KCL vs. UCL: job prospects


silver
Hi Everyone,

I'm trying to decide between KCL and UCL for job prospects with a US firm in London or New York. KCL seems to be a very progressive school in getting it's name out there with joint-programs, while UCL seems to have an edge in prestige on this forum and the rankings. Because the legal industry thrives on prestige and name brands, UCL would seem to be the better choice of law school. However, I note that after looking for how prominent KCL and UCL are on the profiles of attorneys from the biggest US law firms (http://www.ilrg.com/nlj250), KCL is consistently more popular by far in London and New York offices than UCL is. In fact, KCL seems to be have the same spread in the New York and London offices of these law firms as LSE. If UCL has the greater academic reputation, one would expect this to be reflected in the big firms' number of lawyers who attended UCL. Could someone please help me figure out what's going on? While UCL seems to be getting a lot of talk on this board, attorney-profiles with US firms seem to suggest the KCL is more internationally recognized and would thus be the smarter choice. Where is the evidence of UCL's prestige in the legal industry?
Hi Everyone,

I'm trying to decide between KCL and UCL for job prospects with a US firm in London or New York. KCL seems to be a very progressive school in getting it's name out there with joint-programs, while UCL seems to have an edge in prestige on this forum and the rankings. Because the legal industry thrives on prestige and name brands, UCL would seem to be the better choice of law school. However, I note that after looking for how prominent KCL and UCL are on the profiles of attorneys from the biggest US law firms (http://www.ilrg.com/nlj250), KCL is consistently more popular by far in London and New York offices than UCL is. In fact, KCL seems to be have the same spread in the New York and London offices of these law firms as LSE. If UCL has the greater academic reputation, one would expect this to be reflected in the big firms' number of lawyers who attended UCL. Could someone please help me figure out what's going on? While UCL seems to be getting a lot of talk on this board, attorney-profiles with US firms seem to suggest the KCL is more internationally recognized and would thus be the smarter choice. Where is the evidence of UCL's prestige in the legal industry?
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Panthro
Where is the evidence? I don't think UCL needs to prove itself to you. Neither one is going to have an adverse effect on your job prospects.
Where is the evidence? I don't think UCL needs to prove itself to you. Neither one is going to have an adverse effect on your job prospects.
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silver
I'm trying to understand where UCL grads go after graduation. Apparently, they don't go to the big US firms as much as KCL grads do. To the extent that I care about where UCL grads go, UCL does indeed need to prove itself to me (or it's reputation at least needs to be justified) for me to enroll there, just as I had to prove myself to UCL when I first applied. That's fair, no?

I love the idea of going to UCL. It has a beautiful campus and a great reputation by the rankings, and a strong tradition. But it is curious that US firms even in London seem to hire more KCL students, and I'm just trying to understand why this is the case.
I'm trying to understand where UCL grads go after graduation. Apparently, they don't go to the big US firms as much as KCL grads do. To the extent that I care about where UCL grads go, UCL does indeed need to prove itself to me (or it's reputation at least needs to be justified) for me to enroll there, just as I had to prove myself to UCL when I first applied. That's fair, no?

I love the idea of going to UCL. It has a beautiful campus and a great reputation by the rankings, and a strong tradition. But it is curious that US firms even in London seem to hire more KCL students, and I'm just trying to understand why this is the case.
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Panthro
Fair enough. I'm not sure where you'd get statistics to back up the theory that more KCL students end up at US firms but it's worth considering whether the majority of either university's graduates are actually attracted to working for US firms.

In the UK, the London offices of US firms are notorious for offering massive salaries but expecting you to work ridiculously long hours. As prestigious as these firms are, more graduates would be looking at the top 10-15 City firms, obviously with the pinnacle being the Magic Circle.
Fair enough. I'm not sure where you'd get statistics to back up the theory that more KCL students end up at US firms but it's worth considering whether the majority of either university's graduates are actually attracted to working for US firms.

In the UK, the London offices of US firms are notorious for offering massive salaries but expecting you to work ridiculously long hours. As prestigious as these firms are, more graduates would be looking at the top 10-15 City firms, obviously with the pinnacle being the Magic Circle.
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Kerfuffle
Silver, are you comparing KCL and UCL LLMs here, or KCL and UCL graduates? Comparing the destinations of KCL and UCL LLB graduates will not reflect the reality of the destinations of KCL and UCL LLM graduates.

With respect to the LLM, choosing between KCL or UCL will have little or no difference to your job prospects. As has now been said umpteen times on this site, LLMs make little difference to obtaining a job (despite what is said in the glossy brochures). Your LLB/JD degree, language skills, grades, work experience are more important (ie for the UK job market, you have to offer something that a UK graduate does not).
Silver, are you comparing KCL and UCL LLMs here, or KCL and UCL graduates? Comparing the destinations of KCL and UCL LLB graduates will not reflect the reality of the destinations of KCL and UCL LLM graduates.

With respect to the LLM, choosing between KCL or UCL will have little or no difference to your job prospects. As has now been said umpteen times on this site, LLMs make little difference to obtaining a job (despite what is said in the glossy brochures). Your LLB/JD degree, language skills, grades, work experience are more important (ie for the UK job market, you have to offer something that a UK graduate does not).



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Sunnylady
In the UK, the London offices of US firms are notorious for offering massive salaries but expecting you to work ridiculously long hours.//

So I hear, but considering the amount of hours city lawyers in UK law firms are subjected to I wonder how much more the US law firms could possible work their employees?
In the UK, the London offices of US firms are notorious for offering massive salaries but expecting you to work ridiculously long hours.//

So I hear, but considering the amount of hours city lawyers in UK law firms are subjected to I wonder how much more the US law firms could possible work their employees?
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Panthro
A lot more. I know a friend of a friend who is a trainee with a US firm and literally leaves his flat early morning and gets back home around midnight to get to bed. If you want the money then by all means go for it but I think there has to be a compromise between earning money and having enough time to spend it.
A lot more. I know a friend of a friend who is a trainee with a US firm and literally leaves his flat early morning and gets back home around midnight to get to bed. If you want the money then by all means go for it but I think there has to be a compromise between earning money and having enough time to spend it.
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snoopy
Hours at Magic Circle firms are the exact same and anyone who says differently is selling something.
Hours at Magic Circle firms are the exact same and anyone who says differently is selling something.
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Panthro
Well no, they're not. Having worked in the corporate department of a Magic Circle firm I know that as fact. Maybe for senior lawyers but not trainees or newly qualified people. Do you really expect to earn £100,000 as an NQ at a certain US firm for the same work and hours that you would earn £59,000 for at a Magic Circle firm?
Well no, they're not. Having worked in the corporate department of a Magic Circle firm I know that as fact. Maybe for senior lawyers but not trainees or newly qualified people. Do you really expect to earn £100,000 as an NQ at a certain US firm for the same work and hours that you would earn £59,000 for at a Magic Circle firm?
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Wheretogo_
Prospects are the same for two schools..

If you are looking for ridiculous long hours in the city then I think both will put you right up there.
Prospects are the same for two schools..

If you are looking for ridiculous long hours in the city then I think both will put you right up there.
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snoopy
Am at an American law firm now and have many friends who trained and qualified at Magic Circle firms - if the department is busy, it doesn't matter if you are a trainee or an NQ, you are going to get beasted.
Am at an American law firm now and have many friends who trained and qualified at Magic Circle firms - if the department is busy, it doesn't matter if you are a trainee or an NQ, you are going to get beasted.
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Sunnylady
@ Panthro, my brother is an associate at Clifford Chance, he's spent roughly three years at CC, two years as a trainee and one year as an associate). I have to say his working hours are crazy! From what I gather, He leaves his flat early in the morning and returns at about midnight or later and repeats the same schedule daily. And, he also works at weekends. Basically his social life is intertwined with his work life, nah, actually morelike fused together. Lastly, he sleeps in the office sometimes or gets back home at about 4am (sometimes). In short, after observing/hearing about his work schedule I am totally put off from applying to the magic circle firms. It's the reason why I wonder how much harder the US law firms work their employees...because I don't think he could squeeze in anymore time into his working hours. What were your working hours like?
@ Panthro, my brother is an associate at Clifford Chance, he's spent roughly three years at CC, two years as a trainee and one year as an associate). I have to say his working hours are crazy! From what I gather, He leaves his flat early in the morning and returns at about midnight or later and repeats the same schedule daily. And, he also works at weekends. Basically his social life is intertwined with his work life, nah, actually morelike fused together. Lastly, he sleeps in the office sometimes or gets back home at about 4am (sometimes). In short, after observing/hearing about his work schedule I am totally put off from applying to the magic circle firms. It's the reason why I wonder how much harder the US law firms work their employees...because I don't think he could squeeze in anymore time into his working hours. What were your working hours like?
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Sunnylady
@Silver- well, I have always perceived UCL and KCL as equals in terms of career prospects and academic reputation. Like I said earlier, I don't think there is any "better" or "worse" when comparing both. The comparison is dissimilar to one of say LSE and Oxbridge where it's palpable that LSE is a great institution but definitely not in the same league as Oxbridge.

What I do think is blatantly false is the notion that UCL graduates are preferred over KCL graduates in city law firms or have a competitive advantage (as is sometimes suggested on this forum premised on the league tables). UCL-KCL, all things being equal usually=same job prospects
@Silver- well, I have always perceived UCL and KCL as equals in terms of career prospects and academic reputation. Like I said earlier, I don't think there is any "better" or "worse" when comparing both. The comparison is dissimilar to one of say LSE and Oxbridge where it's palpable that LSE is a great institution but definitely not in the same league as Oxbridge.

What I do think is blatantly false is the notion that UCL graduates are preferred over KCL graduates in city law firms or have a competitive advantage (as is sometimes suggested on this forum premised on the league tables). UCL-KCL, all things being equal usually=same job prospects
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silver
I sought to ask a few UCL and KCL LLM grads on facebook their opinions on their LLM experience. Surprisingly, I got a fair amount of feedback. There was a lot of repetition (UCL is ranked higher in the UK) and much unsubstantiated/biased material in the responses, but one student from KCL took the pains to give some objective reasons for going to KCL for the International Commercial Arbitration course, as compared with UCL's International Arbitration course. With his permission, I am posting what he wrote me without his identification, below. For anyone interested in international arbitration, you may want to read this.

---------------------------------------------

''I'm nearly done with my LL.M. at King's and I can safely say that it has been a fantastic experience. I was in the same position as you as I had to choose between UCL and King's and I made my choice according to the subjects I wanted to take.

I really wanted to study International Arbitration and there is no doubt that King's is one of the best (if not THE best) places to study arbitration. This is mainly because of the lecturers who teach the subject. Term 1 is focused on international commercial arbitration and term 2 on investment arbitration. The teachers are the leading practitioners in arbitration in England. However, the bulk of the work must be done by you and you will not be spoon fed. The reading list is quite long and daunting but if you put in some hard work you will have an edge and be very well equipped for practice. The other plus point is that there is an excellent tutor who supplements the formal arbitration lectures and during exam time the support you receive is excellent.

So if you want to learn from the best in arbitration I would strongly suggest you go for King's.

To be very objective, UCL has a very good range of subjects and teachers. I would say both King's and UCL are equally good so in the end it all depends on which subjects you want to study and who teaches the subjects.

In my case arbitration tipped the balance for King's. At UCL the arbitration course is taught by a young lady associate at Freshfields whereas at King's there is the stellar Toby Landau QC, Salim Moollan and Ricky Diwan for commercial arbitration and Johnny Veeder QC (considered to be the leading investment arbitration lawyer in England) and Sam Wordsworth.

From the social point of view, King's is very cosmopolitan and I personally think there is a much more friendly atmosphere at King's. In our year we had weekly Thursday evening drinks in pubs/clubs around central London over the whole year and that helps a lot to get to know each other. By the end of your LLM you will know almost everyone and will have made some amazing friends.

I should also point out that the Maughan Library of King's is amazing in terms of atmosphere and facilities. Much better than UCL's small law library I think.''
I sought to ask a few UCL and KCL LLM grads on facebook their opinions on their LLM experience. Surprisingly, I got a fair amount of feedback. There was a lot of repetition (UCL is ranked higher in the UK) and much unsubstantiated/biased material in the responses, but one student from KCL took the pains to give some objective reasons for going to KCL for the International Commercial Arbitration course, as compared with UCL's International Arbitration course. With his permission, I am posting what he wrote me without his identification, below. For anyone interested in international arbitration, you may want to read this.

---------------------------------------------

''I'm nearly done with my LL.M. at King's and I can safely say that it has been a fantastic experience. I was in the same position as you as I had to choose between UCL and King's and I made my choice according to the subjects I wanted to take.

I really wanted to study International Arbitration and there is no doubt that King's is one of the best (if not THE best) places to study arbitration. This is mainly because of the lecturers who teach the subject. Term 1 is focused on international commercial arbitration and term 2 on investment arbitration. The teachers are the leading practitioners in arbitration in England. However, the bulk of the work must be done by you and you will not be spoon fed. The reading list is quite long and daunting but if you put in some hard work you will have an edge and be very well equipped for practice. The other plus point is that there is an excellent tutor who supplements the formal arbitration lectures and during exam time the support you receive is excellent.

So if you want to learn from the best in arbitration I would strongly suggest you go for King's.

To be very objective, UCL has a very good range of subjects and teachers. I would say both King's and UCL are equally good so in the end it all depends on which subjects you want to study and who teaches the subjects.

In my case arbitration tipped the balance for King's. At UCL the arbitration course is taught by a young lady associate at Freshfields whereas at King's there is the stellar Toby Landau QC, Salim Moollan and Ricky Diwan for commercial arbitration and Johnny Veeder QC (considered to be the leading investment arbitration lawyer in England) and Sam Wordsworth.

From the social point of view, King's is very cosmopolitan and I personally think there is a much more friendly atmosphere at King's. In our year we had weekly Thursday evening drinks in pubs/clubs around central London over the whole year and that helps a lot to get to know each other. By the end of your LLM you will know almost everyone and will have made some amazing friends.

I should also point out that the Maughan Library of King's is amazing in terms of atmosphere and facilities. Much better than UCL's small law library I think.''
quote
Kerfuffle
@ Panthro, my brother is an associate at Clifford Chance, he's spent roughly three years at CC, two years as a trainee and one year as an associate). I have to say his working hours are crazy! From what I gather, He leaves his flat early in the morning and returns at about midnight or later and repeats the same schedule daily. And, he also works at weekends. Basically his social life is intertwined with his work life, nah, actually morelike fused together. Lastly, he sleeps in the office sometimes or gets back home at about 4am (sometimes). In short, after observing/hearing about his work schedule I am totally put off from applying to the magic circle firms. It's the reason why I wonder how much harder the US law firms work their employees...because I don't think he could squeeze in anymore time into his working hours. What were your working hours like?


I haven't worked for a US firm, but I have spoken to a number of people who do and the hours are similar to MC firms (ie very long)... the only difference is US firms simply pay more.

An old but interesting article about life at CC (from an American perspective): http://www.slate.com/id/2073302
<blockquote>@ Panthro, my brother is an associate at Clifford Chance, he's spent roughly three years at CC, two years as a trainee and one year as an associate). I have to say his working hours are crazy! From what I gather, He leaves his flat early in the morning and returns at about midnight or later and repeats the same schedule daily. And, he also works at weekends. Basically his social life is intertwined with his work life, nah, actually morelike fused together. Lastly, he sleeps in the office sometimes or gets back home at about 4am (sometimes). In short, after observing/hearing about his work schedule I am totally put off from applying to the magic circle firms. It's the reason why I wonder how much harder the US law firms work their employees...because I don't think he could squeeze in anymore time into his working hours. What were your working hours like? </blockquote>

I haven't worked for a US firm, but I have spoken to a number of people who do and the hours are similar to MC firms (ie very long)... the only difference is US firms simply pay more.

An old but interesting article about life at CC (from an American perspective): http://www.slate.com/id/2073302
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Sunnylady
Cheers Kerfuffle! Very interesting read! i've heard similar stuff as well..
Cheers Kerfuffle! Very interesting read! i've heard similar stuff as well..


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xdude
I have studied International Finance Law at Kings and I will tell you very frankly that I have not regretted a single moment studying at Kings. Most of the courses are taught by the people who are veterans in their field and very well known in London amongst the Law firms.
Regarding the Maughan Library, you love the regal looking building from outside and its even one of the most comfortable place to study.
Regarding jobs-
I visited the presentation cermony of Clifford Chance in Oct 2009 and they had majority people as their legal trainee from Kings (11 out of 15 were from Kings). Not exaggerating, you will go and figure out yourself when you will attend their presentation cermony. However, those kings students as Legal trainee were LLB students from KCL and not LLM students.
Frankly speaking for LLM students, they encourage you to apply for their offices abroad and not really London.

Good luck but one thing is sure, you will never regret going to Kings
I have studied International Finance Law at Kings and I will tell you very frankly that I have not regretted a single moment studying at Kings. Most of the courses are taught by the people who are veterans in their field and very well known in London amongst the Law firms.
Regarding the Maughan Library, you love the regal looking building from outside and its even one of the most comfortable place to study.
Regarding jobs-
I visited the presentation cermony of Clifford Chance in Oct 2009 and they had majority people as their legal trainee from Kings (11 out of 15 were from Kings). Not exaggerating, you will go and figure out yourself when you will attend their presentation cermony. However, those kings students as Legal trainee were LLB students from KCL and not LLM students.
Frankly speaking for LLM students, they encourage you to apply for their offices abroad and not really London.

Good luck but one thing is sure, you will never regret going to Kings
quote
Sunnylady
I have studied International Finance Law at Kings and I will tell you very frankly that I have not regretted a single moment studying at Kings. Most of the courses are taught by the people who are veterans in their field and very well known in London amongst the Law firms.
Regarding the Maughan Library, you love the regal looking building from outside and its even one of the most comfortable place to study.
Regarding jobs-
I visited the presentation cermony of Clifford Chance in Oct 2009 and they had majority people as their legal trainee from Kings (11 out of 15 were from Kings). Not exaggerating, you will go and figure out yourself when you will attend their presentation cermony. However, those kings students as Legal trainee were LLB students from KCL and not LLM students.
Frankly speaking for LLM students, they encourage you to apply for their offices abroad and not really London.

Good luck but one thing is sure, you will never regret going to Kings


The Maughan library is simply amazing! And you're very correct, there is a huge intake of KCL students in Magic Circle/City/Reputable law firms. I did my LLB at King's and this is an observation I made during law fairs and presentations.

I was taught by professors who are the best in their fields. Contrary to what a previous poster suggested, I had a lot of direct communication with my professors/tutors during close-knit seminars and even after classes. They were very eager to help clarify issues that were unclear/difficult. I was an undergrad not a postgrad student so I can't comment on the LLM program but I'm sure it's a pretty similar curriculum!
<blockquote>I have studied International Finance Law at Kings and I will tell you very frankly that I have not regretted a single moment studying at Kings. Most of the courses are taught by the people who are veterans in their field and very well known in London amongst the Law firms.
Regarding the Maughan Library, you love the regal looking building from outside and its even one of the most comfortable place to study.
Regarding jobs-
I visited the presentation cermony of Clifford Chance in Oct 2009 and they had majority people as their legal trainee from Kings (11 out of 15 were from Kings). Not exaggerating, you will go and figure out yourself when you will attend their presentation cermony. However, those kings students as Legal trainee were LLB students from KCL and not LLM students.
Frankly speaking for LLM students, they encourage you to apply for their offices abroad and not really London.

Good luck but one thing is sure, you will never regret going to Kings
</blockquote>

The Maughan library is simply amazing! And you're very correct, there is a huge intake of KCL students in Magic Circle/City/Reputable law firms. I did my LLB at King's and this is an observation I made during law fairs and presentations.

I was taught by professors who are the best in their fields. Contrary to what a previous poster suggested, I had a lot of direct communication with my professors/tutors during close-knit seminars and even after classes. They were very eager to help clarify issues that were unclear/difficult. I was an undergrad not a postgrad student so I can't comment on the LLM program but I'm sure it's a pretty similar curriculum!
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Blady
I've worked in law firms and investment banking for quite a number of years now and I can attest that whether you are from KCL or UCL makes no difference whatsoever to your job prospects. Both are good law schools and are perceived to be in the same category by employers. This is in contrast with Oxford and Cambridge which are in a league of their own.

However, notwithstanding that UCL is currently higher ranked, it does appear that there are more KCL graduates (and in any event, even more LSE graduates) recruited by top organisations.

I am of the opinion that the answer lies in the university rankings 10 to 15 years ago. LSE and KCL were very highly ranked whilst UCL (although a good university) made huge strides in the rankings only in recent years under Prof Malcolm Grant. Thus, there are more partners and senior management executives who are alumnus of KCL and especially LSE. Do not underestimate the bias which people have for their alma mater. LOL

I did my LLM in UCL and I say this because the recruitment campaigns at university campuses are almost always spearheaded by the partners who are alumni of that university. For example, Slaughter & May is particularly active in recruiting from Birmingham University because its partner in charge of recruitment was from Birmingham.

Look at it this way. Even if the ranking of KCL, UCL or whichever your alma mater is, suffers a horrific drop, you will still swear that it is the best law school in the UK other than Oxbridge. LOL
I've worked in law firms and investment banking for quite a number of years now and I can attest that whether you are from KCL or UCL makes no difference whatsoever to your job prospects. Both are good law schools and are perceived to be in the same category by employers. This is in contrast with Oxford and Cambridge which are in a league of their own.

However, notwithstanding that UCL is currently higher ranked, it does appear that there are more KCL graduates (and in any event, even more LSE graduates) recruited by top organisations.

I am of the opinion that the answer lies in the university rankings 10 to 15 years ago. LSE and KCL were very highly ranked whilst UCL (although a good university) made huge strides in the rankings only in recent years under Prof Malcolm Grant. Thus, there are more partners and senior management executives who are alumnus of KCL and especially LSE. Do not underestimate the bias which people have for their alma mater. LOL

I did my LLM in UCL and I say this because the recruitment campaigns at university campuses are almost always spearheaded by the partners who are alumni of that university. For example, Slaughter & May is particularly active in recruiting from Birmingham University because its partner in charge of recruitment was from Birmingham.

Look at it this way. Even if the ranking of KCL, UCL or whichever your alma mater is, suffers a horrific drop, you will still swear that it is the best law school in the UK other than Oxbridge. LOL
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kalooking
Is there anybody on this forum who applied to both UCL and King's and was rejected by either of them? It'll maybe help us know which of these two had more stringent entry requirements. Thanks a ton in advance.
Is there anybody on this forum who applied to both UCL and King's and was rejected by either of them? It'll maybe help us know which of these two had more stringent entry requirements. Thanks a ton in advance.
quote

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