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Oxford Graduate Sues Law College For £100,000 After It 'failed To Prepare Her For Exams And Ruined Legal Career'

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1352481/Oxford-graduate-Maria-Abramova-sues-law-college-100k.html

A student who claims her legal career was jinxed by an Oxford's law college's failure to prepare her adequately for gruelling professional exams today launched a unique £100,000 High Court compensation bid.

Maria Abramova claims staff at the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice let her down by failing to coach her in crucial exam techniques before she flunked her first set of exams in May 2005.

But the Institute is fighting the case and hotly disputes her allegations.

The 28-year-old Oxford University graduate says her experiences at the Institute (OXILP) left her with a critical blind spot in tackling exams, contributing to her failing the coveted New York bar examinations three years ago.

'I recently decided not to retake that examination,' she told the court, adding: 'This is because I have found it psychologically difficult to take legal examinations following my experiences on the Course and subsequently, at OXILP'.

And although the gifted linguist has managed to carve out a career as a paralegal with a UK firm specialising in aviation law, she says she still feels haunted by her failure to qualify as a solicitor because she never passed the Property Law and Practice (PLP) element of her course.

First off I'd like to say FFS.

However I think this has far wider economic implications, all of those lovely fat fees that the VC's think they are now going to collect comes at a real price, if your paying £27k for a degree then clearly your going to want to pass as it's a hell of a lot of money to spend on failing. Now if you fail is it because you are inadequate or because your tutors are crap. This opens up the flood gates for ex students to sue the University on mass for poor teaching.

I can see this just being the start of a trend with high fees, people are going to start demanding good teaching or what they perceive is good teaching.

This could be the start of a real nightmare for Universities all triggered by greed.

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Serious pont here.

The fact that they accepted her makes them culpable if they fail to teach her well enough to pass the exam. They are liable for accepting her, taking her money under the false pretence that she was good enough to pass. In the twisted PC nu Lab logic, there is sense in this. Somewhere.

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Serious pont here.

The fact that they accepted her makes them culpable if they fail to teach her well enough to pass the exam. They are liable for accepting her, taking her money under the false pretence that she was good enough to pass. In the twisted PC nu Lab logic, there is sense in this. Somewhere.

Yep, that's the pressure of accepting massive fees. Either degrees get dumbed down so much they are worthless and people won't pay, or Universities up entry criteria to ensure only the brightest get in for fear of allowing poor quality students to attend who will fail. I can claims being made that Universities kept taking the fees when they knew the student would fail.

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If I had the nerve I'd have sued my uni and secondary school, possibly the worst standard of teaching in the western world at those places (a bottom ten uni though). So many grounds to sue (no exam preparation, loads of topics not covered, no textbook references, favouritism towards certain students, no textbooks even recommended in most cases, cheating, exam topics completely different to lecture topics, teachers not turning up etc) but I'm out of time now I think. The first year only one lecturer gave an outline of what was covered in the lecture and recommended reading. I had several lecturers that would read verbatim from written notes and then refuse to copy those notes or give any sort of reference for the lecture (to most of us) or recommend any sort of extra reading (to most of us). To get a degree I ended up having to study with competent teachers in unrelated electives which was not good for my employment prospects. I guess I could name and shame but they'd probably sue me.

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However I think this has far wider economic implications, all of those lovely fat fees that the VC's think they are now going to collect comes at a real price, if your paying £27k for a degree then clearly your going to want to pass as it's a hell of a lot of money to spend on failing. Now if you fail is it because you are inadequate or because your tutors are crap. This opens up the flood gates for ex students to sue the University on mass for poor teaching.

I can see this just being the start of a trend with high fees, people are going to start demanding good teaching or what they perceive is good teaching.

This could be the start of a real nightmare for Universities all triggered by greed.

The experience in Australia was slightly different. The students did not demand good teaching, they demanded to be spoon fed and not to fail exams.

The change was overnight, and the shift in power in terms of grading courses shifted from lecturer to administration and student. Standards plummetted and grade inflation soared. I can remember being in one meeting of the departmental consultative committee where it was discussed by how much we should lower the standards and pass mark of a certain second year course so we could get enough people passing and continuing into the third year so we could pay the departmental photocopying bill. (Decision: required pass mark to drop from 50% to 40%.) The course was trivial as it was, but a large number of students will only do just enough work to pass...and sometimes they miss the mark. Nothing was solved by this in the long term.

The professor of pure mathematics resigned in disgust after his first year "honours" students presented the department with a petition arguing that the Kurzweil integral was too difficult for first year students and the administration supported them. Two of my friends have been ordered to pass people because of departmental money concerns, including some students who had not handed in any compulsory coursework.

And yet, reading the THES from the late 90s, you'd think the Australian experience was the world's greatest success.

Edited by Tiger Woods?

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Serious pont here.

The fact that they accepted her makes them culpable if they fail to teach her well enough to pass the exam. They are liable for accepting her, taking her money under the false pretence that she was good enough to pass. In the twisted PC nu Lab logic, there is sense in this. Somewhere.

Im going on a play like David Beckham course.

Indeed, all footballers should go.

Ok, you may pass, but will it make you play like David Beckham.

Entitlement means that you do a course and you pass. Failure is someone elses fault.

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If I had the nerve I'd have sued my uni and secondary school, possibly the worst standard of teaching in the western world at those places (a bottom ten uni though). So many grounds to sue (no exam preparation, loads of topics not covered, no textbook references, favouritism towards certain students, no textbooks even recommended in most cases, cheating, exam topics completely different to lecture topics, teachers not turning up etc) but I'm out of time now I think. The first year only one lecturer gave an outline of what was covered in the lecture and recommended reading. I had several lecturers that would read verbatim from written notes and then refuse to copy those notes or give any sort of reference for the lecture (to most of us) or recommend any sort of extra reading (to most of us). To get a degree I ended up having to study with competent teachers in unrelated electives which was not good for my employment prospects. I guess I could name and shame but they'd probably sue me.

A university education is quite different to school, by university a student should be sufficiently mature that the lectures are there simply to provide a guideline around which the student should read, and good students will read and research the most using their initiative to find appropriate sources in the library.

The exam should test for further reading and knoweldge rather than just require a regurgitation of lecture notes. It is not a memory test unless you are only aiming for a "Desmond".

Students are also free to take lecture notes using a pen and paper. I am not sure why there is a need to 'provide' lecture notes. As far as I can see it just provides an excuse for many to 'bunk off' the lectures because the notes will be on the student portal..but that is not the same as attending the lecture as far as a learning experience goes.

Edited by LiveinHope

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A university education is quite different to school, by university a student should be sufficiently mature that the lectures are there simply to provide a guideline around which the student should read, and good students will read and research the most using their initiative to find appropriate sources in the library.

The exam should test for further reading and knoweldge rather than just require a regurgutation of lecture notes. It is not a memory test unless you are only aiming for a "Desmond".

Students are also free to take lecture notes using a pen and paper. I am not sure why there is a need to 'provide' lecture notes. As far as I can see it just provides an excuse for many to 'bunk off' the lectures because the notes will be on the student portal..but that is not the same as attending the lecture as far as a learning experience goes.

Why are you knocking this girl - clearly learnt that you must NEVER take responsibility for your own mistakes - its ALWAYS someone elses fault.

She will fit perfectly into UK plc

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If she wins the case, she is a good lawyer, and her original premise is false! :blink:

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Why are you knocking this girl - clearly learnt that you must NEVER take responsibility for your own mistakes - its ALWAYS someone elses fault.

She will fit perfectly into UK plc

Labour ruined the lives of many and the university experience of the able by encouraging 50% or the population to get a degree, when it was just a cynical ruse to get many to 'pay their own income support for three years'.

Many at university have no clue whey they are there simply running up pointless debts they will never service. But this is also a failure of the labour progressively-modern secondary education system, which failed to prepare non-academically bent students for a 'practical' career. One system does not fit all.

Edited by LiveinHope

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Presumably she would have to prove it failed her specifically. Like the tutors or lecturers sent her to sit in a cupboard during every lecture. Or blindfolded her, put earplugs in her, tied her hands up and threw her stationary out the window.

Otherwise every other student in her class would have also failed, right?

Somehow I dont think the courts are going to give her the cash prize.

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Yep, that's the pressure of accepting massive fees. Either degrees get dumbed down so much they are worthless and people won't pay, or Universities up entry criteria to ensure only the brightest get in for fear of allowing poor quality students to attend who will fail. I can claims being made that Universities kept taking the fees when they knew the student would fail.

Too right, the first successful case against our university I expect instructions to pass all students come what may. Degrees will then become totally worthless.

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A university education is quite different to school, by university a student should be sufficiently mature that the lectures are there simply to provide a guideline around which the student should read, and good students will read and research the most using their initiative to find appropriate sources in the library.

The exam should test for further reading and knoweldge rather than just require a regurgitation of lecture notes. It is not a memory test unless you are only aiming for a "Desmond".

Students are also free to take lecture notes using a pen and paper. I am not sure why there is a need to 'provide' lecture notes. As far as I can see it just provides an excuse for many to 'bunk off' the lectures because the notes will be on the student portal..but that is not the same as attending the lecture as far as a learning experience goes.

If that's the case why is there a need for lecturers, why can't the bottom universities teach through distance learning and save a fortune? Perhaps my situation differs somewhat because my degree was in accounting not law. Most units I studied, an average of 20 students out of over 50 turned up each lecture because the lecturers were so damn useless. I've always felt that if I was just given a syllabus and was told to study by myself I would've got a much better degree result.

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Too right, the first successful case against our university I expect instructions to pass all students come what may. Degrees will then become totally worthless.

My understanding is that legal threats/complaints are quite common in Australian universities now. It was more or less unthinkable when I was a student.

Once students start paying large sums for their education, everything changes.

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If that's the case why is there a need for lecturers, why can't the bottom universities teach through distance learning and save a fortune? Perhaps my situation differs somewhat because my degree was in accounting not law. Most units I studied, an average of 20 students out of over 50 turned up each lecture because the lecturers were so damn useless. I've always felt that if I was just given a syllabus and was told to study by myself I would've got a much better degree result.

Indeed. There is no point attending a lecture just to copy (badly and incompletely) someone's notes in the age of computers and photocopiers. Small group and one on one tutorials, on the other hand, are invaluable in my opinion.

Some of the more enlightened lecturers I had banned the class from taking notes - it was all in text books - the point of the lectures were to interact and think. (In fact, in my final year, one banned me from attending his lectures as it was "a waste of my time.")

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if they want to charge high prices then the lecturers must be of a high standard and their research must come 2nd to teaching, these days research comes 1st teaching comes 2nd.

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if they want to charge high prices then the lecturers must be of a high standard and their research must come 2nd to teaching, these days research comes 1st teaching comes 2nd.

No. Research comes 1st, administration comes 2nd, teaching comes 3rd.

One "high flier" who had the rooms across the hall from me regularly failed to turn up to tutorials, and left half a dozen students wasting an hour of their time outside my room. I'd say he missed baout 50% of his classes. This repeated failure to perform the job he was paid for (teaching) didn't stop him getting a professorship at a decent redbrick.

A lot of the older fellows complained about how the colleges could no longer require their new hires to be good teachers as money gathering trumped all at the university level.

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No. Research comes 1st, administration comes 2nd, teaching comes 3rd.

One "high flier" who had the rooms across the hall from me regularly failed to turn up to tutorials, and left half a dozen students wasting an hour of their time outside my room. I'd say he missed baout 50% of his classes. This repeated failure to perform the job he was paid for (teaching) didn't stop him getting a professorship at a decent redbrick.

A lot of the older fellows complained about how the colleges could no longer require their new hires to be good teachers as money gathering trumped all at the university level.

Wise students interested in benefitting to the utmost from their degree vocationally will go where the research is strongest, at least they should be advised do so by their school careers advisor, even if the university is in the most ghastly location on earth.

Being taught from textbooks by academics not involved in cutting edge research is not in their long term interests, although it might make for an easy 2:1 degree.

Research is what differentiates good universities from teaching universities/departments. IMO anyone can learn from a book, but you will not be in a unique learning environment unless you go where the research is cutting edge, whether that be science, arts, business, law.

While the ability to impart knowledge is important, it is the spark and drive of the top academic that is paramount in inspiring and nurturing the first class student.

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if they want to charge high prices then the lecturers must be of a high standard and their research must come 2nd to teaching, these days research comes 1st teaching comes 2nd.

University is not 'school'

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Wise students interested in benefitting to the utmost from their degree vocationally will go where the research is strongest, at least they should be advised do so by their school careers advisor, even if the university is in the most ghastly location on earth.

Being taught from textbooks by academics not involved in cutting edge research is not in their long term interests, although it might make for an easy 2:1 degree.

Research is what differentiates good universities from teaching universities/departments. IMO anyone can learn from a book, but you will not be in a unique learning environment unless you go where the research is cutting edge, whether that be science, arts, business, law.

While the ability to impart knowledge is important, it is the spark and drive of the top academic that is paramount in inspiring and nurturing the first class student.

From the 17 years I spent in universities, I'm far from convinced that the "best researchers make the best teachers." In fact, I would say that generally the opposite is true and that this position is just a justification for academics to concetrate on what they want to be doing (i.e. researching) rather than doing what they are mainly paid to do (i.e. teach - as without teaching a university is nothing but an R&D institute.) Obviously if someone is a completely rubbish researcher due to not having a grasp of their subject, their teaching will not be up to scratch. However, at the other extreme, you have people who tend to be very focussed and who see teaching as a hinderance. Neither extreme makes for good teachers.

The best teachers I know aren't necessarily the most motivated researchers. Often they are the sort who write textbooks. They like knowing the literature, ordering and synthesizing it. Very often focussed researchers see the world through their own narrow perspective, and give truly appalling lecture courses. (There are exceptions of course, but I've seen some real shockers of courses from "good researchers.")

There is also a debate to be had here by what is meant by "best researchers." These days this concept is conflated with "most able to bring money into the department," which isn't the same thing. In my opinion, to be a good academic you must have a bit of all three - breadth of knowledge of subject area, detailed knowledge of a research area (preferably two), together with the ability and desire to communicate it to the next generation. These days, only the second of the three criteria counts for much, and then only if you can also bring in lots of money.

The best mathematics teacher/lecturer I had (and I did graduate work both at Oxford and another less prestigious university) never published a paper in his life. It's not that he wasn't capable. I know he had manuscripts that preempted later work - but he just wasn't driven that way and didn't need to be back then. He had an incredible breadth and depth of knowledge of the literature and was a good teacher and added immeasurabley to the research of the department. You wanted to know whether x was true - he'd be able to point out the reference in Trans Am Soc from 40 years earlier and even tell you the page number and roughly where it was on the page - quite useful in the days before the internet and easy electronic searching.

Furthermore, at the very best research universities, you'll find you are often taught by graduate students, whilst at the second tier you may get more contact with actual staff. This is especially true in the sciences.

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Indeed. There is no point attending a lecture just to copy (badly and incompletely) someone's notes in the age of computers and photocopiers. Small group and one on one tutorials, on the other hand, are invaluable in my opinion.

Some of the more enlightened lecturers I had banned the class from taking notes - it was all in text books - the point of the lectures were to interact and think. (In fact, in my final year, one banned me from attending his lectures as it was "a waste of my time.")

Ah couldn't stand the sight of you then? :P

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From the 17 years I spent in universities, I'm far from convinced that the "best researchers make the best teachers." In fact, I would say that generally the opposite is true and that this position is just a justification for academics to concetrate on what they want to be doing (i.e. researching) rather than doing what they are mainly paid to do (i.e. teach - as without teaching a university is nothing but an R&D institute.) Obviously if someone is a completely rubbish researcher due to not having a grasp of their subject, their teaching will not be up to scratch. However, at the other extreme, you have people who tend to be very focussed and who see teaching as a hinderance. Neither extreme makes for good teachers.

snip.

question...

how does a student find things to research, over 3 years, in a subject like...i dunno, marketing, marketing management, golf course management, David Beckham?

I did a 10 week course on Sales and Marketing a long time ago...full time.

Me and every student on that course was STREETS ahead of competitors at interview...and that was during a recession....10 weeks of study and fun and we were qualified and good at what we were taught.

I know students who have recently qualified from degrees like the ones above...I know MORE than any of them about marketing. After 3 years, they should know every technique, see every style and be EXPERT in each and every one....yet when I ask any of them how I should market my business, advert, web and canvassing are still their answers.

mention multi level marketing, ponzi schemes and they stare blankly....and dont get me started on margins and mark-ups.

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