UCL and Glasgow beat Oxford in latest law school rankings

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By Thomas Connelly on


Cambridge takes top spot

The latest law school rankings have just dropped, and its good news for Scottish universities.

Four of the top 10 in this year’s Good University Guide hail from north of the border, with Glasgow securing the accolade of highest ranking Scottish law school in third spot. Cambridge took this year’s law school crown, ahead of UCL in second.

The 2024 guide, compiled by the Times newspaper, scores unis on a range of criteria including teaching quality, student experience and entry standards. Legal Cheek has used the filter feature to focus on law courses only.

Elsewhere on this year’s list, Oxford and KCL placed fourth and fifth, respectively, while Scottish uni Strathclyde scooped sixth spot.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Law School Most Lists

Rounding off the top 10 were Edinburgh (7th), Durham (8th), Aberdeen (9th) and Warwick (10th).

At the other end of the table, Liverpool Hope finished 102nd, just behind Staffordshire (101st) and Canterbury Christ Church (100th).

You can check out the full list here, but be sure to filter by subject and select ‘law’.

Top 20 law schools 2024 (Good University Guide)

Ranking Law school
1 Cambridge
3 Glasgow
4 Oxford
6 Strathclyde
7 Edinburgh
8 Durham
9 Aberdeen
10 Warwick
11 Lancaster
12 LSE
= 13 Bristol
= 13 York
15 Dundee
16 Exeter
17 Leeds
18 Queen Mary
19 Ulster
20 Cardiff

The Legal Cheek Scottish Law Fair 2023 takes place IN-PERSON on Tuesday 24 October at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh. The Fair gives students from across Scotland the opportunity to meet the nation’s leading law firms. Register to attend.


Current UCL-er

Don’t believe the lies. UCL is an incredibly average law school which just intakes decent students.
– many lecturers are poor, unwilling to help, and generally dismissive of any concerns raised.
– generally, a pretty poor response to the pandemic. Slow to react, slow to adapt and slow to communicate.
– many formative assignments are left months and months without being graded, often with 0 feedback.
– oh, don’t worry, the above happens with actual exams too…
– some tutorial leaders are catastrophically under qualified and brought in last minute.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many good things about UCL Laws. But I think you’ll struggle to find anyone there who disagrees with the above.


UCL had a great Law Society while I was there. The lecturers are all distinguished. The tutors are quite decent, and I have never heard of an “under qualified” one – tutors know what they are talking about and are generally good at making you think (one of my best tutors wasn’t a distinguished academic with tons of articles but she knew her stuff, knew how to teach and engage your brain cells). With feedback, it’s all subjective anyways. Just write well. I agree that the pandemic response was terrible but the government’s response was just slightly less terrible and the world’s response was even more terrible, so it’s not fair to single UCL out.

Casual Observer

hat self-respecting law school ranking can put LSE and Bristol below (with respect) Strathclyde and Lancaster, whilst keeping a straight face.

Look at the representation of those universities at US and MC firms, at the bar, and going into to research at top universities.

(And no, I’m not biased, I went to UCL and never thought I’d find myself defending LSE)

MC Third Seat Trainee

Completely agree. I’m a MC trainee and a very large proportion of my trainee cohort are Bristol grads, but we have none from Strathclyde, Lancaster, Aberdeen or Glasgow.

Scots Law grad

That’s because the vast majority of graduates from Aberdeen, Strathclyde, and Glasgow go to Scottish firms. However, there is a not inconsiderable number that do complete the GDL/PGDL and join a City firm, or simply join a City firm after qualifying at a Scottish firm (subject to practice area), and I believe that the number of graduates that do so is increasing yearly. I am aware of several students in my cohort who are joining SC/MC firms, inclduing myself. These schools may currently have less representation amongst City law firms, but they are still excellent law schools.

Additionally, Glasgow’s Common Law course was launched in 2017, and as a 4 year degree plus SQE/LPC, City firms will only now start to see a greater number of Glasgow graduates entering their trainee cohorts as a result.

Latham 2PQE

I don’t think its necessarily true to say that the reason there aren’t any Aberdeen, Strathclyde and Glasgow trainees in MC Third Seat Trainee’s cohort is that they all join Scottish firms because students attending these unis, believe it or not, aren’t all Scottish.

Objectively speaking LSE and Bristol are just far more attractive universities to most Magic Circle, Silver Circle, US and City firms. Although you may not agree, the numbers really do speak for themselves. Oxbridge, UCL, LSE, King’s, Warwick, Exeter, Bristol and Durham do make up a significant proportion of most of these intakes and there is a reason for that.

Casual Observer

You are aware of ‘several students’ in your cohort joining SC/MC firms. However, many LSE/Bristol Law grads will go onto top US firms, and even more will go to MC/SC firms (if I had to hazard a guess, I would say 5 to 10 times the number that will attend from Strathclyde).

Whilst I do not doubt that they are good law schools, to call them ‘excellent’ and take an implicit position that they are stronger than LSE and Bristol is, with respect, indefensible.

Benjamin Poppeytimmings III

Glasgow et al are nowhere near the likes of Bristol.

I have a geography GSCE

Obviously that is true. Glasgow is way up in Scotland which is nowhere near Bristol.


What about LLM rankings? Is BCL from Oxford still the most sought after Post Graduate qualification in Law?

BA (Juris.)

Yeah, yeah. UCL’s legion of Oxbridge rejects know the score.


LSE 12th… this table can automatically be ignored lol

Yeah sure

Strathclyde And Aberdeen in the top 10 LOL OKAY

Adrian Wall

I believe proximity to purveyors of deep fried food was a key metric.

BA Juris Oxon

I’ll have whatever they’re smoking

US associate

Warwick is clearly better than LSE.


That’s it I’m choosing Glasgow over Oxford


Glasgow higher than Oxford.

Strathclyde higher than LSE and Durham.

The methodology for compiling this ranking favours Scottish universities for some reason – anyone know why?


Some poor sod (likely international student) is going to look at this ranking and make some poor life decisions.

The ranking (non-crackhead's edition)

Top 10 really should be

1 Cambridge
2 Oxford
4 Durham
5 Warwick
8 Edinburgh
9 Bristol
10 Glasgow

Old School

We all know it is:

1. Oxford or Cambridge
2. Oxford or Cambridge

Huge gap

3. The rest

Elite US associate

Honestly as a Warwick graduate I am making far more money than many of my school friends who went to Oxbridge and LSE.


1. There are other types of ‘capital’ besides money.

2. Of course people from non-Oxbridge unis can do well in later in life (and people from Oxbridge can falter), it’s just a little bit harder for them.

oxford non law grad with TC

its true, oxford grads get more opportunities bc recruiters know we’ve been producing 2-3 2.5k word essays every week (what legal recruiters have told me)

I See Basic People

You come across as extraordinarily basic. A Warwick grad, did you say?


absolutely no reason to put LSE, Durham, Warwick above UCL. Rankings in general are pretty bad. The good unis are very much comparable in offering and we know them. Then there are the average unis, the bad unis, and of course, the two best unis.


Congratulations on Warwick.


Let me guess – you went to Warwick?

Nice one arbitrarily sticking in Warwick above UCL/KCL/Bristol.

The real rankings

I disagree:

1 Oxford
2 Cambridge
6 Bristol
7 Durham
8 Edinburgh
9 Warwick
10 Glasgow


Any with half a brain cell if they decide between Glasgow and Oxford, they’ll pic the latter. Although in Scotland they don’t have to pay uni feees….😅

Hector McTavish

Aye because the English foot the bill!

MC Associate (UCL Law)

Ridiculous – UCL top 5? Fine. UCL top full stop what a farce!


I wonder how many people realise that Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen are older universities than every English university bar Oxford and Cambridge…


Why would age mean anything?

Edinburgh aside, Glasgow and Aberdeen don’t get anywhere near the likes of LSE, Bristol and Durham, both in terms of teaching quality and job prospects. Be more realistic.


How can you accurately say anything about teaching quality unless you’ve been to all of these unis? Re job prospects I presume you’re measuring this off of alumni from these unis getting offers in London which is only part of the picture – many people stay in Scotland and practice Scots law. Also I don’t think you can entirely blame the unis when most firms are glorified pyramid schemes and only put on events at the unis closest to them

The University of Oxford Law Faculty

Oh no, how will we ever recover?


Rankings are inherently simplistic. No doubt often the undergraduate experience can be poor despite very strong research performance, and vice versa.

It’s clear that over the past 20 years UCL has evolved dramatically in both scale and research strength, in many ways matching or even overtaking Oxbridge. But the undergraduate experience likely still lags in some areas and probably in Law. Part of the reason is UCL has had to manage through both growth and multiple mergers and management is only now properly focusing on raising the undergraduate experience to the level of research strength.

Being an ungraduate in London is very different to any other location in the UK, more challenging but with unique opportunities. London universities often do worse in student satisfaction surveys for this reason (and that probably hurt LSE in this ranking). On the other hand UCL has produced a disproportionate number of famous graduates in recent decades (Chris Nolan, Coldplay, Ricky Gervais, founder of Deepmind etc).


I don’t really know if I believe this. Its so different than all the other rankings.

On another note, I’m in year 13 and applying to university but I don’t know what to pick for my 5 choices or whether to do Solicitor apprenticeships. I’m on A*AA but the last A is feeling more like a B 😫


Go wherever you like (just not scotland)

Twitter Is For Narcissists

The children of barristers and partners will be pushed by their parents to go to Oxbridge.

Others will choose UCL/Glasgow, because they think it’s ‘just as good’.

What a fantastic way to reduce the competition for TCs and pupillage!

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