How to choose between Top LLM programs


mybigboss

A very happy new year to everyone!

Id like to start a thread where we can share our views on the top LLM programs in USA, particularly but not exclusively the programs in which an LLM student can design her or his own course, for instance this would not include a program which targets students interested in law teaching or a program dedicated to corporate governance.

Harvard, Columbia, NYU, UC Berkeley, Chicago, U Pen, Georgetown, Michigan weve heard about their reputation, their impressive faculty, their rigorous student body, their eminent alumni etc. Lets assume that you receive offers from these top schools, how would you choose?

Harvard seems to be the ultimate name for many people, but reputation can be quite subjective. What are some other considerations that one should take into account when one has to choose between such good schools?

Id like to propose that we discuss the following criteria:

General Reputation
- this is quite subjective, but feel free note if there is one name that is beyond all others, with no doubt, no reservation, once you get in you cant get wrong (right, Mr. Madoff?)

Specialization
for instance whether a particular school has some of the worlds leading professors or research/clinical programs dedicated to a particular area of legal studies

Staff
- Is the Dean or Director of a LLM Program somewhere especially lovable?

Curriculum flexibility
how much freedom in designing your course, what are some basic rules that you have to abide by like credit amounts, basic US law subjects, courses outside the law school etc.

Class size and available seats
- Is it hard to sit in a popular class?

Housing
How comfy will your 9 months be? Will there be enough decent places for most LL.M. or will we have to compete or draw lottery?

Location
the city, the people, the weather, the fun etc.

Career Service
Are you on your own after the graduation?

Other services
Ive heard about personal researcher for each student but what about spas or jacuzzi?

Alumni network in your country
- Is there a supreme inner circle?

and finally

Cost and Scholarship!!

Scholarship is in fact the original purpose of my inquiry, assuming that School A and School B are scored basically the same according to the criteria listed above, Id easily go with the School that offers more scholarship, but there isnt such same score is there? Weighing between them can be tricky, especially given the tuition deposit deadlines and commitment in some cases.

Hence Id like all of us to share your thoughts, experience, what youve seen heard or read, it would be great if you can briefly state your source. Feel free to suggest additional criteria

Exercise question (optional)

Once youve shared your thoughts about the criteria above, please advice that in given a scenario where a student hypothetically:
- has $40,000 appropriated LLM budget in her/his pocket, although she or he may draw down another $30,000 from mommy and daddy with low interests
- has been offered a Hauser Scholarship to study at the NYU (basically tuition and living costs covered)
- has been offered a $25,000 to study at CLS
- has been offered a $10,000 to study at HLS

And assuming the Specialization is not a relevant factor, where would you suggest that student to go?

I look forward to hearing from all of you lovely and intelligent people, especially the current or former LLM students who have the privilege to experience the LLM education.

Thanks!

A very happy new year to everyone!

I’d like to start a thread where we can share our views on the top LLM programs in USA, particularly but not exclusively the programs in which an LLM student can design her or his own course, for instance this would not include a program which targets students interested in law teaching or a program dedicated to corporate governance.

Harvard, Columbia, NYU, UC Berkeley, Chicago, U Pen, Georgetown, Michigan …we’ve heard about their reputation, their impressive faculty, their rigorous student body, their eminent alumni etc. Let’s assume that you receive offers from these top schools, how would you choose?

Harvard seems to be the ultimate name for many people, but reputation can be quite subjective. What are some other considerations that one should take into account when one has to choose between such good schools?

I’d like to propose that we discuss the following criteria:

General Reputation
- this is quite subjective, but feel free note if there is one name that is beyond all others, with no doubt, no reservation, once you get in you can’t get wrong (right, Mr. Madoff?)

Specialization
– for instance whether a particular school has some of the world’s leading professors or research/clinical programs dedicated to a particular area of legal studies

Staff
- Is the Dean or Director of a LLM Program somewhere especially lovable?

Curriculum flexibility
– how much freedom in designing your course, what are some basic rules that you have to abide by like credit amounts, basic US law subjects, courses outside the law school etc.

Class size and available seats
- Is it hard to sit in a popular class?

Housing
– How comfy will your 9 months be? Will there be enough decent places for most LL.M. or will we have to compete or draw lottery?

Location
– the city, the people, the weather, the fun etc.

Career Service
– Are you on your own after the graduation?

Other services
–I’ve heard about personal researcher for each student but what about spas or jacuzzi?

Alumni network in your country
- Is there a supreme inner circle?

and finally…

Cost and Scholarship!!

Scholarship is in fact the original purpose of my inquiry, assuming that School A and School B are scored basically the same according to the criteria listed above, I’d easily go with the School that offers more scholarship, but there isn’t such same score is there? Weighing between them can be tricky, especially given the tuition deposit deadlines and commitment in some cases.

Hence I’d like all of us to share your thoughts, experience, what you’ve seen heard or read, it would be great if you can briefly state your source. Feel free to suggest additional criteria

Exercise question (optional)

Once you’ve shared your thoughts about the criteria above, please advice that in given a scenario where a student hypothetically:
- has $40,000 appropriated LLM budget in her/his pocket, although she or he may draw down another $30,000 from mommy and daddy with low interests
- has been offered a Hauser Scholarship to study at the NYU (basically tuition and living costs covered)
- has been offered a $25,000 to study at CLS
- has been offered a $10,000 to study at HLS

And assuming the “Specialization” is not a relevant factor, where would you suggest that student to go?

I look forward to hearing from all of you lovely and intelligent people, especially the current or former LLM students who have the privilege to experience the LLM education.

Thanks!
quote
fajats

Hey, from all of the above universities, I would probably choose NU for the following reasons:

Its course material and focus is exactly what I'm looking for (LLM in Human Rights) since it specializes in not only international law of human rights but also has some litigation clinics that may help provide more skills (I work in a Constitutional litigation law firm which has litigated some cases in the Interamerican Court of Human Rights)

Also, its in Chicago, which is not only a fascinating city to live in but if I get married, my gf studies hotel management so she could also look for an internship in a top class hotel or find a good masters in Chicago.

On the down side, it is an expensive city and housing (appartment rental) may be an issue, but I would have to try to find a good flat for a reasonable, there always is one, you just have to look harder.

Cheers

Hey, from all of the above universities, I would probably choose NU for the following reasons:

Its course material and focus is exactly what I'm looking for (LLM in Human Rights) since it specializes in not only international law of human rights but also has some litigation clinics that may help provide more skills (I work in a Constitutional litigation law firm which has litigated some cases in the Interamerican Court of Human Rights)

Also, its in Chicago, which is not only a fascinating city to live in but if I get married, my gf studies hotel management so she could also look for an internship in a top class hotel or find a good masters in Chicago.

On the down side, it is an expensive city and housing (appartment rental) may be an issue, but I would have to try to find a good flat for a reasonable, there always is one, you just have to look harder.

Cheers
quote
mybigboss

Thanks fajats for your thoughts. hmmm the BF-GF factor surely can be very important : ) !! Would you prefer NU over NYU or CLS? I've heard that they've got great Human Rights programs as well.

I'd also like to gently 'urge' the rest of us to share our thoughts. Or feel free to join me and admit that as of now, the reputation factor "feels" so strong that substantial differential between the top schools is hardly "sensed".

Thanks fajats for your thoughts. hmmm the BF-GF factor surely can be very important : ) !! Would you prefer NU over NYU or CLS? I've heard that they've got great Human Rights programs as well.

I'd also like to gently 'urge' the rest of us to share our thoughts. Or feel free to join me and admit that as of now, the reputation factor "feels" so strong that substantial differential between the top schools is hardly "sensed".
quote
Santa

From my subjective point of view, I still feel there is a division to be made in the top LLM programs:

Yale
Harvard
Stanford
____
Columbia
NYU
Chicago
Berkeley
Michigan
UPenn
UVA
Northwestern
____
Cornell
Duke
Georgetown

This is how I feel law schools value in the USA. Although I don't think it will make a real difference whether you have been to a class 2 (my ranking) Law School or a class 3. Law firms f.e. will all be very pleased with an LLM from any of the Law Schools and decide whether to take you based on your profile (/whether you would fit in the group).

From my subjective point of view, I still feel there is a division to be made in the top LLM programs:

Yale
Harvard
Stanford
____
Columbia
NYU
Chicago
Berkeley
Michigan
UPenn
UVA
Northwestern
____
Cornell
Duke
Georgetown

This is how I feel law schools value in the USA. Although I don't think it will make a real difference whether you have been to a class 2 (my ranking) Law School or a class 3. Law firms f.e. will all be very pleased with an LLM from any of the Law Schools and decide whether to take you based on your profile (/whether you would fit in the group).
quote
tallking

Is cornell a good college for an LL.M in Corporate Laws?

Is cornell a good college for an LL.M in Corporate Laws?
quote
Nail

Hey Santa,
how come you didn't mention U of Chicago in the above list? I'm afraid you can't really leave it out, I would put in the second group.

Hey Santa,
how come you didn't mention U of Chicago in the above list? I'm afraid you can't really leave it out, I would put in the second group.
quote
Santa

Hey Santa,
how come you didn't mention U of Chicago in the above list? I'm afraid you can't really leave it out, I would put in the second group.

Indeed one I left out :)

<blockquote>Hey Santa,
how come you didn't mention U of Chicago in the above list? I'm afraid you can't really leave it out, I would put in the second group.</blockquote>
Indeed one I left out :)
quote
fajats

MYBIGBOSS: Indeed I am also considering NYU, since it is also a big city that can have great opportunities for my GF. It is also one of the most recognized Univs for Public International law programs, althugh I feel that NY is a bit (or maybe a lot) more expensive that Chicago. Can n e one clear that up for me? is NY more expensive thatn Chicago?

SANTA: I couldnt generate a real 1-10 university standing without taking into consideration the specialization of programs. p.e. Geneva University is widely recognized as a International Law University (specially its program in International Dispute Resolution), also NYU is (according to USNEWS) the best U for Public International Law. But if we take reputation as the main issue, then obviously, Yale, HLS and Stanford should top the list, what do you think?

MYBIGBOSS: Indeed I am also considering NYU, since it is also a big city that can have great opportunities for my GF. It is also one of the most recognized Univs for Public International law programs, althugh I feel that NY is a bit (or maybe a lot) more expensive that Chicago. Can n e one clear that up for me? is NY more expensive thatn Chicago?

SANTA: I couldnt generate a real 1-10 university standing without taking into consideration the specialization of programs. p.e. Geneva University is widely recognized as a International Law University (specially its program in International Dispute Resolution), also NYU is (according to USNEWS) the best U for Public International Law. But if we take reputation as the main issue, then obviously, Yale, HLS and Stanford should top the list, what do you think?

quote
Stagista11

I've been talking about this topic with a bunch of people, but the only one who seemed to be really informed was a senior lawyer at the World Bank. He was a fullbright student back in 1984, when he chose to attend CLS for its faculty in international law. He was also accepted by Harvard and Yale by the way (really smart guy, trust me!). He basically said that there are five schools commonly considered above the others: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and U of Chicago. Even NYU and Berkeley, in his words, should be considered a little below the afore-mentioned schools. My personal thought is that Harvard is likely to be the best, 'cause it combines its worldwide known brand with great faculty, but I thought a WB lawyer's opinion was more noteworthy!

I've been talking about this topic with a bunch of people, but the only one who seemed to be really informed was a senior lawyer at the World Bank. He was a fullbright student back in 1984, when he chose to attend CLS for its faculty in international law. He was also accepted by Harvard and Yale by the way (really smart guy, trust me!). He basically said that there are five schools commonly considered above the others: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and U of Chicago. Even NYU and Berkeley, in his words, should be considered a little below the afore-mentioned schools. My personal thought is that Harvard is likely to be the best, 'cause it combines its worldwide known brand with great faculty, but I thought a WB lawyer's opinion was more noteworthy!
quote
Santa

MYBIGBOSS: Indeed I am also considering NYU, since it is also a big city that can have great opportunities for my GF. It is also one of the most recognized Univs for Public International law programs, althugh I feel that NY is a bit (or maybe a lot) more expensive that Chicago. Can n e one clear that up for me? is NY more expensive thatn Chicago?

SANTA: I couldnt generate a real 1-10 university standing without taking into consideration the specialization of programs. p.e. Geneva University is widely recognized as a International Law University (specially its program in International Dispute Resolution), also NYU is (according to USNEWS) the best U for Public International Law. But if we take reputation as the main issue, then obviously, Yale, HLS and Stanford should top the list, what do you think?


It is indeed so that you can't focus just on those top 10 univs, but I think you are always off well doing an LLM in whatever branch of law in one of those top universities.

<blockquote>MYBIGBOSS: Indeed I am also considering NYU, since it is also a big city that can have great opportunities for my GF. It is also one of the most recognized Univs for Public International law programs, althugh I feel that NY is a bit (or maybe a lot) more expensive that Chicago. Can n e one clear that up for me? is NY more expensive thatn Chicago?

SANTA: I couldnt generate a real 1-10 university standing without taking into consideration the specialization of programs. p.e. Geneva University is widely recognized as a International Law University (specially its program in International Dispute Resolution), also NYU is (according to USNEWS) the best U for Public International Law. But if we take reputation as the main issue, then obviously, Yale, HLS and Stanford should top the list, what do you think?

</blockquote>
It is indeed so that you can't focus just on those top 10 univs, but I think you are always off well doing an LLM in whatever branch of law in one of those top universities.
quote
mybigboss

Thanks guys for your input. Has anyone thought about the scholarship factor? I mean, say between HLS with no scholarship and NYU with 30,000 scholarship, how would all these factors come into play?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that a core international class at HLS is taught be a visiting professor from CLS and NYU (the reputable Professor Damrosch and Professor Alston). Personally I have some doubts whether in the global academic age these days, the reputation factor is still the same sufficient factor.

Thanks guys for your input. Has anyone thought about the scholarship factor? I mean, say between HLS with no scholarship and NYU with 30,000 scholarship, how would all these factors come into play?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that a core international class at HLS is taught be a visiting professor from CLS and NYU (the reputable Professor Damrosch and Professor Alston). Personally I have some doubts whether in the global academic age these days, the reputation factor is still the same sufficient factor.
quote
mybigboss

May I ask, how many of you guys here would choose to go to Harvard LL.M. irrespective of what is offered by other universities?

May I ask, how many of you guys here would choose to go to Harvard LL.M. irrespective of what is offered by other universities?
quote
mnementh

The 5 best schools are Yale, Harvard, Stanford, NYU and Columbia. The rest are worse. In terms of faculty, Berkeley is also among this group. In terms of future employers, the best are Harvard, NYU and Columbia. In this order. It all has to do with alumni who are now running the best law firms in the country.

The 5 best schools are Yale, Harvard, Stanford, NYU and Columbia. The rest are worse. In terms of faculty, Berkeley is also among this group. In terms of future employers, the best are Harvard, NYU and Columbia. In this order. It all has to do with alumni who are now running the best law firms in the country.
quote
mybigboss

I tend to agree with mnementh, based on my feelings and things I heard from other people. Can anyone here point out any particular objective difference that perhaps most of us might not have thought about?

For instance is it true that a Harvard graduate is sometimes perceived to be too much of an elite and some employers would hesitate to take him/her due to the fear of he/she not being able to "blend in" with others?

What some statistics of employment rate or the warmth and care of the Dean or Director of LLM?

I tend to agree with mnementh, based on my feelings and things I heard from other people. Can anyone here point out any particular objective difference that perhaps most of us might not have thought about?

For instance is it true that a Harvard graduate is sometimes perceived to be too much of an elite and some employers would hesitate to take him/her due to the fear of he/she not being able to "blend in" with others?

What some statistics of employment rate or the warmth and care of the Dean or Director of LLM?

quote

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