The Student Room Group

I need some serious advice

Just finished my a levels, Law, Biology and Chemistry. I think I’ve achieved an AAC at best and a BBD at worst (I think I’m going to get an AAD). I want to become a lawyer, but I am unsure of what the best course of action would be to take now.

Very brief details I know, but I didn’t want this thread to be specific and just wanted advice on EVERYTHING ranging from what: University, extracurricular activities/tasks should I do to maximise my chances of employment after graduation, if I should do a different course at a higher ranked University and if so how can that then lead onto a career in law, if I should go to a lower ranked Law University and how does that affect me. Literally any advice that would be relevant to me in anyway regarding my situation would be highly appreciated, and any things that I could do to better my chances at a career in a legal profession.


If I do go on to study Law at University (which is my current plan, but I am open to any advice on taking a different course to go down another route to becoming a lawyer) I know I can get a First, and I know that sounds very overconfident and a little far fetched, but Chemistry is/was not my subject and my grade from it is the main dilemma in my situation. I do truly believe I can achieve the best of the best grades at University because I genuinely love learning about the law, and it is my kind of subject. Any advice would be very much appreciated.


Also, information about the JD and LLM routes is very useful for me to know, specifically the pros and cons of each one and the timeline of each of these.


Regarding an LLM, if I did go to a lower ranked non-RG Uni and studied law (LLB), is it possible to then study a masters at somewhere like Cambridge, Oxford or one of the best Universities in the UK, if I was to get a first at LLB, and if so what other things can I do throughout my LLB studies that would strengthen my application so I can compete against the top of the Russell Group applicants (I know the university matters a lot, especially in law, but anything that could bridge that gap in the slightest would be highly appreciated). Thank you for reading this long-ass thread lol.
Just finished my a levels, Law, Biology and Chemistry. I think I’ve achieved an AAC at best and a BBD at worst (I think I’m going to get an AAD). I want to become a lawyer, but I am unsure of what the best course of action would be to take now.
Very brief details I know, but I didn’t want this thread to be specific and just wanted advice on EVERYTHING ranging from what: University, extracurricular activities/tasks should I do to maximise my chances of employment after graduation, if I should do a different course at a higher ranked University and if so how can that then lead onto a career in law, if I should go to a lower ranked Law University and how does that affect me. Literally any advice that would be relevant to me in anyway regarding my situation would be highly appreciated, and any things that I could do to better my chances at a career in a legal profession.
If I do go on to study Law at University (which is my current plan, but I am open to any advice on taking a different course to go down another route to becoming a lawyer) I know I can get a First, and I know that sounds very overconfident and a little far fetched, but Chemistry is/was not my subject and my grade from it is the main dilemma in my situation. I do truly believe I can achieve the best of the best grades at University because I genuinely love learning about the law, and it is my kind of subject. Any advice would be very much appreciated.
Also, information about the JD and LLM routes is very useful for me to know, specifically the pros and cons of each one and the timeline of each of these.
Regarding an LLM, if I did go to a lower ranked non-RG Uni and studied law (LLB), is it possible to then study a masters at somewhere like Cambridge, Oxford or one of the best Universities in the UK, if I was to get a first at LLB, and if so what other things can I do throughout my LLB studies that would strengthen my application so I can compete against the top of the Russell Group applicants (I know the university matters a lot, especially in law, but anything that could bridge that gap in the slightest would be highly appreciated). Thank you for reading this long-ass thread lol.


I think you should resit your A Levels as they don’t sound as they will be at the level that many leading universities or law firms would look at.
Reply 2
Original post by katana10000
I think you should resit your A Levels as they don’t sound as they will be at the level that many leading universities or law firms would look at.
These are my resits from a BDD last year, and I know some universities that take B B C, but if I get an B B D would I be able to get through in clearing, to say Northampton? I know it's lower ranked, but I need to know EVERYTHING on how to strength my CV as the best possible candidate for when I've finished my LLB. That's why I was asking about whether (if I decide to, and I NEED all of your advice on this topic, be 100% straight and honest no bs) if say I smashed out everything at Uni and get a first, would I be able to get a Master's at oxbridge or at least a UCL or one of the best Universities in the UK with such a stacked CV. Or should I take the JD route? So many questions.
OP, I assume that by JD you mean Juris Doctor, the American postgraduate law degree. Obtaining a place at a law school in the US is not easy, and the course costs are high.

In the UK, many law firms and sets of chambers are now assessing applicants university-blind. University rankings are much discussed here, but they are arbitrary, sometimes misleading, and make less difference when seeking a career than people may suppose. For example, some of the apparently qualitative measures used by league tables are in fact quantitative.

What matters is the quality of the candidate seeking a position. Graduates of the leading universities tend to have done well throughout the educational system and may be competitive in job applications because of their abilities, not simply because they went to university X or Y. The fact that such universities are hard to get into and do well at means that their graduates may tend to perform better than other candidates. To this extent, the name of a university (where disclosed) may send a message to an employer about a candidate, but sensible employers look at individuals.

An LLM may assist, but the classification of your first degree will still be considered. If you can't re sit-A levels, then the best way to overcome somewhat imperfect A level results is to do as well as possible in your undergraduate degree.

If you aspire to work in the commercial legal sector, you may have to moderate your aspirations, because you will be up against people who have pretty stellar CVs from GCSE onwards.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 4
Original post by Stiffy Byng
OP, I assume that by JD you mean Juris Doctor, the American postgraduate law degree. Obtaining a place at a law school in the US is not easy, and the course costs are high.
In the UK, many law firms and sets of chambers are now assessing applicants university-blind. University rankings are much discussed here, but they are arbitrary, sometimes misleading, and make less difference when seeking a career than people may suppose. For example, some of the apparently qualitative measures used by league tables are in fact quantitative.
What matters is the quality of the candidate seeking a position. Graduates of the leading universities tend to have done well throughout the educational system and may be competitive in job applications because of their abilities, not simply because they went to university X or Y. The fact that such universities are hard to get into and do well at means that their graduates may tend to perform better than other candidates. To this extent, the name of a university (where disclosed) may send a message to an employer about a candidate, but sensible employers look at individuals.
An LLM may assist, but the classification of your first degree will still be considered. The best way to overcome somewhat imperfect A level results is to do as well as possible in your undergraduate degree,

About assessing applicants university-blind, I saw this somewhere earlier and wasn't sure if it's legit. About LLM, it is possible to go to Oxbridge or UCL if you graduate with stacked credentials and a first at a low-rank University?
University-blind assessment of candidates for training contracts and pupillages is not universal but it is something done by a number of firms and sets of chambers.

I am not sure what you mean by "stacked credentials". With a first, you would have a shot at obtaining a place on a postgraduate course at Oxford, Cambridge, or UCL, but you would be competing for such a place against people with firsts from those universities and several others, and those candidates might out-perform you.
I like to be positive but also realistic. Your academic performance to-date does not bode well with regards to the likelihood of you getting a first at university. Think carefully before committing to a course which could leave you £100k in debt without a favourable career outcome at the end of it.
Reply 7
Original post by katana10000
I like to be positive but also realistic. Your academic performance to-date does not bode well with regards to the likelihood of you getting a first at university. Think carefully before committing to a course which could leave you £100k in debt without a favourable career outcome at the end of it.

I get that 100% and I appreciate the honestly, but I know what I can achieve, and these a level potential grades do not show my true academic potential. Law for me is something else, I know I can do very well. So you're saying that if I do what I'm saying (going low ranked Uni, getting a first, then going oxbridge at masters) is possible?
Reply 8
Original post by Stiffy Byng
University-blind assessment of candidates for training contracts and pupillages is not universal but it is something done by a number of firms and sets of chambers.
I am not sure what you mean by "stacked credentials". With a first, you would have a shot at obtaining a place on a postgraduate course at Oxford, Cambridge, or UCL, but you would be competing for such a place against people with firsts from those universities and several others, and those candidates might out-perform you.

When I stack credentials, I mean a CV full of extra curriculars, bags of legal work experience and on top of that a first. Is that enough to potentially entertain an oxbridge?
Just finished my a levels, Law, Biology and Chemistry. I think I’ve achieved an AAC at best and a BBD at worst (I think I’m going to get an AAD). I want to become a lawyer, but I am unsure of what the best course of action would be to take now.
Very brief details I know, but I didn’t want this thread to be specific and just wanted advice on EVERYTHING ranging from what: University, extracurricular activities/tasks should I do to maximise my chances of employment after graduation, if I should do a different course at a higher ranked University and if so how can that then lead onto a career in law, if I should go to a lower ranked Law University and how does that affect me. Literally any advice that would be relevant to me in anyway regarding my situation would be highly appreciated, and any things that I could do to better my chances at a career in a legal profession.
If I do go on to study Law at University (which is my current plan, but I am open to any advice on taking a different course to go down another route to becoming a lawyer) I know I can get a First, and I know that sounds very overconfident and a little far fetched, but Chemistry is/was not my subject and my grade from it is the main dilemma in my situation. I do truly believe I can achieve the best of the best grades at University because I genuinely love learning about the law, and it is my kind of subject. Any advice would be very much appreciated.
Also, information about the JD and LLM routes is very useful for me to know, specifically the pros and cons of each one and the timeline of each of these.
Regarding an LLM, if I did go to a lower ranked non-RG Uni and studied law (LLB), is it possible to then study a masters at somewhere like Cambridge, Oxford or one of the best Universities in the UK, if I was to get a first at LLB, and if so what other things can I do throughout my LLB studies that would strengthen my application so I can compete against the top of the Russell Group applicants (I know the university matters a lot, especially in law, but anything that could bridge that gap in the slightest would be highly appreciated). Thank you for reading this long-ass thread lol.

Hi there,

It is great to see that you are enthusiastic and committed to pursuing a career in law. There are lots of options and pieces of advice which can help you pick the best pathway.

When picking the right university for you, it is important to look at the university's reputation, performance and activities during your degree which may be crucial. You may want to consider choosing universities which offer strong support for law students etc.

Even if you decide to pursue a different course you can still have the option to transition into Law later on. There are lots of routes which non-law graduates choose to take in order to convert their degree into a law qualification. If this is the case, then maybe consider relevant degrees which may have transferable skills which are valuable in law settings.

It is also worth looking at universities which offer extracurricular activities who may help develop skills such as placements, internships or volunteering opportunities.

In terms of pro's and con's of LLM and JD routes I would suggest doing extra research as I am not familiar in these areas. However I am sure it is possible to study an LLM at a top university like Cambridge or Oxford after completing your LLB at a lower-ranked university. I would suggest aiming for things like a first, participating in extracurriculars showing commitment and demonstrating leadership in law. Try to get involved in research projects, aim to network and gain any relevant legal experience through internships, volunteering or part-time work in the industry.

It is also important to ensure your passion for law in order for success. Keep this motivation as you navigate your studies and career path. Remember, there are multiple pathways to pursuing Law, make sure to align your strengths and interests.

I hope this helps a little bit! Best of luck with your future endevours in law!

All the best,

Millie 🙂
BSc International Development
When I stack credentials, I mean a CV full of extra curriculars, bags of legal work experience and on top of that a first. Is that enough to potentially entertain an oxbridge?

Oxford and Cambridge are interested mainly in academic performance and potential, so extra curricular activities and work experience won't make much difference to an application to study as a postgraduate, but may be relevant when applying for jobs. Do you hope to become a solicitor or a barrister?

It is hard to say what effect if any "degree washing" by way of an LLM/BCL has on an application for a training contract or a pupillage. I think that katana10000, who is an experienced commercial solicitor, has expressed scepticism in other threads that it makes much difference to training contract bids. From my perspective as a commercial barrister, degree washing doesn't harm an application, but I'm not sure that it adds much to it. An Oxford BCL or an Ivy League LLM might be of most benefit if seeking a London Commercial pupillage. Those qualifications do tend to get noticed.

For the Ivy League, there are Kennedy and Fulbright scholarships, but as you might expect competition for those is intense.

You might consider also a degree in a subject other than law followed by a GDL. That takes as long and costs about as much as a law degree plus one year postgrad. Every now and them interesting courses become available through clearing at good universities such as Exeter and Birmingham, to name but two.
(edited 1 month ago)

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