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TommehR
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#21
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#21
At the end of the day, however much we all want reputation not to count and for graduates to be treated equally regardless of which institution they come from, employers are going to be paying attention to where you went to university. Of course, going to a 'lesser' university in no way precludes you from getting a good TC, it just makes it that little bit harder.

I certainly feel that you are correct to challenge the mentality on here which seems to suggest that once you have got into a prestigious university a training contract will simply fall into your lap and that no more work needs to be done. I know of many people who seem to think that such is the case. No employer is going to employ a lazy, unmotivated person purely because they managed to do well in an interview at Oxford and then managed to fluke a 2:1 at the end of their degree.
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Lawz-
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#22
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(Original post by TommehR)
I certainly feel that you are correct to challenge the mentality on here which seems to suggest that once you have got into a prestigious university a training contract will simply fall into your lap and that no more work needs to be done. I know of many people who seem to think that such is the case. No employer is going to employ a lazy, unmotivated person purely because they managed to do well in an interview at Oxford and then managed to fluke a 2:1 at the end of their degree.


Indeed - although to be honest - no one really needs to fluke a 2:1 - getting a 2:2 is very hard IMO if you do ANY work at all.

I know a few people who were at Oxford, got very low 2:1s and were rejected by every MC firm.

Firms are not stupid - they know the Oxbridge undergrad application process is a lottery - they know some of the best people end up at UoL or Bristol etc - but they also know that it would be odd indeed for someone of Oxbridge quality to end up at the University of Greenwich for instance.

Getting the best law jobs is getting more and more competitive. As such you need to tick almost ALL of the boxes - ie:

1. Uni prestige
2. Grades
3. Extra curricular activities
4. Personability
etc

Of course just ticking 1 is not enough, but if you DONT it makes it very hard indeed.

Every now and again you hear the story of some WestminsterUniversity graduate who got a place with CC or A&O. However - the fact that its such a story that people in other firms hear about it proves the point. It's newsworthy because it is SO rare.

If you CANT get into a top 10 university - then don’t get too down - you can do it... but its quite another thing to advise people to perhaps pick a lower university when they have the option of going to say a UCL or Cambridge simply because they might have more fun at the University of Bradford. That is a totally irresponsible decision IMO if you have any desire to apply for the top jobs.
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Ethereal
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#23
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#23
I still don't think that someone will achieve their potential if they are not happy. Yes, achieving a good class of degree is damn hard so why on earth make it more difficult by going somewhere you don't like just because it has a better rep.

Getting a job comes down to the person themselves (and to some degree luck - one of the firms who gave a talk at our uni said they can't possibly read every application form so they will pick at random) rather than where you go.
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Lawz-
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#24
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(Original post by Ethereal)
I still don't think that someone will achieve their potential if they are not happy.
I dont think someone has to be as happy as they can possibly be to do well.

Sure if you are miserable then it hampers you - but if you have the quality of character, then you work through it and do well regardless.

Do you think that working a 100 hour week regularly makes you happy at the time? of course not - but the best people at the best firms still produce their best work.

(Original post by Ethereal)
Yes, achieving a good class of degree is damn hard so why on earth make it more difficult by going somewhere you don't like just because it has a better rep.
Well because a decent 2:1 from Oxford will get you a better job than a 1st from Hull.

(Original post by Ethereal)
Getting a job comes down to the person themselves (and to some degree luck - one of the firms who gave a talk at our uni said they can't possibly read every application form so they will pick at random) rather than where you go.
That's again the same fallacy repeated. Of COURSE where you go to makes a difference.

Any firm that picks at random is not worth its saltand needs to beef up its HR budget or just fire some of them and replace them. Sorry - but like I say - I know HR people, and NONE of them at the top firms do that - they have some arguably arbitrary filters to be sure - but they never pick at random - and these are the best firms with the best applicants.
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TommehR
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#25
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(Original post by Ethereal)
I still don't think that someone will achieve their potential if they are not happy. Yes, achieving a good class of degree is damn hard so why on earth make it more difficult by going somewhere you don't like just because it has a better rep.

Getting a job comes down to the person themselves (and to some degree luck - one of the firms who gave a talk at our uni said they can't possibly read every application form so they will pick at random) rather than where you go.
Hmm, a degree from Lincoln or somewhere though might not stretch somebody to their full potential even if they are really happy. Somewhere like Oxford would stretch you. I do agree that happiness is a big part in deciding where to go; you're not likely to do as well if you aren't happy.

I don't think that you should view all of these things in isolation though. You need to go somewhere you're happy with and want to live for three years; somewhere that has a good reputation; somewhere that you think you'll be able to do well, etc. If you go to a university because it fulfils only one of those then I think it might not be the right one for you.

Reputation is not the only thing that is important in attaining a job but to suggest that it is largely irrelevant seems somewhat misguided.
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Inquisitive
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#26
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There is a middle ground to all this: it depends on what the individual wants out of university and how much the probability of getting a TC/pupillage at MC firms/leading chambers matters to him/her.

But in terms of employment prospects alone, I would agree with Lawz- as what he points out is realistic and practical. It would be out of touch with reality to believe solely that your personal qualities and traits alone would secure good prospects without consideration for other factors such as the prestige of the university.
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Lawz-
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#27
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(Original post by Inquisitive)
There is a middle ground to all this: it depends on what the individual wants out of university and how much the probability of getting a TC/pupillage at MC firms/leading chambers matters to him/her.
Absolutely - if the job you know you want to do wont care whether you go to Oxford or Bristol West of England - then sure - go where you prefer.

However if either:

a) You dont know what you want to do or
b) You know youd like to try for the top jobs

then prestige will invariably matter.

the truth is that most people in the position of having to choose where to study law are either a) or b). Very few will know that they have no interest in the top jobs.
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manthi
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#28
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Ok, as purely a spectator of this awesome debate, all I can say is that, as Ive learnt, prestige does play a somewhat part in the whole process. Just a logical application:

There are 1000 applicants for a TC at Clifford Chance. Obviously, as was said in a previous post, the HR staff dont have enough time to look at all those applications fully and thoroughly. Given that, who would be at a better postion to get an interview? A graduate from, as was said, Lincoln, or one from Oxford? Surely, it would be the one from Oxford.

Against this, it could be said that if the applicant from Lincoln has an incredible CV, and the one from Oxford does not, then surely the one from Lincoln takes prominence, and hence, the university you went to does not matter. But the thing is, most of the people who go to Oxford do end up as masters of what they do, they will be academically bright, as well as taking part and having loads of extra curriculars. I think its not very often that you find an Oxford student who has absoultely no extra curriculars and looks awful on paper. The reality is, that most Oxford students do in fact end up with specatcular CVs and the fact that they went to Oxford give them that added (significant) bonus of getting the TC.

Ultimately, what it boils down to is that although you may be a spectacular candidate from a 'lesser' university, it is most likely that a candidate from Oxford will have almost what you have, and because of the university he/she went to, the one from Oxford will get the job.

This is just my view of the two sides as I see it. Quite obviously, I do realise Im not in a position to pass objective judgement, given that Im still an A Level student, but this is what it seems to me.
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Ethereal
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#29
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#29
NOTE : Edited in light of well argued discussions. Please keep letting me know any more that needs to go on this. I'll keep adding them to the first post so people can find them easily.
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Inquisitive
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#30
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I think that giving a list of factors is more helpful. This would be more neutral than giving an opinion - leave it up to the prospective undergrads to make up their minds.

Although you've made a minor edit, your overall view is still intact: that happiness is most important and that uni reputation doesn't have much weight.

A list of factors like employment prospects, student life, resources, night life, environment, city, finances, proximity to law courts and so on would be best.
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Ethereal
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#31
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it does say it's my view :p:

i still think if people go to a uni with rep but hate it there they're doomed.
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Inquisitive
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#32
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Well you're here to give advice as it's an FAQ page. You ought to outline all possible factors before giving an opinion or your preference. Happiness is only one of many factors.
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poltroon
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#33
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I agree that some substantial revision still needs to be undertaken if this thread is to be worthy of a permanent place in the law forum.
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Ethereal
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#34
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I'll do you a re-write sometime in the week. Hammering essays just now (grrrrrrr @ essays!!)

Having said that, I'd appreicate PMs with points and input so it can become a proper FAQ rather than my version of it!
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