28 months later...
It´s been a long time since the last time I wrote on this blog... actually, almost 2 years and 4 months... During the months that followed the completion of my LL.M. at NYU, I felt tempted to post a new entry on my blog, but I was so burned out after studying for the NY Bar Exam that I finally decided that I had said my last word on this forum. After all, this is all about the LL.M., and my LL.M. experience was over. And now - I miss a lot my LL.M. days, and I hope I could have enjoyed more, studied more, met more people, made more trips, watched more sports events... it´s just that 10 months is not enough time to do everything you want to do, and that´s it. However, it is enough time to realize how an LL.M. can change your life. As many of you may know, the IBA conference this year takes place in Madrid, and NYU was hosting an event there for prospective LL.M. students. I was one of the speakers, and I had the opportunity of meeting a lot of interesting people who had the same kind of glow in their eyes that I think I had when I was trying to get a hold of all the information about universities, LL.M. programs, applications... Everybody was so eager to know more details about the U.S., what an LL.M. is about, tips for job hunting, that I suddenly felt the same feeling that drove me to write so many posts on this site - the eagerness to share with people a little bit of my personal experience, hoping that someone could find it useful. And then I thought I could say hi to prospective students once again. Well, I believe the last couple of years were the worst for LL.Ms looking for jobs in the US or elsewhere since 2002-2004, and it does not seem that things will improve this year - although there seems to be more activity in the marketplace lately, and some firms may resume hiring soon. There´s only one problem: historically, firms first resume hiring JDs, and only after a year or so they focus their attention on LL.Ms. And I suspect 2010 may be a year in which the LL.Ms, in general, will still be having a hard time finding jobs in the US. I say "in general" because experience tells me that some people with terrific connections or sponsored by law firms in their country of origin (especially Latin Americans) may have it easier to land a job, despite the shrinking job market. But I would advice the current LL.Ms not to dispair: you must use your judgment to decide what you want, and if you think it is worth it to wait some months after you finish your LL.M. (for instance, until after the Bar Exam in July), go for it! It´s all about what you want and, of course, what you can afford - and perseverence can deliver good results. In any event, going back home is no shame, and NY will always be there. I was lucky enough to do what I wanted to do (passed the bar, worked at biglaw in NYC, went back home and now I´m working for a US law firm), but I realize it is not so easy to achieve these goals now. Actually, I have met several people who have just started their LL.Ms in 2007, and who had a very hard time finding something in the US. Some of they were extremely bright, and they felt somewhat frustrated with how things turned out. But there is always some room for hope: I heard that some guys who could not stay in the US after their LL.M. graduation back in the day are bound to return to NY pretty soon, as secondees of the law firms they used to work for in their home countries. So it ain´t over till it´s over, and even if it looks like it is over, you never know what awaits for you down the road - you may not be headed to the US in 2 or 3 years. There will always be a door open for LL.Ms in the US. As you will realize in the future, the skills you acquire in the LL.M. will always be useful when dealing with other lawyers and with an anglo-saxon environment. Besides, being an LL.M. grad opens other doors - you become part of a family of alumni of your university, and this may certainly be helpful in your future lives! If you choose your university correctly (as I said many times in this forum, if you are admitted by a T14 law school you cannot really go wrong - lower-tier schools may be a hard sell), you will not regret it. I have not.
Good luck to all applicants (I know we are in the middle of the application season). See you soon!
Gulemba, Dec 11, 2009 17:41
It was good to find this post. I did my LLM in 2007, graduated in 2008 and stayed in NY for a year doing internships and "looking for a job". Needless to say, it was hard, frustrating, expensive but I found one and I am learning a lot. I'm really happy with the way things turned out and can't agree more with you "perseverance can deliver good results'.
michaelcor..., Oct 09, 2009 20:00
thanks for this note ivan. i'm doing my LLM in columbia, and i recently discovered opera!!! so i am trying to catch as many operas in the met for as cheaply as i can. i am also taking a bunch of corporate law classes (useful for work like securities, corporations, M&A, bankruptcy, banking, international commercial transactions) and a bunch of other classes that will probably never be useful for me in my future career, but i just find interesting -- global constitutionalism (think a constitution for the globe), a class on open sourcing, US foreign economic policy, and US consti law! plus i'm doing journal. as you can imagine, not much time to meet people and do anything else. hope people will know who i am on graduation day, haha. thanks again for your note and congratulations on your post LLM success!
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