I have been admitted to both the Master in Law and Finance (MLF) at Oxford as well as the dual degree where the first year is spent at Sciences Po for the Master in International Management and Sustainability and the second year at the University of Pennsylvania for their general LLM. I am due to make a decision by the end of this week.
As I am not yet an admitted lawyer, I was wondering whether someone has any input regarding the universities' reputations compared to one another and what the job prospects look like - particularly given that, from what I have read online, it is virtually impossible for LLM students to find employment in the US in the legal sector. I am particularly interested in how the two Masters compare regarding admission to the bar in the UK. I would like to work in climate litigation eventually, but start out in a London law firm.
Thank you for any input!
I'd say Oxford because the experience is unique, particularly since LLM students can hardly get a job in the US unless u're doing another type of Masters like the MBA or whatever. Sciences Po and UPenn are both great universities, but only one is Oxford. Not being cocky here, but the Oxonian experience is something which everyone should enjoy. No doubt Sciences Po has its own charm! Don't get me wrong. I respect each university - the education is good everywhere; I had attended two other universities before Oxford. What I'm emphasising though is the experience itself, eg the collegiate atmosphere.
You must distinguish that in the UK there are 2 types of lawyers - solicitors and barristers. I speak for the former first (where you don't need a Bar exam to become a solicitor, it's only for barrister - but anyways you need to pass some exams before being a trainee solicitor at law firms). Barristers don't work at law firms (akin to Harvey Specter) but in small buildings called Chambers.
The Bar admission has nothing to do with your Masters; what you should be concerned of is how you'll fund the Bar course which is ridiculously expensive and it's not worth the money - it's a business basically - and getting pupillage. However, the BCL might help you in two ways. A) The Inns of Court will react nicely if you have the BCL on your CV - agree/disagree with me, but it's a top banana to have; everybody knows how difficult it is and will definitely help you. When I told the panellists I was admitted on the BCL they raised the eyebrows. B) Chambers will also like the BCL. Statistically speaking here for the commercial sets (for the top firms). Those firms/inns of court have nothing to do with UPenn/Sciences Po imo. For them, an English qualification at an elitist uni trumps everything else. It's a sad reality. Telling this as someone who tried the Bar before being admitted to Ox and finishing the BCL. I dislike this elitism, but the Bar is an elitist profession for the English; people look after themselves and want to continue the prestige, eg Eton -> Oxbridge. No diversity initiative will phase this out in the next years. It's been and will be for a long time. Sorry for not being politically correct.
Sciences Po/UPenn are better renowned for other things, eg the MPP and MBA respectively. Oxford is relatively new in these courses than the French/US counterparts.
About the solicitor path, the BCL will help you too, but the US carry some weight I'd say. There are lawyers with US LLMs, but only a few.
Good luck and congrats for the news!
Also take into account Brexit if you're not British.
[Edited by Mombastic on Jun 02, 2020]