what it takes for admission


Hi, my post is similar to Nate's. I see that to obtain a place at Kings or UCL for arbitration LLMs, at least a 2nd class honours degree in law is the minimum reqt. I have 2 degrees from one of the top universities in my country. For the non-law degree I was accepted to the honours course but didn't complete it because I went to law school instead. I got a decent law degree but not an honours one. I had a judicial clerkship in a superior court, broad legal experience and I have worked for an international commission in the field of international arbitration. I am published. Is it realistic to assume I will obtain a place or will my lack of an honours law degree hold me back?

Hi, my post is similar to Nate's. I see that to obtain a place at Kings or UCL for arbitration LLMs, at least a 2nd class honours degree in law is the minimum reqt. I have 2 degrees from one of the top universities in my country. For the non-law degree I was accepted to the honours course but didn't complete it because I went to law school instead. I got a decent law degree but not an honours one. I had a judicial clerkship in a superior court, broad legal experience and I have worked for an international commission in the field of international arbitration. I am published. Is it realistic to assume I will obtain a place or will my lack of an honours law degree hold me back?
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equity's d...

I hate to sound like a broken record, but, as myself and others have indicated on this board countless times, it is your class rank in the LLB/JD that is the most important academic factor in your application. Other things help, to be sure, such as being published, clerking, having a first class BA, publications, outstanding references etc... But, in my view, all those are secondary: if you graduate well inside the top ten percent of your law class, then likely you're in anywhere; conversely, if you're not in the top 25 percent or so, well, I'm not sure that these other assets can bridge the admissions gap, so to speak, at least for a school like UCL. Top 25 and those assets and you have a good shot; ranked below 50 and nothing will help...
What's your rank?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but, as myself and others have indicated on this board countless times, it is your class rank in the LLB/JD that is the most important academic factor in your application. Other things help, to be sure, such as being published, clerking, having a first class BA, publications, outstanding references etc... But, in my view, all those are secondary: if you graduate well inside the top ten percent of your law class, then likely you're in anywhere; conversely, if you're not in the top 25 percent or so, well, I'm not sure that these other assets can bridge the admissions gap, so to speak, at least for a school like UCL. Top 25 and those assets and you have a good shot; ranked below 50 and nothing will help...
What's your rank?
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nate

i can only speak from my own experience, but i'm not quite certain that ranking is all that is considered. personally i'm coming from a US JD program ranked in the "top 20" (according to usnews rankings) and i was told by admissions persons at different UK schools that i would have no problem gaining admission to LSE, UCL or KCL, despite my "medianish" (somewhere between top 50% and top 33%) class ranking. as for oxbridge, i personally have no idea (though i do know i'm not getting in).

but i do think it's pretty clear that more than one's ranking is going to come in to effect. for example, would someone from a top 6 law school who ranked below the top 25% of the class be passed over for someone from a fourth tier law school who finished in the top 25%? probably not. in fact, it would be hard to imagine that ever happening. and i think that just means that ranking, like everything else, is just one more factor that admissions will consider. of course it is probably THE most important thing that admissions will consider (in fact i'd wager on that), but other factors can probably make up for it.

i can only speak from my own experience, but i'm not quite certain that ranking is all that is considered. personally i'm coming from a US JD program ranked in the "top 20" (according to usnews rankings) and i was told by admissions persons at different UK schools that i would have no problem gaining admission to LSE, UCL or KCL, despite my "medianish" (somewhere between top 50% and top 33%) class ranking. as for oxbridge, i personally have no idea (though i do know i'm not getting in).

but i do think it's pretty clear that more than one's ranking is going to come in to effect. for example, would someone from a top 6 law school who ranked below the top 25% of the class be passed over for someone from a fourth tier law school who finished in the top 25%? probably not. in fact, it would be hard to imagine that ever happening. and i think that just means that ranking, like everything else, is just one more factor that admissions will consider. of course it is probably THE most important thing that admissions will consider (in fact i'd wager on that), but other factors can probably make up for it.
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Just to let you know that I have been admitted both to KCL and UCL for their international arbitration programmes without being in the top 10% of my uni, only with a postgraduate diploma with honors, relevant job experience and well-know referees.

P.S; : I haven't made my choice between the 2 unis: do you have any interesting feedback to help me in my decision process?

Thanks,

Just to let you know that I have been admitted both to KCL and UCL for their international arbitration programmes without being in the top 10% of my uni, only with a postgraduate diploma with honors, relevant job experience and well-know referees.

P.S; : I haven't made my choice between the 2 unis: do you have any interesting feedback to help me in my decision process?

Thanks,
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dralanrile...

I think there is a danger of over-worrying about this. If you have a substantial CV with real evidence of achievement then most admission tutors in most good law schools will look at you for a LLM. So don't despair if your initial score is median.

I had one LLM student who had got only a high 2:2 but had subsequently pleaded in his home supreme court and had written a number of academic publications. I offered him a place as he had clearly proved his academic credentials. No Law School should be turning such applicants away.

Dr. Alan Riley
Director LLM Programme
City Law School
City University
London
Electronic Mail: alan.riley.1@city.ac.uk

I think there is a danger of over-worrying about this. If you have a substantial CV with real evidence of achievement then most admission tutors in most good law schools will look at you for a LLM. So don't despair if your initial score is median.

I had one LLM student who had got only a high 2:2 but had subsequently pleaded in his home supreme court and had written a number of academic publications. I offered him a place as he had clearly proved his academic credentials. No Law School should be turning such applicants away.

Dr. Alan Riley
Director LLM Programme
City Law School
City University
London
Electronic Mail: alan.riley.1@city.ac.uk
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equity's d...

I agree with the point above, i.e. that the tier of school one graduates from is also important. And, as indicated in my initial post, I still maintain that your class rank is by far the most important factor for securing admission to tier one schools. But, as others have observed, it is but one factor to be taken in conjunction with others.
Interestingly, all this discussion about calss rank in someways paralells the discussions about school ranking, in the sense that these stats seem to mean a great deal, nut, unfortunately, are terribly superficial and don't necessarily get to the bottom of what makes a good law school or a strong legal candidate.
I have accpeted admission to the Cambridge LLM and still have serious doubts about whether it is worth it. As a Canadian, It's cost me somewhere in the neighbourhood of 60K CDN for the LLM. I could go to University of Toronto here for 10K CDN. So, is Cambridge 600% better than UofT? Of coyurse not. Will it open 600% as many doors? Doubt it. Will I go to Cambridge notwithstanding? Yes.

I agree with the point above, i.e. that the tier of school one graduates from is also important. And, as indicated in my initial post, I still maintain that your class rank is by far the most important factor for securing admission to tier one schools. But, as others have observed, it is but one factor to be taken in conjunction with others.
Interestingly, all this discussion about calss rank in someways paralells the discussions about school ranking, in the sense that these stats seem to mean a great deal, nut, unfortunately, are terribly superficial and don't necessarily get to the bottom of what makes a good law school or a strong legal candidate.
I have accpeted admission to the Cambridge LLM and still have serious doubts about whether it is worth it. As a Canadian, It's cost me somewhere in the neighbourhood of 60K CDN for the LLM. I could go to University of Toronto here for 10K CDN. So, is Cambridge 600% better than UofT? Of coyurse not. Will it open 600% as many doors? Doubt it. Will I go to Cambridge notwithstanding? Yes.
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nate

first, ED, i would be doing the same thing that you are. i would never pass up on cambridge to attend UofT.

that being said, maybe you shouldn't think of it in 6/1 terms, but instead think mostly about the $50K opportunity cost. cambridge won't open up 6 times as many doors, nor is it 6 times better than UofT, but the extra $50K that you pay will certainly be made up elsewhere, be it in actual money or even "soft factors", such as the enjoyment and/or fulfillment that you receive from future employment.

either way it is, without a doubt, the right choice.

first, ED, i would be doing the same thing that you are. i would never pass up on cambridge to attend UofT.

that being said, maybe you shouldn't think of it in 6/1 terms, but instead think mostly about the $50K opportunity cost. cambridge won't open up 6 times as many doors, nor is it 6 times better than UofT, but the extra $50K that you pay will certainly be made up elsewhere, be it in actual money or even "soft factors", such as the enjoyment and/or fulfillment that you receive from future employment.

either way it is, without a doubt, the right choice.
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Many thanks to all of you for your feedback. I am grateful. I contacted my law school and was told that the school does not determine class rankings except for those who complete Honours. The school is willing to provide me a letter confirming this. I have well known referees in the field of international arbitration too, so I will press ahead.

Many thanks to all of you for your feedback. I am grateful. I contacted my law school and was told that the school does not determine class rankings except for those who complete Honours. The school is willing to provide me a letter confirming this. I have well known referees in the field of international arbitration too, so I will press ahead.
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benny

Nate,
I think I mentioned before that I was accepted to the LSE as well as Cambridge. I have no idea if this is actually true information but I want to pass it on to you anyway. After being accepted to the LSE I was super excited and started doing research on the school. A few of my professors (I went to law school in NY), and other people I respect told me that they heard the LSE was losing the reputation it once had. One professor said "it is turning into a finishing school for Americans who can afford it". As I mentioned before, I really don't know if that's true but I felt you should know.

Nate,
I think I mentioned before that I was accepted to the LSE as well as Cambridge. I have no idea if this is actually true information but I want to pass it on to you anyway. After being accepted to the LSE I was super excited and started doing research on the school. A few of my professors (I went to law school in NY), and other people I respect told me that they heard the LSE was losing the reputation it once had. One professor said "it is turning into a finishing school for Americans who can afford it". As I mentioned before, I really don't know if that's true but I felt you should know.

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nate

thanks for the info, benny. i have myself heard similar things about LSE. so, if i was to get in to cambridge or oxford (which i most certainly won't), i would choose that over LSE any day. that being said, even if LSE's reputation is sinking, is there another foreign school (aside from O and C) that carries a better reputation within the US? do you think it justifies going to UCL or KCL, which are much lesser known around the US? i'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

by the way, i hope that all goes well for you at cambridge!

thanks for the info, benny. i have myself heard similar things about LSE. so, if i was to get in to cambridge or oxford (which i most certainly won't), i would choose that over LSE any day. that being said, even if LSE's reputation is sinking, is there another foreign school (aside from O and C) that carries a better reputation within the US? do you think it justifies going to UCL or KCL, which are much lesser known around the US? i'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

by the way, i hope that all goes well for you at cambridge!
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benny

Nate- I really don't know much about UCL or KCL....sorry.
Good Luck.

Nate- I really don't know much about UCL or KCL....sorry.
Good Luck.
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nate

no worries. just out of curiosity, though, would you have gone to LSE had you not gotten in to cambridge?

no worries. just out of curiosity, though, would you have gone to LSE had you not gotten in to cambridge?
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benny

Good question! I still think of the LSE as a good school with very interesting classes. However, it is really expensive! I also got into a number of Canadian LLM programs (including U of T which is a top ranked school) so i'm really not sure what I would have done.

What school are you at? What are your career goals?

Good question! I still think of the LSE as a good school with very interesting classes. However, it is really expensive! I also got into a number of Canadian LLM programs (including U of T which is a top ranked school) so i'm really not sure what I would have done.

What school are you at? What are your career goals?
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equity's d...

thaks for the perspective, nate. I agree that the way you propose is probably a better lens through which to view what I may gain (and lose--$$$) by going to Cambridge.
This decision, like most serious ones in life, is perhaps best answered by asking the following:

'Will I regret not doing this when i'm on my deathbed?
I cannot imagine regretting taking cambridge over U of T, but I most certainly can imagine regretting the converse.

thaks for the perspective, nate. I agree that the way you propose is probably a better lens through which to view what I may gain (and lose--$$$) by going to Cambridge.
This decision, like most serious ones in life, is perhaps best answered by asking the following:

'Will I regret not doing this when i'm on my deathbed?
I cannot imagine regretting taking cambridge over U of T, but I most certainly can imagine regretting the converse.
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nate

"What school are you at? What are your career goals?"

my ultimate goal is to end up in legal academia. but coming from the school i do, and given my ranking within that school, it's not very likely. in fact it's near impossible; at the very least it will be something i have to work years to achieve. right now i'm looking for a job in international trade, which i had planned to work for a couple of years before doing an LLM abroad in comparative european/EU law, and then doing a PhD somewhere back in the US (in polisci- comparative politics). however, it's now starting to look like i might be doing the LLM and PhD much sooner than i had thought.

what about you? what are your plans?

"What school are you at? What are your career goals?"

my ultimate goal is to end up in legal academia. but coming from the school i do, and given my ranking within that school, it's not very likely. in fact it's near impossible; at the very least it will be something i have to work years to achieve. right now i'm looking for a job in international trade, which i had planned to work for a couple of years before doing an LLM abroad in comparative european/EU law, and then doing a PhD somewhere back in the US (in polisci- comparative politics). however, it's now starting to look like i might be doing the LLM and PhD much sooner than i had thought.

what about you? what are your plans?
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benny

Nate,
I would love to be a law prof one day. Coming from a fourth tier US law school I knew I had to go somewhere "good" for my LLM. I am also interested in doing criminal defense work or possibly even opening my own personal injury firm. I woudln't mind sitting on a bench either. Lot's of goals I guess.

Nate,
I would love to be a law prof one day. Coming from a fourth tier US law school I knew I had to go somewhere "good" for my LLM. I am also interested in doing criminal defense work or possibly even opening my own personal injury firm. I woudln't mind sitting on a bench either. Lot's of goals I guess.

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ozman

guys well i need some info about lse/ucl as well... in my country lse and ucl are both well known. I have done my llb from the uni of london(external programme) and i managed a high 2.2, i.e. only missed a 2.1 by 5 marks, i have also done the bvc although i only managed an overall grading of competent, i plan to work for one year and then apply to these places, how would anyone here rate my chances, or is it possible that with my grades and one year's work experience i also have a shot at good law schools in the US, i would hope in particular that Dr Alan Riley can address my question, however i would welcome anyone who can offer any feedback.

guys well i need some info about lse/ucl as well... in my country lse and ucl are both well known. I have done my llb from the uni of london(external programme) and i managed a high 2.2, i.e. only missed a 2.1 by 5 marks, i have also done the bvc although i only managed an overall grading of competent, i plan to work for one year and then apply to these places, how would anyone here rate my chances, or is it possible that with my grades and one year's work experience i also have a shot at good law schools in the US, i would hope in particular that Dr Alan Riley can address my question, however i would welcome anyone who can offer any feedback.
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Yellow

If what you are saying is that you missed a 2.1 by 5% as in you got a 55 then I would imagine your chances at those two schools are not great. Maybe some sort of stellar work experience would make up for the poor academic record but in the space of a year I have my doubts. The reality is that alot of people get 2:1's, in England in any case and I think it is reasonable to expect a candidate for an LLM to have that as a minimum. One of the reasons I think it is reasonable is that I see people failing their LLM and that is a waste of a year and quite possibly a . I would much rather be told look we need you to have grade x, than to be let in and then fail. On the other hand I realise that your 5 marks could be out of a higher number if your course is given as an accumulated mark rather than a percentage in which case just ignore what I wrote! The one thing I would say is that it never hurts to apply. It is always worth giving it a go.

If what you are saying is that you missed a 2.1 by 5% as in you got a 55 then I would imagine your chances at those two schools are not great. Maybe some sort of stellar work experience would make up for the poor academic record but in the space of a year I have my doubts. The reality is that alot of people get 2:1's, in England in any case and I think it is reasonable to expect a candidate for an LLM to have that as a minimum. One of the reasons I think it is reasonable is that I see people failing their LLM and that is a waste of a year and quite possibly a . I would much rather be told look we need you to have grade x, than to be let in and then fail. On the other hand I realise that your 5 marks could be out of a higher number if your course is given as an accumulated mark rather than a percentage in which case just ignore what I wrote! The one thing I would say is that it never hurts to apply. It is always worth giving it a go.
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ozman

yellow i am pretty sure now that ur an oxbridge student... because other than the "quality" education it tends to give you a quality "attitude" as well... but anyway my grades were 63, 60, 62 and then the remaining were in the mid fifties range... when i say this i talk about the llb part 1 and part 2 subjects... as you need four 60+ marks out of eight to get a 2.1 well that is the rule as far as the uni of london(external degree) goes. Further we study independently while sitting in a different country and having no resources to any libraries or any professors who have anything to do with setting the exams or who are pioneers in their field. We are taught by fresh LLB graduates mostly, and well in the end we end up doing independent study from ONE availible book. Now compare all this to you internal UK universities, i have heard from many people that a 2.2 on the external course is equal to a 2.1 in the uk, well they say this as far as intellectual ability is concerned. Further i have 3 examples infront of me who got into UCL(its the so called number 3 in UK) with a 2.2 from the external degree. I have seen people go into Harvard with a 3rd class degree but with a strong recommendation, so is that all it takes. Ultimately i feel that universities especially UK universities just want your money. They were talking of letting people be called to the BAR only if they obtain a pupillage, however after they realise that almost 60% of the people who do the BAR are not British and they end up not getting a pupillage they could not enforce their decision, this is how double standards work. Unfortunately this is now how the world works, that to get quality education you have to be a part of either a US or a UK university. I would have loved to be a rebel, but hey at the end of the day i also need to earn my bread and butter and do it well. And yes i will apply in due time.

yellow i am pretty sure now that ur an oxbridge student... because other than the "quality" education it tends to give you a quality "attitude" as well... but anyway my grades were 63, 60, 62 and then the remaining were in the mid fifties range... when i say this i talk about the llb part 1 and part 2 subjects... as you need four 60+ marks out of eight to get a 2.1 well that is the rule as far as the uni of london(external degree) goes. Further we study independently while sitting in a different country and having no resources to any libraries or any professors who have anything to do with setting the exams or who are pioneers in their field. We are taught by fresh LLB graduates mostly, and well in the end we end up doing independent study from ONE availible book. Now compare all this to you internal UK universities, i have heard from many people that a 2.2 on the external course is equal to a 2.1 in the uk, well they say this as far as intellectual ability is concerned. Further i have 3 examples infront of me who got into UCL(its the so called number 3 in UK) with a 2.2 from the external degree. I have seen people go into Harvard with a 3rd class degree but with a strong recommendation, so is that all it takes. Ultimately i feel that universities especially UK universities just want your money. They were talking of letting people be called to the BAR only if they obtain a pupillage, however after they realise that almost 60% of the people who do the BAR are not British and they end up not getting a pupillage they could not enforce their decision, this is how double standards work. Unfortunately this is now how the world works, that to get quality education you have to be a part of either a US or a UK university. I would have loved to be a rebel, but hey at the end of the day i also need to earn my bread and butter and do it well. And yes i will apply in due time.
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ozman

oh and by the way i had received a fully funded scholarship on 25th august for the llm, however my condition was that i had to go this year, i.e. 2007 however i contacted a number of universities including UCL, and well it made no bloody difference to them that i had a fully funded scholarship and in addition to the llb i had also done the BVC, so as i see it SCHOLARSHIP opportunity wasted.

oh and by the way i had received a fully funded scholarship on 25th august for the llm, however my condition was that i had to go this year, i.e. 2007 however i contacted a number of universities including UCL, and well it made no bloody difference to them that i had a fully funded scholarship and in addition to the llb i had also done the BVC, so as i see it SCHOLARSHIP opportunity wasted.
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