LL.M. to Ph.D.


valebat

Hi, all.

I am a U.S. attorney, seven years in practice, who has just now decided to take an LL.M. at LSE. While I will work part-time in my firm's London office during my studies, I am viewing the year primarily as a time to consider a move from practice into academia. Here's where you U.K. lawyers come in.

First, few law professors in the U.S. hold a Ph.D., the vast majority having only J.D.s (essentially LL.B.s). What's the story in the U.K.? Second, assuming a Ph.D. is worth the while, are any schools conspicuous for the quality of their Ph.D. programs? Would it be the usual suspects (Oxford, Cambridge)? Finally, if I have my timing right, it seems I would need to apply to a Ph.D.right at the very start of my LL.M. studies. Is that the deal?

Your help really is appreciated. And for those of you attending LSE, I'll see you in a few weeks!

Hi, all.

I am a U.S. attorney, seven years in practice, who has just now decided to take an LL.M. at LSE. While I will work part-time in my firm's London office during my studies, I am viewing the year primarily as a time to consider a move from practice into academia. Here's where you U.K. lawyers come in.

First, few law professors in the U.S. hold a Ph.D., the vast majority having only J.D.s (essentially LL.B.s). What's the story in the U.K.? Second, assuming a Ph.D. is worth the while, are any schools conspicuous for the quality of their Ph.D. programs? Would it be the usual suspects (Oxford, Cambridge)? Finally, if I have my timing right, it seems I would need to apply to a Ph.D.right at the very start of my LL.M. studies. Is that the deal?

Your help really is appreciated. And for those of you attending LSE, I'll see you in a few weeks!
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P_Martini

valebat:

Is a Ph.D. different from the LL.D.? Unfortunately, I don't have any advice or experience to share with you, but I suspect the application process is similar to the process of applying to LL.M. programmes. That is to say, it's probably a year-long process, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the application window opens in October for some programmes.

Your username here influenced me to send you a PM also. See you at LSE.

P. Martini

valebat:

Is a Ph.D. different from the LL.D.? Unfortunately, I don't have any advice or experience to share with you, but I suspect the application process is similar to the process of applying to LL.M. programmes. That is to say, it's probably a year-long process, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the application window opens in October for some programmes.

Your username here influenced me to send you a PM also. See you at LSE.

P. Martini
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Vanquish

Just to chime in ...

An LLD is usually a higher doctorate earned after one has obtained his phD. An award of an LLD is made on the basis of one's published work.

Just to chime in ...

An LLD is usually a higher doctorate earned after one has obtained his phD. An award of an LLD is made on the basis of one's published work.
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Yellow

While until recently many lecturers in the UK would only have had a LLM there has been a move in recent years towards requiring a PhD. You would need to apply right at the start of your LLM which generally makes it difficult in relation to references, topic etc. One thing that is worth considering is where you want to teach. I read a rather depressing article a while back which seemed to indicate that if you want to do so in the US your best (and seemingly only) bet is to get a JD from an Ivy League School. Regarding where to do your PhD. Oxbridge obviously have the best reputation. Other than that try and apply to places that have strengths in your area of interest. You will be better served doing that than going to a name school which only has one person who does research in your area.

While until recently many lecturers in the UK would only have had a LLM there has been a move in recent years towards requiring a PhD. You would need to apply right at the start of your LLM which generally makes it difficult in relation to references, topic etc. One thing that is worth considering is where you want to teach. I read a rather depressing article a while back which seemed to indicate that if you want to do so in the US your best (and seemingly only) bet is to get a JD from an Ivy League School. Regarding where to do your PhD. Oxbridge obviously have the best reputation. Other than that try and apply to places that have strengths in your area of interest. You will be better served doing that than going to a name school which only has one person who does research in your area.
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Megatron

I agree with much of the above post. I would add that it might make a difference what area of law you intend to study. Areas such as criminal or family law might lend themselves more readily to a Ph.D compared to areas like land or trusts law.

At Oxford there was probably a 50:50 split between tutors with and without a Ph. D, with no appreciable difference in the quality of teaching between the two groups.

I agree with much of the above post. I would add that it might make a difference what area of law you intend to study. Areas such as criminal or family law might lend themselves more readily to a Ph.D compared to areas like land or trusts law.

At Oxford there was probably a 50:50 split between tutors with and without a Ph. D, with no appreciable difference in the quality of teaching between the two groups.
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What about the SJD? Is that worth considering?

What about the SJD? Is that worth considering?
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valebat

Thanks to all for the very helpful insight. And particular thanks to you, Yellow, for your input.

With respect to Yellow's post, I do have a J.D. that would have provided a reasonable prospect of landing a teaching job--had I, that is, entered the race not too long after law school. My understanding is that schools in the U.S. appreciate two to three years of practice in a teaching candidate, but not many more. Added to the mix is that I simply haven't had the time (and by "time," I mean "inclination") to publish anything of real substance. I am hoping that a return to school will cure or, at least, obscure some of these shortcomings.

If I understand you right, I very likely need to cobble together a brilliant research/thesis plan over the next few weeks. Ugly. Still, better to know now than in November.

Thanks again for your kind help.

Thanks to all for the very helpful insight. And particular thanks to you, Yellow, for your input.

With respect to Yellow's post, I do have a J.D. that would have provided a reasonable prospect of landing a teaching job--had I, that is, entered the race not too long after law school. My understanding is that schools in the U.S. appreciate two to three years of practice in a teaching candidate, but not many more. Added to the mix is that I simply haven't had the time (and by "time," I mean "inclination") to publish anything of real substance. I am hoping that a return to school will cure or, at least, obscure some of these shortcomings.

If I understand you right, I very likely need to cobble together a brilliant research/thesis plan over the next few weeks. Ugly. Still, better to know now than in November.

Thanks again for your kind help.
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lmwoods

My feeling is that universities are a little more flexible about applications for PhDs than they are for LLMs as they are much more individual. In particular, I suspect that a university would accept that one of its own LLM students would take time to settle down and indentify the sort of subject they are interested in before putting together an application. Certainly a hastily thrown together application will do you no favours even if it is submitted early. In terms of planning, you might like to identify the universities which have experts in the field (broadly identified) in which you are interested. First check when those institutions close their applications, and also see what guidance they give about the information/level of detail they require. Until you know this, you won't know what you are up against in terms of time constraints. Also, check when you get an offer that your supervisor is who you hope it is. Whilst departments may have limits on the facilities it has for PhD students generally, individual staff members will also have limits on the number of PhD students they are able to supervise at any one time.

My feeling is that universities are a little more flexible about applications for PhDs than they are for LLMs as they are much more individual. In particular, I suspect that a university would accept that one of its own LLM students would take time to settle down and indentify the sort of subject they are interested in before putting together an application. Certainly a hastily thrown together application will do you no favours even if it is submitted early. In terms of planning, you might like to identify the universities which have experts in the field (broadly identified) in which you are interested. First check when those institutions close their applications, and also see what guidance they give about the information/level of detail they require. Until you know this, you won't know what you are up against in terms of time constraints. Also, check when you get an offer that your supervisor is who you hope it is. Whilst departments may have limits on the facilities it has for PhD students generally, individual staff members will also have limits on the number of PhD students they are able to supervise at any one time.
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