Universities churn out record numbers of top class LLB students

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  • Law degrees are still challenging

    I graduated in Law in 2001 and as I recall about a quarter of students dropped out after the first year despite high A-Level grades. However, I wouldn't say that the university exams at that stage were being dumbed down in any way.

    At the end of the course only a handful of students were awarded firsts but they were well known for being extremely bright. 40% or less got a 2:1 and we had to work incredibly hard - it was certainly not handed out on a plate.

    It was a major battle to get good marks and the standards expected were high. By far the majority of students received 2:2s or thirds.

    I wonder if any of the improvements are linked to the introduction of coursework essays? My degree was 100% exam based unless you did an optional dissertation of 15,000 words in your final year which counted for an eighth of the grade awarded.

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  • England v South Africa

    The proximate cause of international law firms recruiting at Stellenbosch University South Africa is probably due to the high standard of the institution. The facts are that high quality students are produced by high quality education and not so much 'traditional' institutions misrepresenting themselves as such.

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  • London Met univeristy

    I graduated with a 2.1 LL.B Business Law from London Guildhall (now Met) in 1994, when it was by then a university. The standard after the 1st year was very, very high. I challenge anyone to say that the exams were easy.

    We were tested on practical problem solving and we had to get it right within severe tiem limits. Yes, there were the usual essay questions and optional 3rd year dissertation.

    However, the course was very rigorous. Nowadays when I see contracts from the 'wonders' who come out of 'better' universities I despair. The discrimination shown to me as a 'Poly' graduate was based on sheer ignorance not to mention snobbism.

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  • The Diplock Paradox

    Perhaps the fuss about qualifications will finally come full circle; a degree-based recruitment system which started off as a filter to help firms' HR departments not drowning in a sea of thousands of applications would have screened out of the profession Lords Diplock (2:2) and Halsbury (a 4th!). Now GCSEs are unfailable, A Levels no better and 2:1s come free in the newspaper, perhaps we'll get back to recruiting lawyers who are actually able as opposed to merely qualified.

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  • 1st: 2:1 or third? its not be all end all

    at end of day, the classification of degree class is just a rough guide of the calibre of student - it does not bear any reflection of the quality of the student churned out at universities these days - without the right work attitude and ethics, one will still not cut it at private practice. having said that, private practice itself doesn't define a successful legal profession judging by the huge numbers going in-house nowadays. You will be surprised at the handful of 2:2 and 3rds who work harder, think smarter and are more creative at solving issues than the supposed superior 1sts and 2:2. You see these sorts from time to time inhouse.

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  • Hm.

    2.1s need to be split. Job done.

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  • Lies, Damned Lies

    The methodology used for the "inflation" is somewhat suspect and rather misleading. The person who put that figure together is simply comparing the number of 1sts and 2:1's given in 1997 to the number achieved by students in 2007. So if 5 out of 12 students got top degrees in 1997 and 30 out of 80 got top degrees in 2007 this guy is saying that "inflation" = 500% which is, quite frankly, nonsense and certainly not newsworthy. Beware Bucks New - if 2 of your students get a first and a 2:1 next year your "inflation" will be infinite and you won't get any credit for having inspired hard working students to achieve the best possible result.
    This is a farce.

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  • Re: Damned Lies

    The comment - 'Lies, Damned Lies' posted by 'and statistics' below is based on a misunderstanding of the methodology which is explained on the qed website.

    The inflation figure was calculated by comparing the PERCENTAGE of firsts and upper seconds in 1997 with that in 2007 and not the absolute number.

    So in the hypothetical example s/he provides the percentage in 1997 - 41.7% - is compared with the percentage in 2007 - 37.5% - and the change (41.7% - 37.5% = 4.2%) expresses as a percentage of the 1997 figure. In this case, a decrease of 10.1%.

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  • Lies Damned Lies

    Acknowledged, Ed, but what I was really driving at was the fact that the hypothesis is weak and that there is no effort to provide a more meaningful correlation - perhaps between UCAS points required for entry to a course and degrees awarded. In statistics you would also tend to ignore data that provided such extreme results precisely to avoid what will know doubt happen to Bucks New next year. All the variables mentioned by the author simply require more scientific treatment before being presented

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  • Of course they are worth less

    The Law firms have declared that they will only hire people with firsts and 2:1s, this means that the law colleges which are primarily vocational, rather than academic, have decided to abdicate the responsibility for decision making and just award 2:1s to everyone who isn't subnormal.

    Obviously to solve this and the problem with A-level inflation is to assume that the top 1% of students get 1sts and the next 20% get 2:1s.

    The same would apply to A levels and create genuine competition.

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