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The Relative Weight of Subject Knowledge and Type of University Attended: A Comparison of Law Higher Education in England and Germany

19 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2016 Last revised: 2 Mar 2017

Anna Mountford-Zimdars

King's College London

John Flood

Griffith University Law School; University of Westminster School of Law; University College London

Date Written: November 6, 2016

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between legal practice and type of university attended and degree course studied for English and German lawyers. For England, some of the analysis is only based on data for barristers. We find that university attended matters a great deal for English barristers if they tend to have graduated from elite universities within the stratified British higher education system. In contrast, the flat German higher education system is also mirrored in the profile of lawyers who were graduates in the top jobs come from a wide range of institutions. For Germany, attainment at university and graduating in law are keys to unlocking elite positions whereas the status of university seems second to none in the British system, trumping having studied law as a first degree. The paper thus empirically confirms anecdotal insights that knowledge and skills directly related to law matter more for early career entry in Germany and generic skills and socialization at elite universities matter more for transitioning into elite legal employment in England. It is unclear from the available data whether the different structures mean that the social make-up of the legal professions differs, but it is clear that different ways of accessing this key profession operate in the two contexts.

Keywords: Legal Profession, Bar, barristers, lawyers, England and Wales, Germany, university, legal education

JEL Classification: L23, L26, J23, J44

Suggested Citation

Mountford-Zimdars, Anna and Flood, John, The Relative Weight of Subject Knowledge and Type of University Attended: A Comparison of Law Higher Education in England and Germany (November 6, 2016). Griffith University Law School Research Paper No. 16-18; U. of Westminster School of Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2865074

Anna Mountford-Zimdars

King's College London ( email )

Strand
London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

John A. Flood (Contact Author)

Griffith University Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus
170 Kessels Road
Nathan 4111, Queensland
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://experts.griffith.edu.au/academic/j.flood

University of Westminster School of Law ( email )

4 Little Titchfield Street
London, England W1W 7UW
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.westminster.ac.uk

University College London ( email )

Faculty of Laws
Endsleigh Gardens
London, England WC1H 0EG
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.laws.ucl.ac.uk/people-at-ucl-laws/honorary-appointments/

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