Editor's Blog

Culture Shock

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Aug 19, 2006

Hi everyone! Welcome to the LLM GUIDE editorial blog. We'll be making posts every so often about interesting things we see and hear about in the vast universe of LL.M. programs, law schools, careers, etc.

Well, the the academic year is just around the corner now, and we are looking forward to reading some posts from LL.M. students from all over the world. Some of you are probably already arriving in their new cities as we write. It's definitely an exciting time, but I remember the whole experience of moving to a new city also being somewhat stressful at the beginning -- everything seems pretty strange. I wish I had done a little reading about things like culture shock before leaving on my year abroad.

I think as long as you acknowledge that certain things -- climate, language, habits and rhythms -- are going to be slightly (or possibly more-than-slightly) different if you're studying far from home, that's already a good first step.

Anyway, for those of you travelling abroad for your LL.M. this autumn, have a safe journey.

Thanks for first posts

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Aug 26, 2006

As the first LL.M. courses of the year are getting started, we're excited to see the first blog entries from LL.M. students already coming in. But we're even more delighted that so many people are interested in reading them. In under a week, the first blogs have already had several hundred viewers -- not bad for a new feature. So, we are expecting this to be a popular and widely-read part of LLM GUIDE in the months to come.

Special thanks to Ivan2006's for a first report, which gave us some personal impressions about a busy week in the "Introduction to US Law" course at NYU. We are also looking forward to more posts from Jazzman at University College London, as well as the other students who have expressed interest in blogging on our open forum. If you're starting up on an LL.M. program this fall -- no matter where you're from or where you're going -- we invite you to blog on LLM GUIDE. Just imagine how helpful student blogs would have been back when we were looking for the right LL.M. programs to apply to!

LLM GUIDE turns five!!

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Sep 03, 2006

Hi, folks. Hope all those LL.M. students out there are settling comfortably into their new surroundings. The big news around here is that LLM GUIDE has just turned five years old! Anyone still around who remembers LLM-Guide V. 1.0? This is how our first logo looked:

We hope it's been a useful site for prospective and current LL.M. students over the years. Anyway, as sort of a retrospective of our first five years, we've dug up a link to one of our favorite LL.M. discussion board threads...a true classic. Take care!

LL.M. Job Prospects in the Blogosphere

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Sep 21, 2006

Hi folks. One of the questions we see most often on the LLM GUIDE Discussion Board is some version of "Is getting an LL.M. worth the time and money?" or "Will I be able to get a job in the United States after finishing an LL.M. there?" Fair questions, of course. We've found a few good, recent posts in the blogosphere on that very topic that you might be interested in reading. The first is a post on the blog of Maya Steinitz, an Israeli lawyer and international law expert who got her LL.M. and JSD from NYU. There's also the "Law & Society Blog," which here comments on Steinitz and adds some new points to the discussion. Of course, Gregory W. Bowman's great "Law Career Blog" also tackled the issue of job prospects for LL.M. students a few months ago (in 3 parts).

Choosing an LL.M. Program

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Oct 03, 2006

"Bitsou" - Stanford JSM 2006 and active participant on the LLM GUIDE online community - has posted some food for thought about how to pick an LL.M. program on the Discussion Board. Also discussed is what lawyers can expect from the post-LL.M. job market in the United States. A good read, particularly for foreign lawyers considering coming to the United States for an LL.M.

Law Podcasts

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Nov 26, 2006

It was just a matter of time before law schools jumped on the podcasting bandwagon. But it is a good development for those of you who want to listen-in on high-profile talks and panel discussions on a variety of legal topics and issues. Some LL.M. programs have even put some of their lectures online - great for prospective students.

Here are few of the outstanding examples of law and LL.M.-related podcasts that I have found while browsing around. Am I missing any good ones?

American University - Washington College of Law (WCL) Podcasts
http://www.wcl.american.edu/podcast/podcast.cfm

University of Chicago Faculty Blog with links to Podcasts
http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/faculty/podcasts/

Law & Technology Program, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law Podcasts
http://web5.uottawa.ca/techlaw/en/podcasts/

Lewis & Clark Law School Podcasts
http://lawlib.lclark.edu/podcast/

Job Hunting Tips from the Law Schools

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Jan 29, 2007

Happy New Year, everyone!  First off, thanks again to this year's LL.M. bloggers for keeping us updated with their honest and insightful posts.

Branching out a bit from my earlier post on job prospects for LL.M. students, I'd like to share some of the career planning tips that top US law schools give their international LL.M. students. We've found some pretty good sources on the Internet about career planning, which are sometimes buried away on law school websites.  

The first one I'd like to mention is the "International LL.M. Career Planning" brochure published by the Yale Law School Career Development Office. Although it is understandably Yale-centric, the brochure has useful information for any international LL.M. student who might be looking for a job in the United States. The brochure includes bar exam information, interview tips, as well as sample resumes and cover letters. There are even some useful contributions from LL.M. alumni (who found jobs!) and recruiting directors from big-league law firms.

Other useful LL.M. job hunting sources include Georgetown's Graduate Professional Development FAQs and LLM Resource Manual. University of Virginia Law School has a shorter handbook with tips for international LL.M. students.

There are surely other good sources out there. As always, let us know if you find anything good. 'Til next time!

 

Law School Rankings

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Apr 07, 2007

Hi, everyone! Spring is finally here, and I hope all is going well with your LL.M. programs or applications. We've really enjoyed the blog posts and discussion threads in recent weeks. As is the case each spring when law school decisions start coming in, the discussion board makes for lively reading.

As you may know by now, the US News and World Report published their famous Law School Rankings for 2008 at the end of March. Although these rankings tend to reflect more on J.D. programs than LL.M. programs, prospective LLMs still like to know where their favorite schools stand among top US law schools. Still, the whole business of ranking law schools remains somewhat controversial.

In a recent discussion board thread, Ivan2006, also one of the bloggers on LLM GUIDE, pointed out an interesting article over at the Social Science Research Network, which dissects the methodology of US News rankings.

For those looking for a second opinion on US law schools (other than the US News rankings, that is) there's also the Leiter's Law School Rankings website, run by University of Texas professor Brian Leiter, as well as the Hylton Rankings, compiled by J. Gordon Hylton of Marquette University. And if you want to browse rankings for schools outside of the United States, you can find a few links here.

Until next time,
Maren

Another Exciting Year Begins

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Jul 23, 2007

Hi, everyone! Hope you're all enjoying the summer. Some of you who are starting an LL.M. this Fall have already made the trip to your respective schools for summer law and language courses. I wish you all the best as you get settled in for an exciting year.

Let me start this post off (once again) by thanking Ivan, Tmalmine, Droit (and the others) for their blogging this year. I know I'm not alone in describing their efforts as heroic. A read through Tmalmine's candid One Day in My Life, Droit's informative JOBS, the BAR EXAM and the THESIS, and Ivan's epic Season Finale and you'll see what I mean. I hope they keep us posted where they end up in the coming months.

If you're looking to pursue an LL.M., you can read all the law school brochures and rankings you want, but really, what's more insightful than an honest, down-to-earth, personal account from people who are actually doing it themselves?

So, here comes the predictable, not-so-subtle appeal to other LLM-bound folks to consider posting some of your impressions and experiences this year on LLM GUIDE Blogs. Harvard-bound Ricey has already kicked things off for the Class of 2008.

The blogs on this site get thousands of reads a month, mostly by people who are either also doing an LL.M. or hoping to do one in the near future. A periodic blog post is a great way to support the active community and knowledge sharing we've tried to foster here on this website.

If you have any questions about blogging, or anything else about our site, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Until next time, take care!

Maren

Applications, Acceptance Rates, and Big Decisions

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Nov 14, 2007

Hi Folks,

It's been a while since we checked in here on the Editor's Blog. Winter is creeping up on us, which means application season for prospective LL.M. students. So, like last year, we'll be posting some of the upcoming application deadlines for US and UK law schools (and possibly others) in the LLM News section over the next week or so.

Some of you may even be undecided about whether to drop what you're doing to go get an LL.M. A few bloggers have tackled that age-old "To LL.M. or Not to LL.M." question over the last several months, including Law and Letters, TaxProf (two short posts: 1 and 2), and Andrew Hammel.

Speaking of admissions, we've come across this attempt to calculate acceptance rates at LL.M. programs at some of the top law schools in the United States. We're always interested to see new statistics and reports about LL.M. programs, simply because the big education magazines rarely dedicate much coverage to them. We're certainly not used to seeing quantitative spreadsheets like this.

The LL.M. student blogging on our site has been slower this year, although Ricey has given us a few nice posts from Harvard Law School, and for a while, one could count on shockresist for a candid and funny snapshot of student life in Beijing. But even if you're only now just applying to LL.M. programs for next year (that's right, Class of 2009!), it would be great to hear from you, too. There are dozens of MBA bloggers who start posting before they've even mailed their first application. LL.M. students face many of the same decisions – to go back to school, which school, etc.

Anyway, until next time, best of luck with the applications!

Take care,
Maren

The R-Word and the Job Market for Lawyers

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Mar 22, 2008

Hi Everyone! Even as the admissions decisions arrive from US and UK law schools, one of the liveliest discussion board threads has been one about the current job market for lawyers and LL.M. graduates. How has the sub-prime crisis, turbulence on the global financial market, and fears over a recession affected the job market for lawyers and graduating LL.M. students?

It's true, there have been widely publicized layoffs at big-league firms lately, but overall assessments of the legal job market depend on who you ask. Some papers are forecasting tough times ahead for lawyers, particularly for firms specializing in finance, mergers, and acquisitions. Others see light at the end of the tunnel, particularly for lawyers who can help out with insolvencies, sub-prime litigation, and the like.

At least these are the media reports coming out of New York and London. Does anybody have an insider view of the job market that awaits LL.M. graduates in these places, as well as other financial hubs like Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, ...? How bad is it out there?

An LL.M. in China - Is it worth it?

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on May 26, 2008

Hi there! I just wanted tell you all about an interesting blog post by Donald C. Clarke, a professor at George Wasington University Law School. He has collected and published the feedback he got from lawyers - who had either taken an LL.M. program in China or who are involved with hiring lawyers in the field - about the value of doing an LL.M. at Chinese universities. The PDF document can be found here.

Meanwhile, here is an article we published last year about English-language LL.M. programs in Asia, generally.

We'll check in again soon. Until then, enjoy your summer!

LLM GUIDE Board Nearing 50,000 Posts - THANKS

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Oct 14, 2008

Hi Folks! We hope everyone in the LL.M. Class of 2009 is settling nicely into their courses.  

As our LLM Discussion Board nears 50,000 posts (less than a hundred to go at last count), we wanted to do a little shout out to everyone who has posted on our board since we launched it back January 2005. With LL.M. students (past, present, and future) sharing their experiences and views, it has become a bigger and more lively community than we could have imagined. On average, there are 1,000 posts here a week!

Here's a little retrospective of some of the more notable threads. You might find nuggets of wisdom here...or maybe not.

The Popular Threads

"Tax Law Rankings" (85,000+ views)
"Best Law Schools in Continental Europe?" (55,000+ views)

The Legendary Threads
"Is a Harvard LLM worth it?" (going strong since April 2005)
"Foreign lawyer in the US? You don't need LLM"

The Funny Threads
"Best entertainment law programs in the US"
"Rejecting Harvard in Style"

And what would our board be without the truly heroic participation from LLMers like tmalmine, ivan2006, droit.est.philosophie, or the other experts and insiders like c.miller, lmwoods, richardvf, GregoryXu, who have been friendly and generous with their insight. There are many others worth mentioning. These are the kinds of folks that make online communities valuable. You rule!!

Till next time,
Maren

LLM GUIDE in The Financial Times

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Nov 10, 2008

The Financial Times ran a story this morning by Ursula Milton about choosing an LL.M. program. It's a useful article, and we are very happy to be featured in it! Check it out here.

In fact, FT published a handful of other stories about LL.M. programs today in their Global Legal Education supplement, including this handy breakdown of LL.M. programs and a student narrative from IE Law School.

Talk to you again soon!

Maren

New Photo Upload Feature

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Mar 18, 2009

Hi All,

Spring is around the corner, and I hope everyone is getting good application news back from their law schools of choice.

I wanted to tell you about a small new feature we've added to the LL.M. programs directory: the "Upload your Photos" function.  Basically, this tool is for students past, present, and future to share their photos of law school campuses and surroundings.

Three cheers to Elena25, who has already posted some nice, wintry photos of law schools in New York City and Montreal, and to Manuel_Law for his snapshots of Stanford and Berkeley.

If you've visited or attend some law schools and have some campus pics laying around, let us see 'em!  Don't worry if they're not National Geographic material; just as long as they are your own.

And now for the boring but obviously necessary caveat: this tool was NOT designed for law schools to blast our site with marketing pics, nor was it created for people to post photos of themselves (there are other sites for that!). We will delete all of these, along with any photos that violate our terms of use. Repeated violations will be subject to editorial and public ridicule.  ;)

Take care, and talk with you again soon!
Maren

Class of 2010 bloggers!

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Aug 05, 2009

Hi folks,

I hope everyone's enjoying what's left of summer. With the next academic year about to start, now's a good time for our annual appeal for LL.M. bloggers.

If you found this site helpful during your searching for and applying to LL.M. programs, why not share your experiences with next year's class? All it takes is a few posts, and already you're helping give back to the free flow of information and experiences - from real people - that makes this site a good resource.

Bloggers have written on a number of themes:
* How they picked their program
* Career goals
* The application process
* First impressions of the school, city and/or classmates
* First impressions of a the country (if they've moved overseas)
* Favorite / least favorite LL.M. classes
* Social life on and off campus
* Job search and recruiting fairs
* Interesting topics discussed in class

Oh, and if fame is what you're after... Blogs on LLM GUIDE get thousands of reads a month, mostly by people who are either also doing an LL.M. or hoping to do one in the near future.

Remember, you don't have to write a novel; just a few lines or paragraphs every now and then. Tell us how you're doing. Thanks again for all the posts from last year's bloggers, including those from Stephan at UCL and Jaan222 at Virginia.

If you have any questions, just get in touch.

Have a great rest of the summer everyone,
Maren

Introducing the AppTracker Tool

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Mar 11, 2010

Hi All,

Late winter / early spring means its admissions decisions time for many of you. We wish you luck, and hope everyone is getting in to their programs of choice for the 2010-11 academic year!

Perhaps it's the perfect time to announce the launch of our new "AppTracker" tool.

AppTracker lets registered LLM GUIDE users to share their application status for the LL.M. programs they are applying to. It also lets them see how other users are doing in the application process: Who else is interested in the same program? Who else has applied? Who has received an admissions decision from the school? Who is going to that school?


AppTracker is a tab in every users' account ("My Account"). There, users can share some information about themselves, such as country of origin, work experience, and approximate class rank in their first law degree class. Then users can enter and update information about the applications they have sent out.

We're very happy that some savvy users have already begun to use AppTracker (even before the formal launch!).

We built this tool to further strengthen the community of future LL.M. students here by giving users yet another opportunity to connect, share info, and network with others. Of course, the usefulness of this tool depends largely on the honesty of those using it.

We would also like to say that this feature is still a work in progress. Like for the rest of LLM GUIDE, if you have suggestions for ways we can improve it, please let us know.

Again, the best of luck with your applications decisions and picking the right program!

Take care,
Maren

Upload your photos!

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on May 06, 2010

 Hey folks,

Not sure if you've noticed, but LLM GUIDE users can upload photos of their law schools and universities. Thanks to all who have already sent in their shots of schools like UCL, UC Berkeley, Columbia, and Bucerius.

There are still many schools out there that don't have a photo yet. If you're doing (or have already done) an LL.M., share your campus photos, and help give next year's students a better and more realistic idea of what it's like there - or at least something different than the picture-perfect scenes in the university brochures.

We'll take:
- Photos of campus, dorms, surrounding areas, etc.

What we don't want:
- Marketing photos with smiling students
- Logos
- Pictures of you only (no matter how beautiful you are)

Ready for fame and glory? Be a 2010-11 LLM GUIDE Blogger!

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Aug 06, 2010

Hi Everyone,

So, who is starting an LL.M. this autumn? If you answered "yes," congratulations! We hope you have a great year ahead of you.

Wherever you're going, why not share some of your experiences with the LLM GUIDE community by blogging about them?

If you've used LLM GUIDE recently, chances are you've had a chance to follow the adventures of michaelcorleone at Columbia, PUCCA at UCL, and LLM85 at KCL. Even LLM GUIDE blogging legends like tmalmine and ivan2006 check in with updates from time to time.

This spirit of sharing is what helps keep this community such an informative resource for prospective students.

Sure, brochures are nice and all, but nothing beats real experiences from real people. Right?

Look, we know you'll be busy. But it's not like you have to write very much; just a few lines every now and then. And since these posts get read by thousands of prospective students each month, blogging on LLM GUIDE could be one of the most glorious moments of your legal career...at least until you make partner.

Here are a few topics that LLM GUIDE bloggers have covered in their posts in recent years:
* Why they picked their program
* Career goals
* The application process
* Impressions of the school, city and/or classmates
* Favorite / least favorite LL.M. classes
* Social life (sometimes in hilarious detail)
* Job hunting
* Class discussions

Anyway, I hope to be reading about your adventures soon!

Take care, and have a great rest of the summer,
Maren

The Value of an LL.M. Revisited

By Maren[LLM GUIDE] on Sep 27, 2010

There have been a few articles published recently about the value of an LL.M.

An interesting National Law Journal piece by Karen Sloan has examined the LL.M. as a credential with hard-to-measure value.

Above The Law's Elie Mystal argues it is rather a case of nobody bothering to measure the impact of LL.M. on graduates' employment or salary. And this lack of clear measurement, Mystal suggests, is a situation that law schools seem satisfied with.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog also picked up the issue here.

The original NLJ article focuses on how the LL.M. affects a lawyers' resume in the United States. This is a very important point to examine. But it's also important to consider why many foreign lawyers pursue an LL.M. in the US (or the UK, Canada, Australia, for that matter). Sure, some foreign lawyers will look for jobs in the United States when they finish the LL.M.  Only few will find them.

But many foreign lawyers have no intention of staying beyond the LL.M. For a lot of these folks, the value of an LL.M. is more about sharpening/proving legal English skills, acquiring international experience, punctuating their resume with a prestigious law school, passing a US bar exam, and - in some cases - getting deeper into a specialization. These are all factors that can boost a lawyer's resume when he or she returns home to Germany, Spain, China, Brazil, or wherever.

We will be publishing some more on this shortly. Stay tuned.  

What do you think?

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