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QMUL for Law or try again next year?

I am an international student from Canada, graduated from the University of Toronto and applied to law at QMUL, Cambridge, Kings, LSE, UCL. Only QMUL accepted me but I am not very happy with this choice. Is it a good choice? Should I try again and reapply next year? I got a 23 on my lnats which I know I could do better on, and I am an average 3.7 gpa student.

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Original post by mayafawzy
I am an international student from Canada, graduated from the University of Toronto and applied to law at QMUL, Cambridge, Kings, LSE, UCL. Only QMUL accepted me but I am not very happy with this choice. Is it a good choice? Should I try again and reapply next year? I got a 23 on my lnats which I know I could do better on, and I am an average 3.7 gpa student.

QMUL is okay but I don't think I can answer the question of whether you should reapply without knowing you as an applicant. What are your career goals for example? If you're going down the commercial solicitor route they actually care way more about your potential as an individual as opposed to what university you went to. If you're looking to go down the legal academia route or become a barrister, going to a higher-ranked uni is likely to be a significant advantage. Secondly, it's worth considering how important living in London is to you. I'm guessing by your choices that you want to stay in the city, which is understandable. However, universities like Bristol, Warwick and Durham have a better reputation than Queen Mary for Law but are further out. If you are going to reapply, I'd suggest applying to some of these as well, as they tend to be less competitive than LSE/UCL/KCL but are almost as well-respected. However, if you plan on going straight back to Canada after your degree, I assume employers there wouldn't know the difference between the reputation of Queen Mary and Bristol/Warwick/Durham as they probably only would have heard of Oxford/Cambridge/LSE/UCL(?)/KCL(?) maybe, so perhaps there would be no point in reapplying. Also, if you were to reapply, you'd need to aim for at least 27 on the LNAT to give yourself a good chance at securing a place at LSE/UCL/KCL, as well as Bristol and Durham (Warwick doesn't require the LNAT). Even then, that would only put you on an equal footing with many of the other applicants, particularly for LSE/UCL/KCL, which is why even with that score I wouldn't recommend applying only to those in the city.

Another thing about Queen Mary that you may not realise as an international is that while it's close to central London, it's not actually in a touristy London area like King's/UCL/LSE if that's what you were looking for. It's in a pretty rough residential area, which isn't necessarily a reason not to go and you'd be perfectly safe as a student there, but it's just a reminder that being in London isn't the be all and end all and that if you were to reapply, it may be worth considering unis in other parts of the country.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 2
Original post by poppy2022
QMUL is okay but I don't think I can answer the question of whether you should reapply without knowing you as an applicant. What are your career goals for example? If you're going down the commercial solicitor route they actually care way more about your potential as an individual as opposed to what university you went to. If you're looking to go down the legal academia route or become a barrister, going to a higher-ranked uni is likely to be a significant advantage. Secondly, it's worth considering how important living in London is to you. I'm guessing by your choices that you want to stay in the city, which is understandable. However, universities like Bristol, Warwick and Durham have a better reputation than Queen Mary for Law but are further out. If you are going to reapply, I'd suggest applying to some of these as well, as they tend to be less competitive than LSE/UCL/KCL but are almost as well-respected. However, if you plan on going straight back to Canada after your degree, I assume employers there wouldn't know the difference between the reputation of Queen Mary and Bristol/Warwick/Durham as they probably only would have heard of Oxford/Cambridge/LSE/UCL(?)/KCL(?) maybe, so perhaps there would be no point in reapplying. Also, if you were to reapply, you'd need to aim for at least 27 on the LNAT to give yourself a good chance at securing a place at LSE/UCL/KCL, as well as Bristol and Durham (Warwick doesn't require the LNAT). Even then, that would only put you on an equal footing with many of the other applicants, particularly for LSE/UCL/KCL, which is why even with that score I wouldn't recommend applying only to those in the city.
Another thing about Queen Mary that you may not realise as an international is that while it's close to central London, it's not actually in a touristy London area like King's/UCL/LSE if that's what you were looking for. It's in a pretty rough residential area, which isn't necessarily a reason not to go and you'd be perfectly safe as a student there, but it's just a reminder that being in London isn't the be all and end all and that if you were to reapply, it may be worth considering unis in other parts of the country.

Thanks for the response! My ultimate goal would be to work in big law as a corporate lawyer or to open my own practice eventually. Which is why I chose london to begin with. i wanted to be near the city for networking opportunities. Also, I am unsure of whether I would like to eventually return to Canada or not. Also, I have heard such mixed reviews about QMUL and tbh the reputation is quite important to me
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 3
Original post by poppy2022
QMUL is okay but I don't think I can answer the question of whether you should reapply without knowing you as an applicant. What are your career goals for example? If you're going down the commercial solicitor route they actually care way more about your potential as an individual as opposed to what university you went to. If you're looking to go down the legal academia route or become a barrister, going to a higher-ranked uni is likely to be a significant advantage. Secondly, it's worth considering how important living in London is to you. I'm guessing by your choices that you want to stay in the city, which is understandable. However, universities like Bristol, Warwick and Durham have a better reputation than Queen Mary for Law but are further out. If you are going to reapply, I'd suggest applying to some of these as well, as they tend to be less competitive than LSE/UCL/KCL but are almost as well-respected. However, if you plan on going straight back to Canada after your degree, I assume employers there wouldn't know the difference between the reputation of Queen Mary and Bristol/Warwick/Durham as they probably only would have heard of Oxford/Cambridge/LSE/UCL(?)/KCL(?) maybe, so perhaps there would be no point in reapplying. Also, if you were to reapply, you'd need to aim for at least 27 on the LNAT to give yourself a good chance at securing a place at LSE/UCL/KCL, as well as Bristol and Durham (Warwick doesn't require the LNAT). Even then, that would only put you on an equal footing with many of the other applicants, particularly for LSE/UCL/KCL, which is why even with that score I wouldn't recommend applying only to those in the city.
Another thing about Queen Mary that you may not realise as an international is that while it's close to central London, it's not actually in a touristy London area like King's/UCL/LSE if that's what you were looking for. It's in a pretty rough residential area, which isn't necessarily a reason not to go and you'd be perfectly safe as a student there, but it's just a reminder that being in London isn't the be all and end all and that if you were to reapply, it may be worth considering unis in other parts of the country.

That's very good advice. LSE/UCL/KCL are so competitive and there is no guarantee on reapply. Have you thought of Oxbridge MLF/LLM?
Original post by mayafawzy
Thanks for the response! My ultimate goal would be to work in big law as a corporate lawyer or to open my own practice eventually. Which is why I chose london to begin with. i wanted to be near the city for networking opportunities. Also, I am unsure of whether I would like to eventually return to Canada or not. Also, I have heard such mixed reviews about QMUL and tbh the reputation is quite important to me

On the note of networking, you'll have plenty of opportunity for that at somewhere like Bristol/Durham/Warwick. The big commercial law firms target these universities so they often send their workers for talks and networking events. Furthermore, if you end up getting onto any of the work experience schemes with the law firms (e.g. first year insight schemes or vacation schemes) they will pay for you to be in accomodation nearby throughout the duration.

In terms of QMUL's reputation, it's decent, but not in the league of Oxbridge/LSE/UCL. It also differs depending on who you ask in the legal sector. Maybe @katana10000 and @Stiffy Byng can offer some assistance with this question.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 5
Original post by cksiu
That's very good advice. LSE/UCL/KCL are so competitive and there is no guarantee on reapply. Have you thought of Oxbridge MLF/LLM?

I cannot do an LLM yet! They require an LLB, unless I am mistaken?
Reply 6
Original post by mayafawzy
I cannot do an LLM yet! They require an LLB, unless I am mistaken?

Yes, you're right. My mistake. I mean would you consider Oxbridge MLF/LLM after your LLBL? I think it helps if you want getting into the big corporate law firms, if QMUL LLB is not strong enough.
Original post by poppy2022
On the note of networking, you'll have plenty of opportunity for that at somewhere like Bristol/Durham/Warwick. The big commercial law firms target these universities so they often send their workers for talks and networking events. Furthermore, if you end up getting onto any of the work experience schemes with the law firms (e.g. first year insight schemes or vacation schemes) they will pay for you to be in accomodation nearby throughout the duration.
In terms of QMUL's reputation, it's decent, but not in the league of Oxbridge/LSE/UCL. It also differs depending on who you ask in the legal sector. Maybe @katana10000 and @Stiffy Byng can offer some assistance with this question.

I think that people worry too much about university rankings. The university league tables appear to me to be pretty meaningless. Those who compile such tables apply all sorts of metrics, some of which are subjective.

QM is in my opinion a good place to study law. OK, it's not Harvard, but so what? Sir Roy Goode KC, a very distinguished commercial lawyer, was for many years the driving force of QM's commercial law teaching, and QM also has strengths in other areas, such as human rights.

QM is located in a part of London's East End which has been to some extent gentrified, but is still mixed socio-economically, and is ethnically diverse. It's not a dangerous area, and it's well connected to central London by public transport. QM has a commercial law centre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, at the heart of legal London, which I think is mainly for postgrad stuff.

Re-taking the LNAT and trying again for UCL or wherever would be another throw of the dice. Maybe the throw will come good, maybe it won't. I think that if I were the OP I might be inclined to go with what I've got. I am in general a supporter of the maxim attributed to Voltaire, but maybe better attributed to Montesquieu: "Better is the enemy of good".

By way of background, I am a commercial litigation barrister. I studied history at one of the universities where nobody does any work because they are too busy being drunk in punts; and I then did the insta-lawyer course at a cheap and grotty outfit in London. That was a bazillion years ago. I spent many years at a magic circle chambers and now have a more relaxing time at what might be termed a silver circle chambers. I have also worked at a senior level in a couple of international law firms, and have done a bit of occasional university teaching of law undergraduates.
(edited 1 month ago)
As a poster above has stated, commercial law firms recruit the best candidates, regardless of the university the go to. I say this as a partner in a leading international firm, who participates in the trainee recruitment process at my firm. I have also done this at a previous firm that I in which I was a partner. As it happens, my child applied to exactly the same universities that you did this year and their only offer was QMUL. They are very strong academically and I am comfortable with them joining QMUL, from the perspective of obtaining a training contract at a top firm, provided they do well at QMUL and build out their CV.
I should also add that a lot depends on your own mentality. If you feel you will be disappointed at joining a reputationally lesser university that Cambridge, LSE, UCL, etc. then by all means take a gap year. All I would say is that where you go to university, provided that it is credible (which QMUL is) will not be determinative in career outcomes.

Incidentally, my older child also didn't get their first choices of university last year for a STEM subject (ie. Oxford, Imperial and UCL) but has joined a good second-tier university. They want to go down the finance route and due to strong academics and CV building have manages to obtain several internships in leading institutions for M&A, consultancy and trading.

Finally, your LNAT is probably not high enough for the four universities who rejected you - QMUL doesn't take LNAT into consideration when making offers.
Original post by Stiffy Byng
I think that people worry too much about university rankings. The university league tables appear to me to be pretty meaningless. Those who compile such tables apply all sorts of metrics, some of which are subjective.
QM is in my opinion a good place to study law. OK, it's not Harvard, but so what? Sir Roy Goode KC, a very distinguished commercial lawyer, was for many years the driving force of QM's commercial law teaching, and QM also has strengths in other areas, such as human rights.
QM is located in a part of London's East End which has been to some extent gentrified, but is still mixed socio-economically, and is ethnically diverse. It's not a dangerous area, and it's well connected to central London by public transport. QM has a commercial law centre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, at the heart of legal London, which I think is mainly for postgrad stuff.
Re-taking the LNAT and trying again for UCL or wherever would be another throw of the dice. Maybe the throw will come good, maybe it won't. I think that if I were the OP I might be inclined to go with what I've got. I am in general a supporter of the maxim attributed to Voltaire, but maybe better attributed to Montesquieu: "Better is the enemy of good".
By way of background, I am a commercial litigation barrister. I studied history at one of the universities where nobody does any work because they are too busy being drunk in punts; and I then did the insta-lawyer course at a cheap and grotty outfit in London. That was a bazillion years ago. I spent many years at a magic circle chambers and now have a more relaxing time at what might be termed a silver circle chambers. I have also worked at a senior level in a couple of international law firms, and have done a bit of occasional university teaching of law undergraduates.

I agree with all of this.
OP, when you listed five universities, you put QMUL on your list. If QMUL was good enough then, why isn't it good enough now? Please don't allow the lustre of Cambridge, UCL, KCL, and LSE to cast QMUL into the shade.

For my money, I'd rather study at QMUL than LSE, because I think that you might perhaps have a better student experience at QMUL. I base this view partly on some work which I have done with QMUL, partly on the view of a friend who teaches law at LSE, and partly also on the view of another friend who is a distinguished alumnus of LSE. Neither of those two friends would now recommend people to apply to LSE, because they think that it has undergone some negative changes. But all such judgments are subjective.

Please listen to what katana10000 says - he or she knows what he or she is talking about.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Stiffy Byng
OP, when you listed five universities, you put QMUL on your list. If QMUL was good enough then, why isn't it good enough now? Please don't allow the lustre of Cambridge, UCL, KCL, and LSE to cast QMUL into the shade.
For my money, I'd rather study at QMUL than LSE, because I think that you might perhaps have a better student experience at QMUL. I base this view partly on some work which I have done with QMUL, partly on the view of a friend who teaches law at LSE, and partly also on the view of another friend who is a distinguished alumnus of LSE. Neither of those two friends would now recommend people to apply to LSE, because they think that it has undergone some negative changes. But all such judgments are subjective.
Please listen to what katana10000 says - he or she knows what he or she is talking about.
Again, I agree with Stiffy Bing. I told both of my children to only put down universities that they were willing to study at. That's why they both applied to "top" universities (thereby risking a high rejection rate) and yes, I do consider QMUL to be in that category when it comes to recruitment into commercial law firms. Looking at statistics that show greater numbers of candidates from Oxbridge, LSE, UCL, etc. entering commercial law firms just means that they have a higher number of top quality candidates - it is not a function of the reputation of those universities automatically guaranteeing a job. One of my colleague's children obtained a good 2:1 in law at Durham but because they had not spent the time to build their CV, they did not receive any training contracts and have gone into a non-law grad scheme.

As it happens, QMUL was my child's insurance as they do not look at the LNAT. Another leading university that does not look at LNAT is Warwick but my child preferred to study in London rather than outside.

From personal experience, when I applied to universities 30 years ago, I applied to what I considered the "top" universities and I only got an offer from my insurance choice. I am absolutely certain that it had no impact on my ultimate career outcomes and TBH, with the life experience I have now, I think I did better at my insurance choice than I would have done if I had attended my first choice of Oxford (based on teaching styles mainly).

If you do decide to take a gap year to apply to other universities you have no guarantee that you will obtain an offer from a university that you consider to be "better" than QMUL. My advice would be to take the win and make the most of your studies there - if you are a strong candidate and perform well at interview, you have a good chance of getting into a leading law firm.

Good luck!
Reply 13
Thank you all so much for your help. I think my family has conditioned me to go to top tier universities which is why I’m kind of disappointed. LSE was my first choice and the reason they gave me was that my personal statement was not satisfactory. For the LNATs, I can definitely do better as I have been studying for longer now. My main concern as well is what if I decide to practice elsewhere? Will school reputation matter?
My child was predicted 4A*, scored 28 on LNAT and had a good personal statement. Applying again next year with a better LNAT score won’t guarantee you a better outcome. I can’t comment about law firm recruitment outside of the UK but so presume that if you trained at a good firm here you could switch to another common law jurisdiction relatively easy.
Original post by cksiu
Yes, you're right. My mistake. I mean would you consider Oxbridge MLF/LLM after your LLBL? I think it helps if you want getting into the big corporate law firms, if QMUL LLB is not strong enough.

Nah Law firms don'r care much about a Masters - it's what I've heard from Grad Rec / Early Talent at a few commercial law firms.
Original post by InnateImpunity
Nah Law firms don'r care much about a Masters - it's what I've heard from Grad Rec / Early Talent at a few commercial law firms.


It won’t make up for a poor undergraduate result and doesn’t change the fact that quality of candidate is the single most important factor.
Original post by katana10000
It won’t make up for a poor undergraduate result and doesn’t change the fact that quality of candidate is the single most important factor.


I agree. Law firms and chambers don't recruit universities, they recruit candidates. The facts that successful candidates at some organisations sometimes or often (but not exclusively) come from a relatively small group of universities may relate to the type of students who obtain entry to those universities and to the quality of the education which those students obtain at those universities, but other candidates are not excluded - good candidates can make themselves known.

The organisations are commercial and they try to recruit the most suitable people. They don't limit themselves to people from specific backgrounds (maybe some once did, but things have changed). If X and Co have hired people from universities A, B, and C in the last five years, that doesn't mean that X and Co only hire from those universities, or will reject all candidates from universities D, E, and F.

QMUL is a good university, and its graduates can realistically compete for positions along with graduates of other good universities. If family pressure or your sense of self worth compel you to try access some other university, you can try, but you might not succeed. I again ask: why was QMUL on your list if you weren't keen to study there? There was always a chance that the other four universities you applied to would say no.

If your only offer was from [insert name of whatever is currently thought to be the worst law school in the UK], then you might be sensible to try again, but that's not your situation.
Reply 18
Original post by Stiffy Byng
I agree. Law firms and chambers don't recruit universities, they recruit candidates. The facts that successful candidates at some organisations sometimes or often (but not exclusively) come from a relatively small group of universities may relate to the type of students who obtain entry to those universities and to the quality of the education which those students obtain at those universities, but other candidates are not excluded - good candidates can make themselves known.
The organisations are commercial and they try to recruit the most suitable people. They don't limit themselves to people from specific backgrounds (maybe some once did, but things have changed). If X and Co have hired people from universities A, B, and C in the last five years, that doesn't mean that X and Co only hire from those universities, or will reject all candidates from universities D, E, and F.
QMUL is a good university, and its graduates can realistically compete for positions along with graduates of other good universities. If family pressure or your sense of self worth compel you to try access some other university, you can try, but you might not succeed. I again ask: why was QMUL on your list if you weren't keen to study there? There was always a chance that the other four universities you applied to would say no.
If your only offer was from [insert name of whatever is currently thought to be the worst law school in the UK], then you might be sensible to try again, but that's not your situation.

Thanks for the advice! I applied to QMUL because of two reasons: the senior status degree and the proximity to London. I won’t lie it wasn’t my top choice but I cared more about living in London. Maybe that was wrong of me.
Original post by mayafawzy
Thanks for the advice! I applied to QMUL because of two reasons: the senior status degree and the proximity to London. I won’t lie it wasn’t my top choice but I cared more about living in London. Maybe that was wrong of me.

QMUL wasn't your top choice. It was one of your choices. You chose it. It then chose you. I shall be blunt: you evidently don't want to go to QMUL because you (or maybe your family) are convinced that you "deserve" (whatever that means) to get into Cambridge, UCL, KCL, or LSE. Those universities have disagreed with this assessment, thus far. Maybe next year they will still disagree with that assessment , or maybe one or more of them will change its mind. Who is doing the degree? You, or your family?

If you keep posting in this thread, eventually someone will tell you what you wish to hear. But only you can decide whether to try again and risk the same outcome, or to take what you have on the table.
(edited 1 month ago)

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