LLM Duke 2008 Fall Experience

my 2nd week experience

By savannah on Aug 25, 2007

Duke is located at a small city in  Durham NC, so for those of you who want to study in a quiet, southern Ivy-League, top 10, friendly school you might wanna check out Duke. they are also alleged to have a strong alummni connection, as well as exciting post-LLM opportunities.The LLM class is quite small too, 81 hopefuls from 42 different countries, while the JDs are approximately 200.

We take classes together: except for the LLM compulsory classes, Distinctive Aspects of US law and Legal writing for international students. at Duke the LLM students define their own areas of study. which to my opinion is more confusing if you are not sure what classes to chose from. the add and drop period has come to an end, so has the confort of knowing you dont have to struggle with a class you find difficult. i have just realised i am trapped in a class though, with a no point of return.

the teaching methods and reading materials have been overwhelming so far. being a mother of an energetic toddler, i am sure you picture my situation. i have like 3 classes daily and each day there's either a gigantic textbook chaper or a more than 15 page document to be read from each class. most of us LLMs are still overwhelmed, some quite homesick, but getting there. From the few interractions i have had with JDs, most of them, though respectful of LLMs, have no clue what the study is all about.

the orientation was thorough with a lot of free lunches and breakfast, which sadly came to an end too. we encountered 4 LLMs from the previous years, and another rude awakening slapped us on our faces from their speeches. there was no talk of big jobs or exciting US based opportunities. we figured that's because 2 were now SJD candidates and the other 2 had converted to JD. but the career office assured us we would get a chance to meet the NY based alumni later in the year.

i am holding my breathe as i struggle with classes and family life, and hope that the LLM will pay- i have huge financial obligations, as well as dreams! we are also enviously watching the 3rd year JDs attend the ongoing campus interviews with top tier law firms, and half wish we could also be as lucky.


End of the 1st month-still going strong

By savannah on Sep 08, 2007

Today we had a meeting with the career office, all the LL.Ms. They seemed to me to be encouraging as many people as possible to go back to their home countries once the LL.M is done with. I mean, 90% of the LL.Ms are worried about life in the U.S after the degree. But again the career office promised to help with interviewing tips and tried to give some raw data of the percentage of the LL.Ms the past years who got good positions. It was 50%, but they said the data was taken only two months after graduation, and they didnt update it. again, the 50% was not a bad number because most of LL.Ms went back to their home countries.

they are very positive about LL.Ms taking and passing the bar exam. they stressed the need to work hard and get good grades too.

returning to the issue of classes, the reading is getting heavier by the minute. i am trying not to accumulate stuff and to make notes at the end of each class- which is nearly impossible because we cover so much in an hour, and i was brave enough and not foolish, i hope, to take 13 credit hours this semester. Distinctive Aspects of U.S law is interesting as is the professor. He hands out huge documents before each class to be discussed in class. Business Associations is O.K, maybe because I come from a Common Law System and the principles are not really strange to me. Intellectual Property Rights has so much stuff to be read each time, huge textbooks, the professor is kinda not my taste, drones on in class in mono-tones, he is a smart experienced scholar but i dont like his disbursing information. Structured Commercial and Financial Transactions is very technical and problematic. the guy is interesting and knows his stuff, but the course, unless you enjoy stuff dealing with stocks and securities and receivables, is too technical for my liking. this exam will be multiple choice.

all the other exams will be open book.

New Year and final semester at Duke

By savannah on Jan 26, 2008

It has been a lovely christmas and new year at Duke. The exams were aflame and all of the LLMs agreed that the teaching and examining methods are all different from where we are from. I mean, whoever heard of multiple choice like law exams? I never. Also in intellectual property rights we had to find "substantially true" and "substantially false" statements from a number. Then for any wrong answers there were points taken off. It was a lot of guess work, if you ask me. I wonder what the results will be like.

 my other paper, structured financial and commercial transactions, it was all true or false multiple choice. there was also an " i dont know" or " i am not sure" choice. it was all crazy. of course all the exams were open book, so that should be comforting to a lot of the LLMs!

 my other two papers Business Association and Distintive aspects of US law were all essay open books and i would say there were both ok. all the LLMs had an extra hour to complete the exams unlike their JD counterparts. that was ok.

Right now, it is the final semester and most of us have already settled with the new classes and stuff. the other issue is the New York Job Fair which almost half of the LLMs are interested in. Indeed, this weekend the college is half empty because most people have interviews in New York. I have none, partly because I didnt apply and partly because I am not looking for a New York law firm job. Guys from Europe and Asia all seem to have their hands full. They seem to have so many opportunities in the law firms here in the states. this is mostly because most of these law firms have branches in European and Asian cities. South America too. But woe unto you if you are from Africa! Just kidding! But it is somewhat true.


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