Oxford BCL and Cambridge LLM Applicants 2009


QSWE

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QSWE

And, once again, I am thankful to everyone for the help and for your precious time.

And, once again, I am thankful to everyone for the help and for your precious time.

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AlvinSee

Reflecting similar sentiments with Jagmehn, I express my utmost gratitude to all of you, senior BCLers who have offered such invaluable insights which we couldn't possibly expect more. They have made me rethink my future approaches to the BCL, in particular in relation to subject selections. THank you :)

Reflecting similar sentiments with Jagmehn, I express my utmost gratitude to all of you, senior BCLers who have offered such invaluable insights which we couldn't possibly expect more. They have made me rethink my future approaches to the BCL, in particular in relation to subject selections. THank you :)
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OffIGo

Sigh - did I just see a straight up shoot down Virgo and Cambridge on the resto issue? I had hoped the sterotypical Oxford shut down on anyone else having anything to say about resto was all a rumour. Difference of opinions do not equate to 'wrong'. 'Wrong' is a fabricated contumely.

I'll second the LawyerfromUSA comment. From an overseas perspective Oxford and Cambridge are on-par. The Cambridge course strikes me as a much more commercially minded course. The Oxford course has more public law and philosophy of law options. Both are great.

Sigh - did I just see a straight up shoot down Virgo and Cambridge on the resto issue? I had hoped the sterotypical Oxford shut down on anyone else having anything to say about resto was all a rumour. Difference of opinions do not equate to 'wrong'. 'Wrong' is a fabricated contumely.

I'll second the LawyerfromUSA comment. From an overseas perspective Oxford and Cambridge are on-par. The Cambridge course strikes me as a much more commercially minded course. The Oxford course has more public law and philosophy of law options. Both are great.
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NYU 2L

I was hoping to find this same thread but for 2010. But maybe those of you who have been accepted to one of these programs already can be of even greater help. I'm wondering if those more knowledgeable than I can assess my chances of getting accepted to Oxford's BCL or Cambridge's LLM program. Frankly, I have no sense of the sort of competition that I face, and I'm not sure if applying would be worth the trouble.

I'm graduating in 2010 from one of the top five law schools in the US with a 3.5 GPA (lower end of top quartile of the class). I'm on Law Review. During my two summer vacations I've worked at two different major American law firms, one of which is ranked in the top 10 on Vault.

Before law school I worked in management consulting, served in the military, and before that I graduated first in my class from a large state university.

I have no idea what the profile of the entering class at Oxford or Cambridge looks like. I don't know any Americans planning to apply. However, I'm studying at Oxford next semester as part of an exchange program, and I'm interested in moving permanently to the UK (I'm Irish and I'd like to return). I think the BCL or LLM would provide an excellent transition, not to mention allowing me to sit out a year of the global recession.

I would greatly appreciate a bit of the wisdom of the masses, if any of you would be so kind as to educate me.

I was hoping to find this same thread but for 2010. But maybe those of you who have been accepted to one of these programs already can be of even greater help. I'm wondering if those more knowledgeable than I can assess my chances of getting accepted to Oxford's BCL or Cambridge's LLM program. Frankly, I have no sense of the sort of competition that I face, and I'm not sure if applying would be worth the trouble.

I'm graduating in 2010 from one of the top five law schools in the US with a 3.5 GPA (lower end of top quartile of the class). I'm on Law Review. During my two summer vacations I've worked at two different major American law firms, one of which is ranked in the top 10 on Vault.

Before law school I worked in management consulting, served in the military, and before that I graduated first in my class from a large state university.

I have no idea what the profile of the entering class at Oxford or Cambridge looks like. I don't know any Americans planning to apply. However, I'm studying at Oxford next semester as part of an exchange program, and I'm interested in moving permanently to the UK (I'm Irish and I'd like to return). I think the BCL or LLM would provide an excellent transition, not to mention allowing me to sit out a year of the global recession.

I would greatly appreciate a bit of the wisdom of the masses, if any of you would be so kind as to educate me.
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AlvinSee

Actually I think Virgo is a nice person. He even commented on a written piece of mine which I've sent to him randomly.

NYU 2L, is a 3.5 equivalent to a 1st Class? (summa cum laude?).

Actually I think Virgo is a nice person. He even commented on a written piece of mine which I've sent to him randomly.

NYU 2L, is a 3.5 equivalent to a 1st Class? (summa cum laude?).
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AlvinSee

@Public BCL: "Take home exams"? You sure are not suggesting that the BCL is more prestigious than the Harvard LLM? I can understand Cambridge, and even Yale, but Harvard? Do they really do take home exams?

@Alvin: Hey Alvin. Goodluck in your professional qualification exams. I perfectly understand you because i had undergone a similar situation 2006/2007 when i took my Bar qualification exams at the Nigerian Law School. A legion of statutory authorities, and hordes of case law to not only remember but also apply appropriately. It was like a purification of my academic soul. And, like you have if there, you also have to pass this exam before you qualify as a lawyer in Nigeria.

Best of luck, and just aside, i am yet to hear from a college, and this is driving me loco.


Awojc, nearly forgot, many thanks! I'll be bringing those luck you gave me into the exam hall :)

<blockquote>@Public BCL: "Take home exams"? You sure are not suggesting that the BCL is more prestigious than the Harvard LLM? I can understand Cambridge, and even Yale, but Harvard? Do they really do take home exams?

@Alvin: Hey Alvin. Goodluck in your professional qualification exams. I perfectly understand you because i had undergone a similar situation 2006/2007 when i took my Bar qualification exams at the Nigerian Law School. A legion of statutory authorities, and hordes of case law to not only remember but also apply appropriately. It was like a purification of my academic soul. And, like you have if there, you also have to pass this exam before you qualify as a lawyer in Nigeria.

Best of luck, and just aside, i am yet to hear from a college, and this is driving me loco.</blockquote>

Awojc, nearly forgot, many thanks! I'll be bringing those luck you gave me into the exam hall :)
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Awojc

Guys, thanks for all the posts, particularly from the "BCL Old Boys". May i ask about this course i saw in my offer letter - Commercial Remedies. I suppose it is new, but can one harzard a guess as to what it may look like or contain - from the standpoint of the contents of similar courses. Although, i don't know much about it yet, i am rooting for it because i plan to be in transactional corporate practise.

Guys, thanks for all the posts, particularly from the "BCL Old Boys". May i ask about this course i saw in my offer letter - Commercial Remedies. I suppose it is new, but can one harzard a guess as to what it may look like or contain - from the standpoint of the contents of similar courses. Although, i don't know much about it yet, i am rooting for it because i plan to be in transactional corporate practise.
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Awojc

Further to my post above, i intend to take the following combinations - unless i am persuaded by better reason to change course - in the BCL.
1. Commercial Remedies (if offered) - this is non-negotiable.
2. Corporate Finance Law
3. Corporate Insolvency
4. Corporate and Business Taxation/or Transnational Commercial Law.
BCL Old Boys could you please advise on this combination, particularly regarding the volume of work required, and the efficacy of the combination. As i commented above, i am into corporate and commercial practise, but a distinction would also not be a bad idea, and i would/may alter the set up to reduce the workload, if necessary.

Thanks all.

Further to my post above, i intend to take the following combinations - unless i am persuaded by better reason to change course - in the BCL.
1. Commercial Remedies (if offered) - this is non-negotiable.
2. Corporate Finance Law
3. Corporate Insolvency
4. Corporate and Business Taxation/or Transnational Commercial Law.
BCL Old Boys could you please advise on this combination, particularly regarding the volume of work required, and the efficacy of the combination. As i commented above, i am into corporate and commercial practise, but a distinction would also not be a bad idea, and i would/may alter the set up to reduce the workload, if necessary.

Thanks all.
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PublicBCL

2 and a half comments.

(1) On the "research" question. Every BCL subject involves huge amounts of material, usually addressed in a very critical way. The BCL is not a course where you just roll up and get taught that "the law of x is y". Any JD/LLM degree will do that. At Ox, you are expected to teach yourself that stuff through readings (and the occasional lecture).
The BCL is aimed, rather, at high level critical analysis. This will be useful in practice (especially for those at the Bar) but it also lends itself very well to those wanting to make a career in academia/research (ie any subject does).

(2) On subject choice. During your orientation fortnight you will have the opportunity to listen to 'taster lectures' - like trailers for a film. You should not reach any solid conclusions about what subjects you are "definitely" going to do, or what subjects are "non-negotiable", until you are on the ground in Oxford and have heard those taster lectures. Also realise that doing a subject in the 1st year it has run has inherent risks.

(2.5) You may wish to do a subject that will interest you even if it is not of use to your future career (Jurisprudence or Phil/Founds for example).

2 and a half comments.

(1) On the "research" question. Every BCL subject involves huge amounts of material, usually addressed in a very critical way. The BCL is not a course where you just roll up and get taught that "the law of x is y". Any JD/LLM degree will do that. At Ox, you are expected to teach yourself that stuff through readings (and the occasional lecture).
The BCL is aimed, rather, at high level critical analysis. This will be useful in practice (especially for those at the Bar) but it also lends itself very well to those wanting to make a career in academia/research (ie any subject does).

(2) On subject choice. During your orientation fortnight you will have the opportunity to listen to 'taster lectures' - like trailers for a film. You should not reach any solid conclusions about what subjects you are "definitely" going to do, or what subjects are "non-negotiable", until you are on the ground in Oxford and have heard those taster lectures. Also realise that doing a subject in the 1st year it has run has inherent risks.

(2.5) You may wish to do a subject that will interest you even if it is not of use to your future career (Jurisprudence or Phil/Founds for example).
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QSWE

Thanx PublicBCL for your views. At last, you have adressed what I wanted to know.

Thanx PublicBCL for your views. At last, you have adressed what I wanted to know.

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cognos

I would greatly appreciate a bit of the wisdom of the masses, if any of you would be so kind as to educate me.


I think you have an excellent chance, but you shouldn't take admission for granted. With excellent letters of recommendation and a well-crafted application I would rate your chances highly.

NYU has a good name at Oxbridge, and I am sure a letter from the Intl. law types (Weiler would be optimal) would go a very long way.

The conventional wisdom is that Oxford is slightly more selective than Cambridge, as first class honours are a precondition for the B.C.L. Technically, I don't think a 3.5 is the equivalent of a First (rather it is a high 2:1) but I would be surprised if they use this cutoff for top-tier American JDs.

You have a long road ahead of you if you are heading towards English legal practice, the recession will likely be over by the time you qualify. Were you cold-offered by your 2L firm?

<blockquote>I would greatly appreciate a bit of the wisdom of the masses, if any of you would be so kind as to educate me.</blockquote>

I think you have an excellent chance, but you shouldn't take admission for granted. With excellent letters of recommendation and a well-crafted application I would rate your chances highly.

NYU has a good name at Oxbridge, and I am sure a letter from the Intl. law types (Weiler would be optimal) would go a very long way.

The conventional wisdom is that Oxford is slightly more selective than Cambridge, as first class honours are a precondition for the B.C.L. Technically, I don't think a 3.5 is the equivalent of a First (rather it is a high 2:1) but I would be surprised if they use this cutoff for top-tier American JDs.

You have a long road ahead of you if you are heading towards English legal practice, the recession will likely be over by the time you qualify. Were you cold-offered by your 2L firm?
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cognos

NYU 2L, is a 3.5 equivalent to a 1st Class? (summa cum laude?).


Magna cum laude on a JD course (top 10%) is the analogue to a 1st, I believe.

One can't determine the GPA equivalent of a 1st without knowing more about the school's grading curve -- a 3.5 on a C+ curve would qualify, on a B+ curve would not.

<blockquote>NYU 2L, is a 3.5 equivalent to a 1st Class? (summa cum laude?).</blockquote>

Magna cum laude on a JD course (top 10%) is the analogue to a 1st, I believe.

One can't determine the GPA equivalent of a 1st without knowing more about the school's grading curve -- a 3.5 on a C+ curve would qualify, on a B+ curve would not.
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NYU 2L

Thanks for the responses, folks.

cognos, a 3.5 is not the equivalent of summa cum laude. It puts me in the top 25% of the class, or thereabouts. It sounds like BCL admission depends a great deal on grades. Does law review membership do anything for me, is or does that lose currency across the Atlantic?

Also - no, I wasn't cold-offered by my summer firm. I'm still working there now, but no one has any idea how many offer's they'll be giving out. And I'm actually a 3L - my moniker is old, haha.

Sounds like stiff competition! Thanks again!

Thanks for the responses, folks.

cognos, a 3.5 is not the equivalent of summa cum laude. It puts me in the top 25% of the class, or thereabouts. It sounds like BCL admission depends a great deal on grades. Does law review membership do anything for me, is or does that lose currency across the Atlantic?

Also - no, I wasn't cold-offered by my summer firm. I'm still working there now, but no one has any idea how many offer's they'll be giving out. And I'm actually a 3L - my moniker is old, haha.

Sounds like stiff competition! Thanks again!


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AlvinSee

NYU 2L, law review membership sounds goodt, and I suppose publications would help greatly. Most importantly, put in a CV which shows great enthusiasm - that would clinch you the offer :)

NYU 2L, law review membership sounds goodt, and I suppose publications would help greatly. Most importantly, put in a CV which shows great enthusiasm - that would clinch you the offer :)
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QSWE

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Jim691

To those of you who have studied the BCL,

How many of you took the dissertation option? Is it common to do so? And do you think it is worth taking Restitution, even if you are not going to practise or teach it, because of its excellent reputation? I personally want to become a public-law barrister, but am toying with the idea of doing Restitution, since it seems to be synonymous with the BCL.

Thanks,

J

To those of you who have studied the BCL,

How many of you took the dissertation option? Is it common to do so? And do you think it is worth taking Restitution, even if you are not going to practise or teach it, because of its excellent reputation? I personally want to become a public-law barrister, but am toying with the idea of doing Restitution, since it seems to be synonymous with the BCL.

Thanks,

J


quote

The BCL is not a course where you just roll up and get taught that "the law of x is y". Any JD/LLM degree will do that. At Ox, you are expected to teach yourself that stuff through readings (and the occasional lecture).
The BCL is aimed, rather, at high level critical analysis. This will be useful in practice (especially for those at the Bar) but it also lends itself very well to those wanting to make a career in academia/research (ie any subject does).


A couple of comments from an American in response to the quote above:

Although I have not completed the BCL, I do have a JD. Admitedly, JD programs are designed to prepare American lawyers to practice law rather than to prepare such lawyers for academia. However, it is an exaggeration to state that such programs simply teach black-letter law. In fact, several programs are theoretical (e.g., Yale, University of Chicago). Some of these theoretical programs, however, do not necessarily translate well to practice.

Critical thinking skills are essential to the private practice of law. However, clients pay for results, and I have noticed over years of practice that graduates of theoretical law programs sometimes have greater difficulty coming to concrete conclusions in a timely and cost-effective manner. Law in America has transitioned from a profession to a business, and efficiency is valued far more than deeper thinking. I have performed legal work for some of the largest corporations in the world, and even those corporations are looking at the bottom-line more so than ever before. Not necessarily a good development, but it is reality.

<blockquote>The BCL is not a course where you just roll up and get taught that "the law of x is y". Any JD/LLM degree will do that. At Ox, you are expected to teach yourself that stuff through readings (and the occasional lecture).
The BCL is aimed, rather, at high level critical analysis. This will be useful in practice (especially for those at the Bar) but it also lends itself very well to those wanting to make a career in academia/research (ie any subject does). </blockquote>

A couple of comments from an American in response to the quote above:

Although I have not completed the BCL, I do have a JD. Admitedly, JD programs are designed to prepare American lawyers to practice law rather than to prepare such lawyers for academia. However, it is an exaggeration to state that such programs simply teach black-letter law. In fact, several programs are theoretical (e.g., Yale, University of Chicago). Some of these theoretical programs, however, do not necessarily translate well to practice.

Critical thinking skills are essential to the private practice of law. However, clients pay for results, and I have noticed over years of practice that graduates of theoretical law programs sometimes have greater difficulty coming to concrete conclusions in a timely and cost-effective manner. Law in America has transitioned from a profession to a business, and efficiency is valued far more than deeper thinking. I have performed legal work for some of the largest corporations in the world, and even those corporations are looking at the bottom-line more so than ever before. Not necessarily a good development, but it is reality.
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starstar

Jim691 - I am in a similar position to you. I would like to practice as a public law barrister but I am reluctant to concentrate my BCL subject choice solely in this area, especially given the reputation the course has for private law and in particular Restitution etc.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Jim691 - I am in a similar position to you. I would like to practice as a public law barrister but I am reluctant to concentrate my BCL subject choice solely in this area, especially given the reputation the course has for private law and in particular Restitution etc.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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PublicBCL


Law in America has transitioned from a profession to a business, and efficiency is valued far more than deeper thinking. I have performed legal work for some of the largest corporations in the world, and even those corporations are looking at the bottom-line more so than ever before. Not necessarily a good development, but it is reality.


Thanks LawyerinUSA. I've worked as well and I know that law is a business for commercial law firms. The point of my original post was to emphasise that the BCL will set you up for work at the English [or Commonwealth] Bar or as an academic, but that is not to imply it won't make you a better commercial attorney too.

I understand your point re the dangers of 'theoretical' programs, but I make 2 points in response. First, Yale is ranked 1 and UChicago 6 in the US News rankings, so they ain't doing too badly for themselves! Second, my point was that the BCL requires that you know lots of black letter law, but then goes on to ask much more of you than merely 'is the law of x y'.

As to the people asking about subject choice:
-restitution is supposed to be a brilliant entertaining very tough subject but I did not do it. It is certainly quite common to combine some public and some private, or some private and some philosophical, etc, subjects on the BCL. Restitution seems like an ideal one to pick if you had to choose one of the private subjects.
-some people do the dissertation. Very unclear whether this is a wise tactical choice. Up to your personal priorities.

<blockquote>
Law in America has transitioned from a profession to a business, and efficiency is valued far more than deeper thinking. I have performed legal work for some of the largest corporations in the world, and even those corporations are looking at the bottom-line more so than ever before. Not necessarily a good development, but it is reality.</blockquote>

Thanks LawyerinUSA. I've worked as well and I know that law is a business for commercial law firms. The point of my original post was to emphasise that the BCL will set you up for work at the English [or Commonwealth] Bar or as an academic, but that is not to imply it won't make you a better commercial attorney too.

I understand your point re the dangers of 'theoretical' programs, but I make 2 points in response. First, Yale is ranked 1 and UChicago 6 in the US News rankings, so they ain't doing too badly for themselves! Second, my point was that the BCL requires that you know lots of black letter law, but then goes on to ask much more of you than merely 'is the law of x y'.

As to the people asking about subject choice:
-restitution is supposed to be a brilliant entertaining very tough subject but I did not do it. It is certainly quite common to combine some public and some private, or some private and some philosophical, etc, subjects on the BCL. Restitution seems like an ideal one to pick if you had to choose one of the private subjects.
-some people do the dissertation. Very unclear whether this is a wise tactical choice. Up to your personal priorities.
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