University of Westminster


lanar
Hello everyone,

I am applying to the University of Westminster, International Commercial Law LLM. I have read so many different and opposite opinions on this board about Westminster and would really like to hear some experience from the former students. I know the ranking is not great...does this significantly affect the job prospects in the UK after doing the LLM from Westminster? Why do people say it's bad and that one should not study there? Only because of the rankings? Is there any plausible argument to support this?

Tnx in advance for your help.
Hello everyone,

I am applying to the University of Westminster, International Commercial Law LLM. I have read so many different and opposite opinions on this board about Westminster and would really like to hear some experience from the former students. I know the ranking is not great...does this significantly affect the job prospects in the UK after doing the LLM from Westminster? Why do people say it's bad and that one should not study there? Only because of the rankings? Is there any plausible argument to support this?

Tnx in advance for your help.

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lanar
Anyone???

Common you guys...
Anyone???

Common you guys...
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Hey there,

I am so sorry for the lack of response to your thread. I am a former (I graduated in June) University of Westminster LL.B. student and I am more than happy to give you my opinion.

I know a couple of students who have chosen to continue their studies at Westminster after taking their undergraduate courses at Universities like Berkley. That is because they were interested to work with a specific professor and I must say that all in all, Westminster has a couple of good professors.

I believe that the LL.M. International Commercial Law course leader is Jason Chuah, who is amazing. I took his International Trade Law course at undergraduate level and I loved every minute of it. He is recognised authority in his field and I am sure that, should you decide to take an LL.M. at Westminster, you will enjoyed it thoroughly.

In complete honesty, though, the University rankings do affect Westminster's students employability, particularly if you want to qualify as a lawyer in a city firm. I know very few people among my undergraduate colleagues who managed to obtain a training contract. That is the truth.

Rankings are bad because the selection process is not very thorough to say the least, facilities are not the best ever and it's a new school - as opposed to University of London institutions. Finally, I have studied there myself I can attest that Westminster has its flaws - like any other school. But I come from a country where education is rigorous - Switzerland - and in spite of its bad reputation I am proud of having earned my LL.B there.

Please feel free to ask any other questions.

Salut!
Hey there,

I am so sorry for the lack of response to your thread. I am a former (I graduated in June) University of Westminster LL.B. student and I am more than happy to give you my opinion.

I know a couple of students who have chosen to continue their studies at Westminster after taking their undergraduate courses at Universities like Berkley. That is because they were interested to work with a specific professor and I must say that all in all, Westminster has a couple of good professors.

I believe that the LL.M. International Commercial Law course leader is Jason Chuah, who is amazing. I took his International Trade Law course at undergraduate level and I loved every minute of it. He is recognised authority in his field and I am sure that, should you decide to take an LL.M. at Westminster, you will enjoyed it thoroughly.

In complete honesty, though, the University rankings do affect Westminster's students employability, particularly if you want to qualify as a lawyer in a city firm. I know very few people among my undergraduate colleagues who managed to obtain a training contract. That is the truth.

Rankings are bad because the selection process is not very thorough to say the least, facilities are not the best ever and it's a new school - as opposed to University of London institutions. Finally, I have studied there myself I can attest that Westminster has its flaws - like any other school. But I come from a country where education is rigorous - Switzerland - and in spite of its bad reputation I am proud of having earned my LL.B there.

Please feel free to ask any other questions.

Salut!


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tnuchpiam
Hi Lanar, I am sorry I can't help you decide whether you should go to Westminster. However, your posting has raised a crucial issue, and that is rankings.

When I did my postgraduate studty in the UK, there were no rankings of British universities. I simply joined one of those "plate glass" institutions (today it ranks among the top 20) -- the "new" universities of the 1960s that were certainly not on a par with the like of Manchester or Birmingham (not to mention the elite Oxbridge, UCL or KCL). However, as an international student I was simply proud to have managed to get into a "British" university.

Now looking back, I feel that perhaps because in those days there were no such intrusive hurdles like "rankings", many of the "plate glasses" have impressively succeeded in establishing themselves among the older universities. Today, with rankings (which in my eye serve more as a business tool than a real assessment of academic performance), the still "newer" universities like Westminster are perhaps finding it more difficult to compete with the older ones.

Many of these "newer" universities actually have a very long past -- mostly as technical colleges of some sort. They have thus rightly opted to focus on the practical side of higher education. Therefore, if now their "LLMs" are less marketable than those of the older law schools, they certainly have very good legal practice programmes to offer.
Hi Lanar, I am sorry I can't help you decide whether you should go to Westminster. However, your posting has raised a crucial issue, and that is rankings.

When I did my postgraduate studty in the UK, there were no rankings of British universities. I simply joined one of those "plate glass" institutions (today it ranks among the top 20) -- the "new" universities of the 1960s that were certainly not on a par with the like of Manchester or Birmingham (not to mention the elite Oxbridge, UCL or KCL). However, as an international student I was simply proud to have managed to get into a "British" university.

Now looking back, I feel that perhaps because in those days there were no such intrusive hurdles like "rankings", many of the "plate glasses" have impressively succeeded in establishing themselves among the older universities. Today, with rankings (which in my eye serve more as a business tool than a real assessment of academic performance), the still "newer" universities like Westminster are perhaps finding it more difficult to compete with the older ones.

Many of these "newer" universities actually have a very long past -- mostly as technical colleges of some sort. They have thus rightly opted to focus on the practical side of higher education. Therefore, if now their "LLMs" are less marketable than those of the older law schools, they certainly have very good legal practice programmes to offer.
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lanar
Thanks so much for your insights Julietteharbour and tnuchpiam!

I think Jason Chuah is no longer the course leader and I heard only great things about him. As of this year, it is Simon Newman of who I know nothing about.

My crucial reason for applying to Westminster is their scholarships system beacuse I really can't afford myself studying in London for a year. Especially due to the fact that I will probably have to quit my job for doing the LLM. I am worried because if the job prospects are not good after Westminster and I quit my job for doing the LLM, where does that take me?

@ Julietteharbour: I've heard from some former students that the university accomodation is very bad. You mentioned something about bad facilities - what did you mean by that? According to their website, facilities are world class.

@ tnuchpiam: I totaly agree with you about the rankings issue. It's not fair. I have good grades so I could apply to some fancy London school, but as I already mentioned, money is an issue and there aren't many scholarships for students from my home country. Besides, I am not a snob and I am not obsessed with rankings, but obviously employers take them into account very much, unfortunately.

All in all, both of you made me feel so much more relaxed about Westminster and I thank you for that.
Thanks so much for your insights Julietteharbour and tnuchpiam!

I think Jason Chuah is no longer the course leader and I heard only great things about him. As of this year, it is Simon Newman of who I know nothing about.

My crucial reason for applying to Westminster is their scholarships system beacuse I really can't afford myself studying in London for a year. Especially due to the fact that I will probably have to quit my job for doing the LLM. I am worried because if the job prospects are not good after Westminster and I quit my job for doing the LLM, where does that take me?

@ Julietteharbour: I've heard from some former students that the university accomodation is very bad. You mentioned something about bad facilities - what did you mean by that? According to their website, facilities are world class.

@ tnuchpiam: I totaly agree with you about the rankings issue. It's not fair. I have good grades so I could apply to some fancy London school, but as I already mentioned, money is an issue and there aren't many scholarships for students from my home country. Besides, I am not a snob and I am not obsessed with rankings, but obviously employers take them into account very much, unfortunately.

All in all, both of you made me feel so much more relaxed about Westminster and I thank you for that.
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Dear lanar,

You are very welcome! With regards to the accommodation, during my first year I lived at Wigram House, which is a student halls in Victoria. The kitchen was spacious - even though I shared it with 4 or 5 other people. There were enough bathrooms (we had two or three in our corridor) that were cleaned on a daily basis by Wigram House staff. (The problem of course were the other students that hardly ever washed their dishes, but that's not the University's fault :) I must say that I did have a great time at Wigram and I would recommend living there to anybody. Not to mention how central Victoria is... I used to walk to school through Buckingham Palace and Green Park every day in 25 minutes. Such a treat!!!!!! It was lovely. The sizes of rooms depend on price, I had the medium sized room and it was quite tiny but then again that's the standard in London. Rent is exorbitant and you really don't get much space for what you pay. I remember that there were bigger rooms and those were decently sized but they were slightly more expensive.

What I mean by bad facilities is that the library is not that comprehensive and you will find yourself going to the British Library or LSE library for books all the time. But that is not necessarily a bad thing as it allows you to meet new people and see more of London. I have fond memories of studying at the British Library (excuse me, I sound like a nerd). I think that LL.M. students have a separate building for themselves though. I don't think you study in the same building as LL.B. students. So I am not quite sure how your building is.

Regent Street campus is lovely - it used to be the very first cinema ever projecting a movie, and later on was used as a concert hall where even Jimi Hendrix played :) But that campus is mainly used for language and humanities students, not law. Ianar, I know that you are concerned about employability and you are right to be. But I want to share with you something that I found on Slaughter and May in the section 'what we look for' http://www.slaughterandmay.com/careers/trainee-solicitors/apply/what-we-look-for.aspx which made me feel much much better about the Uni I come from: "We aim to employ the brightest minds regardless of what, or where, they may have studied." Obviously I don't want to tell you go for it because it's entirely your call, but it sounds like you can study in London for a year on a scholarship.... sounds like a great opportunity!!!!! If you employ your time well enough and achieve good grades - really good grades, that is, hopefully finding a job won't be a problem. But then again with this economic crisis things are more difficult for everybody, so...

Cheers!
Dear lanar,

You are very welcome! With regards to the accommodation, during my first year I lived at Wigram House, which is a student halls in Victoria. The kitchen was spacious - even though I shared it with 4 or 5 other people. There were enough bathrooms (we had two or three in our corridor) that were cleaned on a daily basis by Wigram House staff. (The problem of course were the other students that hardly ever washed their dishes, but that's not the University's fault :) I must say that I did have a great time at Wigram and I would recommend living there to anybody. Not to mention how central Victoria is... I used to walk to school through Buckingham Palace and Green Park every day in 25 minutes. Such a treat!!!!!! It was lovely. The sizes of rooms depend on price, I had the medium sized room and it was quite tiny but then again that's the standard in London. Rent is exorbitant and you really don't get much space for what you pay. I remember that there were bigger rooms and those were decently sized but they were slightly more expensive.

What I mean by bad facilities is that the library is not that comprehensive and you will find yourself going to the British Library or LSE library for books all the time. But that is not necessarily a bad thing as it allows you to meet new people and see more of London. I have fond memories of studying at the British Library (excuse me, I sound like a nerd). I think that LL.M. students have a separate building for themselves though. I don't think you study in the same building as LL.B. students. So I am not quite sure how your building is.

Regent Street campus is lovely - it used to be the very first cinema ever projecting a movie, and later on was used as a concert hall where even Jimi Hendrix played :) But that campus is mainly used for language and humanities students, not law. Ianar, I know that you are concerned about employability and you are right to be. But I want to share with you something that I found on Slaughter and May in the section 'what we look for' http://www.slaughterandmay.com/careers/trainee-solicitors/apply/what-we-look-for.aspx which made me feel much much better about the Uni I come from: "We aim to employ the brightest minds regardless of what, or where, they may have studied." Obviously I don't want to tell you go for it because it's entirely your call, but it sounds like you can study in London for a year on a scholarship.... sounds like a great opportunity!!!!! If you employ your time well enough and achieve good grades - really good grades, that is, hopefully finding a job won't be a problem. But then again with this economic crisis things are more difficult for everybody, so...

Cheers!
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Kerfuffle
"We aim to employ the brightest minds regardless of what, or where, they may have studied."

When I spoke to a recruiter from Slaughter and May at a law fair, he had a very definite idea about which universities they did and didn't employ from.
"We aim to employ the brightest minds regardless of what, or where, they may have studied."

When I spoke to a recruiter from Slaughter and May at a law fair, he had a very definite idea about which universities they did and didn't employ from.
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AH! Touchè. Too bad!
AH! Touchè. Too bad!
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legalalien
I fear Kerfuffle is right (in fact, although the Magic Circle firms are becoming slightly less Oxbridge-centric, I'm entirely sure she/he is right). If I were you I'd apply for both Westminster and the "fancy" universities, and if you get into a really good one spend some time working out whether part time work would be an option. For example, some friends of mine have a live in au pair who is receiving free accommodation in return for regular school runs and some babysitting. It seems to work quite well for her (obviously childcare is not for everyone). Actually I'd be quite interested to hear people's views on whether this sort of arrangement would be an attractive prospect -(particularly if the family involved were both city lawyers in international law firms).
I fear Kerfuffle is right (in fact, although the Magic Circle firms are becoming slightly less Oxbridge-centric, I'm entirely sure she/he is right). If I were you I'd apply for both Westminster and the "fancy" universities, and if you get into a really good one spend some time working out whether part time work would be an option. For example, some friends of mine have a live in au pair who is receiving free accommodation in return for regular school runs and some babysitting. It seems to work quite well for her (obviously childcare is not for everyone). Actually I'd be quite interested to hear people's views on whether this sort of arrangement would be an attractive prospect -(particularly if the family involved were both city lawyers in international law firms).
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I think that it is a brilliant idea!
I think that it is a brilliant idea!
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lanar
That really sounds like a good idea! It didn' occur to me earlier.

What I was worried about Westminster are some posts from former students who found the professors "neurotic" and not interested in students at all. Supposedly, they only yell at students in classes and they are not satisfied with their jobs. Thus, their lack of entusiasm for the students and the classes they teach. I hope this is not true.

Julietteharbour, I find your enthusiasm for Westminster very appealing, it really sounds much nicer than I thought.

I am aware that leaving your job to do an LLM is very risky even if you do it at an Ivy League school, especially now in the midst of the crisis. Nothing is for sure in life and I am willing to take that risk.
That really sounds like a good idea! It didn' occur to me earlier.

What I was worried about Westminster are some posts from former students who found the professors "neurotic" and not interested in students at all. Supposedly, they only yell at students in classes and they are not satisfied with their jobs. Thus, their lack of entusiasm for the students and the classes they teach. I hope this is not true.

Julietteharbour, I find your enthusiasm for Westminster very appealing, it really sounds much nicer than I thought.

I am aware that leaving your job to do an LLM is very risky even if you do it at an Ivy League school, especially now in the midst of the crisis. Nothing is for sure in life and I am willing to take that risk.
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Woooah yelling! I have personally never been yelled at by a Wmin's professor even though frankly, if I had to deal with such thick and uninterested students, I probably would yell myself. Sometimes I think that professors at Wmin are in fact too nice to some of the people who claim to be 'studying' law. As I said the selection process is relaxed to say the least. Pretty much anyone gets in, at undergraduate level. Sad but true. This is why most of the employers don't even want to meet us, I can't blame them. But if you really put your effort into it you'll be fine. I know two Wmin graduates who are currently working for Allen & Overy. Yes, they were outstanding. But everybody is, at Allen & Overy. All this is undergraduate level. Supposedly, at LL.M. level the people are much different, they are there for a reason and they are truly interested in their subjects of study. Ianar I really admire you for your courage - not to go to Wmin (it is really not that bad!) but to make a change in your life in a time when it's so risky.
Woooah yelling! I have personally never been yelled at by a Wmin's professor even though frankly, if I had to deal with such thick and uninterested students, I probably would yell myself. Sometimes I think that professors at Wmin are in fact too nice to some of the people who claim to be 'studying' law. As I said the selection process is relaxed to say the least. Pretty much anyone gets in, at undergraduate level. Sad but true. This is why most of the employers don't even want to meet us, I can't blame them. But if you really put your effort into it you'll be fine. I know two Wmin graduates who are currently working for Allen & Overy. Yes, they were outstanding. But everybody is, at Allen & Overy. All this is undergraduate level. Supposedly, at LL.M. level the people are much different, they are there for a reason and they are truly interested in their subjects of study. Ianar I really admire you for your courage - not to go to Wmin (it is really not that bad!) but to make a change in your life in a time when it's so risky.
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lanar
I really hope that people are more into their studies at postgraduate level than undergraduates. I don't want to be a part of the atmosphere where nobody is interested in the classes, this is not inspiring at all. If I wanted that, I would stay in my home country where the situation is pretty much the same.

Wow, you're making me blush. I am not so brave, I'm pretty afraid of it all, actually. I am not sure yet where I will go for the LLM, but now when I sent all my applications, I have time to do more research on the universities and their quality so I can decide easier once the time comes.

Julietteharbour, what kind of a job are you doing now? Are you back in Switzerland?
I really hope that people are more into their studies at postgraduate level than undergraduates. I don't want to be a part of the atmosphere where nobody is interested in the classes, this is not inspiring at all. If I wanted that, I would stay in my home country where the situation is pretty much the same.

Wow, you're making me blush. I am not so brave, I'm pretty afraid of it all, actually. I am not sure yet where I will go for the LLM, but now when I sent all my applications, I have time to do more research on the universities and their quality so I can decide easier once the time comes.

Julietteharbour, what kind of a job are you doing now? Are you back in Switzerland?
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I graduated in June and now I am in China where I am learning Mandarin and working as a language teacher on the side. At present I am applying for LLMs and training contracts, fingers crossed! Best of luck to you again!

J
I graduated in June and now I am in China where I am learning Mandarin and working as a language teacher on the side. At present I am applying for LLMs and training contracts, fingers crossed! Best of luck to you again!

J
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lanar
Thanks, to you too!
Thanks, to you too!
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winter6
hi larnar
I was also a student at Westminster. I would say the University has both good and bad points.. Lets Just say I was glad when my degree was over and done with! I actually had Simon Newman for intellectual property law in my final year. I dont want to put you off but I have to say I didnt enjoy his style of teaching. Each to their own, but writing notes in lectures wasnear impossible due to the speed of the lectures! I hope this helps
hi larnar
I was also a student at Westminster. I would say the University has both good and bad points.. Lets Just say I was glad when my degree was over and done with! I actually had Simon Newman for intellectual property law in my final year. I dont want to put you off but I have to say I didnt enjoy his style of teaching. Each to their own, but writing notes in lectures wasnear impossible due to the speed of the lectures! I hope this helps
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lanar
Thanks winter6 for your help!

Westminster is lower and lower on my personal list right now. I think I will consider it if I don' t make it anywhere else.
Thanks winter6 for your help!

Westminster is lower and lower on my personal list right now. I think I will consider it if I don' t make it anywhere else.
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