from me now.


The Cat

how much would a baby junior (1-5 years call) be making at a commercial/civil set? 1COR, Hailsham, Outer Temple, etc.?


Former Bazza

@ anon, if you are very busy, and lucky those figures are possible, but you will work like a dog. They are an outlier.
@ The Cat 1 COR is not a commercial set, it is a (very good public/civil common law set)
Hailsham a decent(ish) civil/prof/clin neg set. Ditto outer temple chambers.

A former BVC peer was a pupil and tenant at 1 COR, first year he grossed about 100k.

Pre LASPO, etc, in a good busy PI focused set, you could gross 100k at a canter .


Former Bazza

@ anon, you made 160k per trial over two cases , at 4 years tenancy? No.

One of my best mates, who I met at Bar School doing what was the BVC, is at a MC set. He is top of the tree, about 10-15 years call bracket, doing com lit and Arbitration . Ranked tier, 1/2,3 in about 5 disciplines. He bills in a good year about 500k. Lauded in every directory, will probably be Silk next year.
He works very, very, very hard.

How you could gross 325k at four years in in a non MC set ( or similar) I have no clue..


Commercial baby junior

There is just no way this can be right. Your friend must be downplaying his receipts massively to avoid making you / other bvc colleagues feel bad, or he doesn’t work very hard at all.

Let’s say poster above is at a non-mc (but commercial) set, 4 years in hourly rate maybe £200-225/hr? Billing 1500 hrs a year (or equivalent in brief fees) is more than I’d be inclined to do but its hardly flogging himself to death and that would get him to £300k+

I can’t imagine your friend’s hourly is less than £500. If it is he might want to have a word with his clerks…


Lord Harley

@ Former Bazza: I’m trying to figure out why you are so determined to prove that commercial barristers earn less than they really do.

Anyway, the anon comment you are disputing was mine. No idea why it was published anonymously.

I obviously did work other than those 2 trials that year. Those trials accounted for around 1/3rd of my income. I would add that I took parental leave that year, did not work over August, and spent about a month after my trial settled twiddling my thumbs not doing much (which was nerve-wracking and gradually became borderline depressing).

I agree with Commercial baby junior. Your MC friend is being modest. 500k at 10 years’ call at a non-MC commercial set is pretty standard. Would expect someone top tier at an MC set to be on at least 100k, if not 200k, more.



So one might expect first year of tenancy to be 40%-50% higher than your pupillage award? So £65,000 becomes, let’s say, £90,000?



Depends on the set. Most of the sets paying £65k are commercial / chancery sets and you should be able to reach six figures in first year of tenancy without any trouble at most of those sets. From what I recall from a few years ago there were a few other sets offering £65k like 2tg (I think?) where 90k in first year of tenancy might be more of a push.


Former Bazza

@ commercial baby junior , I said bill not receipts…. His COR is £500 P/HR

Billing above 500k is rare for non silks even in MC sets. My point stands, you have seen the figures as to how many Bazzas bill more than 500k, its a few. Agreed, no baby Bazza beneath 5 years call bills 400/500k??



Pls fact check your writing…

There’s no such thing as a Cambridge LLB



5 years out of law school? 72k for Oxford? A bricklayer can make much more hourly wages 5 years out of an NVQ Diploma!



Survey too old to be of much use to graduates now. In just a few years the climate within recruitment has changed towards attaining ‘equality’ and maybe even discriminating against graduates from certain universities Salaries will surely now reflect this.


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