Law firms urged to give special consideration to Nottingham students

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  • With an increasing competition to get TCs, theres no excuse for students who get 2.2 unless there is a mitigating circumstance. Law firms already have to go through thousands of applications per year.

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  • Let's be honest - getting a 2:1 is not particularly difficult. Perhaps the letter should have gone something like this:

    Dear Law Firms,

    Some of our students can't be bothered to do any work. They spend most of their time on the razz or in bed, as a result of which they graduate with a 2:2.

    Please still consider them for training contracts.


    University of Nottingham

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  • So what makes Nottingham think they are so special? Every law school in the country can claim that their modules " provides them with the grounding to mature as well-rounded learners who can go on to graduate with first class and upper second class degrees at the end of their studies.” Pathetic.

    If your pupils ar enot up to scratch, don't debase yourselves by making such pathetic pleas.

    Law recruiters everywhere - pay special attention to Nottingham applicants to make sure they are given a harder not easier time than other Universities. Who the hell do they think they are - Oxbridge?!?

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  • The article and the following comments appear to miss the point. What the School are admitting is that their grading policy is incredibly harsh in comparison to other universities; that given their grading criteria, an exam that is awarded a high 2.2 from Nottingham will likely get a 2.1 from other universities and so students shouldn't be penalised for the School's policy. The fact that the heads of the School are readily admitting this (and it's not just Nottingham students complaining) surely shows the truth in the matter.

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  • As one of the student representatives responsible for raising the issue of first year grades at Nottingham to lecturers at the time I can add the following:

    1. The letter is nothing to do with students who graduate with a 2:2 overall, it is to clarify the marking structure Nottingham adopts during first year (generally thought to be very strict and justified by the school who want to enforce high standards from the very start of the degree programme).

    Law students applying for vacation schemes have only their first year grades to add to the form and therefore it is vital that a student applying with 58 from their first year is not deemed a ‘bad’ applicant and rejected as a result of that when, generally, 58 from first year is well above average at Nottingham and, given historic data, it is highly probable that student will graduate with a 2:1 or above at the end of the three year programme.

    2. The issue of first year grades at Nottingham was raised with me many times over the course of my two year involvement with graduate recruiters who target Nottingham and was NOT raised by students ‘complaining’ that they only got a 2:2 in first year.

    3. Various recruiters advised me that other universities they target had written letters clarifying the marking scheme for first year exams. Every university obviously has their individual policy but the broad idea often being that, generally, high 2:2 grades were to be applauded rather than to be seen as evidence of a student who hadn’t applied themselves in first year.

    As a result of the concerns of recruiters at the time I raised the issue with the School of Law and they were appreciative of the issue and took time out to clarify the situation to firms to ensure second year law students at Nottingham were not disadvantaged when applying for vacation schemes, my argument being that, given the action of other universities in clarifying first year marking of law papers, they would have been had the school taken no action.

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  • The University of Nottingham only ask Law firms to consider students who have not obtained a 2:1 in all their first year modules - not a 2:1 in their overall degree. If everyone read the letter properly they would realise this rather than jumping to ignorant conclusions.

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  • The difference is that most uni's grade boundaries differ for each year you study. So what you write to get a 2.1 in your first year is nothing like what you write in your second year to get the same mark.
    Nottingham consistently grade ALL exams and coursework at a third year level. Hence the average marks being in the 50's in first year! I'm currently at law school and am amazed at how much of an easy ride students at other law schools had during their first two years.

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  • Some of you seem to have missed the point...

    This letter applies to first year grades ONLY. The letter states that many of the students who achieve marks in the 50's in first year go on to achieve 2.1's and firsts and therefore should not be so readily dismissed.

    Those of you thinking this applies to the overally degree classification need to pay more attention to detail - you can't be a successful lawyer without an important skill like that!

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  • What a poorly researched and misleading article. Did you bother to read the letter before writing? Not to mention that letters were being sent from a number of other target universities long before Nottingham. If you actually bother to read the letter, you will see that the school isn't trying to make excuses for those who fail to achieve an overall 2:1 in their degree at all.

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  • Why should Nottingham students be discriminated for this joke letter, which was not, as posted, dated yesterday but in fact several years ago?

    Nottingham University Law School is notoriously harsh on their first year students and indeed a notorious harsh marker in general, hence why a Nottingham Law degree is more respected than some of their counterparts.

    Furthermore, the letter does not ask for consideration regarding second and final year marks, just first year.

    Get your facts straight before you criticise.

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  • It's common knowledge amongst law firms that Nottingham offers the hardest law degree out there. It marks first year students to a final year standard, hence why first years applying for vac schemes tend perhaps not to have as good grades as students from other universities.

    Nottingham is known as one of the best law schools in the country, and is considered by many firms as the best outside of Oxbridge, hence the letter sent by the university to firms for special consideration.

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  • This article falsely implies that the letter is asking for firms to give special consideration to University of Nottingham students who GRADUATE with a 2:2. It isn't. The letter is intended to highlight that whilst Uni Nottingham School of Law boasts graduation results that are on par with the highest achieving Schools in the country, first year results are markedly lower than in those other schools because of the way in which the papers are marked at Nottingham. This doesn't affect students' degree results (it pushes them to work harder in the two following years that "count"), but it does affect their applications to vacation schemes specifically which are based on first year grades.

    I think everyone can agree that this letter is a far better option than "dumbing down" first year marking tactics to ensure competitiveness with other schools' results.

    Ultimately the only travesty here is the poor journalism.

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  • Second paragraph says "In a letter to law firms head of school Professor Stephen Bailey and co-directors of undergraduate studies Professor Nigel Gravells and Professor Peter Cartwright stated: “some of our students face difficulties when applying to vacation schemes and training contracts because they do not meet the increasingly common initial threshold of upper second class marks in their first year assessments”.

  • To the person who asks 'Who the hell do they think they are - Oxbridge?' I can inform you that yes, Nottingham School of Law generally IS considered in the same bracket as Oxbridge. Employers are well aware of the exemplary standards that Nottingham maintains.

    Oh well, as long as we're up against people like you who can't seem to read a letter and actually grasp what its true meaning is, I may find it easier to get a training contract than I first thought :)

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  • so according to the 'Anonymous' Nottingham uni student @ 5-Dec-2012 3:48 pm, a Nottingham law degree is so great and so hard that it is universally known as such amongst all the 'top firms' and this is the reason why they are grovelling for special consideration... sound logic

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  • @right - A large number of top firms target Nottingham each year in their grad rec cycle (as they do with a number of other universities). The firms actively seek out Nottingham University graduates because they have had positive experiences in the past (same logic they use when selecting all target unis).

    The issue was that they were targeting the university but less than they would like were going through to assessment days etc and this was (largely) due to poor first year grades. Grad Rec departments at a number of firms were frustrated and puzzled by this and made their feelings known, as a result elected student representatives approached the school and asked for their co-operation and the letter is a result of that process of clarification.

    They knew the graduates were good but it was a lack of communication between the school and firms that was causing Nottingham students to miss out due to expectations/quotas re first year grades. As a result of this letter that should no longer happen.

    It should also be noted that the letter was first sent some time ago (January 2011 I think) and not as recently as the letter uploaded to the website suggests.

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  • Read the actual document - they are not grovelling for special consideration for the degree, they are asking that first years who are marked more harshly at Nottingham than elsewhere be considered fairly in second year when applying for vac schemes with deceptively low first year marks.

    Might want to hone those comprehension skills if you want a 2:1.

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  • I'm not going to pretend to be a law student, or to know anywhere near as much about law as all of you reading this article.
    What I can say is this. I study at the University of Nottingham, with a law student as a girlfriend. Since moving in with her, my grades have gone up. I can confirm that she is not out on the razz, nor is she a waster, only concerned with enjoying the freedom inherent to university life. She participates in Mooting Society, recently beating Oxford University, in Bar Society (doing something related to law, I'm not sure what), and is a prominent student voice within the department.
    Lo and behold, she attained a 2:2 in one of her modules in her First Year. I am certain that this was not due to a lack of study, I frequently had to remind her that food was not an optional extra. Since her First Year, she has gone on to achieve 2:1s, Firsts, and is currently studying abroad for a year. She works the same hours, but her technique has matured as her knowledge broadened.
    I do not know how it is at other universities when in the First Year of a Law Degree, but other departments in this university do not mark as harshly as this one, where a First is an achievement to boast of, not something that can simply be attained by a rushed coursework the night before.

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  • Re right @ 5 Dec 4:30pm.

    Agreed. The whole argument seems rather perverse.

    If Nottingham is universally recognised as being so good (as is being claimes), then why are they grovelling for special dispensation?

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  • I would say that in my experience, and in light of having read the story re. University of Nottingham, i would have to agree with the directors of that University. I recently (June) finished my studies at bachelors level, in a non-law subject (Criminology). Reflecting on my marks, i achieved 2:1 in year 1. I had a very difficult time in my first year due to finances and personal stuff, commitments etc, and finally ended my degree gaining a first with hons. It is the experience and the opportunity which is so very important which ultimately adds to the fully developed graduate. Consideration consideration...

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  • To those who have criticised the University of Nottingham, read the article again!
    It clearly says that the marking system is harsh - in fact they apply the third year marking system from the first year - so if you come out with a 2:1 in first year, you've done extremely well and you are likely to get a First when you graduate.
    Why do you think a degree from our University is highly regarded?!

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