Help! Bristol versus Birmingham for law?!

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LilyLouise2
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#1
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#1
Hi,

Really stuck- I'm swaying towards Bham although I know that overall Bristol university is better. Any advice from past Bham/ Bristol students? What would you choose and why (for law)

I would be so grateful for some help- I'm swaying towards Bham simply because the law school seemed so friendly, yet the city didn't seem so nice to me from what I saw.

Help??
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GrandPessimist
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#2
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#2
(Original post by LilyLouise2)
Hi,

Really stuck- I'm swaying towards Bham although I know that overall Bristol university is better. Any advice from past Bham/ Bristol students? What would you choose and why (for law)

I would be so grateful for some help- I'm swaying towards Bham simply because the law school seemed so friendly, yet the city didn't seem so nice to me from what I saw.

Help??
Hi! I am a first-year law undergraduate student at Birmingham.

Yes, the city is not that great, and frankly part of the city centre is a bit ugly, but the university is AMAZING!!! The campus is beautiful and in reference to the course, I definitely think I made the best choice. The lecturers I've had in the first year are all very engaged, love their job and have done so much to make the lectures easy for the students to understand. Many of them are well-known in their areas and have published many papers. Claire McIvor and James Lee, Graham Gee, George Applebey, Imogen Jones, Steven Vaughan...

As for the reputation of the law school, Birmingham and Bristol are equal. Many students from Birmingham have secured vac schemes and training contracts with silver and magic circle firms and the law society is very well connected and organises many networking events every year with firms like Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose, Linklaters, Freshfields, DLA Piper, Allen and Overy etc. However, if you are interested in a career at the Bar, perhaps Bristol may have a better standing. I remember reading a survey by the Bar Standards Board a few weeks ago (it was from 2011-12) and Bristol graduates were third after Oxford and Cambridge.

Also, at Birmingham, every year the honorary president of the Holdworth Club (this is the name of the law society) is a senior judge who gives the presidential address in late March. This year it was Lady Justice Hallett and last year it was Lord Dyson and the year before that it was Lord Neuberger.

I hope this helps your decision!

If you need anything else please do PM me!!
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Unsworth
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#3
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#3
(Original post by LilyLouise2)
Hi,

Really stuck- I'm swaying towards Bham although I know that overall Bristol university is better. Any advice from past Bham/ Bristol students? What would you choose and why (for law)

I would be so grateful for some help- I'm swaying towards Bham simply because the law school seemed so friendly, yet the city didn't seem so nice to me from what I saw.

Help??
Bristol - better university, better law school, better city.

Disagree with the above poster that they have equal reputations, Bristol's is stronger and there are a handful of top firms that visit Bristol and not Birmingham, you won't find it the other way around.
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GrandPessimist
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#4
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(Original post by Unsworth)
Bristol - better university, better law school, better city.

Disagree with the above poster that they have equal reputations, Bristol's is stronger and there are a handful of top firms that visit Bristol and not Birmingham, you won't find it the other way around.
Yes, and I am sure the fact that a few firms don't come to Birmingham will be a major disadvantage is the OP has 3 AAA and a ver strong 2.1 or even first class degree!


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Unsworth
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#5
(Original post by GrandPessimist)
Yes, and I am sure the fact that a few firms don't come to Birmingham will be a major disadvantage is the OP has 3 AAA and a ver strong 2.1 or even first class degree!


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The point I was making is that it enforces how Bristol does have a better reputation than Birmingham.
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LilyLouise2
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Unsworth)
The point I was making is that it enforces how Bristol does have a better reputation than Birmingham.
Hi, thanks for your reply yet I do disagree with some of your points. I would say that as a university as a whole Bristol is more 'prestigious' , yet you forget that Bristol does have an unfortunate rep. In the terms of being a Oxbridge reject university and one that is 'full of "toffs" '

Birmingham is known for having a good law school; Bristol and Birmingham are very close in the law respect really. Going to Birmingham is not a disadvantage in terms of employment; I'm lucky that my dad has many close friends high up in magic circle firms who have explicitly said that it makes no difference whether one goes to Bristol or Birmingham.


Also, to say that Bristol attracts the top law firms and Birmingham doesn't attract as many or as good law firms is frankly untrue. I'm not sure where you got this from, but I can assure you that all the magic circle firms circulate many universities; maybe not the ones which used to be polytechnics, but certainly good solid Russell group ones.

Thanks for your reply though
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Unsworth
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#7
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#7
(Original post by LilyLouise2)
Hi, thanks for your reply yet I do disagree with some of your points. I would say that as a university as a whole Bristol is more 'prestigious' , yet you forget that Bristol does have an unfortunate rep. In the terms of being a Oxbridge reject university and one that is 'full of "toffs" '

Birmingham is known for having a good law school; Bristol and Birmingham are very close in the law respect really. Going to Birmingham is not a disadvantage in terms of employment; I'm lucky that my dad has many close friends high up in magic circle firms who have explicitly said that it makes no difference whether one goes to Bristol or Birmingham.


Also, to say that Bristol attracts the top law firms and Birmingham doesn't attract as many or as good law firms is frankly untrue. I'm not sure where you got this from, but I can assure you that all the magic circle firms circulate many universities; maybe not the ones which used to be polytechnics, but certainly good solid Russell group ones.

Thanks for your reply though
Oh please that is just pure naivety making a comment about how Bristol is full of toffs and branding it like that. So what if it has lots of people rejected from Oxford/Cambridge? Every top university does, why does that matter at all?

I didn't ever say that Birmingham's law school isn't good, I simply said that Bristol's has a better reputation.

Nope my comment wasn't untrue at all. Many of the US law firms in London - which are pretty much equal to the Magic Circle - don't visit Birmingham and many don't have a single lawyer that went to Birmingham. However, generally they will mostly all go to Bristol and have a few lawyers who went to Bristol in their ranks. It is a simple truth.

Anyway I think it is clear that you have made your mind up anyhow so this debate seems meaningless!
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GrandPessimist
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(Original post by Unsworth)
Oh please that is just pure naivety making a comment about how Bristol is full of toffs and branding it like that. So what if it has lots of people rejected from Oxford/Cambridge? Every top university does, why does that matter at all?

I didn't ever say that Birmingham's law school isn't good, I simply said that Bristol's has a better reputation.

Nope my comment wasn't untrue at all. Many of the US law firms in London - which are pretty much equal to the Magic Circle - don't visit Birmingham and many don't have a single lawyer that went to Birmingham. However, generally they will mostly all go to Bristol and have a few lawyers who went to Bristol in their ranks. It is a simple truth.

Anyway I think it is clear that you have made your mind up anyhow so this debate seems meaningless!
Yes, but my point is that if you have the grades and the ECs, I don't really see why they wouldn't accept you just because you went to Birmingham.

I am not trying to have a fight here about whether you're right or wrong. You could be right that Bristol will offer you more opportunities.

Maybe Birmingham graduates don't look to apply to US law firms. Surely, if your university is visited by Magic Circle law firms and you have very good chances of getting in one of them, you wouldn't really be bothered if US law firms don't come to your university? On the other hand, as I said before, if you have the grades why would your university hold you back? It's not a debate about Bristol and London Metropolitan. Birmingham Law School has some excellent lecturers with great contributions in their respective fields.

Also, most of the big consultancy firms only visit Oxford, Cambridge, LSE and Imperial. Does this mean that if someone who has the grades and the experience required, but has graduated from the University of Leicester/Cardiff/Birmingham/Sheffield/etc., will stand no chance?? Surely not all Bain or McKinsey employees are Oxbridge graduates, are they?
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LilyLouise2
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#9
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#9
(Original post by GrandPessimist)
Yes, but my point is that if you have the grades and the ECs, I don't really see why they wouldn't accept you just because you went to Birmingham.

I am not trying to have a fight here about whether you're right or wrong.

Maybe Birmingham graduates don't look to apply to US law firms. Surely, if your university is visited by Magic Circle law firms and you have very good chances of getting in one of them, you wouldn't really be bothered if US law firms don't come to your university? On the other hand, as I said before, if you have the grades why would your university hold you back?

Also, most of the big consultancy firms only visit Oxford, Cambridge, LSE and Imperial. Does this mean that if someone who was the grades and the experience required, but has graduated from the University of Leicester/Cardiff/Birmingham/Sheffield/etc., will stand no chance?? Surely not all Bain or McKinsey employees are Oxbridge graduates?
they're not Although Oxford or Cambridge were traditionally favoured, many law firms are trying to edge away from Oxford and Cambridge and be more diverse in their recruitment.
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LilyLouise2
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Unsworth)
Oh please that is just pure naivety making a comment about how Bristol is full of toffs and branding it like that. So what if it has lots of people rejected from Oxford/Cambridge? Every top university does, why does that matter at all?

I didn't ever say that Birmingham's law school isn't good, I simply said that Bristol's has a better reputation.

Nope my comment wasn't untrue at all. Many of the US law firms in London - which are pretty much equal to the Magic Circle - don't visit Birmingham and many don't have a single lawyer that went to Birmingham. However, generally they will mostly all go to Bristol and have a few lawyers who went to Bristol in their ranks. It is a simple truth.

Anyway I think it is clear that you have made your mind up anyhow so this debate seems meaningless!
Thought I should just point out that it is pretty irrelevant about the US law firms in London; you are aware that Freshfields etc (magic circle) are international?
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GrandPessimist
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#11
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(Original post by LilyLouise2)
Thought I should just point out that it is pretty irrelevant about the US law firms in London; you are aware that Freshfields etc (magic circle) are international?
I think he means US firms in the sense that those firms were founded in the US and have their headquarters there. In the same way, Freshfields, a multinational firm, could be characterised as a UK law firm and and the headquarters are in London. Their offices elsewhere are just their international offices.
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Le Nombre
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Unsworth)
Oh please that is just pure naivety making a comment about how Bristol is full of toffs and branding it like that. So what if it has lots of people rejected from Oxford/Cambridge? Every top university does, why does that matter at all?

I didn't ever say that Birmingham's law school isn't good, I simply said that Bristol's has a better reputation.

Nope my comment wasn't untrue at all. Many of the US law firms in London - which are pretty much equal to the Magic Circle - don't visit Birmingham and many don't have a single lawyer that went to Birmingham. However, generally they will mostly all go to Bristol and have a few lawyers who went to Bristol in their ranks. It is a simple truth.

Anyway I think it is clear that you have made your mind up anyhow so this debate seems meaningless!
Better rep amongst firms probably, though not sure it's worth it if OP would prefer to go to Birmingham for other reasons, but it seems to constantly get a kicking for teaching undergrads with PhDs a lot, not sure if they've turned this around recently, I mainly remember it from when I applied and from people on the LPC who went there saying so but they're graduated now, but it'd be worth checking out as those I know said it was a continued grievance throughout the time they were there and beforehand and little was done to address it.
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GrandPessimist
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#13
(Original post by Le Nombre)
Better rep amongst firms probably, though not sure it's worth it if OP would prefer to go to Birmingham for other reasons, but it seems to constantly get a kicking for teaching undergrads with PhDs a lot, not sure if they've turned this around recently, I mainly remember it from when I applied and from people on the LPC who went there saying so but they're graduated now, but it'd be worth checking out as those I know said it was a continued grievance throughout the time they were there and beforehand and little was done to address it.
Could you elaborate?

When was that?
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Le Nombre
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(Original post by GrandPessimist)
Could you elaborate?

When was that?
I applied 2009, they graduated a mix of mainly 2011 and 2012, odd 2013.

I don't really know what else to elaborate, they were taught a lot by PhDs, it's not catastrophic by any means, but obviously you'd prefer to be taught by faculty.
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GrandPessimist
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(Original post by Le Nombre)
I applied 2009, they graduated a mix of mainly 2011 and 2012, odd 2013.

I don't really know what else to elaborate, they were taught a lot by PhDs, it's not catastrophic by any means, but obviously you'd prefer to be taught by faculty.
I see. At undergraduate level, in first year, we don't have any lecturers that were PhDs. I think there were 3-4 PhDs who taught the seminars, but even them, they had significant experience in teaching and they weren't doing it for the first time. I personally didn't have any.

I am surprised though that this could happen at the LPC. I have read that it's a rigorous course, so I would expect top notch members of the faculty to teach...

Anyway, I think this can happen at any university, even Oxbridge. One of my housemates is a final-year undergraduate and he told me that 2 years ago they had a pretty bad lecturer who by the way had studied for a BA, the BCL and a PhD at Oxford.
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Le Nombre
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(Original post by GrandPessimist)
I see. At undergraduate level, in first year, we don't have any lecturers that were PhDs. I think there were 3-4 PhDs who taught the seminars, but even them, they had significant experience in teaching and they weren't doing it for the first time. I personally didn't have any.

I am surprised though that this could happen at the LPC. I have read that it's a rigorous course, so I would expect top notch members of the faculty to teach...

Anyway, I think this can happen at any university, even Oxbridge. One of my housemates is a final-year undergraduate and he told me that 2 years ago they had a pretty bad lecturer who by the way had studied for a BA, the BCL and a PhD at Oxford.
I don't think many lecturers were, seemed to be more that the majority of seminars are.

Sorry, I know the Bristol grads through the LPC, at CoL,, the LPC itself is taught by former practitioners of various vintage, though they usually left around 5-8 PQE.

You can get bad lecturers/tutorial leader with any list of quals, but generally the more experienced and qualified they are the lower the risk.
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Unsworth
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(Original post by GrandPessimist)
Yes, but my point is that if you have the grades and the ECs, I don't really see why they wouldn't accept you just because you went to Birmingham.

I am not trying to have a fight here about whether you're right or wrong. You could be right that Bristol will offer you more opportunities.

Maybe Birmingham graduates don't look to apply to US law firms. Surely, if your university is visited by Magic Circle law firms and you have very good chances of getting in one of them, you wouldn't really be bothered if US law firms don't come to your university? On the other hand, as I said before, if you have the grades why would your university hold you back? It's not a debate about Bristol and London Metropolitan. Birmingham Law School has some excellent lecturers with great contributions in their respective fields.

Also, most of the big consultancy firms only visit Oxford, Cambridge, LSE and Imperial. Does this mean that if someone who has the grades and the experience required, but has graduated from the University of Leicester/Cardiff/Birmingham/Sheffield/etc., will stand no chance?? Surely not all Bain or McKinsey employees are Oxbridge graduates, are they?
Yes you may have the required grades and yes you may have good ECs, but that often still won't be enough for you to even get interviewed at some of the top firms, let alone be offered a training contract. The reason I brought up the whole US law firm example is because all of the top UK firms visit both Bristol and Birmingham, therefore it is would be silly to make reference to this - though I would argue there are a greater number of Bristol graduates at the MC than Birmingham, but that's another matter. Whereas there is a clear difference in the number of US firms that visit Bristol in comparison to Birmingham. Why is this? We can assume it's because Bristol has a better reputation for producing high quality graduates than Birmingham does - why else would it be?

In response to your point on consultancy firms I would say that most people that do graduate from the universities you mentioned will stand no chance at the graduate level. McKinsey and Bain will visit only a select few universities because those universities contain the best students. Yes there may be people who have the grades and experience required, but will they be of the same standard as those at Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial etc? Unless they are in the top handful of people in the year then chances are they won't be and even then it will still limit them. If it didn't limit them then why don't the big consultancy firms visit the universities you mentioned or recruit many/any people from them?

It's a meaningless debate anyway as the OP is clearly set on Birmingham, I just wanted to make the point that I think Bristol's law school does have a better reputation than Birmingham's and that I think most law firms would agree.

(Original post by LilyLouise2)
Thought I should just point out that it is pretty irrelevant about the US law firms in London; you are aware that Freshfields etc (magic circle) are international?
Yes I'm aware and it isn't irrelevant at all but it seems you don't know much about it so don't worry.
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GrandPessimist
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(Original post by Unsworth)
Yes you may have the required grades and yes you may have good ECs, but that often still won't be enough for you to even get interviewed at some of the top firms, let alone be offered a training contract. The reason I brought up the whole US law firm example is because all of the top UK firms visit both Bristol and Birmingham, therefore it is would be silly to make reference to this - though I would argue there are a greater number of Bristol graduates at the MC than Birmingham, but that's another matter. Whereas there is a clear difference in the number of US firms that visit Bristol in comparison to Birmingham. Why is this? We can assume it's because Bristol has a better reputation for producing high quality graduates than Birmingham does - why else would it be?

In response to your point on consultancy firms I would say that most people that do graduate from the universities you mentioned will stand no chance at the graduate level. McKinsey and Bain will visit only a select few universities because those universities contain the best students. Yes there may be people who have the grades and experience required, but will they be of the same standard as those at Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial etc? Unless they are in the top handful of people in the year then chances are they won't be and even then it will still limit them. If it didn't limit them then why don't the big consultancy firms visit the universities you mentioned or recruit many/any people from them?

It's a meaningless debate anyway as the OP is clearly set on Birmingham, I just wanted to make the point that I think Bristol's law school does have a better reputation than Birmingham's and that I think most law firms would agree.

It's a really harsh world out there!

Since, apparently, you know very much, can I just ask you if a Master's degree from Oxford or Cambridge would make a difference for law firms or consultancy firms?

Well, the obvious answer will be don't do it if you just do it for employment and not because you are interested, but I thought I should give it a shot asking about it!
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Unsworth
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#19
(Original post by GrandPessimist)
It's a really harsh world out there!

Since, apparently, you know very much, can I just ask you if a Master's degree from Oxford or Cambridge would make a difference for law firms or consultancy firms?

Well, the obvious answer will be don't do it if you just do it for employment and not because you are interested, but I thought I should give it a shot asking about it!
Not sure about Master's degrees and the difference they make! From what I've seen at law firms it is largely irrelevant, but I can't vouch for consultancy firms.
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GrandPessimist
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Unsworth)
Not sure about Master's degrees and the difference they make! From what I've seen at law firms it is largely irrelevant, but I can't vouch for consultancy firms.
Why do you think it's irrelevant?
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