Too old to do an LLM?


Does anyone think 35 is too old to do an LLM in the UK? Will law schools (and thereafter firms/employers) freely discriminate?

It's not so much of an issue here in the US because 30s is still considered quite young, even by large firms, but my understanding is that law in the UK is very much a young man's game with older lawyers relegated (ironically) to the lower paying jobs.
Does anyone think 35 is too old to do an LLM in the UK? Will law schools (and thereafter firms/employers) freely discriminate?

It's not so much of an issue here in the US because 30s is still considered quite young, even by large firms, but my understanding is that law in the UK is very much a young man's game with older lawyers relegated (ironically) to the lower paying jobs.
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lmwoods
Law schools do not discriminate on the grounds of age (nor, I hope any other grounds save relevant qualifications and the abiltiy to speak English). I don't know what law firms' approach is. Some mature students during the 1990's commented to me that they were having difficulty getting training contracts, though the law firms we asked denied that age was a relevant factor and that was a time when many people ere experiencing the same difficulty whatever their age. In an event if you already have the legal qualification that puts you in a different category in any event. Have you tried contacting some of the legal recruitment agencies to see what their view is?
Law schools do not discriminate on the grounds of age (nor, I hope any other grounds save relevant qualifications and the abiltiy to speak English). I don't know what law firms' approach is. Some mature students during the 1990's commented to me that they were having difficulty getting training contracts, though the law firms we asked denied that age was a relevant factor and that was a time when many people ere experiencing the same difficulty whatever their age. In an event if you already have the legal qualification that puts you in a different category in any event. Have you tried contacting some of the legal recruitment agencies to see what their view is?
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Carter
"Does anyone think 35 is too old to do an LLM in the UK?"

Definitely no. I am 33 and currently pursuing my LLM in Edinburgh. I would dare to say that there are at least four or five of us in every class. Most of the people is around 25, but it doesn't make a big difference.

Regards,
"Does anyone think 35 is too old to do an LLM in the UK?"

Definitely no. I am 33 and currently pursuing my LLM in Edinburgh. I would dare to say that there are at least four or five of us in every class. Most of the people is around 25, but it doesn't make a big difference.

Regards,
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Melbgrad
I agree with Carter - I did my LLM at Edinburgh a couple of years ago and was 32 at the time - and was not the oldest there (but definitely in the upper third). It wasn't an issue at all, and because a lot of Europeans (esp Germans) come to Edinburgh - not sure if it's for lifestyle or because it's a mixed jurisdiction, but hopefully not to learn English in Scotland... - the course tends to have a lot of people in their late 20s anyway.
I agree with Carter - I did my LLM at Edinburgh a couple of years ago and was 32 at the time - and was not the oldest there (but definitely in the upper third). It wasn't an issue at all, and because a lot of Europeans (esp Germans) come to Edinburgh - not sure if it's for lifestyle or because it's a mixed jurisdiction, but hopefully not to learn English in Scotland... - the course tends to have a lot of people in their late 20s anyway.
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VKR
I am 43 and planning to LL.M. Is it a mistake for a person who is not looking towards law firms instead more towards shipping related industry?
I am 43 and planning to LL.M. Is it a mistake for a person who is not looking towards law firms instead more towards shipping related industry?
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Melbgrad
VKR - I'm probably biased, but I don't think that any age is too old for the LLM. Obviously, if you are doing it with a particular professional ambition afterwards (i.e. shipping), it might be worthwhile picking an institution that has strengths in maritime law/law of the sea (this is not necessarily the same as general rankings, but the way, but don't ignore them completely) - e.g. Robin Churchill is at Dundee (I think). Once you've found a couple of suitable unis, email academics there and see what they say (of course, no response can tell you volumes...). Certainly in Australia, a lot of people do LLMs after a number of years of practice, and either do it to (a) refresh the academic work in their area of practice (b) move into a new area (c) just to get the old grey cells working and have a constructive career break.
VKR - I'm probably biased, but I don't think that any age is too old for the LLM. Obviously, if you are doing it with a particular professional ambition afterwards (i.e. shipping), it might be worthwhile picking an institution that has strengths in maritime law/law of the sea (this is not necessarily the same as general rankings, but the way, but don't ignore them completely) - e.g. Robin Churchill is at Dundee (I think). Once you've found a couple of suitable unis, email academics there and see what they say (of course, no response can tell you volumes...). Certainly in Australia, a lot of people do LLMs after a number of years of practice, and either do it to (a) refresh the academic work in their area of practice (b) move into a new area (c) just to get the old grey cells working and have a constructive career break.
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Sunil
My cousin is 40 and doing LL.M.

I also know a lot of people who wanted to change careers after working for a no. of years in finance field etc so joined a law school in late 30s or early 40s.

And not everyone does LL.M to join some private company after completing it. People who may have qualified as lawyers/solicitors years back(but never practiced law after qualifying) may want to now do LL.M to specialize in a specific field and start their own law firm.
My cousin is 40 and doing LL.M.

I also know a lot of people who wanted to change careers after working for a no. of years in finance field etc so joined a law school in late 30s or early 40s.

And not everyone does LL.M to join some private company after completing it. People who may have qualified as lawyers/solicitors years back(but never practiced law after qualifying) may want to now do LL.M to specialize in a specific field and start their own law firm.
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thesailor
I AM A SEAFARER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF 40, WILL DOING LL.M ENHANCE MY OPPORTUNITIES IN SHORE BASED CAREERS. I DID LL.B FEW YEARS BACK FROM AN INDIAN UNIVERSITY. ANY IDEAS?
I AM A SEAFARER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF 40, WILL DOING LL.M ENHANCE MY OPPORTUNITIES IN SHORE BASED CAREERS. I DID LL.B FEW YEARS BACK FROM AN INDIAN UNIVERSITY. ANY IDEAS?
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ayun_2000
Let me tell you all one thing...particularly those who are coming out of India to do an LLM with the hope of starting an international career in law, that it is next to impossible to find jobs if you are not a candidate from European community member states in the legal sector. I was in a stable job in Mumbai, came out to internationalize my career, did LLM in Europe and came to UK to do PhD and also pass the solicitors exam with the hope of getting a job in UK or Europe but it is not possible. There is a covert racial discrimination against non-EC members. The immigration laws are also very tough and it is next to impossible to get work permits for LLMs etc. So think twice or as many times as you need to before you leave everything to come and do an LLM etc and before wasting your or your father's hard earned money. The opportunities in India are abundant and would get even better. LLM from these European and UK universities hardly count in job market unless u want to pursue an academic career but that too is ver discriminatory in its present form and unless of course just for the sake of staying in UK/Europe, you are prepared to anything.

I also did QLTT with this hope and sort of assurance from many of the firms and also job agents that doing so is the first entry point to get into a firm. But having done that I realised that is not the case. The selection process is based first on your nationality, race and then contacts and may be then comes the degree etc. I am not so sure how beneficial QLTT would be for India either. All this hype around QLTT promoted by Law Society, according to me, is merely to cash in this craze for getting foreign degrees and also a joint promotion to open the legal sector in India again with this spin that it is beneficial for India which will never be the case. And that is exactly the mentality of most of these foreign institutions offering LLM. LLM degrees are cash cows for them where they milk the foreign students particularly those from Asian countries with no real scope in the job market. I dont know about the US degrees but I am sure of European and UK degrees; of course you must keep out Universities like Cambridge, Oxford, Queen Mary and LSE from this trend but others are mostly run as money making machines and seen as a very good aspect of the respective economy. Think you are spending your money to support their economy. So far so good. But what do you get in return-a mere degree with no international job prospect? I know so many Indians who did their LL.Ms from these little or not so well known Institutions spending substantial sums and returned to India after trying to find job and landing up in menial jobs in hotels etc and even back in India they either landed up in same job or struggled to make up for their lack of India experience. Believe me, law is still a very regional subject, a very culturally entrenched profession. These firms have a very discriminatory selection process. Based on the same qualification they will take Australians, even Canadians but rarely Indians. The few Indians that you may come across are rarely Indians from India but they are British Indians. And this is also because they want to push the India practice and want to liberalize the market so they are putting up Indian faces in their firms. But earlier it was equally discriminatory against even British Indians who were culturally integrated with British society. They have same attitude towards Africans-even British Africans. Recently there was this minority legal practitioners report which did a survey and found that the law firms rarely employ Africans. Yes tomorrow if they found that in Nigeria there is a gold mine and they want to do legal business there they may start employing Nigerians but not before that. These firms see Indian market as a gold mine and thus are so ebnt upon to lobby the government to liberalize the market, conduct QLTT in Mumbai and Delhi, recruit penultimate year students from NLSU and give them training contracts but do they have a similar open policy for other Indian experienced qualified lawyers? NO. So the moot question-Is there a benefit doing an LLM form these European Universities-depends on what one wants to do: If searching for jobs-forget it unless you are from Cambridge, LSE or Oxford and few others but that is also not that forthcoming. Want to go back to India-may be companies would give you some credit for your foreign degree but not so much. QLTT-absolutely not UNLESS- you come with huge business and political contacts in India to provide enough business for law firms. Certainly not if dont have them and think that your talent and experience and LLM degree would give you a good job.
Let me tell you all one thing...particularly those who are coming out of India to do an LLM with the hope of starting an international career in law, that it is next to impossible to find jobs if you are not a candidate from European community member states in the legal sector. I was in a stable job in Mumbai, came out to internationalize my career, did LLM in Europe and came to UK to do PhD and also pass the solicitors exam with the hope of getting a job in UK or Europe but it is not possible. There is a covert racial discrimination against non-EC members. The immigration laws are also very tough and it is next to impossible to get work permits for LLMs etc. So think twice or as many times as you need to before you leave everything to come and do an LLM etc and before wasting your or your father's hard earned money. The opportunities in India are abundant and would get even better. LLM from these European and UK universities hardly count in job market unless u want to pursue an academic career but that too is ver discriminatory in its present form and unless of course just for the sake of staying in UK/Europe, you are prepared to anything.

I also did QLTT with this hope and sort of assurance from many of the firms and also job agents that doing so is the first entry point to get into a firm. But having done that I realised that is not the case. The selection process is based first on your nationality, race and then contacts and may be then comes the degree etc. I am not so sure how beneficial QLTT would be for India either. All this hype around QLTT promoted by Law Society, according to me, is merely to cash in this craze for getting foreign degrees and also a joint promotion to open the legal sector in India again with this spin that it is beneficial for India which will never be the case. And that is exactly the mentality of most of these foreign institutions offering LLM. LLM degrees are cash cows for them where they milk the foreign students particularly those from Asian countries with no real scope in the job market. I don’t know about the US degrees but I am sure of European and UK degrees; of course you must keep out Universities like Cambridge, Oxford, Queen Mary and LSE from this trend but others are mostly run as money making machines and seen as a very good aspect of the respective economy. Think you are spending your money to support their economy. So far so good. But what do you get in return-a mere degree with no international job prospect? I know so many Indians who did their LL.Ms from these little or not so well known Institutions spending substantial sums and returned to India after trying to find job and landing up in menial jobs in hotels etc and even back in India they either landed up in same job or struggled to make up for their lack of India experience. Believe me, law is still a very regional subject, a very culturally entrenched profession. These firms have a very discriminatory selection process. Based on the same qualification they will take Australians, even Canadians but rarely Indians. The few Indians that you may come across are rarely Indians from India but they are British Indians. And this is also because they want to push the India practice and want to liberalize the market so they are putting up Indian faces in their firms. But earlier it was equally discriminatory against even British Indians who were culturally integrated with British society. They have same attitude towards Africans-even British Africans. Recently there was this minority legal practitioner’s report which did a survey and found that the law firms rarely employ Africans. Yes tomorrow if they found that in Nigeria there is a gold mine and they want to do legal business there they may start employing Nigerians but not before that. These firms see Indian market as a gold mine and thus are so ebnt upon to lobby the government to liberalize the market, conduct QLTT in Mumbai and Delhi, recruit penultimate year students from NLSU and give them training contracts but do they have a similar open policy for other Indian experienced qualified lawyers? NO. So the moot question-Is there a benefit doing an LLM form these European Universities-depends on what one wants to do: If searching for jobs-forget it unless you are from Cambridge, LSE or Oxford and few others but that is also not that forthcoming. Want to go back to India-may be companies would give you some credit for your foreign degree but not so much. QLTT-absolutely not UNLESS- you come with huge business and political contacts in India to provide enough business for law firms. Certainly not if don’t have them and think that your talent and experience and LLM degree would give you a good job.
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Sunil
Ayun

while I do appreciate your concerns about Indians finding a job in UK after doing their LL.M in UK, this particular post was started primarily to discuss pros and cons of people doing LL.M in their 30s or 40s.
Ayun

while I do appreciate your concerns about Indians finding a job in UK after doing their LL.M in UK, this particular post was started primarily to discuss pros and cons of people doing LL.M in their 30s or 40s.

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deeksha
but what exactly is the use of doing LLM? is it purely academic? does it enhance your job prospects in India or in UK, eg if you are from Oxbridge or LSE? are legal firms willing to take Indians if they are from Oxbridge? Also what is the level of difficulty of the LLM programme? how much of study is required to get say at least a first class from a top institution? is it like an 14-16 hours a day?
thank you.
but what exactly is the use of doing LLM? is it purely academic? does it enhance your job prospects in India or in UK, eg if you are from Oxbridge or LSE? are legal firms willing to take Indians if they are from Oxbridge? Also what is the level of difficulty of the LLM programme? how much of study is required to get say at least a first class from a top institution? is it like an 14-16 hours a day?
thank you.
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Yellow
I think that if people want to have a serious discussion about issues other than "too old to do an LLM" they should start a new thread. There are two reasons for this. Firstly so that they might get answers for whatever issues they are raising and secondly so that if people are actually concerned about age as opposed to nationality and they search the forum they get a logical response rather than yet another tirade on the so-called 'racism' of law firms. In response to the question asked I would say that my experience has been that those who have been a little older generally gain more from doing graduate work. I think that they tend to be a bit more relaxed because generally it's not a make-or-break in terms of their career and they make the most of the opportunities available to them rather than just going to class. In short often they seem to enjoy the experience more. That said I don't know how firms view it and I would imagine that depends on what level you are going in on. If you have not yet worked as an attorney and are looking to start training at 35 I would be surprised if there wasn't a bias against you. If a firm can get someone who is 22 to do the same work I think 9 times out of 10 they will go for it. Partly because they usually hope to get more years than training out of them and partly because someone of 22 would tend to have less things to focus on such as family etc which would impact on the hours they can work. This is however a generalisation based on going to interviews and open days etc rather than emperical evidence so I am open to correction.
I think that if people want to have a serious discussion about issues other than "too old to do an LLM" they should start a new thread. There are two reasons for this. Firstly so that they might get answers for whatever issues they are raising and secondly so that if people are actually concerned about age as opposed to nationality and they search the forum they get a logical response rather than yet another tirade on the so-called 'racism' of law firms. In response to the question asked I would say that my experience has been that those who have been a little older generally gain more from doing graduate work. I think that they tend to be a bit more relaxed because generally it's not a make-or-break in terms of their career and they make the most of the opportunities available to them rather than just going to class. In short often they seem to enjoy the experience more. That said I don't know how firms view it and I would imagine that depends on what level you are going in on. If you have not yet worked as an attorney and are looking to start training at 35 I would be surprised if there wasn't a bias against you. If a firm can get someone who is 22 to do the same work I think 9 times out of 10 they will go for it. Partly because they usually hope to get more years than training out of them and partly because someone of 22 would tend to have less things to focus on such as family etc which would impact on the hours they can work. This is however a generalisation based on going to interviews and open days etc rather than emperical evidence so I am open to correction.
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Vincenzo
i definitely think that there's no age at all to do an llm. i did mine at 30/31 and had quite a few classmates who were around my age. we had fun and got great experience as we were motivated. i don't think univerities are bothered about the age as well, as far as prospective students prove their skills and motivation.

the job front is a bit different. in the uk especially being a young lawyer can be really frustrating and the less u know, the better, because u won't get fed up of the dirty job they give u on a daily basis.
indeed llm is quite seldom the route towards training contracts or graduate schemes. big firms or companies prefere different profiles.

if u look forward to working for a smaller firm, for a "butique", where the technical knowledge is more relevant, then the llm will certainly come of use.
i definitely think that there's no age at all to do an llm. i did mine at 30/31 and had quite a few classmates who were around my age. we had fun and got great experience as we were motivated. i don't think univerities are bothered about the age as well, as far as prospective students prove their skills and motivation.

the job front is a bit different. in the uk especially being a young lawyer can be really frustrating and the less u know, the better, because u won't get fed up of the dirty job they give u on a daily basis.
indeed llm is quite seldom the route towards training contracts or graduate schemes. big firms or companies prefere different profiles.

if u look forward to working for a smaller firm, for a "butique", where the technical knowledge is more relevant, then the llm will certainly come of use.
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VKR
I think that if people want to have a serious discussion about issues other than "too old to do an LLM" they should start a new thread. There are two reasons for this. Firstly so that they might get answers for whatever issues they are raising and secondly so that if people are actually concerned about age as opposed to nationality and they search the forum they get a logical response rather than yet another tirade on the so-called 'racism' of law firms. In response to the question asked I would say that my experience has been that those who have been a little older generally gain more from doing graduate work. I think that they tend to be a bit more relaxed because generally it's not a make-or-break in terms of their career and they make the most of the opportunities available to them rather than just going to class. In short often they seem to enjoy the experience more. That said I don't know how firms view it and I would imagine that depends on what level you are going in on. If you have not yet worked as an attorney and are looking to start training at 35 I would be surprised if there wasn't a bias against you. If a firm can get someone who is 22 to do the same work I think 9 times out of 10 they will go for it. Partly because they usually hope to get more years than training out of them and partly because someone of 22 would tend to have less things to focus on such as family etc which would impact on the hours they can work. This is however a generalization based on going to interviews and open days etc rather than emperical evidence so I am open to correction.


The concern about the age and difficulty in doing LL.M. whatsoever is being correctly discussed here. Ayun is to be thanked for sharing his experience with us very candidly. I am sure he did not intend to show any nationality or region in bad light. I feel we have a common thread irrespective of nationalities or age group and that is we all going to or undergoing or have completed the LL.M.
I regret some of us mentioned the opportunities other than practicing law with legal firm as 'boutique'. Let me tell you friends shipping related industries have financial resources which many law firms can only dream. The discussion "too old to do LL.M." was/ is only to find out how best the older colleagues, whether they have practiced law or not, can find an appropriate place. So lets not look down upon this allied sector.
So if there is a problem of 'racism' among UK law firms we should all know. We all are mature enough to consider all aspects before going for the program.
cheers
<blockquote>I think that if people want to have a serious discussion about issues other than "too old to do an LLM" they should start a new thread. There are two reasons for this. Firstly so that they might get answers for whatever issues they are raising and secondly so that if people are actually concerned about age as opposed to nationality and they search the forum they get a logical response rather than yet another tirade on the so-called 'racism' of law firms. In response to the question asked I would say that my experience has been that those who have been a little older generally gain more from doing graduate work. I think that they tend to be a bit more relaxed because generally it's not a make-or-break in terms of their career and they make the most of the opportunities available to them rather than just going to class. In short often they seem to enjoy the experience more. That said I don't know how firms view it and I would imagine that depends on what level you are going in on. If you have not yet worked as an attorney and are looking to start training at 35 I would be surprised if there wasn't a bias against you. If a firm can get someone who is 22 to do the same work I think 9 times out of 10 they will go for it. Partly because they usually hope to get more years than training out of them and partly because someone of 22 would tend to have less things to focus on such as family etc which would impact on the hours they can work. This is however a generalization based on going to interviews and open days etc rather than emperical evidence so I am open to correction.</blockquote>

The concern about the age and difficulty in doing LL.M. whatsoever is being correctly discussed here. Ayun is to be thanked for sharing his experience with us very candidly. I am sure he did not intend to show any nationality or region in bad light. I feel we have a common thread irrespective of nationalities or age group and that is we all going to or undergoing or have completed the LL.M.
I regret some of us mentioned the opportunities other than practicing law with legal firm as 'boutique'. Let me tell you friends shipping related industries have financial resources which many law firms can only dream. The discussion "too old to do LL.M." was/ is only to find out how best the older colleagues, whether they have practiced law or not, can find an appropriate place. So lets not look down upon this allied sector.
So if there is a problem of 'racism' among UK law firms we should all know. We all are mature enough to consider all aspects before going for the program.
cheers
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Carter
Coming back to the age discussion, I believe everybody should first think where he/she is and where he/she wants to get with your LL.M. It is not a golden key, although it will to open some doors if you know how to use it. Starting a Master's with no idea of what are you going to do before, does not seem to be a smart move.

In my case, I was 33 when started this LL.M and would like to start practising law in my home country. I have a ten year experience within the musical industry and have already completed my first PhD year before starting my Master's. The plan is to finish my PhD before starting to work again. I will be 35 or 36 then. Too old? Maybe... But I will be specialised to the highest academic level in my own jurisdiction and with ten years of relevant work experience in my CV. Is it going to be that easy? I don't know... but it deserves a try...
Coming back to the age discussion, I believe everybody should first think where he/she is and where he/she wants to get with your LL.M. It is not a golden key, although it will to open some doors if you know how to use it. Starting a Master's with no idea of what are you going to do before, does not seem to be a smart move.

In my case, I was 33 when started this LL.M and would like to start practising law in my home country. I have a ten year experience within the musical industry and have already completed my first PhD year before starting my Master's. The plan is to finish my PhD before starting to work again. I will be 35 or 36 then. Too old? Maybe... But I will be specialised to the highest academic level in my own jurisdiction and with ten years of relevant work experience in my CV. Is it going to be that easy? I don't know... but it deserves a try...
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