UCL vs LSE in PIL


kawakai

Good afternoon,
I would like to get advice with regard to the above subject.

I am from Japan and scheduled to obtain LLB degree in a month.

I would love to specialise in Public International Law, in particular Human Rights. I have got offers from LSE, UCL and Utrecht, the Netherlands. I know that both LSE and UCL LLM programme would be great opportunity. But, purely academic perspective, does anyone give me advice which one to recommend in PIL?

Thank you for your support, cheers.

Good afternoon,
I would like to get advice with regard to the above subject.

I am from Japan and scheduled to obtain LLB degree in a month.

I would love to specialise in Public International Law, in particular Human Rights. I have got offers from LSE, UCL and Utrecht, the Netherlands. I know that both LSE and UCL LLM programme would be great opportunity. But, purely academic perspective, does anyone give me advice which one to recommend in PIL?

Thank you for your support, cheers.
quote
Good Gosh

they're both fantastic and not much between them. UCL has sands + others, LSE has gearty + chinkin + others. they're both fantastic.

LSE perhaps has better facilities and is slightly more selective, but you really can't go wrong with either..

congrats and good luck w/your decision!

they're both fantastic and not much between them. UCL has sands + others, LSE has gearty + chinkin + others. they're both fantastic.

LSE perhaps has better facilities and is slightly more selective, but you really can't go wrong with either..

congrats and good luck w/your decision!
quote
kawakai

To Good Gosh,

Thank you very much for your information. This is really helpful to me. Prof. Chinkin seems like great teacher for the field I want to specialise in.

By the way, if I may, I would like to ask one more question. I would like to know the employment situation after completing LLM degree in UK. Of course, LLM doesn't mean you are a qualified lawyer. Since I will just finish my LLB from Japan in a month, I want to know whether there is possibility for working in practice in Europe for an Asian future LLM holder. The way you work in practice in Japan is far different than in Europe. So, any information will be amazing for me. Thanks.

To Good Gosh,

Thank you very much for your information. This is really helpful to me. Prof. Chinkin seems like great teacher for the field I want to specialise in.

By the way, if I may, I would like to ask one more question. I would like to know the employment situation after completing LLM degree in UK. Of course, LLM doesn't mean you are a qualified lawyer. Since I will just finish my LLB from Japan in a month, I want to know whether there is possibility for working in practice in Europe for an Asian future LLM holder. The way you work in practice in Japan is far different than in Europe. So, any information will be amazing for me. Thanks.
quote
haesd

Kawakai,

Best congratulations with your offers! UCL and LSE are both outstanding whether in PIL or other areas. Your final decision should be guided by your academic interests and what you hope to do after this degree. Both schools offer a standard range of specialist PIL subjects at the Masters level international environmental law, international tribunals, international human rights, humanitarian law, use of force etc.

You did not indicate whether you plan to do a general LLM (focus on PIL but perhaps elect 1 or 2 non-PIL modules) or a specialist LLM on PIL. If it is the former, you should examine the full range of modules that both schools offer and decide which may interest you and that may influence your decision to choose either UCL or LSE. If it is the latter, perhaps LSE has a more innovative sweep of PIL modules. Its Rethinking International law appears to be interested in exploring this discipline from a doctrinal and theoretical perspective. It is not everyones cup of tea (if, for example, you are an implacable positivist more interested in exploring state practice than theory) but if you are familiar with Susan Marks works, it is quite interesting and perhaps even helpful for you - from an academic standpoint - to consider international human rights (your preferred specialism) more coherently. LSE also offers law of self-determination as a specialist module, which is unusual, and to my knowledge not widely offered in many law schools. Contrarily, at UCL, their foreign relations law is well-established and covers the gamut of international legal issues such as conflict of laws, legal matters arising from national versus international law, consular laws, sovereign immunity and international responsibility.

You will be required to write a dissertation. No doubt you will need to think about the subject matter soon (if not already) and therefore a suitable supervisor. As you are already aware, both law schools have leading authorities in their fields. But they may not teach your preferred subjects (you need to look up the course details here) and may not be available as supervisors. A few scholars at both schools can be very busy because they shuttle between law school and an active practice as barristers.

As for a legal career in the UK, as a fresh graduate not from the EU/UK and without a first degree from a British university, it seems fair to say that it would be a gruelling experience. There are many factors to consider, not least the decision to choose whether to qualify either as a solicitor and barrister. Of course your grades, both LLB and LLM, will make a difference. If you are so inclined you can take the qualifying Bar exams to become a barrister but, in terms of finding places for pupillage and tenancy, it is extremely difficult. If you plan to qualify as a solicitor in the UK, then a fundamental question is this why specialise in PIL and not corporate law? Qualification is always a demanding process, as I am sure it is in Japan. Good luck!

Kawakai,

Best congratulations with your offers! UCL and LSE are both outstanding whether in PIL or other areas. Your final decision should be guided by your academic interests and what you hope to do after this degree. Both schools offer a standard range of specialist PIL subjects at the Masters level – international environmental law, international tribunals, international human rights, humanitarian law, use of force etc.

You did not indicate whether you plan to do a general LLM (focus on PIL but perhaps elect 1 or 2 non-PIL modules) or a specialist LLM on PIL. If it is the former, you should examine the full range of modules that both schools offer and decide which may interest you and that may influence your decision to choose either UCL or LSE. If it is the latter, perhaps LSE has a more innovative sweep of PIL modules. Its “Rethinking International law” appears to be interested in exploring this discipline from a doctrinal and theoretical perspective. It is not everyone’s cup of tea (if, for example, you are an implacable positivist more interested in exploring state practice than theory) but if you are familiar with Susan Mark’s works, it is quite interesting and perhaps even helpful for you - from an academic standpoint - to consider international human rights (your preferred specialism) more coherently. LSE also offers “law of self-determination” as a specialist module, which is unusual, and to my knowledge not widely offered in many law schools. Contrarily, at UCL, their “foreign relations law” is well-established and covers the gamut of international legal issues such as conflict of laws, legal matters arising from national versus international law, consular laws, sovereign immunity and international responsibility.

You will be required to write a dissertation. No doubt you will need to think about the subject matter soon (if not already) and therefore a suitable supervisor. As you are already aware, both law schools have leading authorities in their fields. But they may not teach your preferred subjects (you need to look up the course details here) and may not be available as supervisors. A few scholars at both schools can be very busy because they shuttle between law school and an active practice as barristers.

As for a legal career in the UK, as a fresh graduate not from the EU/UK and without a first degree from a British university, it seems fair to say that it would be a gruelling experience. There are many factors to consider, not least the decision to choose whether to qualify either as a solicitor and barrister. Of course your grades, both LLB and LLM, will make a difference. If you are so inclined you can take the qualifying Bar exams to become a barrister but, in terms of finding places for pupillage and tenancy, it is extremely difficult. If you plan to qualify as a solicitor in the UK, then a fundamental question is this – why specialise in PIL and not corporate law? Qualification is always a demanding process, as I am sure it is in Japan. Good luck!
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kawakai

Dear Haesd,

I cannot thank you enough. This is extremely helpful to read though your post. I really appreciate that.

As I indicated before, my intention to specialise is human rights, also interested in criminal justice as well. The LLM in both UCL and LSE are specialist PIL on human rights module, which I should have mentioned previously. It seems that it is quite based upon the courses that is closer to what I want to do. I really should look up more carefully. Thanks.

Speaking for career perspective, my future aspiration is working for United Nations. I do not believe that the LLM is not simply academically enough to obtain a spot for that. Then, I was thinking to seek an employment as a legal practice in Europe after LLM, even though I know it would be extremely difficult. However, you are absolutely right about my chosen subject, which is international law, not corporate law. Because this is for what I want to do in my future. That is the reason why, I would like to know the employment situation for a non-EU LLM holder.

And yes, qualification is always a demanding process. In Japan, after 4 years LLB, you have to go law school for 2 years, and right before the examination, you can take a bar exam, which only 10 % applicants can pass the exam. Then, you become a trainee lawyer finally. Since Japan somehow introduced USA law school system, graduate school of law and law school are different institutions. I would love to deepen my knowledge or network in human rights law field. Meanwhile, I also want to accomplish as a qualified lawyer. This is my goal. Well, I may wish too much though.

Dear Haesd,

I cannot thank you enough. This is extremely helpful to read though your post. I really appreciate that.

As I indicated before, my intention to specialise is human rights, also interested in criminal justice as well. The LLM in both UCL and LSE are specialist PIL on human rights module, which I should have mentioned previously. It seems that it is quite based upon the courses that is closer to what I want to do. I really should look up more carefully. Thanks.

Speaking for career perspective, my future aspiration is working for United Nations. I do not believe that the LLM is not simply academically enough to obtain a spot for that. Then, I was thinking to seek an employment as a legal practice in Europe after LLM, even though I know it would be extremely difficult. However, you are absolutely right about my chosen subject, which is international law, not corporate law. Because this is for what I want to do in my future. That is the reason why, I would like to know the employment situation for a non-EU LLM holder.

And yes, qualification is always a demanding process. In Japan, after 4 years LLB, you have to go law school for 2 years, and right before the examination, you can take a bar exam, which only 10 % applicants can pass the exam. Then, you become a trainee lawyer finally. Since Japan somehow introduced USA law school system, graduate school of law and law school are different institutions. I would love to deepen my knowledge or network in human rights law field. Meanwhile, I also want to accomplish as a qualified lawyer. This is my goal. Well, I may wish too much though.
quote
haesd

Dear Kawakai,

Since you plan to specialise in PIL, I am not sure if you meant criminal justice to be international criminal law (criminal justice is quite another field not usually regarded as part of PIL). If so, this is a rapidly expanding area of concern to international lawyers and you should consider taking it as a subject. My advice, for what it is worth, is keep an open mind and resist the urge to specialise in international human right (IHR) as a student. By all means take IHR as one of your subjects and possibly even write a dissertation on it. Since you will take 4 subjects (or half modules resulting in 4 full subjects) you should look carefully at all the subjects being offered and consider other areas of PIL not in your comfort zone. Subjects that cover jurisdictional issues, law of treaties (or matters related to international law making) or international tribunals are important. They help to establish your foundations in PIL and provide some sense of the general landscape of international law, even if you are inclined to focus on one particular area.

I applaud your career goals. For better or worse, yours is not a path of least resistance and will require some grit, compared to your many student-colleagues who will eventually enter corporate practice. As an employer the UN is a behemoth but, for lawyers, they are looking for candidates with experience in the public sector or in criminal prosecutions. There are avenues but you should plan strategically. One avenue is the ministry of foreign affairs. Entry is always competitive but you need to find out whether your MFA only recruits policy officers or if there is a separate track for recruitment of officers with a legal background and will serve as legal advisers. Policy making is not the same as rendering legal advice on foreign policy (at least it is not the same to me!). In any event, there must be a governmental department that provides legal advice on Japans foreign policy. You should find out more. Another way to start is to obtain internships, often unpaid, at UN entities (Khmer Rouge tribunal or ICJ, for instance). I am surprised you did not consider NYU law school. The LLM for international law is dynamic and, because of its proximity to the UN, I recall opportunities for its students.

Dear Kawakai,

Since you plan to specialise in PIL, I am not sure if you meant criminal justice to be international criminal law (criminal justice is quite another field not usually regarded as part of PIL). If so, this is a rapidly expanding area of concern to international lawyers and you should consider taking it as a subject. My advice, for what it is worth, is keep an open mind and resist the urge to “specialise” in international human right (IHR) as a student. By all means take IHR as one of your subjects and possibly even write a dissertation on it. Since you will take 4 subjects (or half modules resulting in 4 full subjects) you should look carefully at all the subjects being offered and consider other areas of PIL not in your comfort zone. Subjects that cover jurisdictional issues, law of treaties (or matters related to international law making) or international tribunals are important. They help to establish your foundations in PIL and provide some sense of the general landscape of international law, even if you are inclined to focus on one particular area.

I applaud your career goals. For better or worse, yours is not a path of least resistance and will require some grit, compared to your many student-colleagues who will eventually enter corporate practice. As an employer the UN is a behemoth but, for lawyers, they are looking for candidates with experience in the public sector or in criminal prosecutions. There are avenues but you should plan strategically. One avenue is the ministry of foreign affairs. Entry is always competitive but you need to find out whether your MFA only recruits policy officers or if there is a separate track for recruitment of officers with a legal background and will serve as legal advisers. Policy making is not the same as rendering legal advice on foreign policy (at least it is not the same to me!). In any event, there must be a governmental department that provides legal advice on Japan’s foreign policy. You should find out more. Another way to start is to obtain internships, often unpaid, at UN entities (Khmer Rouge tribunal or ICJ, for instance). I am surprised you did not consider NYU law school. The LLM for international law is dynamic and, because of its proximity to the UN, I recall opportunities for its students.
quote
kawakai

Dear Haesd,

Thank you so much for your opinion again.

I consider taking wide variety of course so that I am able to build up my foundation in IPL. Last December, I participated in Inter-Collegiate Arbitration Negotiation Competition, which is sponsored by MFA in Japan and White and Case. Even though my major is public law, it was quite interesting to experience how you actually manage legal case in arbitration and business world. Anyway, what I try to say is that this experience has taught me that I should open up for an opportunity to enroll wide courses in order to apply myself to various fields of law.

With respect to career opportunities, I do of course think about MFA in Japan. However, for my personality, I also consider working for a company in a legal section, which is quite rare case in Japan for fresh graduate though. Anyway, I really have to research more including Japanese working situation.

For the unpaid internship, I am making money for that. Alongside my law studies in Japan, I am working 5-6 times a week. I try to have a day off either Friday or Saturday for grabbing beer with friends. Otherwise, I will be exhausted. haha I know it will be extremely competitive. But I have to be financially ready for that.

To answer your surprise, I actually thought applying NYU, of course for my field and career perspective. However, USA law schools are freaking expensive. I cannot afford to attend US private law school. I was fortunately awarded a scholarship in Japan to study master programme, which will be totally enough money for whole tuitions and some living expenses in Europe LLM. That's why I didn't apply for any law schools in US.

Dear Haesd,

Thank you so much for your opinion again.

I consider taking wide variety of course so that I am able to build up my foundation in IPL. Last December, I participated in Inter-Collegiate Arbitration Negotiation Competition, which is sponsored by MFA in Japan and White and Case. Even though my major is public law, it was quite interesting to experience how you actually manage legal case in arbitration and business world. Anyway, what I try to say is that this experience has taught me that I should open up for an opportunity to enroll wide courses in order to apply myself to various fields of law.

With respect to career opportunities, I do of course think about MFA in Japan. However, for my personality, I also consider working for a company in a legal section, which is quite rare case in Japan for fresh graduate though. Anyway, I really have to research more including Japanese working situation.

For the unpaid internship, I am making money for that. Alongside my law studies in Japan, I am working 5-6 times a week. I try to have a day off either Friday or Saturday for grabbing beer with friends. Otherwise, I will be exhausted. haha I know it will be extremely competitive. But I have to be financially ready for that.

To answer your surprise, I actually thought applying NYU, of course for my field and career perspective. However, USA law schools are freaking expensive. I cannot afford to attend US private law school. I was fortunately awarded a scholarship in Japan to study master programme, which will be totally enough money for whole tuitions and some living expenses in Europe LLM. That's why I didn't apply for any law schools in US.
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