Over a quarter of law graduates are unemployed or have jobs that do not require a degree more than a year after leaving university, according to figures published by the education watchdog. However the percentage varies widely between universities.

A survey by the Office for Students found that 26% of UK-domiciled people who completed an undergraduate law degree in 2017-18 have not ‘progressed’ since leaving university. Progression rates are based on the proportion of graduates engaged in professional employment, further study, caring duties or travelling. 5,560 law graduates responded to the survey 15 months after graduating.

Graduate outcomes vary significantly between universities, the study found, with the University of Law reporting a 66% progression rate. BPP – which has since discontinued its Law LLB – had a progression rate of 71% among law students, while City, University of London had a rate of 65%.

In contrast, 87% of Kings College London law graduates, 91.8% of Oxford graduates, and 87.3% of Cambridge graduates reported ‘positive’ outcomes.

The figures form part of a wider study by the Office for Students, looking at degree completion rates and the progression of recent graduates to employment.

Progression rates were highest among medicine and dentistry graduates in 2017-18, with 98% in professional employment, further study, caring or travelling. However, architecture, chemistry, physics, computing, economics and engineering students also reported better graduate outcomes than law students.

A study by the Solicitors Regulation Authority earlier this year also found large discrepancies between post-graduate success rates at law schools. According to the report, pass rates on the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for the year to August 2019 ranged from 100% to 23% across 25 institutions. Meanwhile, pass rates for law conversion courses range from 95% to 22%, according to the regulator’s annual quality assurance report.

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