Confusion about LLM application requirements/advice


Hi,

I have recently been given a great deal of consideration to the possibility of getting an LLM from a top-tier school like Harvard/Yale/Columbia/Stanford (if I am fortunate enough) but wanted to know where I stand from those of you with experience.

I have found this board very helpful and informative but I am left with a bit of confusion as to what exactly is considered the minimum academic requirement for the schools I am interested in. My college grades are in the top 1% but my law school grades are not - I did not do an undergrad, I came straight from College (it's a Quebec quirk).

I don't really have any publications or university extra-curriculars, mostly work experience and awards for oration/debate. My grades are slightly baffling, and that's where I was hoping I could get some advice please (I recognize that grades are not everything but I'd like to get an idea of where I stand).

I am going to be done my BCL/LLB by summer of next year and my current GPA is about a 3.35 (McGill Law). My first year was weak at 3.13, my second year around 3.6. My overall GPA for my school is about the top 15%, my second year GPA is closer to top 5% or better - while working part-time. I don't know how much all this means; in first year, I had no intention of doing an LLM and was just new to the whole law school experience.

I was signed/recruited by a top corporate firm fortunately (who are supportive of the LLM if I want it) and am currently working for them but am very interested in pursuing an LLM at the aforementioned schools, but would love some honest advice and guidance.

Do you think it would be detrimental/help my application that I am younger than other applicants (If accepted, I would start my LLM around 22).


Thanks in advance for all the help, I really appreciate it - I tried to give you a big picture of me to help you out, but should you need any more info feel free.

Thanks
Hi,

I have recently been given a great deal of consideration to the possibility of getting an LLM from a top-tier school like Harvard/Yale/Columbia/Stanford (if I am fortunate enough) but wanted to know where I stand from those of you with experience.

I have found this board very helpful and informative but I am left with a bit of confusion as to what exactly is considered the minimum academic requirement for the schools I am interested in. My college grades are in the top 1% but my law school grades are not - I did not do an undergrad, I came straight from College (it's a Quebec quirk).

I don't really have any publications or university extra-curriculars, mostly work experience and awards for oration/debate. My grades are slightly baffling, and that's where I was hoping I could get some advice please (I recognize that grades are not everything but I'd like to get an idea of where I stand).

I am going to be done my BCL/LLB by summer of next year and my current GPA is about a 3.35 (McGill Law). My first year was weak at 3.13, my second year around 3.6. My overall GPA for my school is about the top 15%, my second year GPA is closer to top 5% or better - while working part-time. I don't know how much all this means; in first year, I had no intention of doing an LLM and was just new to the whole law school experience.

I was signed/recruited by a top corporate firm fortunately (who are supportive of the LLM if I want it) and am currently working for them but am very interested in pursuing an LLM at the aforementioned schools, but would love some honest advice and guidance.

Do you think it would be detrimental/help my application that I am younger than other applicants (If accepted, I would start my LLM around 22).


Thanks in advance for all the help, I really appreciate it - I tried to give you a big picture of me to help you out, but should you need any more info feel free.

Thanks
quote
Sorry, just in case it was not clear, I intend to apply during my last year of BCL/LLB studies - this seems to make acceptance more difficult?
Sorry, just in case it was not clear, I intend to apply during my last year of BCL/LLB studies - this seems to make acceptance more difficult?

quote
jd80
Hey,

I was in a similar situation. Here's what I think:

Although most top US universities provide their admission requirements as: (1) good grades; (2) minimum of one year job experience in a legal field; and (3) having extracurricular experience, I think there are two additional requirements that people need to be aware of: (1) money; and (2) diversity.

I finished my undergraduate law degree in New Zealand last year. My grades went from very poor in my first year (I even failed a paper) to average to very good, so even though my transcript looks very good in my latest year, my GPA is pretty average. I have nothing published in school journals. I got a job at a local law firm 2 weeks before I applied to Columbia University, so that was the only legal work experience I had. I was involved with a few extracurricular activities at my law school in New Zealand, like mentoring and tutoring students and organising monthly sporting events, etc.

Yet I was admitted to Columbia for the 2012-2013 academic year. So from my experience, those admittion requirements they put up is not always the only things they look at.

Columbia, Harvard, etc are private law schools, and so are essentially businesses. They need/want moeny. Very costly I know, but if you are lucky enough to have financial support (from say family) then I think that would be another plus to your application. Think about it this way. Why pay "A" to come to your university when there's "B" who is equally as good can pay him/herself?

Another thing is diversity. Top Schools look for people with different cultures. So if you're from a country outside of the US, then I think you will have a better chance. I recognised this, and so I made my personal statement very unique, I talked about expriences only New Zealanders would encounter. For example, I talked about how I grew up in a small country town surrounded by lakes, rivers and mountains. Even though it might sound normal and a bit silly to us, for those in the U.S. it can sound very unique and inspirational.

So my advice is that you don't give up just because you don't have ridiculously good grades overall or because you don't have enought experience - both legal and extracurricular. I truly think money and diversity play a big role in these types of applications, although some people might disagree.

Good luck by the way!
Hey,

I was in a similar situation. Here's what I think:

Although most top US universities provide their admission requirements as: (1) good grades; (2) minimum of one year job experience in a legal field; and (3) having extracurricular experience, I think there are two additional requirements that people need to be aware of: (1) money; and (2) diversity.

I finished my undergraduate law degree in New Zealand last year. My grades went from very poor in my first year (I even failed a paper) to average to very good, so even though my transcript looks very good in my latest year, my GPA is pretty average. I have nothing published in school journals. I got a job at a local law firm 2 weeks before I applied to Columbia University, so that was the only legal work experience I had. I was involved with a few extracurricular activities at my law school in New Zealand, like mentoring and tutoring students and organising monthly sporting events, etc.

Yet I was admitted to Columbia for the 2012-2013 academic year. So from my experience, those admittion requirements they put up is not always the only things they look at.

Columbia, Harvard, etc are private law schools, and so are essentially businesses. They need/want moeny. Very costly I know, but if you are lucky enough to have financial support (from say family) then I think that would be another plus to your application. Think about it this way. Why pay "A" to come to your university when there's "B" who is equally as good can pay him/herself?

Another thing is diversity. Top Schools look for people with different cultures. So if you're from a country outside of the US, then I think you will have a better chance. I recognised this, and so I made my personal statement very unique, I talked about expriences only New Zealanders would encounter. For example, I talked about how I grew up in a small country town surrounded by lakes, rivers and mountains. Even though it might sound normal and a bit silly to us, for those in the U.S. it can sound very unique and inspirational.

So my advice is that you don't give up just because you don't have ridiculously good grades overall or because you don't have enought experience - both legal and extracurricular. I truly think money and diversity play a big role in these types of applications, although some people might disagree.

Good luck by the way!
quote
Hey Jd80

thanks a lot for the reply, made me feel like it is worth applying again... I will do it, I had kind of cut Columbia off my list because they were quite explicit about the 1 year work experience/5 year undergrad work...I guess then, in a similar sense to you, perhaps i meet that requirement (I started at my firm this May, so by next summer it will have been a year - or did you work a straight full-time year after graduation)...

I am a canadian, so i dont know how rare that is vs a new zealander (lovely place by the way - big fisherman/hiker)...but i am of ethnic origin, speak many languages, and travel a lot, so that should help.

Money - i agree with you there as well, I guess on that front, I am fortunate, so thats helpful as well.

In grades I reckon we were similar - my first year was above average but not stellar, second year was "honors" or whatever, so I guess , get some good recommendation letters and hope I have to write a check for 50k haha.

Any other schools you applied to?

thanks again for the help

NICK
Hey Jd80

thanks a lot for the reply, made me feel like it is worth applying again... I will do it, I had kind of cut Columbia off my list because they were quite explicit about the 1 year work experience/5 year undergrad work...I guess then, in a similar sense to you, perhaps i meet that requirement (I started at my firm this May, so by next summer it will have been a year - or did you work a straight full-time year after graduation)...

I am a canadian, so i dont know how rare that is vs a new zealander (lovely place by the way - big fisherman/hiker)...but i am of ethnic origin, speak many languages, and travel a lot, so that should help.

Money - i agree with you there as well, I guess on that front, I am fortunate, so thats helpful as well.

In grades I reckon we were similar - my first year was above average but not stellar, second year was "honors" or whatever, so I guess , get some good recommendation letters and hope I have to write a check for 50k haha.

Any other schools you applied to?

thanks again for the help

NICK
quote
jd80
Hey Nick,

Your welcome.

I thought about cutting Columbia off my list too for the same reason. But thought oh well give it a try and got it so it's definately worth trying. I applied to NYU and Chicago as well. I got admitted to all three, somehow. Now I regret not applying to others like Yale, Harvard and Stanford. If I could go back in time knowing all of this, I would have definately applied to those schools as well.

I only started my job in January this year. I'm leaving work in July and I'm off to New York, so I will only have 6-7 months working experience before attending Columbia.

You should definately talk about your origin, language skills and your travel experience - I think that is what they look for. Money - I was fortunate for that as well.

Make sure your recommendation letters come from professors at your law school. Apparently they are better than letters from professionals (lawyers, etc). It would also be a plus if those professors went to top universities in the U.S. I was fortunate to have a professor who went to Harvard and another professor who went to Columbia write my recommendation letters.

More than 50k by the way! With accomodation etc, total is approx 80k :( I think it's a little cheaper in Harvard, Stanford and Yale though.

Jimmy
Hey Nick,

Your welcome.

I thought about cutting Columbia off my list too for the same reason. But thought oh well give it a try and got it so it's definately worth trying. I applied to NYU and Chicago as well. I got admitted to all three, somehow. Now I regret not applying to others like Yale, Harvard and Stanford. If I could go back in time knowing all of this, I would have definately applied to those schools as well.

I only started my job in January this year. I'm leaving work in July and I'm off to New York, so I will only have 6-7 months working experience before attending Columbia.

You should definately talk about your origin, language skills and your travel experience - I think that is what they look for. Money - I was fortunate for that as well.

Make sure your recommendation letters come from professors at your law school. Apparently they are better than letters from professionals (lawyers, etc). It would also be a plus if those professors went to top universities in the U.S. I was fortunate to have a professor who went to Harvard and another professor who went to Columbia write my recommendation letters.

More than 50k by the way! With accomodation etc, total is approx 80k :( I think it's a little cheaper in Harvard, Stanford and Yale though.

Jimmy
quote
Hey Jimmy,

sorry for the late reply man - I just saw the email that you replied to this now by accident. I must have missed it in my inbox.

Thanks again for all the guidance.

I will definitely be preparing my applications this August and hopefully get lucky. I will take your pointers into consideration and really appreciate it.

I am actually doing the Duke Summer program right now and find it to be very interesting as well - more work than I had originally expected though!

All the best and thanks again
Hey Jimmy,

sorry for the late reply man - I just saw the email that you replied to this now by accident. I must have missed it in my inbox.

Thanks again for all the guidance.

I will definitely be preparing my applications this August and hopefully get lucky. I will take your pointers into consideration and really appreciate it.

I am actually doing the Duke Summer program right now and find it to be very interesting as well - more work than I had originally expected though!

All the best and thanks again
quote

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