Employability


lauren85

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if someone could clear up some questions I have.

I've done a Law LLB degree and a Legal Practice Course in the UK and would like to practice law in the US. I'm currently looking into funds but I'm finding I would only be able to do a LLM and not a JD.

I have a few questions regarding this:

1) Is the state I get an LLM from the only state I can practice law in?
2) Do all law schools allow you to tailor your LLM so that you can get as many core JD subjects in as possible>
3) If I get an LLM, do I then have to pass the bar exam before I can apply to law firms to work?
4) Taking on board my UK degrees (but I'm not a qualified solicitor over here, after doing the GDL you have to work 2 years in a law firm to qualify, I haven't done that) and if I got an LLM, as a British person what would my employability be over in the US?

I'd really appreciate it if someone could help me out with all this. I don't want to make a massive financial mistake by putting myself through an LLM only to find myself jobless and having to live back in the UK.

Thanks guys,

Lauren

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if someone could clear up some questions I have.

I've done a Law LLB degree and a Legal Practice Course in the UK and would like to practice law in the US. I'm currently looking into funds but I'm finding I would only be able to do a LLM and not a JD.

I have a few questions regarding this:

1) Is the state I get an LLM from the only state I can practice law in?
2) Do all law schools allow you to tailor your LLM so that you can get as many core JD subjects in as possible>
3) If I get an LLM, do I then have to pass the bar exam before I can apply to law firms to work?
4) Taking on board my UK degrees (but I'm not a qualified solicitor over here, after doing the GDL you have to work 2 years in a law firm to qualify, I haven't done that) and if I got an LLM, as a British person what would my employability be over in the US?

I'd really appreciate it if someone could help me out with all this. I don't want to make a massive financial mistake by putting myself through an LLM only to find myself jobless and having to live back in the UK.

Thanks guys,

Lauren
quote
josepidal

1) No relevance. Higher tier law schools don't even focus on any state law. However, most states have bar requirements that LLMs can't meet, so you're looking mainly at New York and California.

2) Generally, but it would be a waste of an LLM to do that and it's discouraged.

3) No. You look for a job the moment you land.

4) If you have an LLM from a good school, then very high. I have a friend who has no work experience but got a job in New York. He can go back to the UK when he wants to and not do the two years to qualify, and get paid the full rate off the bat.

1) No relevance. Higher tier law schools don't even focus on any state law. However, most states have bar requirements that LLMs can't meet, so you're looking mainly at New York and California.

2) Generally, but it would be a waste of an LLM to do that and it's discouraged.

3) No. You look for a job the moment you land.

4) If you have an LLM from a good school, then very high. I have a friend who has no work experience but got a job in New York. He can go back to the UK when he wants to and not do the two years to qualify, and get paid the full rate off the bat.
quote
ivan2006

Fully agree with josepidal. However, I would tell you to consider the possibility of applying for a 2-year JD program (like Northwestern´s). If you hold a JD degree, your employability will be much higher.

Fully agree with josepidal. However, I would tell you to consider the possibility of applying for a 2-year JD program (like Northwestern´s). If you hold a JD degree, your employability will be much higher.
quote
josepidal

I would rather go for the best school you can find, as a general statement, rather than focus on schools that offer a 2-year JD.

I would rather go for the best school you can find, as a general statement, rather than focus on schools that offer a 2-year JD.
quote
NZ

I disagree with josepidal that the chances of finding a position in New York after an LLM are "very high".

Yes it can be done. However, I would not rate an LLM's chances any higher than 50%, even at the top four schools. There are two reasons for this: (a) First, there is a very large pool of highly competitive applicants, and LLMs compete directly with JDs for positions; (b) Secondly, employing LLMs is risky for US firms because of visa issues, cultural differences and the perception you will want to return home at some stage.

It is for these reasons that the general advice is don't do an LLM primarily to secure an employment position in the US, particularly given the cost (USD70k).

If your primary aim is employment, you could (and perhaps should) consider alternatives such as working for a large firm in the UK with US offices (eg Clifford Chance) and applying for a transfer to the US after 2-3 years. Also, have a look at past LLM Guide postings on this issue, as they are quite illuminating.

I disagree with josepidal that the chances of finding a position in New York after an LLM are "very high".

Yes it can be done. However, I would not rate an LLM's chances any higher than 50%, even at the top four schools. There are two reasons for this: (a) First, there is a very large pool of highly competitive applicants, and LLMs compete directly with JDs for positions; (b) Secondly, employing LLMs is risky for US firms because of visa issues, cultural differences and the perception you will want to return home at some stage.

It is for these reasons that the general advice is don't do an LLM primarily to secure an employment position in the US, particularly given the cost (USD70k).

If your primary aim is employment, you could (and perhaps should) consider alternatives such as working for a large firm in the UK with US offices (eg Clifford Chance) and applying for a transfer to the US after 2-3 years. Also, have a look at past LLM Guide postings on this issue, as they are quite illuminating.

quote
ivan2006

I´m afraid I overlooked josepidal´s last statement. Actually, I don´t think it is easy to land a job here in the US either (even holding an LLM degree from a top school). There are some success stories of LLMs that find jobs in the best law firms in NY, but when analyzing this issue it is important to bear in mind that: a) Law firms prefer JDs to LLMs. Does it mean that a JD from Fordham with a good GPA has better chances to land a decent job than a foreign-trained lawyer that holds an LLM from Harvard? I am afraid yes; b) There is still a certain level of unawareness among some firms (not the top firms that have huge international lawyer programs, like Simpson, Skadden or Cleary) regarding what an LLM is. When Americans hear about LLM, they immediately think of a Tax LLM (that´s the LLM Americans pursue). I have heard from some non-tax collegues that they had to explain what an LLM is in some interviews. c) It may be easier for LLM students of certain nationalities to find jobs in the US: for instance, some of the Latin Americans (mainly, Brazilians and Argentinians) and Asians (Chinese, Indians) are "golden" this year. Europeans will most likely return to their home countries (in a best-case scenario, to work for a US law firm). However, it should be borne in mind that not all the Latin Americans and Indians are "golden". For instance: if you are Chinese, you have 2-3 or more years of experience, you are expert in corporate law/ capital markets and speak good English, then you have good chances to find a job here. If you graduated recently and you have no work experience, then the odds are not as favorable... you can manage to do that, but chances are really slim; d) Specialization - corporate/ capital market lawyers are the hottest guys around. Many people say tax lawyers are in a good position, but note that tax guys compete against the American LLMs and JDs (much fiercer competition). If you are specialized in other areas (e.g. litigation), you may need extra luck... and good contacts.

I agree with NZ statement that working for one of the Magic Circle firms can be a shorter way to come to the US. And I still think that if you really want to pursue a legal career in the US, it is better to hold a JD degree than an LLM.

I´m afraid I overlooked josepidal´s last statement. Actually, I don´t think it is easy to land a job here in the US either (even holding an LLM degree from a top school). There are some success stories of LLMs that find jobs in the best law firms in NY, but when analyzing this issue it is important to bear in mind that: a) Law firms prefer JDs to LLMs. Does it mean that a JD from Fordham with a good GPA has better chances to land a decent job than a foreign-trained lawyer that holds an LLM from Harvard? I am afraid yes; b) There is still a certain level of unawareness among some firms (not the top firms that have huge international lawyer programs, like Simpson, Skadden or Cleary) regarding what an LLM is. When Americans hear about LLM, they immediately think of a Tax LLM (that´s the LLM Americans pursue). I have heard from some non-tax collegues that they had to explain what an LLM is in some interviews. c) It may be easier for LLM students of certain nationalities to find jobs in the US: for instance, some of the Latin Americans (mainly, Brazilians and Argentinians) and Asians (Chinese, Indians) are "golden" this year. Europeans will most likely return to their home countries (in a best-case scenario, to work for a US law firm). However, it should be borne in mind that not all the Latin Americans and Indians are "golden". For instance: if you are Chinese, you have 2-3 or more years of experience, you are expert in corporate law/ capital markets and speak good English, then you have good chances to find a job here. If you graduated recently and you have no work experience, then the odds are not as favorable... you can manage to do that, but chances are really slim; d) Specialization - corporate/ capital market lawyers are the hottest guys around. Many people say tax lawyers are in a good position, but note that tax guys compete against the American LLMs and JDs (much fiercer competition). If you are specialized in other areas (e.g. litigation), you may need extra luck... and good contacts.

I agree with NZ statement that working for one of the Magic Circle firms can be a shorter way to come to the US. And I still think that if you really want to pursue a legal career in the US, it is better to hold a JD degree than an LLM.
quote
josepidal

Yes it can be done. However, I would not rate an LLM's chances any higher than 50%, even at the top four schools. There are two reasons for this: (a) First, there is a very large pool of highly competitive applicants, and LLMs compete directly with JDs for positions; (b) Secondly, employing LLMs is risky for US firms because of visa issues, cultural differences and the perception you will want to return home at some stage.

At the risk of sounding condescending, I don't think you are currently taking an LLM at a "top four" school, and have not tried looking for a job. In short, I think your statement is long on conjecture and short on personal experience.

HLS's LLM career advisor posits a rate of 100%, actually, excluding the people not looking for jobs (academics, judges, people working for home country employers). Considering firms like Cravath and Simpson Thacher called her last month, outside the New York job fair, I would agree. This is accounting for the valid issues you already raised.

Note that the job market now is very different from the market after 9/11 and the economic decline. For 2007, 50% might be a credible figure if you don't leave your dorm room and wait for an employer to offer you a job.

As always, I can only speak for HLS.

<blockquote>Yes it can be done. However, I would not rate an LLM's chances any higher than 50%, even at the top four schools. There are two reasons for this: (a) First, there is a very large pool of highly competitive applicants, and LLMs compete directly with JDs for positions; (b) Secondly, employing LLMs is risky for US firms because of visa issues, cultural differences and the perception you will want to return home at some stage. </blockquote>
At the risk of sounding condescending, I don't think you are currently taking an LLM at a "top four" school, and have not tried looking for a job. In short, I think your statement is long on conjecture and short on personal experience.

HLS's LLM career advisor posits a rate of 100%, actually, excluding the people not looking for jobs (academics, judges, people working for home country employers). Considering firms like Cravath and Simpson Thacher called her last month, outside the New York job fair, I would agree. This is accounting for the valid issues you already raised.

Note that the job market now is very different from the market after 9/11 and the economic decline. For 2007, 50% might be a credible figure if you don't leave your dorm room and wait for an employer to offer you a job.

As always, I can only speak for HLS.
quote
ivan2006

I aggree that the buzz of the town is that the job market here is booming and perhaps this is one of the best years ever for LLMs... Some people I know have already got offers from Cravath, Cleary or Debevoise - and the job hunting season was pretty good for me as well. But let´s say NZ was referring to the percentage of people that jobs in the US. You know, there are some people who don´t want to stay - for instance, most of the Europeans have already secured jobs in great firms back home, and some of the Asians may have offers from American firms located in their countries. Although the overall employment rate could be close to 100%, maybe the statement that 50% of the LLMs of the Top 4 schools stay in the US is not that far from reality... although (like you) I can only speak for NYU.

I aggree that the buzz of the town is that the job market here is booming and perhaps this is one of the best years ever for LLMs... Some people I know have already got offers from Cravath, Cleary or Debevoise - and the job hunting season was pretty good for me as well. But let´s say NZ was referring to the percentage of people that jobs in the US. You know, there are some people who don´t want to stay - for instance, most of the Europeans have already secured jobs in great firms back home, and some of the Asians may have offers from American firms located in their countries. Although the overall employment rate could be close to 100%, maybe the statement that 50% of the LLMs of the Top 4 schools stay in the US is not that far from reality... although (like you) I can only speak for NYU.



quote
josepidal

No, I had people looking for US jobs specifically in mind, and the people who want to stay for a while as opposed to an international lawyer program.

Incidentally, we might be having some difference in experience because HLS LLMs take the same classes as JDs. For example, it's easy to explain what classes you took.

No, I had people looking for US jobs specifically in mind, and the people who want to stay for a while as opposed to an international lawyer program.

Incidentally, we might be having some difference in experience because HLS LLMs take the same classes as JDs. For example, it's easy to explain what classes you took.
quote
Aurelius

You know, there are some people who don´t want to stay - for instance, most of the Europeans have already secured jobs in great firms back home



But I guess the wages in the USA (in a decent/top law firm) are substantially higher than in a EU country (same decent/top law firm of course) ??

<blockquote>You know, there are some people who don´t want to stay - for instance, most of the Europeans have already secured jobs in great firms back home
</blockquote>


But I guess the wages in the USA (in a decent/top law firm) are substantially higher than in a EU country (same decent/top law firm of course) ??
quote
figaro

If you work for a top law firm (US law firms usually pay more than national ones) in Europe, I dont think that there is too much of a difference (considering the high living costs in NY (unless you live in London) and currency rate at the moment). And there are also US law firms that pay their US rates in Europe.

If you work for a top law firm (US law firms usually pay more than national ones) in Europe, I dont think that there is too much of a difference (considering the high living costs in NY (unless you live in London) and currency rate at the moment). And there are also US law firms that pay their US rates in Europe.
quote
dannyh

At the risk of sounding condescending, I don't think you are currently taking an LLM at a "top four" school, and have not tried looking for a job. In short, I think your statement is long on conjecture and short on personal experience.

HLS's LLM career advisor posits a rate of 100%, actually, excluding the people not looking for jobs (academics, judges, people working for home country employers). Considering firms like Cravath and Simpson Thacher called her last month, outside the New York job fair, I would agree. This is accounting for the valid issues you already raised.

Note that the job market now is very different from the market after 9/11 and the economic decline. For 2007, 50% might be a credible figure if you don't leave your dorm room and wait for an employer to offer you a job.

As always, I can only speak for HLS.


That's funny, I know a French girl at Harvard who really, really wants to work in the US but has not found anything yet. And I know at least 2 people at Columbia who told me they are still looking very hard to find jobs in the US. Last I checked, these are "top four" schools, and these people actually "left their dorm rooms" and have been trying really hard to look for a job.

Of course, as with their other classmates, they have been showered with lots of attention from law firms and lots of free gifts, but what really matters is getting a firm offer, and unfortunately, the fact is that there are still people who are searching.

Although I did not ask about the rest of their class, this certainly goes to show that all is not as pink and rosy as what is suggested by some persons.

The fact that HLS advisor has an optimistic opinion about the job market, or that premier firms have called that advisor to collect resumes does not mean that they will hire everyone in the class.

I am sure there are lots of students in those schools who got interesting offers and everything, but suggesting a 100% success rate in those schools is misleading and pure misinformation.

<blockquote>At the risk of sounding condescending, I don't think you are currently taking an LLM at a "top four" school, and have not tried looking for a job. In short, I think your statement is long on conjecture and short on personal experience.

HLS's LLM career advisor posits a rate of 100%, actually, excluding the people not looking for jobs (academics, judges, people working for home country employers). Considering firms like Cravath and Simpson Thacher called her last month, outside the New York job fair, I would agree. This is accounting for the valid issues you already raised.

Note that the job market now is very different from the market after 9/11 and the economic decline. For 2007, 50% might be a credible figure if you don't leave your dorm room and wait for an employer to offer you a job.

As always, I can only speak for HLS.</blockquote>

That's funny, I know a French girl at Harvard who really, really wants to work in the US but has not found anything yet. And I know at least 2 people at Columbia who told me they are still looking very hard to find jobs in the US. Last I checked, these are "top four" schools, and these people actually "left their dorm rooms" and have been trying really hard to look for a job.

Of course, as with their other classmates, they have been showered with lots of attention from law firms and lots of free gifts, but what really matters is getting a firm offer, and unfortunately, the fact is that there are still people who are searching.

Although I did not ask about the rest of their class, this certainly goes to show that all is not as pink and rosy as what is suggested by some persons.

The fact that HLS advisor has an optimistic opinion about the job market, or that premier firms have called that advisor to collect resumes does not mean that they will hire everyone in the class.

I am sure there are lots of students in those schools who got interesting offers and everything, but suggesting a 100% success rate in those schools is misleading and pure misinformation.
quote
josepidal

That's funny, I know a French girl at Harvard who really, really wants to work in the US but has not found anything yet.

I think I know who you're talking about, and she has long since found a job.

To clarify my various statements, I'm in no way saying things are pink and rosy nor that finding a permanent US job is not difficult. I am, however, countering very bleak forecasts, at least for the "top four."

The fact that people are still searching is actually a good sign. It's February, and is roughly the start of LLM callback period after the Columbia job fair at the end of January.

The HLS advisor isn't optimistic. She has the last couple of batches to show. But to clarify my seemingly extravagant assertion, I mean 100% of people looking for permanent jobs in the US, and possibly who go about looking in the right way as she advises. April Stockfleet, the HLS LLM advisor, goes out on a limb for individual LLMs, and you'd have to be an HLS LLM looking for a job to believe it because I don't think anyone would believe me if I described it.

<blockquote>That's funny, I know a French girl at Harvard who really, really wants to work in the US but has not found anything yet. </blockquote>
I think I know who you're talking about, and she has long since found a job.

To clarify my various statements, I'm in no way saying things are pink and rosy nor that finding a permanent US job is not difficult. I am, however, countering very bleak forecasts, at least for the "top four."

The fact that people are still searching is actually a good sign. It's February, and is roughly the start of LLM callback period after the Columbia job fair at the end of January.

The HLS advisor isn't optimistic. She has the last couple of batches to show. But to clarify my seemingly extravagant assertion, I mean 100% of people looking for permanent jobs in the US, and possibly who go about looking in the right way as she advises. April Stockfleet, the HLS LLM advisor, goes out on a limb for individual LLMs, and you'd have to be an HLS LLM looking for a job to believe it because I don't think anyone would believe me if I described it.
quote
ivan2006

Well, I still think that for Europeans is difficult to get a permanent position here. First of all, suppose you are French (or German) and you send resumes to NY Law Firms that have offices in your home country - for instance, Shearman, Cleary, Debevoise, Latham, Sullivan, etc. They will consider these candidates as a primary option for their foreign offices, not for the NY ones... But it does not mean that you will never return to the US: if you are hired by an American Law Firm in Europe, it is common practice to send lawyers to the US for shorter periods (say 6-12 months) after a couple of years.

Well, I still think that for Europeans is difficult to get a permanent position here. First of all, suppose you are French (or German) and you send resumes to NY Law Firms that have offices in your home country - for instance, Shearman, Cleary, Debevoise, Latham, Sullivan, etc. They will consider these candidates as a primary option for their foreign offices, not for the NY ones... But it does not mean that you will never return to the US: if you are hired by an American Law Firm in Europe, it is common practice to send lawyers to the US for shorter periods (say 6-12 months) after a couple of years.
quote
NZ

Josepidal

Sounds to me like you are seriously qualifying and/or backtracking. For the benefit of us all, could you please clarify the "100%" figure you keep referring to, as it seems to be somewhat of a moving feast?

NZ

Josepidal

Sounds to me like you are seriously qualifying and/or backtracking. For the benefit of us all, could you please clarify the "100%" figure you keep referring to, as it seems to be somewhat of a moving feast?

NZ
quote
josepidal

I'm not. I'm clarifying that the advertisement is for 100% of students actively looking to stay in the US for a firm job invariably find one. This means that it's not 100% of the entire class, nor 100% by October or something.

The 50% or 100% isn't the thing, it's the "of what" that's important.

I'm not. I'm clarifying that the advertisement is for 100% of students actively looking to stay in the US for a firm job invariably find one. This means that it's not 100% of the entire class, nor 100% by October or something.

The 50% or 100% isn't the thing, it's the "of what" that's important.
quote
dannyh

To clarify your various statements, could you please give a rough number of students who actually got job offers in the US and the hiring firms ?

I find it rather puzzling that on one side you assert 100 % job offers, then say that "the fact that people are still searching is actually a good sign". How can you assert 100% success when, by your own admission, people are still searching ?

Sorry, but there is nothing "top four" specific about still searching for a job, students from schools you consider "lower ranked" are ALSO still searching. :)

The fact that you mention that your statement is an "advertisement" (an interesting choice of words) makes it sound as if you make this bold claim as an ad to promote how great HLS is and how great their career office is (please don't take this as an insult, this is merely the first thing that came to my mind after you mentionned the term advertisement).

What is so specific about the tips from the HLS advisor that you claim that 100% of "people who go about looking in the right way as she advises" get a job ? Could you please share with us some of the tips ? What is the "right way" to look for a job, as opposed to the "wrong way" everyone else from "inferior schools" is allegedly doing ?

Are you sure that the person I am talking about "has long since found a job" ? I dare hope there is more than one French student at Harvard. :)

To clarify your various statements, could you please give a rough number of students who actually got job offers in the US and the hiring firms ?

I find it rather puzzling that on one side you assert 100 % job offers, then say that "the fact that people are still searching is actually a good sign". How can you assert 100% success when, by your own admission, people are still searching ?

Sorry, but there is nothing "top four" specific about still searching for a job, students from schools you consider "lower ranked" are ALSO still searching. :)

The fact that you mention that your statement is an "advertisement" (an interesting choice of words) makes it sound as if you make this bold claim as an ad to promote how great HLS is and how great their career office is (please don't take this as an insult, this is merely the first thing that came to my mind after you mentionned the term advertisement).

What is so specific about the tips from the HLS advisor that you claim that 100% of "people who go about looking in the right way as she advises" get a job ? Could you please share with us some of the tips ? What is the "right way" to look for a job, as opposed to the "wrong way" everyone else from "inferior schools" is allegedly doing ?

Are you sure that the person I am talking about "has long since found a job" ? I dare hope there is more than one French student at Harvard. :)
quote
josepidal

Okay, fair enough. I can't give you any stats because I'm afraid official stats generated by exit interviews before graduation just don't exist yet. However, you have to understand the dynamics of LLM job hunting and not play logic games. Obviously, I can't claim 100% for the CURRENT LLM class since the Columbia Job Fair was just a month ago.

I use "advertisement" to describe the talks directed at current LLMs, not to applicants, and the Admissions Office will understandably be cautious about making that kind of assurance lest students plan their finances around it. I discuss "top four" in reaction to an earlier post, and with no relevant cutoff in mind.

I don't want to repeat the HLS advisor's tips online, but they are definitely not unique to the "top four." Of course, the wrong ways include mass mailing your resume to a thousand people and walking up to every lawyer in sight and saying, "I want a job."

There is more than one French female LLM currently in the Harvard LLM program, but I assumed you meant the one most prominently looking for work (as in, discussing it in the LLM e-group).

My original comment was in reaction to advice that finding a US job is near-impossible, and I obviously challenge that. I can't tell you it's not difficult nor frustrating, of course, but I sincerely believe in 100%.

Okay, fair enough. I can't give you any stats because I'm afraid official stats generated by exit interviews before graduation just don't exist yet. However, you have to understand the dynamics of LLM job hunting and not play logic games. Obviously, I can't claim 100% for the CURRENT LLM class since the Columbia Job Fair was just a month ago.

I use "advertisement" to describe the talks directed at current LLMs, not to applicants, and the Admissions Office will understandably be cautious about making that kind of assurance lest students plan their finances around it. I discuss "top four" in reaction to an earlier post, and with no relevant cutoff in mind.

I don't want to repeat the HLS advisor's tips online, but they are definitely not unique to the "top four." Of course, the wrong ways include mass mailing your resume to a thousand people and walking up to every lawyer in sight and saying, "I want a job."

There is more than one French female LLM currently in the Harvard LLM program, but I assumed you meant the one most prominently looking for work (as in, discussing it in the LLM e-group).

My original comment was in reaction to advice that finding a US job is near-impossible, and I obviously challenge that. I can't tell you it's not difficult nor frustrating, of course, but I sincerely believe in 100%.
quote
dannyh

Fair enough.

BTW, did you get a job offer yet ?

Fair enough.

BTW, did you get a job offer yet ?
quote
josepidal

Not something I'd discuss here, sorry. Note that while I've followed this process closely, I never said I was myself actively looking.

Not something I'd discuss here, sorry. Note that while I've followed this process closely, I never said I was myself actively looking.
quote

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