How to Ace Your LL.M. Admissions interview

This is your chance to explain any gaps in your resume and demonstrate your commitment to the LL.M. program

The LL.M. interview is a key piece of the application to law school, and it is just as important as the recommendation letters, personal statements and admission tests. Usually a sit down with the admissions committee or alumni of the school, this is your chance to shine and demonstrate your commitment to the LL.M. program. That means adequate preparation is key if you’re to perform well on the day.

Typically, interviews are conducted as a final step in the admissions process, and provide a way for the law school to learn more about you as an individual beyond what is listed in your CV.

Admissions interviews also provide the opportunity for applicants to express their interest in the LL.M. program, and explain any gaps in their academic or professional records.

“Interviewers will always ask about discrepancies in your record. So, if your essays, CV, reference letters or personal statement conflict in any way, they will ask about that. Also, anything that is vague or inconclusive on your resume will be probed,” explains Pamela Katz, Founder and Lead Consultant at LL.M. Admissions Consultants, based in New York.

Interviews also help the admissions committee assess if the applicant is a good fit for the school and program of interest by seeing how their academic and professional goals align with the institution.

“Interviews are an excellent way for the admissions committee to learn about you and assess your interest in the institution and desired LL.M. program,” says Sandra Friedrich, the Assistant Dean for International Graduate Law Programs at Miami Law.

“Interviews also provide a way to assess your English proficiency level, professionalism, and fit for the school and program,” she adds. “So, it is important to be authentic during the interview process; you should dress and act professionally, be polite, and answer questions honestly.”

Moreover, candidates should be generally professional and courteous to the admissions interviewer, as this may be the only opportunity to converse with them directly.

Avoiding common interview mistakes 

One of the most common mistakes candidates make during an LL.M. admissions interview is failing to research the institution, program, study plan, and coursework ahead of time. “You should also research the institution and desired LL.M. program ahead of time and be prepared to discuss your educational and professional history,” Friedrich stresses.

Another common mistake candidates make is not being able to clearly articulate why they are applying to the specific program or school of interest, what they plan to accomplish during their LL.M., or how they plan to use the LL.M. to advance their future careers.  

“It is important to give the interviewer a sense of who you are, your professional goals and what you want to do with your LL.M. degree,” says Karen Jones, University of Houston Law Center’s Executive Director of Global and Graduate Programs.

Would-be LL.M. candidates should treat the admissions meeting as they would a job interview. “Much of the same applies,” she adds. “You are trying to express to the interviewer why you are a good fit for the law school and the particular LL.M. program. Be professional. Try not to use a lot of slang, be clear, concise and deliberate in your communication.”

Ask the right questions 

Moreover, make sure in the interview process you are also getting a sense of the law school, type of support you will receive from faculty and staff, and an overall sense of the environment. “The interview is not only for the law school to make sure you are a good fit, but also for you to make sure the law school is a good fit for you too,” stresses Jones.

But you need to ask the right questions, advises Katz. “The most common mistake I hear about is when candidates ask questions that are easily discoverable online, either on the program’s website or elsewhere,” she says.

The purpose is to learn more about the program. But, just as important, it gives the admissions counselor an opportunity to put your face and personality with the file that you submitted.

Houston Law does not require a formal interview as part of the application process. However, candidates should treat every interaction -- formal or informal -- as part of the application process, the school says.

“The candidate will have several email interactions, telephone calls, in-person, or one-on-one Zoom meetings,” says Jones. “The way the candidate conducts themselves during each of these interactions is leaving an impression that can be considered when making a decision on whether or not to accept that individual into the LL.M. program.”

It is, therefore, very important to treat every interaction with the law school professionally - Jones says that punctuation or spelling errors and tardiness may be application dealbreakers. 

“The impressions made at every stage can potentially impact whether or not the candidate is admitted to an LL.M. program or denied,” she says. 

Related Law Schools

Miami, Florida 165 Followers 98 Discussions
Houston, Texas 76 Followers 64 Discussions

LLM News

Virtual Event: U.S. LL.M. Legal Education Conference

Feb 19, 2024

More LLM News

More LLM Articles

From National to Global: The Evolution of LL.M. Programs

Apr 12, 2024

As legal systems transcend borders, LL.M. programs are evolving to equip students with the skills needed for an interconnected world

Mastering Conflict: LL.M. Programs in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Feb 29, 2024

Fulfilling career paths await graduates of negotiation, dispute resolution, and arbitration LL.M. programs, where making a meaningful impact on society is paramount

Beyond Dollars: Unlocking the Full Value of an LL.M. Degree

Feb 27, 2024

The legal job market slowdown has sharpened focus on the expected payoff

More Articles

Related Top 10 Lists

More Top 10 Lists