Value of the LLM


Banking
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Interalia
Shark:

I disagree with your assertion that I'm close minded actually since I'm doing the LLM myself. :) The difference is I have no allusions that the LLM is really that great a tool for career advancement in practice. I'm doing it for other reasons.

At the end of the day, I think too often the LLM is seen as a magic pill for career advancement when it is not. At best, unless you're headed to somewhere like Oxbridge, LSE and maybe in some very limited cases UCL and KCL, I think it's really not going to make that much of a difference to your initial CV. You don't have to believe me, just do a quick search on this forum, you'll see loads of threads with disillusioned posters who having done the LLM are now complaining that they ended up with the same job that they were in before or even unemployed. The only difference is that a lot of them are now 15-20 thousand pounds in debt save for the few lucky ones who were given full ride scholarships.

Firms don't really need people with advanced legal knowledge because the work done in practice usually doesn't require it and I don't think it's really a baseless assertion as you claim. If you're familiar with practice, then - be honest - name me the number of times you actually have to do some cutting edge legal work of the kind one usually sees taught at masters level, especially as a solicitor since we're talking about city firms and not barrister chambers. I still maintain that those times - if any - will be very very few.
Shark:

I disagree with your assertion that I'm close minded actually since I'm doing the LLM myself. :) The difference is I have no allusions that the LLM is really that great a tool for career advancement in practice. I'm doing it for other reasons.

At the end of the day, I think too often the LLM is seen as a magic pill for career advancement when it is not. At best, unless you're headed to somewhere like Oxbridge, LSE and maybe in some very limited cases UCL and KCL, I think it's really not going to make that much of a difference to your initial CV. You don't have to believe me, just do a quick search on this forum, you'll see loads of threads with disillusioned posters who having done the LLM are now complaining that they ended up with the same job that they were in before or even unemployed. The only difference is that a lot of them are now 15-20 thousand pounds in debt save for the few lucky ones who were given full ride scholarships.

Firms don't really need people with advanced legal knowledge because the work done in practice usually doesn't require it and I don't think it's really a baseless assertion as you claim. If you're familiar with practice, then - be honest - name me the number of times you actually have to do some cutting edge legal work of the kind one usually sees taught at masters level, especially as a solicitor since we're talking about city firms and not barrister chambers. I still maintain that those times - if any - will be very very few.
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P_Martini
It's not a magic bullet, no matter where you go. The truth is that there is a lot of really depressing commentary about LL.M. programs right now. And, there was a lot of enthusiasm for them about two years ago when lawyers actually believed that having a job in their home country was not enough because, in fact, there were better, more exciting options to be found around the world.

For those of us who have completed their LL.M. work, it's a good reminder that we should be realistic about opportunities we might actually obtain now, but also that we should remember that the LL.M. may open doors which don't exist yet and won't exist until things turn around, even if that is years from now. And for those who are only starting or thinking about LL.M. programs, I suppose it serves as a good reminder that LL.M. programs are, like all legal education, pathetically extortionate, and you really have to weigh the advantage of further legal study against the debt you will likely take on.
It's not a magic bullet, no matter where you go. The truth is that there is a lot of really depressing commentary about LL.M. programs right now. And, there was a lot of enthusiasm for them about two years ago when lawyers actually believed that having a job in their home country was not enough because, in fact, there were better, more exciting options to be found around the world.

For those of us who have completed their LL.M. work, it's a good reminder that we should be realistic about opportunities we might actually obtain now, but also that we should remember that the LL.M. may open doors which don't exist yet and won't exist until things turn around, even if that is years from now. And for those who are only starting or thinking about LL.M. programs, I suppose it serves as a good reminder that LL.M. programs are, like all legal education, pathetically extortionate, and you really have to weigh the advantage of further legal study against the debt you will likely take on.
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P_Martini
The numbers don't lie; nearly two thirds of big firm lawyers leave within a few years. and therein lies an additional benefit to the llm; if, after three years of working at one of these sweat shops you find yourself miserable, you'll be incredibly happy to have the llm on your cv as that will open doors to academia, nonprofits, policy, etc.


I also agree with that, wholeheartedly.
<blockquote>The numbers don't lie; nearly two thirds of big firm lawyers leave within a few years. and therein lies an additional benefit to the llm; if, after three years of working at one of these sweat shops you find yourself miserable, you'll be incredibly happy to have the llm on your cv as that will open doors to academia, nonprofits, policy, etc.
</blockquote>

I also agree with that, wholeheartedly.
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banker3
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Churchill
Thanks for the response Banking. I note your comments. However, I would like to clarify that I'm not looking to specialise in Corporate law per se, but perhaps Commercial law more generally. I am also interested in Commercial Litigation and Property. The LLM I have applied for is International Commercial Law. I am targeting my training contract applications to more general, mid-sized, regional commercial law firms. Therefore, I don't really think a Finance LLM would be right for me. I thought of doing an LLM precisely because my degree is from a new University and I do not have A-Levels. I considered that an LLM from a top ten UK University would help overcome this. Do you and others think an LLM will be useful? Or am I wasting my time?
Thanks for the response Banking. I note your comments. However, I would like to clarify that I'm not looking to specialise in Corporate law per se, but perhaps Commercial law more generally. I am also interested in Commercial Litigation and Property. The LLM I have applied for is International Commercial Law. I am targeting my training contract applications to more general, mid-sized, regional commercial law firms. Therefore, I don't really think a Finance LLM would be right for me. I thought of doing an LLM precisely because my degree is from a new University and I do not have A-Levels. I considered that an LLM from a top ten UK University would help overcome this. Do you and others think an LLM will be useful? Or am I wasting my time?
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Banking


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Interalia
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Banking
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Churchill
Thanks for the replies Banking and Interalia.

Interalia, I'm not so naive to think that an LLM will guarantee me a training contract, but what I'm looking for is something that will significantly increase my chances of obtaining one. Something that will get me to the interview stage more than what I'm getting at the moment. Further, I am hoping that by the time I've finished the LLM, the economic climate will have improved, and I have spent a year in the meantime constructively. This is my thinking.

I have also previously applied to smaller firms, but many have put a moratorium on training contracts, others are only offering 1 position, which as you can imagine is very difficult to get with hundreds going for it.

Also, you mentioned looking at other areas of law other than commercial. Well my only concern with this is that I have studied all Commercial related subjects on my LPC. Therefore, I can't really apply to a criminal or employment specialist law firm. They will see that I lack commitment to the area of law in question. I have always been told to target my applications. Otherwise, a scatter-gun approach will get me nowhere. If I study a completely different area of law on the LLM it will give the impression to prospective employers that I don't really know what area of law I want to specialise in, i.e. a lack of focus and thoughtfulness.

So these are my concerns on the points you raised. Perhaps you have more thoughts on these points. Do you think an LLM from say Durham or Nottingham will significantly increase my chances of a training contract?
Thanks for the replies Banking and Interalia.

Interalia, I'm not so naive to think that an LLM will guarantee me a training contract, but what I'm looking for is something that will significantly increase my chances of obtaining one. Something that will get me to the interview stage more than what I'm getting at the moment. Further, I am hoping that by the time I've finished the LLM, the economic climate will have improved, and I have spent a year in the meantime constructively. This is my thinking.

I have also previously applied to smaller firms, but many have put a moratorium on training contracts, others are only offering 1 position, which as you can imagine is very difficult to get with hundreds going for it.

Also, you mentioned looking at other areas of law other than commercial. Well my only concern with this is that I have studied all Commercial related subjects on my LPC. Therefore, I can't really apply to a criminal or employment specialist law firm. They will see that I lack commitment to the area of law in question. I have always been told to target my applications. Otherwise, a scatter-gun approach will get me nowhere. If I study a completely different area of law on the LLM it will give the impression to prospective employers that I don't really know what area of law I want to specialise in, i.e. a lack of focus and thoughtfulness.

So these are my concerns on the points you raised. Perhaps you have more thoughts on these points. Do you think an LLM from say Durham or Nottingham will significantly increase my chances of a training contract?
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Churchill
Banking, I would be interested in Tax, as believe it or not I found it quite interesting on the LPC. However, I have no real experience of it. What is the best way to gain some? Would a Commercial Law LLM include Tax modules? If so, would this suffice, or do I need something deeper?

Thanks for all the replies by the way.
Banking, I would be interested in Tax, as believe it or not I found it quite interesting on the LPC. However, I have no real experience of it. What is the best way to gain some? Would a Commercial Law LLM include Tax modules? If so, would this suffice, or do I need something deeper?

Thanks for all the replies by the way.
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daneko
LLM opening doors ? It is really not clear from the discussion.
LLM opening doors ? It is really not clear from the discussion.
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PUCCA
I do consider it opens doors as you stand out from the crowd
I do consider it opens doors as you stand out from the crowd
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daneko
It probably helps to stand out from the crowd if you have really a bachelor's degree or so. But these days the real stand out from the crowd is work experience. Education helps but no guarantee. Unlike the MBA, the LLM alone can't get you in the door. My opinion anyway or so what I have gathered so far.
It probably helps to stand out from the crowd if you have really a bachelor's degree or so. But these days the real stand out from the crowd is work experience. Education helps but no guarantee. Unlike the MBA, the LLM alone can't get you in the door. My opinion anyway or so what I have gathered so far.
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beicon
In my humble opinion the LLM does open doors, to some extent at least... of course degrees from "we've got a nice website and speak English (in an English speaking country)" universities with no reputation whatsoever will not be much of a door opener.
In my humble opinion the LLM does open doors, to some extent at least... of course degrees from "we've got a nice website and speak English (in an English speaking country)" universities with no reputation whatsoever will not be much of a door opener.
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Alright guys, I need advise please.

I don't want to undertake LPC or BVC. However, I do want to undertake an LLM. I'm considering to become a researcher and campaigner, working for organisations such as Liberty. My question is; do you think I should undergo an LLM. I think personally, I need to have more specialist knowledge on certain areas. What do you think???
Alright guys, I need advise please.

I don't want to undertake LPC or BVC. However, I do want to undertake an LLM. I'm considering to become a researcher and campaigner, working for organisations such as Liberty. My question is; do you think I should undergo an LLM. I think personally, I need to have more specialist knowledge on certain areas. What do you think???
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amt233
Alright guys, I need advise please.

I don't want to undertake LPC or BVC. However, I do want to undertake an LLM. I'm considering to become a researcher and campaigner, working for organisations such as Liberty. My question is; do you think I should undergo an LLM. I think personally, I need to have more specialist knowledge on certain areas. What do you think???


That seems sensible. If anything, an LLM may be more valuable to that type of career, with a strong policy bent, than to private legal private practice, as such. The knowledge and (even more so) the skills you will acquire during your LLM should serve you well in that type of role. I believe think tanks and advocacy groups are fairly common destinations. Of course, there may be other, non-legal postgraduate courses that are worth considering (though, I take it you have a law degree?). The main thing is to choose the right programme based on what your goals are.
<blockquote>Alright guys, I need advise please.

I don't want to undertake LPC or BVC. However, I do want to undertake an LLM. I'm considering to become a researcher and campaigner, working for organisations such as Liberty. My question is; do you think I should undergo an LLM. I think personally, I need to have more specialist knowledge on certain areas. What do you think???</blockquote>

That seems sensible. If anything, an LLM may be more valuable to that type of career, with a strong policy bent, than to private legal private practice, as such. The knowledge and (even more so) the skills you will acquire during your LLM should serve you well in that type of role. I believe think tanks and advocacy groups are fairly common destinations. Of course, there may be other, non-legal postgraduate courses that are worth considering (though, I take it you have a law degree?). The main thing is to choose the right programme based on what your goals are.
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Tabmas08
I believe that an LLM like anything else in life is dependant on what you want out of it.If you require specialist knowledge and an advanced education, then it will beenfit you irrespective of whether you want to be in commercial practice or not.
In the Non Profit and Advocacy world, an LLM is a must and with big orgs like the UN,WHO and inter-regional agencies , an LLM is the basice requirement and they won't bother with your CV if you just have an undergrad degree.So;
Reason you want to study LLM= how beneficial it will be for you.
I believe that an LLM like anything else in life is dependant on what you want out of it.If you require specialist knowledge and an advanced education, then it will beenfit you irrespective of whether you want to be in commercial practice or not.
In the Non Profit and Advocacy world, an LLM is a must and with big orgs like the UN,WHO and inter-regional agencies , an LLM is the basice requirement and they won't bother with your CV if you just have an undergrad degree.So;
Reason you want to study LLM= how beneficial it will be for you.
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