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How did your university do in the latest law school rankings?

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Top 10 spots for UCL, LSE and Glasgow — but Oxbridge dominates again

Russell Group universities dominate the top-end of the latest law school league table.

Unsurprisingly, the universities of Cambridge and Oxford come in first and second place, respectively, in the 2022 Complete University Guide published this week.

They’re followed by London institutions UCL (3rd) and LSE (4th), and the University of Glasgow (5th).

King’s College London (6th), Durham (7th) and Edinburgh (8th) come next, followed by the University of Bristol (9th) which has risen a total of ten places in this year’s list. The University of Aberdeen comes in tenth and is the only non-Russell Group player to feature in the top ten.

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The Russell Group continues its good showing further down the list. Queen Mary has jumped an impressive 16 places to come in 11th position, followed by Leeds (12th), York (13th) and Dundee (14th). The University of Strathclyde, meanwhile, slipped out of the top ten by seven spots to come in 15th.

Sheffield ranks 16th, while Warwick is back in the top 20, ranking 17th. Queen’s University Belfast (18th) and the universities of Birmingham (19th) and Exeter (20th) complete the top 20.

The results are based on entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality, research intensity and graduate prospects.

There are some notable rises further down the power list of 104 universities. Royal Holloway and Roehampton are this year’s big risers — leaping by 54 and 50 places, respectively, to come in 35th and 37th position.

Elsewhere, the University of Suffolk is a new addition to the list for law.

Top 20 law schools 2022:

Ranking Law school Overall Score
1 Cambridge 100%
2 Oxford 98%
3 UCL 96%
4 LSE 96%
5 Glasgow 95%
6 King’s College London 95%
7 Durham 94%
8 Edinburgh 91%
9 Bristol 91%
10 Aberdeen 91%
11 Queen Mary 91%
12 Leeds 91%
13 York 91%
14 Dundee 91%
15 Strathclyde 90%
16 Sheffield 90%
17 Warwick 90%
18 Queen’s University Belfast 90%
19 Birmingham 90%
20 Exeter 90%

The full rankings can be found here.

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59 Comments

UEA?

Where is UEA? It ranked top 10 consistently just a couple of years ago and is a very respected institution… There are quite a few big law partners from UEA too in the City, and plenty of their alumni in US/MC firms.

Not trolling, but it is well known that UEA tops several of the RG unis.

(4)(49)

Me

What is UEA? I did well at school, so this institution has never appeared on my radar.

(41)(2)

anon

lmao

That is all.

(1)(1)

Alf

It’s at no.36 – you’re either trolling or you didn’t scroll past the top ten.

(1)(0)

Anon

I didn’t go to either, but surprised that Kings outranked Durham. I certainly know where I would go if I had to pick between the two.

(17)(25)

Uni World

Kings has been doing very poorly for the past five years. In some rankings, it was showing as 20th in the country. Genuinely surprised why it is so high-up in this ranking. Anyway, some very average unis are showing as top-ranked anyway, so I guess not a very reliable ranking overall…

(7)(13)

Anon

It’s almost as if rankings don’t actually mean much, and that there will always be a preference for established institutions with higher entrance requirements and more rigorous courses

(24)(2)

Anon

The Jocks should have an asterisk next to them to denote that their degrees are in sweaty law. Splitting the table up to separate the Scottish unis from the English and Welsh one would make more sense.

(16)(7)

Askin

But surely anywhere in the real UK legal market (ie somewhere that still has a team in the Euros) does not consider the Scottish rankings meaningful relative to the rest so they?

(5)(2)

CJ

Let the comment section bloodbath commence…

(20)(1)

US Firm Assoc in Asia

LSE rules, KCL is a poly, Oxbridge FTW….what a joke.

Life is a marathon not a sprint guys. No one cares where you went to uni after your first job. I’ve worked with brilliant colleagues who went to lesser ranked non RG unis and some who who graduated with a first from Oxbridge/LSE who just couldn’t hack it (also worth mentioning that those academic high achievers are often highly insecure and pretty boring to talk to….). Your work product and attitude is what matters.

(13)(40)

Anonymous

Good job at trying to hide the fact you went to LSE, lol

(12)(1)

US Firm Assoc in Asia

Lol I did not, and I don’t even think students from LSE are that great, hence my point. I’m out here in Asia where brand names mean quite a lot so people love Oxbridge + LSE.

(0)(0)

Anon

But the quality of your work product is directly affected by your intellect, and therefore where you went to university. The further away from Oxbridge you get, the less bright you are and the less good your work is. That’s why an Oxbridge grad produces better work than someone who went to Warwick, and why Oxbridge grads are the most sought after grads in the market.

(27)(6)

Anon

This is the dumbest most simplistic paragraph I’ve read. Either you’re trolling or….Get back to your books and student union activities.

(9)(7)

Multiple perspectives

Boris Johnson went to Oxford, end of story.

(1)(0)

Alf

These tables only matter if you want an academic legal career. You’ll note that none of the RG actually runs an LPC/BPTC. Look for a table of the LPC/BPTC institutions ranked by the postgrad results and you’ll have a clearer idea of what matters in the race for a TC/Pupillage.

(0)(3)

JVT

Nottingham off the radar, what a shame

(12)(0)

LSEftw

How is UCL above LSE there’s literally a 9-place difference between them on QS which is an international university ranking indicator and is more reliable. LSE is just marginally behind Stanford whereas UCL sits at around no.15 with the likes of SydneyU et cetera. We’re 2 different leagues in every aspect – quality of faculty, corporate world reputation, prestige of name, competition to get in and so forth. For reference on the last point, I received my UCL LLB offer on early December whereas I was amongst the last batch to receive an offer by LSE in late April. The competition for places is far higher in the latter and the academic prowess of our cohorts are just stronger. I’m not saying the difference is astounding (Durham vs LSE) but it is certainly visible. Come on.

(4)(33)

UCLad

https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2022

^ Latest QS rankings. The “9 place difference” works the other way – LSE is quite a way below UCL mate…

No shade on LSE, solid uni but with students like you no wonder it’s shit now

(31)(3)

Anon

I commented this in a recent article:
‘LSE is the worst – weird, antisocial drones who can’t maintain eye contact and don’t have a personality outside of their career. I mean, they literally pick the university for the career alone, there’s absolutely nothing else going for it.’

Seriously though, if you want to be a city lawyer, nobody really cares as long as you go to one of the classic established universities with high entry requirements, Oxbridge, London Unis, Durham, Warwick, Bristol etc. Literally, no one cares. People I work with don’t know where I studied, I don’t think about it myself. These universities are probably only the top ones because the students there all have good A-level grades and are driven.
Imagine you’re an academy player at a football club. Would you care if you’re an academy player at Chelsea, Arsenal, or Man City? No, you wouldn’t, because they’re all relatively great. Some of the youngsters go on to achieve great things, whilst others disappear into obscurity. The same goes for universities. An Oxbridge degree is great but if you can’t maintain eye contact you ain’t going anywhere, sorry.
Another tip – don’t ever talk university rankings with a lawyer in the city. They don’t care. It will diminish your chances of converting a vac scheme into a TC (don’t know how you’d get through the interview though if you’re that ‘type’)

(33)(2)

A Person

If you have a search on Rollonfriday (a website used by actual lawyers) you’ll notice there is absolutely no chat about universities. You can search the forum and, over several years, university rankings or prestige has never been discussed

(12)(0)

LSEftw

You didnt even post the correct link to refute the point made. The link you posted isnt for law – which is what we are discussing – it is for overall, in which case of course UCL is higher in QS since LSE doesnt offer STEM. Filter by law and you’ll see that what the original commenter said checks out.

(3)(7)

get a life

no one cares about refuting your point you loser

(7)(0)

Anon

Academic prowess LMAO

(1)(0)

Anon

Bore off mate

(0)(0)

Yuan

LSE’s on another league compared to UCL lol… just check QS it’s literally 2 worlds apart.

(4)(15)

Anon

Slightly confused by this comment. UCL has consistently ranked in the top 3 for Law within these rankings. Additionally, it outranks LSE in a number of world rankings, so I am not entirely sure where you have obtained your information on the two. Regardless, they are both fantastic universities and I highly doubt either would be sniffed at by firms.

(1)(2)

Jax

Mine is not here, it starts with B

(0)(0)

No

You don’t think anyone is going to waste time playing the “guess which crap uni beginning with B I went to” game do you?

(7)(0)

Bolton

Wait – is it Bolton??? Bolton’s my guess.

(0)(0)

Big Bad Bill

It will be one of these, some of which probably don’t teach law, but really which of them it is is utterly irrelevant.

Bangor University
University of Bath
Bath Spa University
University of Bedfordshire, Luton and Bedford
Birmingham City University
University College Birmingham
Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln
University of Bolton
The Arts University Bournemouth
Bournemouth University
BPP University
University of Bradford
University of Brighton
Brunel University
University of Buckingham
Buckinghamshire New University

(6)(0)

tired bill

it would have been nice if the article specified that this set of rankings is taken from the CUG league table.

there are others domestic ones. the guardian, the sunday times. then you have the international league tables (QS, THE, ARWU).

point is that this is just one out of many rankings. dont take it as gospel.

the same point that applies to the law firm salary articles applies here. can we please have one article with a nice convenient table summarising everything. not 50 million different articles that are basically the sum but with different numbers. thanks.

(1)(5)

Can read

It literally says this is the CUG ranking in the opening paragraph

(3)(1)

F U A R K K K

Why no news on NQ salary raises at PINSENT MASONS?!?

(5)(6)

True

You can imagine all the posters on here giving it the big chat about their university are the type to be silent at the assessment centre, look down their nose at anyone who doesn’t go to the same university, and then wonder why they can’t get past the interview stage

(17)(1)

FlourPour

Only boomer partners and the types you described care which uni you went to when you actually start working. The rankings change so much that it’s meaningless to a team of colleagues spanning more than a decade in ages. Just like when you get to university A-Levels suddenly don’t mean anything and your degree is what matters, the same applies with university degrees and real work/life experience.

Unless its oxbridge – you can dine out on that one for a lifetime.

(10)(3)

2 PQE

What do you mean dine on it? My Oxbridge degree has not helped my career whatsoever. I’m being honest here – there was a broad spread of universities in my intake and those from Oxbridge cannot be differentiated from the others.
I don’t understand this narrative at all. Maybe a BCL helps at the commercial bar, but those successful there also often went to a top private schools and were groomed for the job from birth, so my undergraduate would be of little use anyway.
I’m genuinely interested why you think it’s some sort of golden ticket in city law? It’s of little more value than a degree from a load of other universities. I would have the same job if I’d gone to a London university or Durham – as well as a handful of others (don’t want to offend anyone!)
It’s not even like I can shoehorn the fact I went to Oxford into conversation. A. No one cares, B. It comes across as pretentious (it is), and C. People (often rightly) make assumptions about your privileged upbringing.

(12)(29)

Anon

If there was a broad spread of universities in your intake, that means you’re at a subpar firm.

(21)(11)

2 PQE

I’m at a US firm

Harry

I think that it’s telling that the one post that says it like it is (and one which most Oxbridge graduates would agree with, coincidentally) is being spam-downvoted. Legal Cheek discourse in a nutshell.

(3)(0)

Me again

Don’t worry, Harry. There is someone going around spam downvoting all the comments like mine, and spam upvoting those like the one below.

The only ranking that matters

1. Oxbridge
2. The rest

(43)(4)

Bristol

Imagine being someone who rides on the coat tails (name) of their uni, which has that reputation purely because it’s old and has a lot of money 👀

(5)(24)

Anonnienonnie

How did you feel when you received your rejection letter from your Oxbridge application?

(30)(4)

Bristol

Never applied. Weirdly, not everyone is so desperate for something that looks like a personality that they think anyone cares where they went to Uni when they’re an actual adult in an actual job and not sixth formers or 1st year LLB students lurking in these pages pretending to be partners at US firms by the age of 26.

(4)(9)

Zzzzzz

So you rationalise the fact you were not up to the demands of the marque by feeding that chip on your shoulder. You aimed low and hit your target.

BA (Cantab)

Old, has lots of money, extraordinary extracurricular opportunities, and delivers a bloody excellent education.

No twice termly essays and learning only in over-crowded lecture halls. Or dealing with idiots who got in on subpar grades.

Just sitting in an idyllic room with a world-leading expert in the field and one or two other students (if not just you) and getting grilled on the subject to within an inch of your life but going further in depth in that hour than anyone at these ex-poly so-called “universities” learn in a whole year or more. Absolutely loved it.

(10)(4)

Anon

Oh god here we go
There is a reason the stereotype that Oxbridge students have no personality outside of the university they attended exists

(4)(25)

Cantaboxon

You keep telling yourself that, it numbs the pain and if you say it enough it almost feels true.

(4)(0)

LSE Grad

The Oxbridge graduates that still dine over it years after graduating are the ones who end up not progressing in life. You’ll find them at age 30-35 dropping out of prestigious law firms into sometimes poor jobs due to lack of social capital and inability to make it rain or take on management/leadership positions. I’ve seen some make it to partner level due to technical competence and then fall off the face of the earth by 45-50 due to poor billing. A nerd with no friends at age 18 doesn’t all of a sudden become a captain of industry with a wide network at age 40. Of course if you want to be a commercial barrister or academic or work in research at an investment bank then that first from Cambridge will be very handy, and no one will require you to have social skills.

Best advice is to get AAA (or whatever it is these days), go to a Russell Group Uni, get a 2.1 and excel at something such as national level sport, debating or leadership position in the Student Union. And make sure you make a lot of friends and get a reputation for being a good and trustworthy person and competent professionally.

(7)(9)

Where is Nottingham?

A shame that an LNAT uni has plummeted so far!

(3)(0)

XYZ

In other words:

1. Oxbridge
2. Russell Group
3. Non-Russell Group

Shock

(2)(0)

Why are you doing that?

Is someone downvoting all the comments that say anything negative about Oxbridge? In the space of 5 minutes one comment got 12 downvotes

(3)(2)

The Big Question

If I’m starting a TC at a large US firm should I care that Oxbridge rejected me?

(9)(2)

Anonnonnon

Depends if you are happy just being a new money hour gimp. It is more about hours than brains in these places for the munchkin hires, so it might suit you.

(2)(3)

Aeiou

Nottingham Law School is greatest law school in country .

(0)(0)

Aeiou

Sorry, I posted too early as I was drunk. What I meant to say was “Nottingham Law School is greatest law school in country with ‘Nottingham’ in its title”.

(1)(1)

It's all about office politics

At most the question of a universities prestige will only matter in determing whether an applicant is invited to an assessment centre or an interview. Beyond that (if you work for a law firm) your career progression is entirely based on office politics, schmoozing, your social skills and professional reputation albeit to a limited extent compared to the other factors. Quite simply senior management likes to hire people they know the can get on with. Regardless of whether you obtained your degree from Oxbridge, skills you will not get very far in most areas of the legal profession if you lack social skills and the ability to develop an extensive professional network. The ranking obsessives will realise this beyond 1 PQE.

(4)(0)

Comments are closed.

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