Abstract: Education sites are data-rich environments and such is the embarrassment of riches that very little use is made of these data beyond their initial purpose. Naturally occurring data about students’ backgrounds, their previous attainment and their module by module progression are, in a sense, “lying all over the ground”, but the combination of data sets or longitudinal analysis rarely takes place. This article considers two projects which take inspiration from the Wombles and re-purpose these discarded data: using large-scale data sets to reveal the potential for more nuanced understanding of students’ trajectories through legal education and towards the legal profession in England and Wales and in Ireland. Simple linear assumptions about who can and should enter the profession are challenged by our fi ndings, and the potential to identify important developmental shifts and critical experiences on the way to qualifi cation poses questions for curriculum design and improvements to legal education and access in both jurisdictions.
Keywords: universities’ use of student data; quantitative analysis; key characteristics; student trajectories; access to the legal profession
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