Is a Harvard LLM worth it?


Kazaf
quote
Bitsou
Hello,

To be very honest with you, I am not sure that Harvard will bring you a lot, but it really depends upon a lot of factors:

what is your current CV ? where are you from ? how is the market in your country ? which weigh do they give to LLM's in general ? Could if objectively be useful regarding your career in Asia.

Usually, most practicionners tend to favour a solid working experience rather than a LLM. I guess you will learn more about the application of common law in a firm rather than the theoretical approach at a Law School. For instance, the partners of my firm (and the previous one as well) were fairly reluctant to see me leave for one year, stating that to write "LLM Harvard" or anywhere else would not add anyhting considering my CV. But I would like to become Professor and, on this market, Universities find it important if not necessary to go abroad, which is my reason for going to the US. If I only wanted to be a lawyer, I probably would never have been there.

But all also depends upon you. A lot of people go there for the intellectual and human perspective to be in a "small world" for one year, which is understantable though luxury. Ask also yourself: would you regret not to go there ? You live only once. To go to Harvard surely won't cause you any damage :), but will it be useful for your career ? Not sure...the point then is to know if you only have to think about career when we do something...

Just let me know in private if I can be of any help...
Hello,

To be very honest with you, I am not sure that Harvard will bring you a lot, but it really depends upon a lot of factors:

what is your current CV ? where are you from ? how is the market in your country ? which weigh do they give to LLM's in general ? Could if objectively be useful regarding your career in Asia.

Usually, most practicionners tend to favour a solid working experience rather than a LLM. I guess you will learn more about the application of common law in a firm rather than the theoretical approach at a Law School. For instance, the partners of my firm (and the previous one as well) were fairly reluctant to see me leave for one year, stating that to write "LLM Harvard" or anywhere else would not add anyhting considering my CV. But I would like to become Professor and, on this market, Universities find it important if not necessary to go abroad, which is my reason for going to the US. If I only wanted to be a lawyer, I probably would never have been there.

But all also depends upon you. A lot of people go there for the intellectual and human perspective to be in a "small world" for one year, which is understantable though luxury. Ask also yourself: would you regret not to go there ? You live only once. To go to Harvard surely won't cause you any damage :), but will it be useful for your career ? Not sure...the point then is to know if you only have to think about career when we do something...

Just let me know in private if I can be of any help...
quote
jsnchang
I work in an international law firm. A LPC graduate (afterwords, qualify as a solicitor admitted in England and Wales) is good enough for career as a lawyer. In my view, an LLM will not add much to development of your career as a lawyer., but a cost of energy, money and time.. If you like to study and like to have an US experience, that is another story. To be frank, most partners in my firm in HK are either qualified solicitors from England, HK or lawyers from US with JD degree. If I were you, I would try to qualify in England as the first priority rather than pursuing LLM
I work in an international law firm. A LPC graduate (afterwords, qualify as a solicitor admitted in England and Wales) is good enough for career as a lawyer. In my view, an LLM will not add much to development of your career as a lawyer., but a cost of energy, money and time.. If you like to study and like to have an US experience, that is another story. To be frank, most partners in my firm in HK are either qualified solicitors from England, HK or lawyers from US with JD degree. If I were you, I would try to qualify in England as the first priority rather than pursuing LLM
quote
Maude
Dear Kazan
In your case I would go for the LLM, but not in Harvard. I'd choose Oxford for the following reasons:
- you will work many years afterwards - you should thus enjoy your LLM-year - it will not only be intellectually stimulating, but you'll also have a great time (partying, doing sports, etc.)
- Harvard costs are ludicrously high - it's just ridiculous - moreover as a true European, I find it sad that you're investing in the US, instead of keeping the money here in EU
- you will work your bud off in Harvard and not have half as good a time as you would in OX when it comes to well-being and well-feeling
I hope this helps. Again, I think you should do the LLM, since otherwise you might regret not having done that in ten years - sooner or later you'll be wealthy anyway... with your potential... - so a year doesn't really matter in my opinion. Yet, I would not go to Harvard for the reasons mentioned above. Good luck in every sense - Maude
Dear Kazan
In your case I would go for the LLM, but not in Harvard. I'd choose Oxford for the following reasons:
- you will work many years afterwards - you should thus enjoy your LLM-year - it will not only be intellectually stimulating, but you'll also have a great time (partying, doing sports, etc.)
- Harvard costs are ludicrously high - it's just ridiculous - moreover as a true European, I find it sad that you're investing in the US, instead of keeping the money here in EU
- you will work your bud off in Harvard and not have half as good a time as you would in OX when it comes to well-being and well-feeling
I hope this helps. Again, I think you should do the LLM, since otherwise you might regret not having done that in ten years - sooner or later you'll be wealthy anyway... with your potential... - so a year doesn't really matter in my opinion. Yet, I would not go to Harvard for the reasons mentioned above. Good luck in every sense - Maude
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sage
Spoken like a true enlightened European.
Spoken like a true enlightened European.
quote
PB
I have a doctorate of laws and am a regular member of the recruitment panel of our organization. I was faced with the same dilemna many years ago since my family is not rich- I qualified for Harvard but needed a big loan to pay the tuition- a loan that would take almost ten years to pay.
My advice : if you intend to engage in corporate or business law, an LLM from Harvard will open doors for you and you might be able to recoup your education loan in a few years if you get lucky with your first employer. You might not be as lucky in other fields.
However, if it´s just the quality of academic instruction you are after, I would prefer Oxford, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Columbia University, Utrecht University, etc. I am part of the screening committee of a huge international financial institution. The schools I enumerated are just as good as Harvard and I find no difference in the written work or job performance between a graduate of Harvard and the 3 other schools. Besides, a good employer knows that not all the money in the world can buy intelligence and good character. Trust me, you´ll do just fine without Harvard and without the financial baggage of having to repay your educational loan :) I have seen so many graduates agonize over having to pay for their educational loans and not being able to have money for travel after graduation. It might interest you to know that not all high-earning lawyers who are tops in their field graduated from Harvard. The important thing is to graduate with honors - this is what you should strive for. There are many excellent law schools which are highly respected for certain orientations. For example, in international law - Oxford University and Utrecht University in Netherlands which have justices of the world court lecturing in front of you :) These guys didnt graduate from Harvard ! Many legal officers in the United Nations earn heaps of money, tax-free, without graduating from Harvard. Think about that. I wish you good luck in your career.

I have a doctorate of laws and am a regular member of the recruitment panel of our organization. I was faced with the same dilemna many years ago since my family is not rich- I qualified for Harvard but needed a big loan to pay the tuition- a loan that would take almost ten years to pay.
My advice : if you intend to engage in corporate or business law, an LLM from Harvard will open doors for you and you might be able to recoup your education loan in a few years if you get lucky with your first employer. You might not be as lucky in other fields.
However, if it´s just the quality of academic instruction you are after, I would prefer Oxford, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Columbia University, Utrecht University, etc. I am part of the screening committee of a huge international financial institution. The schools I enumerated are just as good as Harvard and I find no difference in the written work or job performance between a graduate of Harvard and the 3 other schools. Besides, a good employer knows that not all the money in the world can buy intelligence and good character. Trust me, you´ll do just fine without Harvard and without the financial baggage of having to repay your educational loan :) I have seen so many graduates agonize over having to pay for their educational loans and not being able to have money for travel after graduation. It might interest you to know that not all high-earning lawyers who are tops in their field graduated from Harvard. The important thing is to graduate with honors - this is what you should strive for. There are many excellent law schools which are highly respected for certain orientations. For example, in international law - Oxford University and Utrecht University in Netherlands which have justices of the world court lecturing in front of you :) These guys didnt graduate from Harvard ! Many legal officers in the United Nations earn heaps of money, tax-free, without graduating from Harvard. Think about that. I wish you good luck in your career.
quote
Hyugo
I feel for you bro... I also have the same kinda choice but it's between Cornell and a much lower-ranked school. You've got brilliant choices so anyways you'll be fine (I think) The last post (PB) was really instructive. I didn't know Utrecht was so highly ranked tho! Since I got my admission letter, I haven't even bothered to look at it again! ...but then, with me, it's always been about the money i.e. how much the school costs. Since I can't afford much, I need benevolent scholarships which we all know can be v.difficult to find...
We must all make personal decisions based on the things we each consider most important to us... best of luck
I feel for you bro... I also have the same kinda choice but it's between Cornell and a much lower-ranked school. You've got brilliant choices so anyways you'll be fine (I think) The last post (PB) was really instructive. I didn't know Utrecht was so highly ranked tho! Since I got my admission letter, I haven't even bothered to look at it again! ...but then, with me, it's always been about the money i.e. how much the school costs. Since I can't afford much, I need benevolent scholarships which we all know can be v.difficult to find...
We must all make personal decisions based on the things we each consider most important to us... best of luck
quote
PB
P.S.

Think of the prestigious Hague Academy of International Law in Netherlands. You cant argue with the prestige of that school. It teaches only international law. Mentioning The Hague in your CV will certainly impress any employer in the legal field. Does it rank in any of the university rankings ? Nope, it is too small. Is it prestigious ? Absolutely ! If you have judges of the International Court of Justice delivering lectures on procedural matters of public international law, you wont need Harvard and the financial burden that comes along with it. At any rate, what´s the difference between a graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard, both with grade point averages of 3.9 ? JUST MONEY and many employers are not blinded by money :) In certain cultures for example, Germany and France, people are not obsessed with university rankings since university education here is so specialized. For example, Technische Universitat Munchen ( translated to Technical University Munich or the University of Technology, Munich) is very good with the sciences and is the best of all the TUs all over Germany. But you wont want to study law or social sciences there. The concept of elite universities are very American and British, but then most employers have taken postgraduate studies in Europe and here PEOPLE ARE JUDGED BY THEIR ACADEMIC HONORS and EXPERIENCE rather than being from this so and so elite school. Many employers were not born rich and majority of the people in the world cannot afford Harvard. That doesnt mean they are dumb or incompetent. THere are just too many other good universities other than Harvard. If you´ve got money to burn, go to Harvard. If you dont want the financial burden, go to another excellent university, try to graduate with honors and you´ll have no problem with job applications. I didnt go to Harvard but I´ve had no problems with any job application and earn very well even by law firm standards in the U.S. , so I´m speaking from good, solid experience :) Good luck ! Dont lose sleep over it. In all probability, the person who will interview you for your first job didnt come from Harvard himself.
P.S.

Think of the prestigious Hague Academy of International Law in Netherlands. You cant argue with the prestige of that school. It teaches only international law. Mentioning The Hague in your CV will certainly impress any employer in the legal field. Does it rank in any of the university rankings ? Nope, it is too small. Is it prestigious ? Absolutely ! If you have judges of the International Court of Justice delivering lectures on procedural matters of public international law, you wont need Harvard and the financial burden that comes along with it. At any rate, what´s the difference between a graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard, both with grade point averages of 3.9 ? JUST MONEY and many employers are not blinded by money :) In certain cultures for example, Germany and France, people are not obsessed with university rankings since university education here is so specialized. For example, Technische Universitat Munchen ( translated to Technical University Munich or the University of Technology, Munich) is very good with the sciences and is the best of all the TUs all over Germany. But you wont want to study law or social sciences there. The concept of elite universities are very American and British, but then most employers have taken postgraduate studies in Europe and here PEOPLE ARE JUDGED BY THEIR ACADEMIC HONORS and EXPERIENCE rather than being from this so and so elite school. Many employers were not born rich and majority of the people in the world cannot afford Harvard. That doesnt mean they are dumb or incompetent. THere are just too many other good universities other than Harvard. If you´ve got money to burn, go to Harvard. If you dont want the financial burden, go to another excellent university, try to graduate with honors and you´ll have no problem with job applications. I didnt go to Harvard but I´ve had no problems with any job application and earn very well even by law firm standards in the U.S. , so I´m speaking from good, solid experience :) Good luck ! Dont lose sleep over it. In all probability, the person who will interview you for your first job didnt come from Harvard himself.
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lops
Hi Kazam,

I am in exactly the same shoes - except I have already done 4 years (including 2 year training contract) at a magic circle firm and am currently tossing up between the Harvard LLM or the Oxford BCL. Ideally - my first choice was to go to do the LLM at Yale but I am still on a waiting list for that and I have to choose between Harvard and Oxford soon before the offers lapse. I am currently minded to choose the Oxford BCL if Yale doesn't come through before the deadline. My reasons are as follows:

1. I want an academic experience out of my masters because I will be heading into the ivory towers of academia after my masters. The Harvard LLM I have been told (by a professor who has done both the H.LLM and the O.BCL) involves class sizes of around 200-300 students - you become a face in the crowd and need to employ significantly aggressive skills to get any face time with the professors/course conductors.

2. The course availability is very different to your actual ability to take a course i.e. its very difficult to get on the really juicy courses because everyone finds them juicy.

On the flip side,

1. Have been told the Harvard library is the best (not just the biggest) in the world.

2. The JD students with which you take your classes are extremely bright and intelligent and you will meet a real diversity of people.

To me, your expectations of a postgraduate experience are very very very subjective - why else would you have one person's third choice as another's first choice when it comes to institutions - I am very keen on the Yale LLM and yet there are some who having got the offer have turned it away - because they felt they would get more out of a course elsewhere - none of us are "right" or "wrong" - we just have our own subjective idea/expectations about what we want to do. Ask yourself what you want - a universal truth is that both the H.LLM and O.BCL won't meet up to these needs because both courses are so different - you will therefore find that you weed out the courses once you consider what your expectations are.
Hi Kazam,

I am in exactly the same shoes - except I have already done 4 years (including 2 year training contract) at a magic circle firm and am currently tossing up between the Harvard LLM or the Oxford BCL. Ideally - my first choice was to go to do the LLM at Yale but I am still on a waiting list for that and I have to choose between Harvard and Oxford soon before the offers lapse. I am currently minded to choose the Oxford BCL if Yale doesn't come through before the deadline. My reasons are as follows:

1. I want an academic experience out of my masters because I will be heading into the ivory towers of academia after my masters. The Harvard LLM I have been told (by a professor who has done both the H.LLM and the O.BCL) involves class sizes of around 200-300 students - you become a face in the crowd and need to employ significantly aggressive skills to get any face time with the professors/course conductors.

2. The course availability is very different to your actual ability to take a course i.e. its very difficult to get on the really juicy courses because everyone finds them juicy.

On the flip side,

1. Have been told the Harvard library is the best (not just the biggest) in the world.

2. The JD students with which you take your classes are extremely bright and intelligent and you will meet a real diversity of people.

To me, your expectations of a postgraduate experience are very very very subjective - why else would you have one person's third choice as another's first choice when it comes to institutions - I am very keen on the Yale LLM and yet there are some who having got the offer have turned it away - because they felt they would get more out of a course elsewhere - none of us are "right" or "wrong" - we just have our own subjective idea/expectations about what we want to do. Ask yourself what you want - a universal truth is that both the H.LLM and O.BCL won't meet up to these needs because both courses are so different - you will therefore find that you weed out the courses once you consider what your expectations are.
quote
lops - fantastic post! Very wise.
lops - fantastic post! Very wise.
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Kazaf
Thanks for all your advice and comments. Very helpful indeed!
Thanks for all your advice and comments. Very helpful indeed!
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Holger
Dear Kazaf and all others who have posted to this thread:

Go to Harvard! Ultimately, your choice will depend on many imponderables, but I would strongly encourage you to consider the Harvard option.

Let me first disclose where I'm coming from, also in relation to some of the institutions that have been mentioned: I have a Harvard LLM as well as law degrees from the Sorbonne and Hamburg University, I attended the Hague Academy, I am European, I used to work in one New York and one European corporate law firm, and I intend to go into academia - and prepare for that in Harvard's doctorate program. Unfortunately I have never been to Oxford or Cambridge, so I cannot make the direct comparison from first hand experience, but I have many friends who studied there.

On the financial side, it's clear that Harvard (or any other American law school, for that matter - I don't see why, e.g., Stanford would be any cheaper) will be more expensive than Oxford or Cambridge. But if you keep things in perspective, we are talking peanuts here! I know that even a subsidized loan of 20K (at nominal interest rates) plus a normal loan of 27K minus whatever you'd have to spend in Oxbridge (!) sounds big from a non-American student's perspective. But what's 47K minus X if your starting annual salary upon graduation is going to be 140K (New York standard)? Even if your London firm will pay less, it should still be enough to pay back the loan in the first two, three years. It's true of course, as was mentioned in one of the posts, that many American graduates are squashed by student loans - but they are talking a couple of hundreds of thousands of dollars, not just less than 47K (and they may be in lower-paying jobs than private practice of law: not a valid concern for you).

If you are thinking economically (and only in terms of future earnings), you won't ask how much it costs, of course, but if it's worth it, i.e., if your future discounted extra earnings due to the Harvard LLM are worth 47K - X. I don't think anybody could give you a mathematically clear answer to that. At the same time, I think it is a non sequitur to point out that many UN officials, top lawyers, top bureaucrats etc do not have a Harvard degree, and that you can find good jobs without it. Of course you can. But you can't be certain, neither with nor without the Harvard degree. So the real question is: how much more likely are you to get that job (and, later, to move up the ladder) if you have the Harvard LLM? More precisely, how much more likely than with an LLM from Oxbridge? This question I cannot answer. But I can tell you that the name "Harvard" pulls a lot of weight, for the right or wrong reasons, and even more in Europe than in the US. (And as I indicate below, I believe there is reason to think that Harvard does not only give you the name.) I know of one highly respected international organization that has a special program for hiring only Harvard LLMs (again, I am not saying that this is either fair or correct). And if you are really thinking long term, the kind of money a smart and educated person is going to earn over your lifetime (and, correspondingly, the edge that a Harvard degree might (!) give you) is going to dwarf the 47K - X. Now, one caveat: the discounted value of your degree might be highest right after graduation. So in your personal situation if you are going to take the same old job after the LLM anyway, the discounted extra value of any LLM degree will be much less.

Academically, the most important aspect has been absent from the discussion so far. Harvard, or any other premier American law school like Stanford or Yale, will teach you completely different stuff than Oxford or Cambridge. Of course Oxford and Cambridge are great schools reputed for their individual counseling. But you have already been through the English legal education, and Oxbridge (or the Hague Academy, for that matter) is going to give you just one more year of the same positivist-formalist education. By contrast, a premier American school will expose you to more normative and interdisciplinary ways of thinking about law, or thinking in the law: for example, you might learn finance while at Harvard (and that's just one of the "assets" that might translate into monetary value later).

By the way, it is not true that there are 200 to 300 students in Harvard's classes. I believe this was the case for some classes in the past, but since they reformed the first year curriculum for JDs, the biggest classes at Harvard Law School have 100 students, and most are much much smaller. It is true that there is no institutionalized one-on-one interaction with faculty as in the Oxbridge tutoring system. But small seminars and classes, as well as paper supervision, will give you plenty opportunity to interact with faculty. By the way, it is also not true that you won't get the classes you want - while there is always a lot of haggling in the so-called add/drop period, in the end people usually get into all the classes they want, with some rare exceptions such as Laurence Tribe's Constitutional Law class. Also, Harvard brings in so many ICJ Justices etc as speakers or visiting professors over the year that you will certainly get your fair share of that. Last not least, the quality of Harvard's student body is so high that interaction with your fellow students might satisfy all your intellectual needs. From my personal experience with colleagues, friends etc., I know of no other school, except perhaps Yale, that can match the quality of Harvard's LLM student body. All said, I have not encountered any other institution in my life that could even hope to match the intellectual vibrancy of Harvard. (I am not saying that Harvard has no match - I have not been to, e.g., Yale, Stanford, or Oxbridge. But the my course at the Hague Academy, for example, was just a joke compared to the Harvard LL.M. year.)

And as far as personal relationships are concerned, you are much more likely to find "your" type of people in Harvard's class of 150 than in a class of 20, while at the same time I found 150 to be a surprisingly manageable number of people, which allowed for a great spirit of community.

Finally, who says you can't have fun (party) at Harvard? (As an aside, if you think that Oxbridge students always goof off and get drunk, what does this imply about your assumptions about the quality of education there?) If you measure "partying" by the amount of alcohol consumed and the number of hours of drunk dancing, Harvard was certainly not my biggest party year. But for great conversations, dinners, and movie nights with brilliant friends, it was fantastic. For me, my LLM year at Harvard was the best year of my life from the intellectual AND the personal point of view. Many felt the same. Others didn't. I guess we are back to the imponderables.

I hope to see you in Cambridge in the fall.

Holger
Dear Kazaf and all others who have posted to this thread:

Go to Harvard! Ultimately, your choice will depend on many imponderables, but I would strongly encourage you to consider the Harvard option.

Let me first disclose where I'm coming from, also in relation to some of the institutions that have been mentioned: I have a Harvard LLM as well as law degrees from the Sorbonne and Hamburg University, I attended the Hague Academy, I am European, I used to work in one New York and one European corporate law firm, and I intend to go into academia - and prepare for that in Harvard's doctorate program. Unfortunately I have never been to Oxford or Cambridge, so I cannot make the direct comparison from first hand experience, but I have many friends who studied there.

On the financial side, it's clear that Harvard (or any other American law school, for that matter - I don't see why, e.g., Stanford would be any cheaper) will be more expensive than Oxford or Cambridge. But if you keep things in perspective, we are talking peanuts here! I know that even a subsidized loan of 20K (at nominal interest rates) plus a normal loan of 27K minus whatever you'd have to spend in Oxbridge (!) sounds big from a non-American student's perspective. But what's 47K minus X if your starting annual salary upon graduation is going to be 140K (New York standard)? Even if your London firm will pay less, it should still be enough to pay back the loan in the first two, three years. It's true of course, as was mentioned in one of the posts, that many American graduates are squashed by student loans - but they are talking a couple of hundreds of thousands of dollars, not just less than 47K (and they may be in lower-paying jobs than private practice of law: not a valid concern for you).

If you are thinking economically (and only in terms of future earnings), you won't ask how much it costs, of course, but if it's worth it, i.e., if your future discounted extra earnings due to the Harvard LLM are worth 47K - X. I don't think anybody could give you a mathematically clear answer to that. At the same time, I think it is a non sequitur to point out that many UN officials, top lawyers, top bureaucrats etc do not have a Harvard degree, and that you can find good jobs without it. Of course you can. But you can't be certain, neither with nor without the Harvard degree. So the real question is: how much more likely are you to get that job (and, later, to move up the ladder) if you have the Harvard LLM? More precisely, how much more likely than with an LLM from Oxbridge? This question I cannot answer. But I can tell you that the name "Harvard" pulls a lot of weight, for the right or wrong reasons, and even more in Europe than in the US. (And as I indicate below, I believe there is reason to think that Harvard does not only give you the name.) I know of one highly respected international organization that has a special program for hiring only Harvard LLMs (again, I am not saying that this is either fair or correct). And if you are really thinking long term, the kind of money a smart and educated person is going to earn over your lifetime (and, correspondingly, the edge that a Harvard degree might (!) give you) is going to dwarf the 47K - X. Now, one caveat: the discounted value of your degree might be highest right after graduation. So in your personal situation if you are going to take the same old job after the LLM anyway, the discounted extra value of any LLM degree will be much less.

Academically, the most important aspect has been absent from the discussion so far. Harvard, or any other premier American law school like Stanford or Yale, will teach you completely different stuff than Oxford or Cambridge. Of course Oxford and Cambridge are great schools reputed for their individual counseling. But you have already been through the English legal education, and Oxbridge (or the Hague Academy, for that matter) is going to give you just one more year of the same positivist-formalist education. By contrast, a premier American school will expose you to more normative and interdisciplinary ways of thinking about law, or thinking in the law: for example, you might learn finance while at Harvard (and that's just one of the "assets" that might translate into monetary value later).

By the way, it is not true that there are 200 to 300 students in Harvard's classes. I believe this was the case for some classes in the past, but since they reformed the first year curriculum for JDs, the biggest classes at Harvard Law School have 100 students, and most are much much smaller. It is true that there is no institutionalized one-on-one interaction with faculty as in the Oxbridge tutoring system. But small seminars and classes, as well as paper supervision, will give you plenty opportunity to interact with faculty. By the way, it is also not true that you won't get the classes you want - while there is always a lot of haggling in the so-called add/drop period, in the end people usually get into all the classes they want, with some rare exceptions such as Laurence Tribe's Constitutional Law class. Also, Harvard brings in so many ICJ Justices etc as speakers or visiting professors over the year that you will certainly get your fair share of that. Last not least, the quality of Harvard's student body is so high that interaction with your fellow students might satisfy all your intellectual needs. From my personal experience with colleagues, friends etc., I know of no other school, except perhaps Yale, that can match the quality of Harvard's LLM student body. All said, I have not encountered any other institution in my life that could even hope to match the intellectual vibrancy of Harvard. (I am not saying that Harvard has no match - I have not been to, e.g., Yale, Stanford, or Oxbridge. But the my course at the Hague Academy, for example, was just a joke compared to the Harvard LL.M. year.)

And as far as personal relationships are concerned, you are much more likely to find "your" type of people in Harvard's class of 150 than in a class of 20, while at the same time I found 150 to be a surprisingly manageable number of people, which allowed for a great spirit of community.

Finally, who says you can't have fun (party) at Harvard? (As an aside, if you think that Oxbridge students always goof off and get drunk, what does this imply about your assumptions about the quality of education there?) If you measure "partying" by the amount of alcohol consumed and the number of hours of drunk dancing, Harvard was certainly not my biggest party year. But for great conversations, dinners, and movie nights with brilliant friends, it was fantastic. For me, my LLM year at Harvard was the best year of my life from the intellectual AND the personal point of view. Many felt the same. Others didn't. I guess we are back to the imponderables.

I hope to see you in Cambridge in the fall.

Holger
quote
kem
Hi everybody!
Brother, dont think , go to Harvard, because this is "Harvard" - at HLS you receive not only education but very high status. Dont think a lot, Harvard is a Harvard!
Hi everybody!
Brother, dont think , go to Harvard, because this is "Harvard" - at HLS you receive not only education but very high status. Dont think a lot, Harvard is a Harvard!
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blondie
I'm with Kem. Dont even think about it. The international brand of Harvard is unmatched. Academically, the faculty at Harvard as a whole is better known and more accomplished (thats relative of course). The Harvard alumni is widespread and influential and looks after its own.
I'm with Kem. Dont even think about it. The international brand of Harvard is unmatched. Academically, the faculty at Harvard as a whole is better known and more accomplished (thats relative of course). The Harvard alumni is widespread and influential and looks after its own.
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jsnchang
Kazaf, I note you would like advices "strictly from a career perspective". Many adviced you to go to Harvard because of its excellent education, reputation etc. Let me ask you, have you qualified in England and Wales? To be frank, I do not see how a Harvard LLM would help you in your career. I don't believe in this world there is any "Hogwoods" you can learn "magic". On the contrary, academic studies are very different from the practices in law firms. In addition, LLM is nothing worthy boasting of, no even harvard. My office turned down dozens of Ivy League LLMs every year. According to my observation, I do not see any competative advantage a LLM may have over a qualified English lawyer from a career perspective.
Kazaf, I note you would like advices "strictly from a career perspective". Many adviced you to go to Harvard because of its excellent education, reputation etc. Let me ask you, have you qualified in England and Wales? To be frank, I do not see how a Harvard LLM would help you in your career. I don't believe in this world there is any "Hogwoods" you can learn "magic". On the contrary, academic studies are very different from the practices in law firms. In addition, LLM is nothing worthy boasting of, no even harvard. My office turned down dozens of Ivy League LLMs every year. According to my observation, I do not see any competative advantage a LLM may have over a qualified English lawyer from a career perspective.
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Kazaf
Jsnchang,

I have accepted a job with a Magic Circle firm in London. I will begin my two-year training contract there after my LLM. At the end of the two years, I will be qualified as an English solicitor.

As for Harvard, I think I am slowly leaning towards it. I have spoken to a very diverse range of law firm partners, professors, bankers and government officials. The general advice seems to be that it will certainly open opportunities accross the globe to have a namecard which states 'LLB (First Class)(UCL), LLM (Harvard), Solicitor (England and Wales), New York Bar'.
Jsnchang,

I have accepted a job with a Magic Circle firm in London. I will begin my two-year training contract there after my LLM. At the end of the two years, I will be qualified as an English solicitor.

As for Harvard, I think I am slowly leaning towards it. I have spoken to a very diverse range of law firm partners, professors, bankers and government officials. The general advice seems to be that it will certainly open opportunities accross the globe to have a namecard which states 'LLB (First Class)(UCL), LLM (Harvard), Solicitor (England and Wales), New York Bar'.
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kron
i have been in your position. so i can advise you. i turned down oxon and took harv.

harv. llm offers better chances in helping you to get a job in US law firms, than an oxon bcl. that's quite well-founded. but oxon bcl is regarded, i believe, among magic circle firms, to be more intellectually rigorous than harv. llm. but "rigor" is quite an obscure term and hard to quantify.

if you choose to go to harv, remember to take courses by duncan kennedy and david kennedy. they are brilliant and scintillating. the writings by oxon and cantab prof in the same fields seem quite pathetic by comparison.
i have been in your position. so i can advise you. i turned down oxon and took harv.

harv. llm offers better chances in helping you to get a job in US law firms, than an oxon bcl. that's quite well-founded. but oxon bcl is regarded, i believe, among magic circle firms, to be more intellectually rigorous than harv. llm. but "rigor" is quite an obscure term and hard to quantify.

if you choose to go to harv, remember to take courses by duncan kennedy and david kennedy. they are brilliant and scintillating. the writings by oxon and cantab prof in the same fields seem quite pathetic by comparison.
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peteatduke
Let's face it, your first class LLB and admission to practise are all you need to pursue your career as a banking lawyer. After you start working, your success will depend on your achievements in the workplace - not on your education. The US firm that employs you in Hong Kong, for example, will be looking at your work experience first and foremost.
On the other hand, the Harvard brand still has enormous cache here in the States and worldwide. Further, one shouldn't underestimate the value of gaining a better understanding of American culture by living in the States for a period. The "worth" of your Harvard LLM may be difficult to quantify, but I bet that you would never regret choosing to undertake it, even if it means short term financial pain. Speaking as someone who worked for a time in London and has studied here in the States - go for it.
Let's face it, your first class LLB and admission to practise are all you need to pursue your career as a banking lawyer. After you start working, your success will depend on your achievements in the workplace - not on your education. The US firm that employs you in Hong Kong, for example, will be looking at your work experience first and foremost.
On the other hand, the Harvard brand still has enormous cache here in the States and worldwide. Further, one shouldn't underestimate the value of gaining a better understanding of American culture by living in the States for a period. The "worth" of your Harvard LLM may be difficult to quantify, but I bet that you would never regret choosing to undertake it, even if it means short term financial pain. Speaking as someone who worked for a time in London and has studied here in the States - go for it.
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Hyugo
Wow! I think, Kazaf, you've inspired the most vibrant posts on this whole site! Unfortunately, I'm not in your dilemma but I would like to make a small contribution. Personally, when I face a situation such as this, I ask: 'would I, at the end of my life/career, etc (when things are more in perspective) regret that I didn't do this i.e. go to Harv.?' If the answer is positive, I just do it. The fact that it might not turn out to be as fundamental I thought is much better than chalkin it down on the list of 'the ones that got away'. Your heart wants to go to Harvard. So go. Whether it'll be fun/career boosting (like u need a career boost!)/intellectually stimulating, etc aren't really the things uppermost to you, are they? You have a dream come true waiting to be seized. Do so.
Everyone on this post probably knows u won't need Harvard to open doors and make a success of this life professionally. U need Harvard just to satisfy the 'imponderable' within you.
Think long and hard if you wish, but I'm sure u'll probably join the chorus of 150 come Fall this year at Cambridge, MA
Cheers!
Wow! I think, Kazaf, you've inspired the most vibrant posts on this whole site! Unfortunately, I'm not in your dilemma but I would like to make a small contribution. Personally, when I face a situation such as this, I ask: 'would I, at the end of my life/career, etc (when things are more in perspective) regret that I didn't do this i.e. go to Harv.?' If the answer is positive, I just do it. The fact that it might not turn out to be as fundamental I thought is much better than chalkin it down on the list of 'the ones that got away'. Your heart wants to go to Harvard. So go. Whether it'll be fun/career boosting (like u need a career boost!)/intellectually stimulating, etc aren't really the things uppermost to you, are they? You have a dream come true waiting to be seized. Do so.
Everyone on this post probably knows u won't need Harvard to open doors and make a success of this life professionally. U need Harvard just to satisfy the 'imponderable' within you.
Think long and hard if you wish, but I'm sure u'll probably join the chorus of 150 come Fall this year at Cambridge, MA
Cheers!
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Kazaf
Hyugo,

Thank you for your kind words and advice - that is very meaningful. I am extremely humbled and grateful for the kindness that has been shown by the people on this board who have replied with very helpful advice and comments. I am so glad I found this website! :-)
Hyugo,

Thank you for your kind words and advice - that is very meaningful. I am extremely humbled and grateful for the kindness that has been shown by the people on this board who have replied with very helpful advice and comments. I am so glad I found this website! :-)
quote

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