First from top RG vs 2:1 from Oxbridge Watch

oli19919
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What would you say looks more attractive to law firms, First class honours from a top RG (Durham, Bristol, LSE) or a 2:1 from Oxford or Cambridge

Law degree, applying for VC/TC
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999tigger
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(Original post by oli19919)
What would you say looks more attractive to law firms, First class honours from a top RG (Durham, Bristol, LSE) or a 2:1 from Oxford or Cambridge

Law degree, applying for VC/TC
Which one do you have?
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oli19919
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Which one do you have?
Neither
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frostfly
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Probably the Oxbridge degree
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flatlined
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To employers generally, the first by a country mile.

For the bar, for example, the first from a RG, 99/100. Most chambers, even if there is a perceived Oxbridge bias, have scoring mechanisms which don't discriminate by university but do heavily by degree class. 2:1s, whatever the university, have effectively non existent chances at the comm bar.

Law firms recruit differently - mostly off vac schemes taken at uni. So the degree class doesn't usually matter, it's more about first year grades. It's not about firsts and 2:1s, it's about having a consistent 2:1 first year and virtually no one gets firsts in their first year. So it's more a question of an Oxbridge 2:2 first year vs RG 2:1 first year and in this case, the RG 2:1 again almost always rules the roost.

Essentially, if you have a first class degree from a RG, you will tick the academic box of almost every graduate employer in the country. It is important to note that this box is ONLY in the context of the application form stage and to get through the interview stage, the academics are a non factor. At interview, it will be largely a behavioural and motivation test. So if you are asked about a 2:2 grade (and only Slaughters asked me this years ago in a TC interview), it is not about the grade but how you respond and talk about the learning lessons from that grade. An Oxbridge 2:1 will usually tick most boxes too, but not always and IF application forms are scored robotically with points given for first class degrees, a 2:1 will not be viewed as a first, even if it is from Oxbridge.
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Princepieman
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(Original post by oli19919)
What would you say looks more attractive to law firms, First class honours from a top RG (Durham, Bristol, LSE) or a 2:1 from Oxford or Cambridge

Law degree, applying for VC/TC
The more well-rounded individual in terms of their experience, ECs, application writing skills and aptitude test scores would get the interview.

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JoMarchBhaer
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(Original post by flatlined)
To employers generally, the first by a country mile.

For the bar, for example, the first from a RG, 99/100. Most chambers, even if there is a perceived Oxbridge bias, have scoring mechanisms which don't discriminate by university but do heavily by degree class. 2:1s, whatever the university, have effectively non existent chances at the comm bar.

Law firms recruit differently - mostly off vac schemes taken at uni. So the degree class doesn't usually matter, it's more about first year grades. It's not about firsts and 2:1s, it's about having a consistent 2:1 first year and virtually no one gets firsts in their first year. So it's more a question of an Oxbridge 2:2 first year vs RG 2:1 first year and in this case, the RG 2:1 again almost always rules the roost.

Essentially, if you have a first class degree from a RG, you will tick the academic box of almost every graduate employer in the country. It is important to note that this box is ONLY in the context of the application form stage and to get through the interview stage, the academics are a non factor. At interview, it will be largely a behavioural and motivation test. So if you are asked about a 2:2 grade (and only Slaughters asked me this years ago in a TC interview), it is not about the grade but how you respond and talk about the learning lessons from that grade. An Oxbridge 2:1 will usually tick most boxes too, but not always and IF application forms are scored robotically with points given for first class degrees, a 2:1 will not be viewed as a first, even if it is from Oxbridge.
I agree a First from an RG university is better than a 2:1 from Oxbridge, but there's absolutely no way that employers, even as a whole rather than individually, prefer the former "by a country mile."
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flatlined
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(Original post by JoMarchBhaer)
I agree a First from an RG university is better than a 2:1 from Oxbridge, but there's absolutely no way that employers, even as a whole rather than individually, prefer the former "by a country mile."
I've already explained many companies (banks, law firms, barristers chambers) rank your degree class without regard for university so it simply is the case. Conversely, they will also filter out certain degrees by module grades too, i.e. more than 1 2:2 in first year. That's standard for e.g. vac schemes and TCs.

Similarly when applying for university, many universities mark your personal statement, score your A-level grades re your top 3 A-levels (5 points for an A etc.), and also weight the scoring of your LNAT to create a "meritocratic", robotic, justifiable process.

The only way for you to justify your post is by being a pedant saying "well not *all* employers do this". And if you were to do do, you can sweetly f off. Principleman is also correct when saying degree class is only 1 factor which is viewed of a few on the application form. I'm in the US market and there are RG 2:1s here. For every RG 2:1 there would be many Oxbridge firsts who couldn't get in. But these are exceptions rather than the rule.
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SuperHuman98
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Employers will say the First, many TSR students who are still in year12/13 will say Oxbridge
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JoMarchBhaer
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(Original post by flatlined)
I've already explained many companies (banks, law firms, barristers chambers) rank your degree class without regard for university so it simply is the case. Conversely, they will also filter out certain degrees by module grades too, i.e. more than 1 2:2 in first year. That's standard for e.g. vac schemes and TCs.

Similarly when applying for university, many universities mark your personal statement, score your A-level grades re your top 3 A-levels (5 points for an A etc.), and also weight the scoring of your LNAT to create a "meritocratic", robotic, justifiable process.

The only way for you to justify your post is by being a pedant saying "well not *all* employers do this". And if you were to do do, you can sweetly f off. Principleman is also correct when saying degree class is only 1 factor which is viewed of a few on the application form. I'm in the US market and there are RG 2:1s here. For every RG 2:1 there would be many Oxbridge firsts who couldn't get in. But these are exceptions rather than the rule.
Which companies, law firms and barristers' chambers, outside of those which have indicated an element of CV blindness in their recruitment processes, don't have regard to the university a candidate attended and rank on degree class only?

I do agree that a First from any university stands out, and if from an RG rather than say somewhere lower down the rankings, all the better. But a First from a university at the bottom of the league tables versus an Oxbridge 2:1 might flounder when the application form is fully read rather than having points awarded for degree class.

Your aggression about some post I didn't make but which you have imagined in your own mind I might is bizarre, by the way.
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flatlined
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(Original post by JoMarchBhaer)
Which companies, law firms and barristers' chambers, outside of those which have indicated an element of CV blindness in their recruitment processes, don't have regard to the university a candidate attended and rank on degree class only?

I do agree that a First from any university stands out, and if from an RG rather than say somewhere lower down the rankings, all the better. But a First from a university at the bottom of the league tables versus an Oxbridge 2:1 might flounder when the application form is fully read rather than having points awarded for degree class.

Your aggression about some post I didn't make but which you have imagined in your own mind I might is bizarre, by the way.
They have regard for A-level grades which indicate university, but they don't filter the university.

You are badly researched but have strong opinions nevertheless which is frustrating. i don't know how old you are, but I assume you're at university making applications for VC/TCs, and I suppose you're still in the research process. So why run your mouth?
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JoMarchBhaer
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(Original post by flatlined)
They have regard for A-level grades which indicate university, but they don't filter the university.

You are badly researched but have strong opinions nevertheless which is frustrating. i don't know how old you are, but I assume you're at university making applications for VC/TCs, and I suppose you're still in the research process. So why run your mouth?
I see you haven't named any.

Yes, firms filter based on degree and A-level grade. Many do actually look at the university though when deciding who to interview. Otherwise, there wouldn't be the discrepancies in numbers between graduates of certain universities versus others, that there is.

You assume incorrectly. I am in my late thirties. I am a solicitor of more than ten years' PQE and am involved in recruitment decisions at my current firm as I was at my previous firm. We do (and my previous firm did) pay quite close attention to the university studied at because of variances in marking between different institutions. Again, your aggressive tone is frankly weird.
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flatlined
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(Original post by JoMarchBhaer)
I see you haven't named any.

Yes, firms filter based on degree and A-level grade. Many do actually look at the university though when deciding who to interview. Otherwise, there wouldn't be the discrepancies in numbers between graduates of certain universities versus others, that there is.

You assume incorrectly. I am in my late thirties. I am a solicitor of more than ten years' PQE and am involved in recruitment decisions at my current firm as I was at my previous firm. We do (and my previous firm did) pay quite close attention to the university studied at because of variances in marking between different institutions. Again, your aggressive tone is frankly weird.
Just isn't the case for the major city firms, including MC, outside of exceptions. Also in the major firms, including all of the US I can think of, it's HR which are usually in charge of the filtering and inviting for interview, solicitors don't micro-manage the process. If you were 10PQE in a city firm, you wouldn't be coming up with this tripe.
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JoMarchBhaer
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(Original post by J-SP)
That discrepancy is rarely down to firms preferring universities. In the vast majority of cases it is down to number of applications and the quality of applications.

If your firm have selected based on university, then that’s a shame really.
I disagree based on the number of Oxbridge grads and a select number of other universities represented in the main City firms, especially those with 2:1s rather than Firsts, but we can agree to disagree.

And they haven't really. They allowed for the fact that for a few years it seemed a couple of universities were a bit stingy handing out 2:1s, in not totally ruling out applications from people with 2:2s.
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JoMarchBhaer
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(Original post by flatlined)
Just isn't the case for the major city firms, including MC, outside of exceptions. Also in the major firms, including all of the US I can think of, it's HR which are usually in charge of the filtering and inviting for interview, solicitors don't micro-manage the process. If you were 10PQE in a city firm, you wouldn't be coming up with this tripe.
I trained at Herbert Smith (as was, now it has Freehills on the end) and still work in the City now, although for a much smaller firm. I don't particularly care whether you believe me.

In the firms I have worked in, HR narrow down applications in part based on instructions from up high which can vary as to what they involve. Whilst it doesn't happen all the time, it has happened that sometimes the head of department or someone else in the team will be asked to look at shortlisted CVs to pick people to interview. That does vary by firm and as you say, in some firms it is all down to HR, but not always. If you think that because you only interact with HR in the recruitment process that they MUST the only people who have any say, that isn't always the case.

I'll stop engaging now because you're a pretty belligerent person basing your posts on a rude and condescending tone rather than any valid points, and I don't believe for a second you know any more about the recruitment process than I do.
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JoMarchBhaer
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(Original post by J-SP)
If your firm is recruiting purely on academics then that’s even more worrying.

Oxbridge applicants benefit from lots of different factors that generally make their applications stronger beyond their academics - to me it isn’t surprising that they are “over represented” in graduate intakes.

I used to get nearly a quarter of my applications from Oxbridge alone, and generally they represented about 38-40% of the graduate intake. There was no preference though - they just generally had stronger evidence elsewhere and clearer motivations. That isn’t difficult when they are inundated with support, while those at lower ranked universities aren’t, and have an academic environment that strongly encourages extra curricular activities.
That isn't what I said (and baffled you got that from the post to be honest). In fact, it's the exact opposite. What I said was for some years, someone with a 2:2 from certain universities, not Oxbridge by the way but a couple of RGs that were being mean with the 2:1s, didn't get their app chucked in the bin for that 2:2 but were considered in the round.

I also disagree on the Oxbridge "other factors" really mattering more than the university itself and the name but again, just my view, not saying it's gospel. It's not a view I take in recruitment and I don't consider an Oxbridge 2:1, particularly from someone from a privileged background, to be better than a 2:1 from other places or particularly a First, but in my opinion, lots of firms do. If that's not your experience, then fine.
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Yaboi
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Considering you usually get the offer before you graduate

I'd guess the oxbridge lot

a 1st really does mean nothing unless you're going further into academia
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JoMarchBhaer
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(Original post by J-SP)
A firm taking into account Nottingham’s dodgy land law grades or the occasion when a university has had problems with a module due to changing staff or a badly worded exam paper is not the same as allowing 2.2s to get through.

I’ve screened 10,000s of applications for now a considerable amount of firms. The “other factors” has a huge influence in my view - people don’t really understand how big an impact it can have if your professor is an ex city alum, your peers are also all applying to the same firms, you have had several career events at your uni, and if your university/college alumni networks are exceptionally powerful/well connected.

People will always have their views and biases though. I’d have to go back to 2005 to the last time I saw a clear policy that gave Oxbridge applicants a direct advantage though.
It was indeed Nottingham!

I just don't agree that the institution a degree is obtained from is entirely irrelevant (in fairness, I am not sure you take that view).

I agree that Oxbridge degrees shouldn't necessarily be prioritised over any others, but the idea a 2:1 from one place is the same as exactly any other just isn't true. I respect your experience, but mine is different, and I fundamentally do not agree that the incongruous number of Oxbridge degrees (especially 2:1s) in big commercial firms can be entirely explained by any softer factors than the institution from which the degree has been obtained. There is no doubt that Oxbridge carries a cachet (not one I entirely agree with, but there we are). For sure, going to those universities provides information, advice and access that isn't necessarily available elsewhere. On the other hand, do I think those softer skills and experiences aren't in any way available to say, LSE grads? Durham grads? Bristol and Exeter grads? Nope, not really. So that, to my mind, still doesn't explain the level of stats we are talking about. That's because some employers (rightly or wrongly) like Oxbridge grads and rank an Oxbridge 2:1 the same as a First from some other places (in fairness, often, not RGs -- but other places? Maybe).

I honestly don't massively care what the experiences of others are in that regard -- I have seen it for myself, time and again, and know that's how it can work with some people. The numbers on how many City TCs are taken by Oxbridge candidates versus very good other institutions speak for themselves, is the view I take, and nothing you say about the applications you've personally screened is going to budge me on that.
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JoMarchBhaer
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The numbers at big London firms speak for themselves.

http://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/whe...d-universities

Oxbridge graduates make up a quarter of London trainees. They make up a fifth of ALL trainees. They won't all have firsts. Sure, they represent high application numbers. So do the RG. Unless you're suggesting RG applicants apply in significantly smaller numbers. I haven't seen any evidence that is the case. So the skewing in favour of two particular universities just isn't explicable unless there is some bias towards those universities in that kind of market. Not a position I necessarily agree with, but very obvious. You might be rejecting those Oxford grads, But someone is taking them.

As above, the idea that Oxbridge and Cambridge necessarily have better advantages from a "softer skills" point of view than universities such as Bristol (i.e ones that take significantly high numbers of private school candidates, say -- applying a blunt instrument to who might have more natural advantages than others), just does not stand up. Why exactly would a state school Oxbridge candidate have a more rounded CV than a privileged Bristol grad? I do not see it. I went to state school myself btw -- it's an observation, not an attack.

Your experiences notwithstanding, the stats are what they are.

I have not seen anything to support the idea that a RG first is in any way massively ahead of an Oxbridge 2:1.
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JoMarchBhaer
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(Original post by J-SP)
I used to get nearly a quarter of applications from Oxbridge. If that went across firms, is the 25% really surprising?

Yes the stats are what they are, but even Chambers themselves point out all the flaws of the data and what conclusions can’t be drawn from it.
I am not a statistician, but a fifth of ALL trainees being from Oxbridge is striking. It shows the legal profession likes those universities. Maybe it likes them for their soft skills rather than their academics, but it is what it is. As I have said several times, I personally wouldn't agree with the perspective that those two universities have any better undergraduate teaching anywhere else, but I haven't seen anything in this thread, including your posts, to counter the concept that Oxbridge carries some cachet for employers. Sure, you yourself get a lot of apps from there, you yourself reject a lot of apps from there (and I am guessing, with good reason). And stats can be qualified all day long.

Nevertheless, the market has spoken. As I noted above. a First from any university would stand out to me, but big firms like to hire Oxbridge grads.
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