Most prestigious law schools


Churchill
Many of us will now have received offers from various universities, and some rejections perhaps. But it is now a time for a few decisions to be made as to which Universities give the best career prospects. I am UK based, and have received offers from UCL, KCL, Durham, Nottingham, Warwick and Birmingham. I am still waiting to hear from LSE. I may still make a late application to Oxford, I'm not sure yet. But I am wondering which University I should choose. My immediate aim is to secure a training contract in the UK, so I am more concerned with which University will give me the best career prospects in the UK, however, into the future, I would not rule out working abroad at some stage, so I am also considering international prestige as well, but this is of secondary importance. Of course, I am also considering the financial aspects, and whether it is worth spending the extra thousands of pounds to study in London if UCL's reputation is practically the same as Durham's or Nottingham's in the UK.

However, leaving all this to one side, I would like this thread to be about who everybody considers to be the 5 most prestigious law schools within the UK, and the 5 most prestigious UK schools internationally. I am not interested in which law schools have the best teachers, or even the best places to live. I'm only concerned with career prospects. What 5 are seen as the most prestigious by employers, firstly within the UK, then internationally. Hopefully this thread can help everybody make their decisions, so I am hoping for as many replies as possible. So if you read this, please leave your lists! Thank you. (You can count Oxford and Cambridge as 1, as they are inseparable in my opinion and obviously ahead of the rest). I'll go first:

Within the UK:

1. Oxbridge
2. LSE
3. UCL
4. Durham
5. Nottingham

Even though I have listed the Universities above like this, I believe there is very little difference between 2-5 in the UK.

Internationally:

1. Oxbridge
2. LSE
3. UCL
4. KCL
5. Edinburgh
Many of us will now have received offers from various universities, and some rejections perhaps. But it is now a time for a few decisions to be made as to which Universities give the best career prospects. I am UK based, and have received offers from UCL, KCL, Durham, Nottingham, Warwick and Birmingham. I am still waiting to hear from LSE. I may still make a late application to Oxford, I'm not sure yet. But I am wondering which University I should choose. My immediate aim is to secure a training contract in the UK, so I am more concerned with which University will give me the best career prospects in the UK, however, into the future, I would not rule out working abroad at some stage, so I am also considering international prestige as well, but this is of secondary importance. Of course, I am also considering the financial aspects, and whether it is worth spending the extra thousands of pounds to study in London if UCL's reputation is practically the same as Durham's or Nottingham's in the UK.

However, leaving all this to one side, I would like this thread to be about who everybody considers to be the 5 most prestigious law schools within the UK, and the 5 most prestigious UK schools internationally. I am not interested in which law schools have the best teachers, or even the best places to live. I'm only concerned with career prospects. What 5 are seen as the most prestigious by employers, firstly within the UK, then internationally. Hopefully this thread can help everybody make their decisions, so I am hoping for as many replies as possible. So if you read this, please leave your lists! Thank you. (You can count Oxford and Cambridge as 1, as they are inseparable in my opinion and obviously ahead of the rest). I'll go first:

Within the UK:

1. Oxbridge
2. LSE
3. UCL
4. Durham
5. Nottingham

Even though I have listed the Universities above like this, I believe there is very little difference between 2-5 in the UK.

Internationally:

1. Oxbridge
2. LSE
3. UCL
4. KCL
5. Edinburgh
quote
Kerfuffle
I'd say if your main motivation is to secure a TC, move away from a preoccupation with prestige and rankings, and look more at what an LLM can offer your prospective employer that makes you stand out compared to 100s of undergraduates who have prestigious LLBs.

It's pointless giving a ranking because you don't state your specialist interests eg. KCL will trump LSE for European law, QMUL will trump LSE for IP etc.

For a domestic UK student (this may not apply to you), recruiters are not so concerned about an LLM -- an LLM is essentially a superfluous element for a training contract application. An LLM from a top uni is pretty worthless unless it offers the employer something more than just an 'prestigious' embellishment to your CV (I'd say an exception is Oxbridge; particularly for the Bar). They already have 1000s of applicants with prestigious undergrad law degrees, and they'll send their lawyers to do part-time LLMs (and increasingly MBAs) if they want specialist knowledge.

I did my LLM in London (experiencing all the colleges), and employers were only interested in international students who offered language skills and/or specialised knowledge of their own domestic legal systems. Employers were not really interested in domestic LLM students.

I'd say go to Oxbridge or LSE, KCL, UCL or even QMUL, and don't consider anywhere else for an LLM (I wouldn't consider it a good investment.)

On an international basis, I'd say prestigious LLM can make a difference -- Oxbridge and London (KCL, LSE and UCL) are by far the most revered. For the US and Canada, LSE is highly regarded and well-known. In Europe and some parts of Asia, KCL seems to be the most highly regarded. Edinburgh also seems to be quite well-known in North America, but I never come across Asian or European lawyers talking about it (ultimately it depends where you want to work).
I'd say if your main motivation is to secure a TC, move away from a preoccupation with prestige and rankings, and look more at what an LLM can offer your prospective employer that makes you stand out compared to 100s of undergraduates who have prestigious LLBs.

It's pointless giving a ranking because you don't state your specialist interests eg. KCL will trump LSE for European law, QMUL will trump LSE for IP etc.

For a domestic UK student (this may not apply to you), recruiters are not so concerned about an LLM -- an LLM is essentially a superfluous element for a training contract application. An LLM from a top uni is pretty worthless unless it offers the employer something more than just an 'prestigious' embellishment to your CV (I'd say an exception is Oxbridge; particularly for the Bar). They already have 1000s of applicants with prestigious undergrad law degrees, and they'll send their lawyers to do part-time LLMs (and increasingly MBAs) if they want specialist knowledge.

I did my LLM in London (experiencing all the colleges), and employers were only interested in international students who offered language skills and/or specialised knowledge of their own domestic legal systems. Employers were not really interested in domestic LLM students.

I'd say go to Oxbridge or LSE, KCL, UCL or even QMUL, and don't consider anywhere else for an LLM (I wouldn't consider it a good investment.)

On an international basis, I'd say prestigious LLM can make a difference -- Oxbridge and London (KCL, LSE and UCL) are by far the most revered. For the US and Canada, LSE is highly regarded and well-known. In Europe and some parts of Asia, KCL seems to be the most highly regarded. Edinburgh also seems to be quite well-known in North America, but I never come across Asian or European lawyers talking about it (ultimately it depends where you want to work).
quote
Churchill
Kerfuffle,

My specialisation is commercial law, but I don't believe this is all that relevant to my post, as I'm referring to general prestige. For example, Queen Mary might be the best in the country for IP, but I believe that even a student who applies to IP firms will get more interviews if on his CV it says Oxford or LSE rather than QMUL. I specifically stated in my post that I'm not too interested in teaching standards in this thread, as I'm already aware of this, but more about graduate prospects.

Anyway, I'm looking to apply to general mid-sized commercial law firms, and want to do a LLM because my LLB degree was form a poorly ranked UK University. As I didn't do 'A' Levels, I am thinking that an LLM from a prestigious University might get me more interviews and add some prestige to my CV. I am from the UK by the way. Plus, as the UK is in recession, I believe studying the LLM for a year would be a good use of my time whilst it's extra difficult to find a training contract.

You mention that a LLM is useless unless it offers an employer something extra, but of course it will anyway, it offers you specialist knowledge in a particular area, and is an extra qualification from (hopefully) a well regarded University, so I don't really understand your point here. What else would it offer?

Are you saying that if you are a domestic student it isn't worth doing the LLM? Or are you saying it's only worth doing it at Oxbridge or London? I was under the impression that places like Durham and Nottingham are more highly regarded than QMUL and perhaps even KCL in the UK. Although Oxbridge and London are certainly a cut above internationally.
Kerfuffle,

My specialisation is commercial law, but I don't believe this is all that relevant to my post, as I'm referring to general prestige. For example, Queen Mary might be the best in the country for IP, but I believe that even a student who applies to IP firms will get more interviews if on his CV it says Oxford or LSE rather than QMUL. I specifically stated in my post that I'm not too interested in teaching standards in this thread, as I'm already aware of this, but more about graduate prospects.

Anyway, I'm looking to apply to general mid-sized commercial law firms, and want to do a LLM because my LLB degree was form a poorly ranked UK University. As I didn't do 'A' Levels, I am thinking that an LLM from a prestigious University might get me more interviews and add some prestige to my CV. I am from the UK by the way. Plus, as the UK is in recession, I believe studying the LLM for a year would be a good use of my time whilst it's extra difficult to find a training contract.

You mention that a LLM is useless unless it offers an employer something extra, but of course it will anyway, it offers you specialist knowledge in a particular area, and is an extra qualification from (hopefully) a well regarded University, so I don't really understand your point here. What else would it offer?

Are you saying that if you are a domestic student it isn't worth doing the LLM? Or are you saying it's only worth doing it at Oxbridge or London? I was under the impression that places like Durham and Nottingham are more highly regarded than QMUL and perhaps even KCL in the UK. Although Oxbridge and London are certainly a cut above internationally.
quote
Kerfuffle
Hi George, I have not talked about teaching standards in my reply, but specialisms (they are not the same thing). I am trying to say, which I think was pretty clear (but excuse my Xmas fuzzy head if I'm not), that for a domestic student it is only worth doing an LLM if it's at a top university (Oxbridge or London colleges) and it's in a highly specialised area of law (eg IP, tax etc). Other redbricks (eg. Manchester, Notts) are not worth it in my opinion, and there is a gulf of difference in the quality of the courses they offer compared to the London colleges. There are exceptions eg. Notts is highly-regarded for HR law. A Durham LLM is not highly regarded (in contrast to a Durham LLB).

I said look at it from the employer's pov, an LLM offers you an additional qualification and knowledge, but that doesn't mean it offers any tangible benefit to an employer cf. to an applicant from a better UG university without an LLM, and thus it won't necessarily increase your prospects of getting a job.

An LLM can offer more than just an extra qualification and more knowledge, it's real value for a domestic student lies in networking, contacts, references, perhaps publishing or presenting at conferences (I believe the London colleges offer this best additional value).

I agree an LLM is useful way to spend time in the economic downturn.
Hi George, I have not talked about teaching standards in my reply, but specialisms (they are not the same thing). I am trying to say, which I think was pretty clear (but excuse my Xmas fuzzy head if I'm not), that for a domestic student it is only worth doing an LLM if it's at a top university (Oxbridge or London colleges) and it's in a highly specialised area of law (eg IP, tax etc). Other redbricks (eg. Manchester, Notts) are not worth it in my opinion, and there is a gulf of difference in the quality of the courses they offer compared to the London colleges. There are exceptions eg. Notts is highly-regarded for HR law. A Durham LLM is not highly regarded (in contrast to a Durham LLB).

I said look at it from the employer's pov, an LLM offers you an additional qualification and knowledge, but that doesn't mean it offers any tangible benefit to an employer cf. to an applicant from a better UG university without an LLM, and thus it won't necessarily increase your prospects of getting a job.

An LLM can offer more than just an extra qualification and more knowledge, it's real value for a domestic student lies in networking, contacts, references, perhaps publishing or presenting at conferences (I believe the London colleges offer this best additional value).

I agree an LLM is useful way to spend time in the economic downturn.
quote
Churchill
I don't know where you've got your views from Kerfuffle, but I believe them to be false. I personally know someone who completed an LLM at Nottingham with a focus in commercial law and it helped them gain a training contract. Nottingham has an excellent reputation in the UK for law, and is on par with the London colleges. Life does not begin and end in Oxbridge and London as international students like to believe.

I specifically referred to prestige in my post, but you're talking about specialisms. Then you mention that additional knowledge doesn't offer any tangible benefit to an employer! Are you saying employers don't value additional knowledge and commitment to the law? This is certainly not true. Further, if an LLM's true value lies in contacts and networking as you say, then why is it only worth doing one if you're pursuing a niche? You can still build contacts even if you're not studying a strict specialism.
I don't know where you've got your views from Kerfuffle, but I believe them to be false. I personally know someone who completed an LLM at Nottingham with a focus in commercial law and it helped them gain a training contract. Nottingham has an excellent reputation in the UK for law, and is on par with the London colleges. Life does not begin and end in Oxbridge and London as international students like to believe.

I specifically referred to prestige in my post, but you're talking about specialisms. Then you mention that additional knowledge doesn't offer any tangible benefit to an employer! Are you saying employers don't value additional knowledge and commitment to the law? This is certainly not true. Further, if an LLM's true value lies in contacts and networking as you say, then why is it only worth doing one if you're pursuing a niche? You can still build contacts even if you're not studying a strict specialism.
quote
Kerfuffle
George, you asked for opinions on graduate prospects and prestige, I gave you my opinion. Take it or leave it, but I'm not going to argue with you about it. You're being rather ungracious to someone who has took the time to reply to your post.

Notts is a good law school, if you like it, and feel it is good for you, then go.
George, you asked for opinions on graduate prospects and prestige, I gave you my opinion. Take it or leave it, but I'm not going to argue with you about it. You're being rather ungracious to someone who has took the time to reply to your post.

Notts is a good law school, if you like it, and feel it is good for you, then go.
quote
nicel22
Kerfuffle,

I agree with your advice 100%
Kerfuffle,

I agree with your advice 100%
quote
pumpkin
Hello,

I was in a similar position to you in that I studied my LLB at a mediocre-ranked university, and I too was looking to study an LLM to help my CV and heighten my career prospects.

I am pursuing the bar however, so my advice could be completely irrelevant, but I spoke to many barristers (many who were involved in the hiring process) and all told me an LLM was a waste of my time, as they dont really value it. (However I do agree with Kerfuffle that, with regards to the bar, Oxbridge would really be the only LLM's that may help). Instead they advised me to take that year to broaden my CV in other ways, volunteer in world-wide legal projects, set up legal clinics internationally, etc etc.

As I said, this advice is from someone with 'pupillage pursuit' experience, not training contract, but if you have already graduated and decide to study an LLM, I recommend you take the time between starting the course to become involve in a similar project as I assume such advice that I was given will also be relevant to your career search.

Good Luck in your pursuit.

Pumpkin.
Hello,

I was in a similar position to you in that I studied my LLB at a mediocre-ranked university, and I too was looking to study an LLM to help my CV and heighten my career prospects.

I am pursuing the bar however, so my advice could be completely irrelevant, but I spoke to many barristers (many who were involved in the hiring process) and all told me an LLM was a waste of my time, as they dont really value it. (However I do agree with Kerfuffle that, with regards to the bar, Oxbridge would really be the only LLM's that may help). Instead they advised me to take that year to broaden my CV in other ways, volunteer in world-wide legal projects, set up legal clinics internationally, etc etc.

As I said, this advice is from someone with 'pupillage pursuit' experience, not training contract, but if you have already graduated and decide to study an LLM, I recommend you take the time between starting the course to become involve in a similar project as I assume such advice that I was given will also be relevant to your career search.

Good Luck in your pursuit.

Pumpkin.
quote
Churchill
Kerfuffle, I asked for rankings. You did not give any. If you are not prepared for people to comment or disagree with your opinions, then don't post. That is the point of a forum after all. I'm sorry, I didn't realise I had to agree with you in order to be grateful. I pointed out a few contradictions in your post and was requesting clarification, but you did not reply. Therefore, all that is left to say is thank you for your responses and I thank everyone else for their responses.
Kerfuffle, I asked for rankings. You did not give any. If you are not prepared for people to comment or disagree with your opinions, then don't post. That is the point of a forum after all. I'm sorry, I didn't realise I had to agree with you in order to be grateful. I pointed out a few contradictions in your post and was requesting clarification, but you did not reply. Therefore, all that is left to say is thank you for your responses and I thank everyone else for their responses.
quote
Churchill
Pumpkin, to prevent the risk of being called ungrateful again, I will thank you for your post at the outset. I suppose the issue here is that everybody has different personal experiences. I am surprised at what you were told by recruiting barristers, because my cousin is a barrister and she told me that her LLM undoubtedly helped her secure a pupillage. (She did her LLM at Nottingham). I have also e-mailed law firms in the UK and been told that they would take an LLM into account when considering applications, as they look at your full academic history. Thanks for your reply though and I will take it on board. I have to say that from the replies I am getting, I'm beginning to wonder if I have wasted my time applying for all these LLMs and receving all these offers.
Pumpkin, to prevent the risk of being called ungrateful again, I will thank you for your post at the outset. I suppose the issue here is that everybody has different personal experiences. I am surprised at what you were told by recruiting barristers, because my cousin is a barrister and she told me that her LLM undoubtedly helped her secure a pupillage. (She did her LLM at Nottingham). I have also e-mailed law firms in the UK and been told that they would take an LLM into account when considering applications, as they look at your full academic history. Thanks for your reply though and I will take it on board. I have to say that from the replies I am getting, I'm beginning to wonder if I have wasted my time applying for all these LLMs and receving all these offers.
quote
israelrt
Some advice from Simon Myerson QC on the value of a further degree.

http://pupillageandhowtogetit.blogspot.com/2007/07/mas-and-other-further-academic-degrees.html

¨For the time being I remain of the view that a standard MA offers no assistance to getting a pupillage unless directed squarely at the area of law in which Chambers specialises. On the other hand, it clearly doesnt hurt either. And the BCL, Harvard etc are plainly of huge assistance.¨

http://pupillageandhowtogetit.wordpress.com/category/university/further-degrees/

To praphrase Myerson, if applying for the Bar, unless the masters level degree is from Oxford or Harvard, don´t bother.
Some advice from Simon Myerson QC on the value of a further degree.

http://pupillageandhowtogetit.blogspot.com/2007/07/mas-and-other-further-academic-degrees.html

¨For the time being I remain of the view that a ’standard’ MA offers no assistance to getting a pupillage unless directed squarely at the area of law in which Chambers specialises. On the other hand, it clearly doesn’t hurt either. And the BCL, Harvard etc are plainly of huge assistance.¨

http://pupillageandhowtogetit.wordpress.com/category/university/further-degrees/

To praphrase Myerson, if applying for the Bar, unless the masters level degree is from Oxford or Harvard, don´t bother.
quote
Churchill
Hi israelrt, what about if you're applying for a training contract?
Hi israelrt, what about if you're applying for a training contract?
quote
pumpkin
George,
I wouldn't be discouraged from doing an LLM if that is what you want to do, as it would never count against you. As your first post indicates-it would be something else to bump your CV up.
As you say, every chambers is different and although one particular QC and several other barristers highly discouraged me from doing one for the purposes of pupillage, instead favoring various work/volunteer activities, that does not mean that your potential training contract employers would take the same view.

I think your best bet would be email some prestigious law firms and ask their opinion (if you havent already.)

And congratulations on the offers you have received! I hope you have received some great ones, and good luck with any further you have pending.

I hope I have been of some help,

Pumpkin.
George,
I wouldn't be discouraged from doing an LLM if that is what you want to do, as it would never count against you. As your first post indicates-it would be something else to bump your CV up.
As you say, every chambers is different and although one particular QC and several other barristers highly discouraged me from doing one for the purposes of pupillage, instead favoring various work/volunteer activities, that does not mean that your potential training contract employers would take the same view.

I think your best bet would be email some prestigious law firms and ask their opinion (if you havent already.)

And congratulations on the offers you have received! I hope you have received some great ones, and good luck with any further you have pending.

I hope I have been of some help,

Pumpkin.
quote
in terms of my personal research, i'd rank the following five universities as the most prestigious law schools in the order in which they appear. my opinion is based in part on the fact that these universities are the most internationally acclaimed (i stress once more, so far as my research indicates).

oxford/cambridge
university college london
the london school of economics
king's college london
queen mary university of london
in terms of my personal research, i'd rank the following five universities as the most prestigious law schools in the order in which they appear. my opinion is based in part on the fact that these universities are the most internationally acclaimed (i stress once more, so far as my research indicates).

oxford/cambridge
university college london
the london school of economics
king's college london
queen mary university of london

quote
Churchill
Thanks Pumpkin, your advice and kind words are appreciated :)
Thanks Pumpkin, your advice and kind words are appreciated :)
quote
Churchill
ellibertador, thanks for your post. Would you say that an LLM in commercial law from UCL/LSE would help a domestic student gain a training contract in the UK, or do you also believe it is practically worthless for domestic students?
ellibertador, thanks for your post. Would you say that an LLM in commercial law from UCL/LSE would help a domestic student gain a training contract in the UK, or do you also believe it is practically worthless for domestic students?
quote
nicel22
George,
I believe you want constructive advice right? Here it is! An LLM is superfluous. You simply CANNOT rely on an LLM to get you a TC. I know this to be a fact. Sorry.
George,
I believe you want constructive advice right? Here it is! An LLM is superfluous. You simply CANNOT rely on an LLM to get you a TC. I know this to be a fact. Sorry.

quote
Churchill
It is/was never my intention to simply "rely" on an LLM to get a training contract. I am not so naive. It would be more relevant for you to comment on whether an LLM can help one stand out from the crowd that little bit more, and get one to the interview stage that little more often. After all, even a first from Oxbridge won't guarantee you a training contract, but what it will guarantee is plenty of interviews, which gives you a great chance of landing a training contract.

Let us consider a scenario. Person A has a 2:1 law degree from Leicester, and a distinction on the LPC from the College of Law. He has 2 years work experience in a law firm and good A-levels.

Person B has a 2:1 degree from Staffordshire University (less well regarded) and also has a distinction on the LPC from Nottingham Law School. He has 2 years work experience in a law firm too, but poor/no A-Levels.

Now, all things being equal, if a law firm was shortlisting applicants for interview for a training contract and could only choose one person out of the two above, in my opinion, the law firm would choose person A. However, the point is, if Person B now had an LLM from say UCL (a prestigious law school) and entered mooting, debating etc competitions to add more to his CV, would it then give Person B more chance of being selected for interview over Person A? I think it possibly could, how about you?
It is/was never my intention to simply "rely" on an LLM to get a training contract. I am not so naive. It would be more relevant for you to comment on whether an LLM can help one stand out from the crowd that little bit more, and get one to the interview stage that little more often. After all, even a first from Oxbridge won't guarantee you a training contract, but what it will guarantee is plenty of interviews, which gives you a great chance of landing a training contract.

Let us consider a scenario. Person A has a 2:1 law degree from Leicester, and a distinction on the LPC from the College of Law. He has 2 years work experience in a law firm and good A-levels.

Person B has a 2:1 degree from Staffordshire University (less well regarded) and also has a distinction on the LPC from Nottingham Law School. He has 2 years work experience in a law firm too, but poor/no A-Levels.

Now, all things being equal, if a law firm was shortlisting applicants for interview for a training contract and could only choose one person out of the two above, in my opinion, the law firm would choose person A. However, the point is, if Person B now had an LLM from say UCL (a prestigious law school) and entered mooting, debating etc competitions to add more to his CV, would it then give Person B more chance of being selected for interview over Person A? I think it possibly could, how about you?
quote
Jim691
***Yawn***
***Yawn***
quote
Churchill
Is there a problem Jim? Or is it just past your bedtime?
Is there a problem Jim? Or is it just past your bedtime?
quote

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