Many people ask me about whether it is beneficial to pursue an LLM in the UK or not (from a job seeking perspective). Here’s what I have to say…

I myself studied in a very top reputed university in London ranking amongst the top 3. There was a dedicated career services team but it was of little help for me or most people I know. Certainly amongst my Indian colleagues who have been there had returned to India empty handed except with the certificate of successful completion of the course from the University which is a mere formality. As far as fetching jobs are concerned, I have tried almost every nook and corner, but failed to secure one. I had even tried head hunters and co-ordinated with them on a regular basis but of avail. I guess if you are an exceptional student with an exceptional academic background and an added experience, then you may get a chance as probably a paralegal or if you are lucky enough then even the most lucrative offer of a training contract which is the 1-2 year gateway to landing a permanent job as an Associate of a multinational law firm in the UK. You get an advantage only if you have done a graduation from a well-known UK university. But if you don’t find yourself meeting the criteria mentioned above, then don’t go for an LLM and especially if you have to take loan or sell your property to study there. On top of that during many of my interviews even in India with top Corporate law firms, the Partners were very clear about the empty prospects of pursuing an LLM from the UK. They even reckoned that pursuing an LLM would be akin to wasting an entire year sitting idle. Moreover the UK market during my time (2013-14) was struggling with economic meltdown, so therefore there was not much I could do. I even tried convincing my professors who tried their best for me but even they could not stand up to the UK government’s stringent conservative laws affecting immigrants. I believe the US market is still better for pursuing an LLM.

The UK visa policy is very stringent so, even though I had secured a job in London with a multinational company under a General Legal Counsel and I was earning a decent salary in London standards, I had to leave my job as my visa had expired and so I had to return to my country. I failed therefore to convert the job into a permanent offer. I had even managed to secure an internship with a multinational organization for a month before finding the job. But all this could not set the platform for my permanency in London. I consulted with some immigration lawyers there but even they could not help me out as the maximum they could do was to extend my visa for a further 2 months which was still short of 2 more months to convert my part time job into a full time one. It was a disappointment on my part as I had to come back to my country with an empty had except for a few pounds that I earned from my short stint as a part timer.

But having said that not all is hopeless in the UK job market. After the Brexit I hear things are slowly catching up. Having personally been there and stayed there for more than one and a half years, I have gained some understanding and clarity on a few strategies that could pay well. For instance, while pursuing a commercial awareness course and also a few other social networking events, I came across a few individual legal professionals who were of some help in terms of understanding the nature of the legal job market in the UK. There is a solicitorship course called the LPC (or the Legal Practitioner’s course). That course is a must or a pre-requisite for landing up a training contract with a top law firm or even any law firm for that matter. Earlier, it was not necessary to undergo this course for getting an offer of a Paralegal with a firm. But from my time onwards, even for becoming a paralegal with any ordinary firm, you need to pass the LPC. On further investigation, I found out that the LPC course is a highly rewarding course that increases your chances of landing a job way more than an LLM even from the best ranked University in the UK. The course fee was around 9 lakh rupees in Indian currency. You have to check the current rate though. There are some good universities which offer this course like the BPP law school for instance. I name the BPP because people who I encountered were all from BPP law school which even included Indians in it. This LPC is a basic requirement that you have to have in order to get a job in any law firm in the UK. Even if you are an exceptionally talented candidate, you still would have to go through the LPC course after you get placed as a trainee in order to land a permanent job as an Associate. The pay structure is pretty good after you get placed (even in an ordinary organization) so do not have to worry about anything afterwards.

Therefore, I would suggest that if you are really keen on studying abroad in the UK to land a job there pursuing the LPC course is a must for you as it would be an asset for you that will never get devalued and would always attract the attention of law firms as then you would be treated as a solicitor and not an outsider to the UK job market. After completing the LPC you will have to go through the QLTS scheme as well (Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme) which I believe would not be much difficult after the LPC. This is all about knowing the UK law which is not too different from the Indian law as both are common law countries and India having inherited much of its legal framework from the UK would not be difficult as well.