Beware: QM LLM NOT career enhancer for Americans in U.S.


Unazoi

Did the LLM in 2007-2008 after earning my J.D. from a U.S. law school in 2007.

I'd be a disingenuous twit if I didn't admit the year I spent in London (2007-2008) earning the LLM (Banking and Finance) was perhaps the best of my life. I even returned in December 2008 for graduation to see former classmates. However, graduates of U.S. law schools shouldn't be lulled into paying for a degree (and a very expensive year living in London with the pound currency) that will provide essentially zero career enhancement. U.S. legal industry employers are not interested in the LLM, except for MAYBE the Tax LLM. Don't believe me? I've applied for hundreds of jobs during the past 13 months (I left London in June 2008) and landed not a one of them. Granted, we're mired in a deep and crushing recession, but employers simply are not interested in a year spent in London. You'd be better off gaining practical experience, even if it means interning for free and living in your parents' basement.

My situation is not a-typical. I know this because I have spoken with several other similarly-situated U.S. law students who've earned LLMs from QM.

DO NOT be fooled by the shiny QM brochures, faculty members with half the Latin alphabet following their surnames or the location (although it is second to none). QM's LLM simply carries no weight with U.S. legal employers. I'd only recommend you pursue this degree if you have an all-expenses-paid scholarship or already have a job in the UK lined up following the school year. Otherwise, save your money!!!!!

Did the LLM in 2007-2008 after earning my J.D. from a U.S. law school in 2007.

I'd be a disingenuous twit if I didn't admit the year I spent in London (2007-2008) earning the LLM (Banking and Finance) was perhaps the best of my life. I even returned in December 2008 for graduation to see former classmates. However, graduates of U.S. law schools shouldn't be lulled into paying for a degree (and a very expensive year living in London with the pound currency) that will provide essentially zero career enhancement. U.S. legal industry employers are not interested in the LLM, except for MAYBE the Tax LLM. Don't believe me? I've applied for hundreds of jobs during the past 13 months (I left London in June 2008) and landed not a one of them. Granted, we're mired in a deep and crushing recession, but employers simply are not interested in a year spent in London. You'd be better off gaining practical experience, even if it means interning for free and living in your parents' basement.

My situation is not a-typical. I know this because I have spoken with several other similarly-situated U.S. law students who've earned LLMs from QM.

DO NOT be fooled by the shiny QM brochures, faculty members with half the Latin alphabet following their surnames or the location (although it is second to none). QM's LLM simply carries no weight with U.S. legal employers. I'd only recommend you pursue this degree if you have an all-expenses-paid scholarship or already have a job in the UK lined up following the school year. Otherwise, save your money!!!!!
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TiGGer

Are you actually surprised about it? I assume the main (!) motivation of doing an LLM is getting some experience with a country, jurisdiction and language you are not used to. In a nutshell getting "international" (better: transnational) experience!
So, when you come from the US, why should you do an LLM in England? Same language, also common law country, more or less same values...
To my eyes you should have gone to a civil (Roman) law jurisdiction or at least to a country which official language is not English.

Are you actually surprised about it? I assume the main (!) motivation of doing an LLM is getting some experience with a country, jurisdiction and language you are not used to. In a nutshell getting "international" (better: transnational) experience!
So, when you come from the US, why should you do an LLM in England? Same language, also common law country, more or less same values...
To my eyes you should have gone to a civil (Roman) law jurisdiction or at least to a country which official language is not English.
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Kerfuffle

This is the myth of the LLM! Virtually no UK LLMs carry weight with any US employers (and most US ones don't either). It begs the question why you thought having a UK LLM would enhance your prospects in the US?? It would have been preferable to do an LLM at NYU/GT/Harvard.

This doesn't only apply to QM, but everywhere else too(even Oxbridge will make little difference to a US employer...it's what else that's on your CV that counts). I know countless people who have done the LLM at the top uni's and gone back to the same position they were in before the LLM.

The LLM is very useful for networking, obtaining international experience, acquiring specialist knowledge, being able to work in a foreign country, but in and of itself, it isn't a passport to a job.

This is the myth of the LLM! Virtually no UK LLMs carry weight with any US employers (and most US ones don't either). It begs the question why you thought having a UK LLM would enhance your prospects in the US?? It would have been preferable to do an LLM at NYU/GT/Harvard.

This doesn't only apply to QM, but everywhere else too(even Oxbridge will make little difference to a US employer...it's what else that's on your CV that counts). I know countless people who have done the LLM at the top uni's and gone back to the same position they were in before the LLM.

The LLM is very useful for networking, obtaining international experience, acquiring specialist knowledge, being able to work in a foreign country, but in and of itself, it isn't a passport to a job.
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PUCCA

Yes i think if you did your LLM in the UK and you are from the US it doesnt make much difference,,it would be better for you to do your LLM in the States and will be highly more appreciate it.

If you are from the US and go to a non speaking country and top uni then i think that might do a difference.

In my case going to the UK its perfect since my native language is Spanish and in latin countries going to Europe is a very very desirable thing and employers think you are the best,,specially the UK.

So well just take your decision and analize your own particular situation. Do the LLM because u want to obtain more experience etc not because you want just a job ,,u might end up being a little bit frustated !

Yes i think if you did your LLM in the UK and you are from the US it doesnt make much difference,,it would be better for you to do your LLM in the States and will be highly more appreciate it.

If you are from the US and go to a non speaking country and top uni then i think that might do a difference.

In my case going to the UK its perfect since my native language is Spanish and in latin countries going to Europe is a very very desirable thing and employers think you are the best,,specially the UK.

So well just take your decision and analize your own particular situation. Do the LLM because u want to obtain more experience etc not because you want just a job ,,u might end up being a little bit frustated !
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Unazoi

I did the LLM because it was paid for by a generous scholarship I earned while I obtained my J.D. Didn't cost me a thing.

I posted my experience to warn others against paying for an LLM in London, thinking it will enhance their chances of finding a job or moving ahead on their career path.

To those of you with the of-course-it's-not-a-career-enhancer attitude: apparently that's not common knowledge because every year thousands of students make the mistake based on school's representations to the contrary.

I did the LLM because it was paid for by a generous scholarship I earned while I obtained my J.D. Didn't cost me a thing.

I posted my experience to warn others against paying for an LLM in London, thinking it will enhance their chances of finding a job or moving ahead on their career path.

To those of you with the of-course-it's-not-a-career-enhancer attitude: apparently that's not common knowledge because every year thousands of students make the mistake based on school's representations to the contrary.
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TiGGer

I did my LLM not to enhance my career (even though I wouldn't mind if it does later on...), but to get some decent international experience, improve my English...and well, l'art pour l'art: I enjoy studying and really getting into a topic in detail. So, for me it was definetely a good investment. By the way, I got job/training contract offers by all magic circle law firms - not only, but also because of my LLM. However, I have to say I come from a civil law jurisdiction (Germany), so I presume that if I had done my LLM in another civil law jurisdiction, things might have been different.

I did my LLM not to enhance my career (even though I wouldn't mind if it does later on...), but to get some decent international experience, improve my English...and well, l'art pour l'art: I enjoy studying and really getting into a topic in detail. So, for me it was definetely a good investment. By the way, I got job/training contract offers by all magic circle law firms - not only, but also because of my LLM. However, I have to say I come from a civil law jurisdiction (Germany), so I presume that if I had done my LLM in another civil law jurisdiction, things might have been different.
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aire_china

Honestly I believe the problem lays in the fact that you had no previous work experience before taking the LLM, not in the fact that you had taken it in the UK.

A student can take as many degree as she/he please, but will hardly land a job if has no experience at all.

So, go and offer to intern somewhere. It's anyway better than staying at home waiting for a call!

Honestly I believe the problem lays in the fact that you had no previous work experience before taking the LLM, not in the fact that you had taken it in the UK.

A student can take as many degree as she/he please, but will hardly land a job if has no experience at all.

So, go and offer to intern somewhere. It's anyway better than staying at home waiting for a call!
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Unazoi

Aire_china,

I do have work experience, so you're assumption is wrong.

Aire_china,

I do have work experience, so you're assumption is wrong.
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aire_china

Hi Unazoi - then I'm even more surprise you did not find any job that interested you.

Anyway, wish you good luck. As for me, I'm still mulling over whether to start with a LLM in September or not.

Take care

Hi Unazoi - then I'm even more surprise you did not find any job that interested you.

Anyway, wish you good luck. As for me, I'm still mulling over whether to start with a LLM in September or not.

Take care
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tenista

Unazoi - thanks for the post. I can share a couple of experiences. First, when I graduated from law school in the USA, I didn't have a job lined up so I did contract work (temporary document review work). Sitting next to me was a guy who had decided to get an LLM in Computer Law in Great Britain to enhance his career prospects. Needless to say, the reason he was sitting next to me doing doc review was because the LLM was pretty much worthless in the USA. Second, a friend from law school in a class ahead of me decided to get an LLM in tax right after getting his JD. Despite finishing near the top of his LLM class, he was the guy sitting on the other side of me doing contract work.
Unazoi, thanks for pointing out what is not well known to graduating USA law students who don't yet have a job - getting an LLM won't help much.

Unazoi - thanks for the post. I can share a couple of experiences. First, when I graduated from law school in the USA, I didn't have a job lined up so I did contract work (temporary document review work). Sitting next to me was a guy who had decided to get an LLM in Computer Law in Great Britain to enhance his career prospects. Needless to say, the reason he was sitting next to me doing doc review was because the LLM was pretty much worthless in the USA. Second, a friend from law school in a class ahead of me decided to get an LLM in tax right after getting his JD. Despite finishing near the top of his LLM class, he was the guy sitting on the other side of me doing contract work.
Unazoi, thanks for pointing out what is not well known to graduating USA law students who don't yet have a job - getting an LLM won't help much.
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P_Martini

At this point, maybe it's useful to give us some momentum to find a career outside law firms or outside law in general. Why not.

At this point, maybe it's useful to give us some momentum to find a career outside law firms or outside law in general. Why not.
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tnuchpiam

It is very well known that an LLM, British or American, is "worthless" in so far as legal practice in the United States is concerned. It is a JD, not an LLM or SJD that counts -- even for a career at a U.S. law school (not to mention law firm).

What really surprises me is why we are making a point of an LLM being worthless in this regard. LLM is afterall an academic, not professional, qualification (though in many other countries it is also professionally valuable). I thus agree that we must find its value somewhere else. Most notably, for a non-native speaker of English, the chance to upgrade his or her English is worth the effort (and the price, of course) of earning this qualification.

It is very well known that an LLM, British or American, is "worthless" in so far as legal practice in the United States is concerned. It is a JD, not an LLM or SJD that counts -- even for a career at a U.S. law school (not to mention law firm).

What really surprises me is why we are making a point of an LLM being worthless in this regard. LLM is afterall an academic, not professional, qualification (though in many other countries it is also professionally valuable). I thus agree that we must find its value somewhere else. Most notably, for a non-native speaker of English, the chance to upgrade his or her English is worth the effort (and the price, of course) of earning this qualification.
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