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The myth that to be a law student a person has to be from a grammar or independent school has been rebuffed by new research, Lawyer2B.com can reveal.
The study, conducted by the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) consortium, showed that there was less than one point between comprehensive, grammar and public schools.
The LNAT consortium examined more than 5,000 multiple-choice admission tests, which were scored out of 30, from 10 universities over a five-month period.
On average, law degree applicants from comprehensives scored 17.04, compared with 17.67 for independents and 17.86 for grammar schools.
University of Durham professor Gavin Phillipson, the author of the report, said the results suggest that school background has little impact on performance in the test.
The research also showed the admission test does not favour either gender, with males doing slightly better than females, by 0.8 points. This is significantly different from A-levels where girls outperform boys by 10 per cent.
The results for law admissions multiple-choice test show the balance is tipped in favour of applicants from white backgrounds. In the LNAT, those from white British backgrounds surpass those of Indian origin by almost three points.
At A-levels, 8 per cent of both white British and Indian origins gain at least three or more A or AS levels, with 18.9 per cent of Chinese reaching the same level.
Phillipson said: The differential performance of ethnic minority candidates is far less marked in the LNAT than at A-level, which suggests that the measures LNAT is taking to close the gap are having some positive effect.
Preliminary research by the Widening Participation Unit at the University of Bristol has indicated that the introduction of LNAT has had a small but positive effect upon widening participation.
The LNAT was launched in 2004 and is now compulsory for students who want to study law at Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Exeter, Glasgow, Nottingham and Oxford universities, plus Kings College London and University College London.