- Hello. This is an article written to cope with the huge amount of people in the Law forum asking which university has the best reputation and so on.
If you're considering a competitive career, then reputation is obviously a very important factor to consider. But before you make any decisions based on reputation, you need to give this a read.
Reputation is subjective
- League tables are not much good at telling you about employer prospects: they assess all kinds of things in a subjective way, many of which bear little or no resemblance to the actual reputation of a university.
However, if you are so inclined to look at League tables, it is very wise to look at a range of tables not just across the years but also different papers (e.g. The Times, The Guardian, The Shanghai Jiaotong rankings etc.). It is possible to receive a very rough idea of where the top 10/20 universities lie, but let it be reiterated that league tables mean very little. What matters more is what you want to do. You could, of course, call a range law firms to ask about their preferences in employees.
- Students on TSR are just that: students. If anyone suggests that one university is better than another, ask them why. Some opinions are biased based on what university that student attends/where they applied/where they got rejected from. Similarly, don't assume that if someone is wrong they will be corrected by another poster.
- There is no magic table. Reputation can't be quantified that easily.
- League tables are only as good as the data in them. But bear in mind league tables create reputations not the other way around.
Employment prospects (contrary to what is stated above) are based on HESES data which tracks all actual graduates and reports on what, if any employment they get. This is as close to reality as you are likely to get, accepting that some people refuse to respond to surveys!
Research Ratings are often a red herring when it comes to teaching quality, but it will boost the brand of the University. If the people who are doing the research are also teaching, then well and good, except some people who are brilliant researchers are not so good at teaching (and vice versa). Sometimes research is at the cost of teaching and the result is that postgrad students do the teaching/marking to fund their research degrees, while the Profs write their papers. It's intersting to note that it is unlikely you will get a seminar or tutorial with the top profs whose reputation lured you into the Uni.
Entry scores are exactly that. If people with lower A-levels are accepted, the league table status drops.
- If you are going to make a judgement on a Uni, based on student perceptions, then don't just rely on the people who have time to post on here. The Unistats site is run by UCAS and maintains data from independent surveys of students etc. It's alarming to see people changing their minds on this site on th basis of posts by students who not only don't know the institutions, but are not even students of the subject. If in doubt go and ask, look and research. It's a skill that will come in handy when you start studying law.
Reputation is not the only factor to consider
- If the difference in reputation between universities is small and/or reasonably debateable, it will make no difference.
- Furthermore, even if there is a difference, other factors may take prevalence. For God's sake don't go to UCL instead of Bristol if you hate the idea of London, or don't go to Warwick instead of Leeds if you need city buzz.
- Not every part of the legal profession requires a degree from a tip-top university. (There's more about this via the link below.)
- A good university does not mean you can just walk into a good career.
Where can I read better and more eloquently phrased (though still not all-consuming) information?
- I guess that'd be here: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=88536.
Other important stuff
- Don't be completely put off applying to LNAT universities. Obviously, applying to *some* non-LNAT universities is a good idea in case the worst does happen, but don't be too scared to be put off applying to LNAT universities altogether. (LNAT tips)
- If you know you don't want to go to certain places, there is no point putting them down even if you feel you are more likely to get into them. (AdamTJ)
- Scottish universities teach Scots Law, which means that if you want to practice as a solicitor/barrister in England/Wales you'll have to do a conversion course afterwards. N.B. An exception to this is Dundee University, who also have options to study a dual qualifying degree in Scots and English Law. As far as I know, this is still a single honours LL.B rather than joint honours, still takes four years (the standard for a honours degree in Scotland) and means you will be limited in terms of other electives you could choose to study, as the English law modules will replace other non-mandatory modules.
- Give Law at university a read too. It tells you a bit about how to optimise your application and has a very handy list of standard offers.
- The general wiki guide is also good.
- Also, someone a lot smarter than me will probably come and edit this article sooner or later, so maybe check back once in a while.