There exists a high minimum academic requirement for Cambridge LLM applicants. It applies equally to Cambridge Undergraduate students as well as law students from other schools. If the LLM were in fact less competitive than the undergraduate course the entire Cambridge undergraduate cohort would gain automatic admission to the Cambridge LLM regardless of their grades. That is not the case, though.
I think it's at least plausible to suggest that the calibre of the average Cambridge LLM applicant is of higher quality than the average Cambridge undergraduate applicant. This is because LLM applicants, assuming most of those applying do have first class grades, are proven to be adept at legal reasoning, writing and handling education at a tertiary level more generally. Numbers alone cannot account for this difference in quality. (Of course, you can point out that grading methods vary among universities and those applying might hold grades more inflated than Cambridge undergraduate students', but I don't think these applicants are in the majority)
To be honest I still think that the LLM is not as competitive as they make out to be, but I assume that is because I have had personal experiences that tell me so. For example, both me and my colleague got into the LLM programme, although neither of us had a first. My colleague was even quite far away from it. Meanwhile the best student in my class in high school got into the final round for admission into Cambridge's undergrad program in law, but was ultimately not selected, even though his grades were ridiculously high (a minimum of 90% average on all his courses, mind you in my country our curriculum constists out of 12 courses, so that means he scored equally well on maths as on French or sports, crazy). He ultimately chose not to study law and went for a degree in civil engineering, and is still way more talented than I am.
I mean, by all means, let's pat ourselves on the back that we made it into Cambridge, but all I am saying is that we should keep our heads level and realize that this is just an LLM program.
I don’t think the academic rigour of a high school curriculum can be compared to a university’s, but ok
I agree, and also I’d very interested to know why they’re accepting people with 2:1’s, if what Ribben is saying is true, when I know people who Cambridge have rejected with firsts, eg someone who has a first and did a training contract at a magic circle firm... my understanding is if you do not have a first you will not be admitted. I feel a freedom of information request coming on to find out if this is true.