Is an LLM in National Security worth it if there's no financial cost to me?


Hello all!



I'm currently a JAG in the military and plan on separating in spring 2025 to transition to the civilian side to gain better geographic stability and explore other job opportunities. I'm debating between applying immediately upon separation for a federal government national security job (CIA, FBI, DOJ, ODNI, etc.), or using my post-9/11 GI bill to pay for an LLM - most logical program would be National Security at Georgetown or George Washington, though I really enjoy the bio/medical/health areas of legal practice. The jobs I'm currently looking at don't require an LLM, though my understanding is an LLM may make me more "marketable." I'm conflicted - I won't meet the requirements to transfer my GI bill to my dependents, so it's essentially "use or lose" for me. An LLM makes the most logical sense for using the GI bill. Using the GI bill, I should be able to cover most of my tuition, and all of my housing and other expenses; I have no issues paying any difference out of pocket. However, if there's no perceived benefit to possessing an LLM when applying to US-based federal government positions, I'd rather apply to jobs immediately and not take a year off to acquire an LLM.



I know this is a very broad question. Has anyone found possessing an LLM does give a federal government position applicant an advantage? Has anyone had any similar experience, and if so, what would you advise? Any others with insight?



Thank you in advance, all!

[Edited by hollowman919 on Sep 07, 2023]

Hello all! <br>
<br>
I'm currently a JAG in the military and plan on separating in spring 2025 to transition to the civilian side to gain better geographic stability and explore other job opportunities. I'm debating between applying immediately upon separation for a federal government national security job (CIA, FBI, DOJ, ODNI, etc.), or using my post-9/11 GI bill to pay for an LLM - most logical program would be National Security at Georgetown or George Washington, though I really enjoy the bio/medical/health areas of legal practice. The jobs I'm currently looking at don't require an LLM, though my understanding is an LLM may make me more "marketable." I'm conflicted - I won't meet the requirements to transfer my GI bill to my dependents, so it's essentially "use or lose" for me. An LLM makes the most logical sense for using the GI bill. Using the GI bill, I should be able to cover most of my tuition, and all of my housing and other expenses; I have no issues paying any difference out of pocket. However, if there's no perceived benefit to possessing an LLM when applying to US-based federal government positions, I'd rather apply to jobs immediately and not take a year off to acquire an LLM.<br>
<br>
I know this is a very broad question. Has anyone found possessing an LLM does give a federal government position applicant an advantage? Has anyone had any similar experience, and if so, what would you advise? Any others with insight?<br>
<br>
Thank you in advance, all!
quote
Immortal

If I was in your position:

1. I would check last year job postings in the area of law I am interested in. I will look for the education/qualifications/experience asked by the employers.

2. I would go to Linkedin and find people with the job role I am interested it, and ask them what requirements they fulfilled to get that job. Trust me, many people are quite helpful to answer there.

3. Money wise - If after studying 1-2 year LLM, I get lesser money than I get now, I will not do that LLM, even if its free/paid by others. I will also count the loss of pay incurred by studying full time without a job.

4. Love wise - If I am so deeply in love with a new law area, I will even work for that new job at lesser money after studying the 1-2 year LLM full time.

If I was in your position:<br><br>1. I would check last year job postings in the area of law I am interested in. I will look for the education/qualifications/experience asked by the employers.<br><br>2. I would go to Linkedin and find people with the job role I am interested it, and ask them what requirements they fulfilled to get that job. Trust me, many people are quite helpful to answer there.<br><br>3. Money wise - If after studying 1-2 year LLM, I get lesser money than I get now, I will not do that LLM, even if its free/paid by others. I will also count the loss of pay incurred by studying full time without a job.<br><br>4. Love wise - If I am so deeply in love with a new law area, I will even work for that new job at lesser money after studying the 1-2 year LLM full time.<br>
quote

Definitely an LLM at Georgetown will be worth it not only for your marketability but also the transition you want to make even if you do still choose the National Security Track and not other tracks which Georgetown has like the Global Health Track.

The reputation of Georgetown has always been strong but has been getting even more traction around the world in recent years. There are a lot of opportunities for someone with your background and even more if you come out of Georgetown with that same background after more so in the DMV.

Definitely an LLM at Georgetown will be worth it not only for your marketability but also the transition you want to make even if you do still choose the National Security Track and not other tracks which Georgetown has like the Global Health Track.

The reputation of Georgetown has always been strong but has been getting even more traction around the world in recent years. There are a lot of opportunities for someone with your background and even more if you come out of Georgetown with that same background after more so in the DMV.
quote

Hiya, I actually did the NatSec LLM at Gtown, happy to chat with you if you have questions or just want further details on the program!

Hiya, I actually did the NatSec LLM at Gtown, happy to chat with you if you have questions or just want further details on the program!
quote
Es1520

Apply to as many jobs at federal agencies as you  are interested in now. The process is very long and by the time you get out you still may be waiting. Even if you get offered early you can just push back the start date until you leave active duty. If you don’t have a job after applying to as many positions as you can and doing any networking, then look at the LLM or maybe see if you can do it part time. 

I was in a similar position and it took a year to go through the background process while I worked at a law firm I did not like. I applied four months before getting out and didn’t get a start date until a year after getting out. 

[Edited by Es1520 on Jun 12, 2024]

Apply to as many jobs at federal agencies as you &nbsp;are interested in now. The process is very long and by the time you get out you still may be waiting. Even if you get offered early you can just push back the start date until you leave active duty. If you don’t have a job after applying to as many positions as you can and doing any networking, then look at the LLM or maybe see if you can do it part time.&nbsp;<br><br>I was in a similar position and it took a year to go through the background process while I worked at a law firm I did not like. I applied four months before getting out and didn’t get a start date until a year after getting out.&nbsp;
quote

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