Cambridge LLM, Harvard LLM or Oxford BCL?


Honest
Which has a more formidable reputation?
Which has a more formidable reputation?
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Dutchman
1) Harvard LL.M.
2) Oxford BCL
3) Cambridge LL.M.
4)Oxford MJur

Although 2) and 3) might be interchangeable.
1) Harvard LL.M.
2) Oxford BCL
3) Cambridge LL.M.
4)Oxford MJur

Although 2) and 3) might be interchangeable.
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marco86
Again, I would like to know why the MJur is deemed inferior to the Oxford BCL, provided that they are the SAME PROGRAMME...
Again, I would like to know why the MJur is deemed inferior to the Oxford BCL, provided that they are the SAME PROGRAMME...
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andresob5
I agree with marco86. As long as I know the difference is that the BCL is intended for lawyers from common-law countries, while the MJur is for lawyers from civil law backgrounds, isn't it??
I agree with marco86. As long as I know the difference is that the BCL is intended for lawyers from common-law countries, while the MJur is for lawyers from civil law backgrounds, isn't it??
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beicon
Harvard is Harvard. Plain and simple... ask a homeless guy and he's gonna tell you to go to Harvard. However, Cambridge and Oxford are GREAT unis and if you're lucky (and also good) enough to get an offer then you're gonna have a hard time making a choice. My gut says Cambridge, but it's only my opinion. And really agree with the posts above... it makes no sense saying the BCL is better than the Mjur.
Harvard is Harvard. Plain and simple... ask a homeless guy and he's gonna tell you to go to Harvard. However, Cambridge and Oxford are GREAT unis and if you're lucky (and also good) enough to get an offer then you're gonna have a hard time making a choice. My gut says Cambridge, but it's only my opinion. And really agree with the posts above... it makes no sense saying the BCL is better than the Mjur.
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... and there's the problem with using reputation as a yardstick. The homeless guy doesn't know any better, whereas the higher up you go in legal practice/academia the less the Harvard LLM is prized. This isn't a knock on Harvard or its LLM, but its reputation reflects the substance of this thread: it's what people do when they're looking for a reputational boost to get them the job their current CV can't deliver. I imagine they also get a very good education, but for the life of me I've never seen anyone on LLM Guide ask this question.

In terms of the BCL v. MJur issue (and, indeed, the MJur v. Cambridge LLM and Oxford v. Cambridge issues), the explanation appears to be in the perceived quality of the candidates. Due I would suspect to the nature of their respective strengths (e.g. private law v. international law), the Oxford BCL is perceived as attracting the highest quality common law applicants, while the Cambridge LLM attracts the highest quality civil law candidates. This, of course, leaves the MJur behind on both counts. I have no idea whether this is accurate, but having spent several years at Oxford, I can tell you this is the perception.

In any event, I agree with Beicon - if you're worried about choosing between these programmes, you're in a very good position indeed.

Best,

Paddy
... and there's the problem with using reputation as a yardstick. The homeless guy doesn't know any better, whereas the higher up you go in legal practice/academia the less the Harvard LLM is prized. This isn't a knock on Harvard or its LLM, but its reputation reflects the substance of this thread: it's what people do when they're looking for a reputational boost to get them the job their current CV can't deliver. I imagine they also get a very good education, but for the life of me I've never seen anyone on LLM Guide ask this question.

In terms of the BCL v. MJur issue (and, indeed, the MJur v. Cambridge LLM and Oxford v. Cambridge issues), the explanation appears to be in the perceived quality of the candidates. Due I would suspect to the nature of their respective strengths (e.g. private law v. international law), the Oxford BCL is perceived as attracting the highest quality common law applicants, while the Cambridge LLM attracts the highest quality civil law candidates. This, of course, leaves the MJur behind on both counts. I have no idea whether this is accurate, but having spent several years at Oxford, I can tell you this is the perception.

In any event, I agree with Beicon - if you're worried about choosing between these programmes, you're in a very good position indeed.

Best,

Paddy
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beicon
Hi Paddy, thanks for the input. It's great to know more about the programs from someone who's spent time at Oxford and can actually give an informed advice.

But if you allow me to disagree with you on something, I just wanna say a few words about Harvard. I come from a Latin American country (my opinion will be therefore based on what I've seen so far in that continent). Additionally, my background is basically comprised of working at law firms I have no academic experience whatsoever apart from a UCL LLM.

Recruiters in my country look for reputation. If you're practising law (litigation, corporate law, M&A, banking law, tax, labour etc) in a civil law jurisdiction it's very unlikely that you'll ever use any of what youve learned during the LLM in your professional life. What do you need an LLM for if that's the case? International experience. That's the only thing they look for. And, because of that, the better the overall reputation of the school, the better off you're CV-wise.

Given this scenario, if you have a Harvard LLM (even though, as you say, it may not be the most reputable one when you talk to academics or legal practitioners), you'll have enhanced your CV immensely. It may not be true, but theres a universal perception that Harvard is the best university in the world. And the general perception at law firms is that a Harvard LLM would be better than a Cambridge LLM or Oxford MJur (ignoring the BCL as Im talking about civil law lawyers). From what Ive heard so far, this seems to be true in most Latin American countries. Between Cambridge and Oxford, I dont see much difference in terms of CV enhancement when you plan to purse a career in law firms.
Hi Paddy, thanks for the input. It's great to know more about the programs from someone who's spent time at Oxford and can actually give an informed advice.

But if you allow me to disagree with you on something, I just wanna say a few words about Harvard. I come from a Latin American country (my opinion will be therefore based on what I've seen so far in that “continent”). Additionally, my background is basically comprised of working at law firms… I have no academic experience whatsoever apart from a UCL LLM.

Recruiters in my country look for reputation. If you're practising law (litigation, corporate law, M&A, banking law, tax, labour etc) in a civil law jurisdiction it's very unlikely that you'll ever use any of what you’ve learned during the LLM in your professional life. What do you need an LLM for if that's the case? International experience. That's the only thing they look for. And, because of that, the better the overall reputation of the school, the better off you're CV-wise.

Given this scenario, if you have a Harvard LLM (even though, as you say, it may not be the most reputable one when you talk to academics or legal practitioners), you'll have enhanced your CV immensely. It may not be true, but there’s a “universal” perception that Harvard is the best university in the world. And the general perception at law firms is that a Harvard LLM would be “better” than a Cambridge LLM or Oxford MJur (ignoring the BCL as I’m talking about civil law lawyers). From what I’ve heard so far, this seems to be true in most Latin American countries. Between Cambridge and Oxford, I don’t see much difference in terms of CV enhancement when you plan to purse a career in law firms.
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marco86
I'm doing right now the MJur, and one of the best professor here, asking a question about the difference between BCL/Mjur, said the many years ago the two programmes were quite different, not overlapping. Now, he said, they overlap almost entirely, possibly having BCL and MJur students taking the very same courses. Then he said that it's time to review this university policy.
I'm doing right now the MJur, and one of the best professor here, asking a question about the difference between BCL/Mjur, said the many years ago the two programmes were quite different, not overlapping. Now, he said, they overlap almost entirely, possibly having BCL and MJur students taking the very same courses. Then he said that it's time to review this university policy.
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Hi beicon - yes, I think what you're saying jives with my reputation point. If we view reputation as a way of overcoming adverse selection, then the farther away you get from the center of the action (i.e. Harvard, Wall Street, whatever) the more valuable reputation is going to be - essentially because it becomes more costly to determine 'objective' value on your own. For example, London barristers chambers have a preference for the Oxford BCL over the Cambridge LLM. This same preference, however, is less likely to hold the farther afield you go (where, as you suggest, the reputation of the two programmes my be very similar).

Best!

Paddy
Hi beicon - yes, I think what you're saying jives with my reputation point. If we view reputation as a way of overcoming adverse selection, then the farther away you get from the center of the action (i.e. Harvard, Wall Street, whatever) the more valuable reputation is going to be - essentially because it becomes more costly to determine 'objective' value on your own. For example, London barristers chambers have a preference for the Oxford BCL over the Cambridge LLM. This same preference, however, is less likely to hold the farther afield you go (where, as you suggest, the reputation of the two programmes my be very similar).

Best!

Paddy
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AmyW
All three are the same as far as quality goes. But they all offer different experiences. The Oxford and Cambridge experience is vastly superior to the Harvard experience, not because of the quality of the teaching or course, all three are equal in this respect, but because of the college lifestyle. Nothing compares to Oxbridge in this respect, dinning daily in an 700 year old hall in a black gown, and dinning with professors and students from other disciplines is amazing. One meets so many different people rather than just lawyers. Also at Cambridge and Oxford they have matriculation dinners, black tie or evening gown, where one has 6 courses and a different wine with each course. The Cambridge and Oxford Unions also attract top speakers, including celebrities, former US presidents, English prime ministers and also senior members of the British Royal family. Not to mention the medieval cities; the rowing; the evening song in the ancient chapels, and so on. I was at Cambridge and also Harvard, I think the English schools are slightly more demanding because they are fixated with examining everything by sit down closed book examinations; whereas Harvard allows for other forms of assessment that are not as demanding such as coursework, moots and class participation. Also, in Cambridge the publish everyone's grade on a big board in front of the Senate House, so if you have done badly everyone will know, and sometimes before you if they have got out of bed earlier enough. As for Oxford, its jurisprudence has no rival anywhere--but its black-letter subjects are not better than those at Harvard. Cambridge's big area is international law; it can claim to have no rival in this area.
All three are the same as far as quality goes. But they all offer different experiences. The Oxford and Cambridge experience is vastly superior to the Harvard experience, not because of the quality of the teaching or course, all three are equal in this respect, but because of the college lifestyle. Nothing compares to Oxbridge in this respect, dinning daily in an 700 year old hall in a black gown, and dinning with professors and students from other disciplines is amazing. One meets so many different people rather than just lawyers. Also at Cambridge and Oxford they have matriculation dinners, black tie or evening gown, where one has 6 courses and a different wine with each course. The Cambridge and Oxford Unions also attract top speakers, including celebrities, former US presidents, English prime ministers and also senior members of the British Royal family. Not to mention the medieval cities; the rowing; the evening song in the ancient chapels, and so on. I was at Cambridge and also Harvard, I think the English schools are slightly more demanding because they are fixated with examining everything by sit down closed book examinations; whereas Harvard allows for other forms of assessment that are not as demanding such as coursework, moots and class participation. Also, in Cambridge the publish everyone's grade on a big board in front of the Senate House, so if you have done badly everyone will know, and sometimes before you if they have got out of bed earlier enough. As for Oxford, its jurisprudence has no rival anywhere--but its black-letter subjects are not better than those at Harvard. Cambridge's big area is international law; it can claim to have no rival in this area.
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AmyW
As for the South American who claims Harvard is better for CV building, it cannot be on the basis that it is the world's best university, because Cambridge University has been ranked as the best for the last 2 years by QS, also Cambridge has 92 Nobel winners, and Harvard has a mere 42. No employer is going to distinguish between Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard--employers will go down the list a lot further than those 3 before they would be concerned about reputation. Columbia, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, UCL, LSE, King's College London all pull weight with employers internationally. What the employer is going to be looking for once you move down the list is for higher grades. So graduating in the top 30% might be enough for an Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Harvard grad, but once you move down to Columbia or its sister school in the UK, King's College London, the employer will be looking to see if you have graduated in the top 10% or perhaps even 5%. One has to remember that many of the movers and shakers in business have not been to any of these top schools; they did not need to in their day.

Anyway, out of all these Cambridge must have the best reputation internationally with more Nobel winners than any other university; not to mention its professors and former professors, John Maynard Keynes, Newton, Wittgenstein, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Edward Coke, G. E. Moore,
Bertrand Russell, Francis Crick, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking, not to mention all the famous law professors such as Glanville Williams who has been cited some 30,000 times by the US courts. Acclaimed writers such as E. M. Forster, Samuel Pepys, Charles Kingsley, C. S. Lewis, Christopher Marlowe, Vladmir Nabokov, Christopher Isherwood, Samuel Butler, W. M. Thackeray, Lawrence Sterne, Eudora Welty, Sir Kingsley Amis, C. P. Snow, J. G. Ballard, Malcolm Lowry, E. R. Braithwaite, Iris Murdoch, J. B. Priestley, Patrick White, M. R. James and A. A. Milne were all at Cambridge.

As I said in the last post, the advantage of Cambridge is that most of one's academic life centre on college life, not on faulty life, so one gets to meet all these great minds from other disciplines at dinners and functions--this helps one to think outside the box with one's own essays and exams.
As for the South American who claims Harvard is better for CV building, it cannot be on the basis that it is the world's best university, because Cambridge University has been ranked as the best for the last 2 years by QS, also Cambridge has 92 Nobel winners, and Harvard has a mere 42. No employer is going to distinguish between Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard--employers will go down the list a lot further than those 3 before they would be concerned about reputation. Columbia, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, UCL, LSE, King's College London all pull weight with employers internationally. What the employer is going to be looking for once you move down the list is for higher grades. So graduating in the top 30% might be enough for an Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Harvard grad, but once you move down to Columbia or its sister school in the UK, King's College London, the employer will be looking to see if you have graduated in the top 10% or perhaps even 5%. One has to remember that many of the movers and shakers in business have not been to any of these top schools; they did not need to in their day.

Anyway, out of all these Cambridge must have the best reputation internationally with more Nobel winners than any other university; not to mention its professors and former professors, John Maynard Keynes, Newton, Wittgenstein, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Edward Coke, G. E. Moore,
Bertrand Russell, Francis Crick, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking, not to mention all the famous law professors such as Glanville Williams who has been cited some 30,000 times by the US courts. Acclaimed writers such as E. M. Forster, Samuel Pepys, Charles Kingsley, C. S. Lewis, Christopher Marlowe, Vladmir Nabokov, Christopher Isherwood, Samuel Butler, W. M. Thackeray, Lawrence Sterne, Eudora Welty, Sir Kingsley Amis, C. P. Snow, J. G. Ballard, Malcolm Lowry, E. R. Braithwaite, Iris Murdoch, J. B. Priestley, Patrick White, M. R. James and A. A. Milne were all at Cambridge.

As I said in the last post, the advantage of Cambridge is that most of one's academic life centre on college life, not on faulty life, so one gets to meet all these great minds from other disciplines at dinners and functions--this helps one to think outside the box with one's own essays and exams.
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