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Do law firms indirectly discriminate against universities by having A-level cut-offs? Watch

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    I don't have a problem with A-level cut-offs for training contracts and vacation schemes, as law firms need some way of filtering through the vast number of applicants they receive.

    However, it annoys me when a law firm has quite a high A-level cut-off but then tries to give the impression that the university you attend does not matter. It seems like an attempt to portray the firm as non-elitist (which I guess ties in with a modern and forward-thinking brand) and to imply that it accepts applicants from universities which are 'non-traditional' or filled with more students from working class and non-privately educated backgrounds.

    Yet, by having a high A-level cut-off, the law firm is barring a massive pool of universities where students will have less than what the law firm is asking for by virtue of the university's general entry requirements. Granted, there will be a small number of exceptions (a student who has the required grades despite being at a university which asks for less), but the vast majority will be unlikely to exceed the course entry requirements. Think about how many universities are barred by having an AAB A-level cut-off, for example.

    So, fine - have a high A-level cut-off but I wish that some law firms wouldn't be disingenuous by giving off the impression that students outside 'top' universities are also welcome.
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    But you can have excellent grades and still go to what some call a "low ranking" university... I think that's what they are trying to say.
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    (Original post by ChocoholicPolyglot)
    But you can have excellent grades and still go to a "low ranking" university... I think that's what they are trying to say.
    But in reality it is still barring a large pool of universities by default. It is implicit that the number of students with AAB for a course which requires BBC will be very low.
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    (Original post by JoffreyBaratheon)
    But in reality it is still barring a large pool of universities by default. It is implicit that the number of students with AAB for a course which requires BBC will be very low.
    The alternative is that they say that university DOES matter. But that would be a lie - because they are willing to look at individuals with, say, AAB, that went to a course requiring BBC.

    I appreciate what you are saying but there is no preferable alternative.
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    So what are you proposing? There is no realistic alternative.
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    Surely the issue should be with law schools that try to make the kids believe they can join the big firms with their BBC grades in he first place?

    The boundaries aren't there to screw over grads from lower unis; they are there because the firms have decided that is a level of attainment they want their trainees to have. Arguably, they don't think grads with lower grade are 'clever' enough.

    To be honest, my issue is when it is applied too rigidly and those who got their a-levels a few years earlier than most applicants are made to suffer.


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    (Original post by LexiswasmyNexis)
    To be honest, my issue is when it is applied too rigidly and those who got their a-levels a few years earlier than most applicants are made to suffer.
    How does getting your A-levels earlier disadvantage you? Unless you think there's been rampant grade inflation?
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    (Original post by Brevity)
    How does getting your A-levels earlier disadvantage you? Unless you think there's been rampant grade inflation?
    That is what I'm getting at.


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    (Original post by LexiswasmyNexis)
    The boundaries aren't there to screw over grads from lower unis; they are there because the firms have decided that is a level of attainment they want their trainees to have.
    Nonetheless, this is the effect that they have in practice - regardless of any supposed intention.

    Arguably, they don't think grads with lower grade are 'clever' enough.
    I don't think A-levels measure cleverness in all cases. Is a graduate with AAB at A-level and a 2:1 distinctly more 'clever' than one with BBC at A-level and a first class degree?
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    (Original post by JoffreyBaratheon)
    Nonetheless, this is the effect that they have in practice - regardless of any supposed intention.



    I don't think A-levels measure cleverness in all cases. Is a graduate with AAB at A-level and a 2:1 distinctly more 'clever' than one with BBC at A-level and a first class degree?
    They're getting loads more applications from quality people than they can handle already. They have to draw a line on some grounds, and it might as well be A-levels.
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    (Original post by JoffreyBaratheon)
    I don't have a problem with A-level cut-offs for training contracts and vacation schemes, as law firms need some way of filtering through the vast number of applicants they receive.

    However, it annoys me when a law firm has quite a high A-level cut-off but then tries to give the impression that the university you attend does not matter. It seems like an attempt to portray the firm as non-elitist (which I guess ties in with a modern and forward-thinking brand) and to imply that it accepts applicants from universities which are 'non-traditional' or filled with more students from working class and non-privately educated backgrounds.

    Yet, by having a high A-level cut-off, the law firm is barring a massive pool of universities where students will have less than what the law firm is asking for by virtue of the university's general entry requirements. Granted, there will be a small number of exceptions (a student who has the required grades despite being at a university which asks for less), but the vast majority will be unlikely to exceed the course entry requirements. Think about how many universities are barred by having an AAB A-level cut-off, for example.

    So, fine - have a high A-level cut-off but I wish that some law firms wouldn't be disingenuous by giving off the impression that students outside 'top' universities are also welcome.
    I'm confused by this.

    Firms have an A-level cut-off (whether AAB or otherwise). That might seem arbitrary, or an unfair way of assessing ability, but the reality is that it's a simple method of undertaking the initial cull of applicants.

    Firms do not have an automatic university filter. They might prefer certain institutions, but they don't reject applications from particular universities out of hand.

    So, if you're a BBB applicant from Manchester or from Leeds Met your application will be treated in the same way i.e. it's likely to go in the bin. The Leeds Met applicant hasn't been rejected because of their university, but because of their A-levels. That isn't disingenuous, unfair or discriminatory. Firms do accept applications from "non-traditional" universities but provided you meet the level playing field filter of A-level results.

    An AAA applicant attending Leeds Met might well make it through the initial cull. They might subsequently be rejected because that institution isn't well-regarded compared to other universities. Again, that isn't unfair.

    I'm not sure I understand what your issue is? If you don't get the requisite grades, you won't make the cut.
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    (Original post by chalks)
    I'm confused by this.

    Firms have an A-level cut-off (whether AAB or otherwise). That might seem arbitrary, or an unfair way of assessing ability, but the reality is that it's a simple method of undertaking the initial cull of applicants.

    Firms do not have an automatic university filter. They might prefer certain institutions, but they don't reject applications from particular universities out of hand.

    So, if you're a BBB applicant from Manchester or from Leeds Met your application will be treated in the same way i.e. it's likely to go in the bin. The Leeds Met applicant hasn't been rejected because of their university, but because of their A-levels. That isn't disingenuous, unfair or discriminatory. Firms do accept applications from "non-traditional" universities but provided you meet the level playing field filter of A-level results.

    An AAA applicant attending Leeds Met might well make it through the initial cull. They might subsequently be rejected because that institution isn't well-regarded compared to other universities. Again, that isn't unfair.

    I'm not sure I understand what your issue is? If you don't get the requisite grades, you won't make the cut.
    Sure, technically, anyone from any university can apply provided they meet the grades; however, these people will be tiny exceptions so realistically and in practice, a number of universities are barred by having high A-level cut-offs.

    If a course requires BCC, for example, how many people are realistically going to have AAB? It is going to be very minimal, if not zero.
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    (Original post by Clip)
    They're getting loads more applications from quality people than they can handle already. They have to draw a line on some grounds, and it might as well be A-levels.
    Don't disagree with it at all, but I just don't like it when some law firms do this in one hand but then pretend they are open to non-traditional/non-elite universities in the other hand in an attempt to come off as diverse and modern. In practice, the vast majority of students from 'lower' universities aren't going to have a chance due to the high A-level cut-off.
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    (Original post by JoffreyBaratheon)
    Sure, technically, anyone from any university can apply provided they meet the grades; however, these people will be tiny exceptions so realistically and in practice, a number of universities are barred by having high A-level cut-offs.

    If a course requires BCC, for example, how many people are realistically going to have AAB? It is going to be very minimal, if not zero.
    No.

    It's not the university that's applying for a training contract. It's the student. The student fails to secure a TC because of their A-level grades, not the university they attended.

    You're right that if a Uni runs a law degree course with an entry threshold of BCC it will likely attract students who can just reach that level. The student cohort for that year will largely have A-level grades which will disqualify them from applying to the larger City firms. But that isn't "barring the university", as you put it. It's applying an objective filter to the individual applicants who happen to attend the same Uni.

    Let's imagine an analagous situation (albeit a totally facetious one).

    It is a requirement to secure a training contract that you have an ability to communicate clearly and concisely in written and spoken English. Dundee University offers an LLB course which satisfies Law Society requirements. However, City firms have formed the view that the Scottish students at that Uni all speak in impenetrable accents and will, therefore, be rejected when applying for TCs.

    Are the firms "discriminating" against Dundee University? No, they're rejecting Scottish students from that University because of their inability to satisfy a pre-determined criteria. A well-spoken Englishman from Dundee Uni wouldn't have the same problems.
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    (Original post by JoffreyBaratheon)
    Nonetheless, this is the effect that they have in practice - regardless of any supposed intention.



    I don't think A-levels measure cleverness in all cases. Is a graduate with AAB at A-level and a 2:1 distinctly more 'clever' than one with BBC at A-level and a first class degree?
    The fact that some unis may be effectively excluded is perhaps a by-product if the policy. But, as has been pointed out, if the grads there had the required grades it would not be a problem.

    I, too, wonder about A-levels and intelligence. Unfortunately, firms can afford to be picky due to the oversupply. I'd say that someone who has shown they have been in the top x% of peers academically since they were 16 is a much less risky prospect than someone who happened to click with their uni degree and excelled in just the one academic format.

    Some recruiters worry about the value of 1sts from courses with lower entry requirements- the perception is that if just be easier to get them. I suspect they are right based on my own mentoring experiences.

    In summary: it is the way it is, and you have to use some slightly translucent logic to twist it into being 'unfair'.


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    (Original post by chalks)
    Let's imagine an analagous situation (albeit a totally facetious one).

    It is a requirement to secure a training contract that you have an ability to communicate clearly and concisely in written and spoken English. Dundee University offers an LLB course which satisfies Law Society requirements. However, City firms have formed the view that the Scottish students at that Uni all speak in impenetrable accents and will, therefore, be rejected when applying for TCs.

    Are the firms "discriminating" against Dundee University? No, they're rejecting Scottish students from that University because of their inability to satisfy a pre-determined criteria. A well-spoken Englishman from Dundee Uni wouldn't have the same problems.
    Dundonian students most certainly.

    The waitress in Dundee taking an order: 'a peh, a peh, a peh, a bridie and a peh' perhaps with an 'ingin ing an a'
 
 
 
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