LLM vs Accelerated or Advanced Standing JD, US Citizen, first law degree in civil law


mmad27
Hi everyone! I've seen some similar posts from lawyers trained in common law, so thought I'd give it a try.

I am a dual US-Argentine citizen, born in the US, raised a number different places, then ended up in Argentina for high school and university, where I completed a law degree that enables me to practice in my home jurisdiction.

I am definitely interested in pursuing postgraduate studies in international/business/energy and natural resources law, and plan on practicing mostly in the private sector. I had always planned on doing an LLM and taking the New York / California / Texas bar, bust mostly practice in Argentina. If things went south, or if life ended up taking me back to the US, by being admitted to the bar I figured I'd be able to work things out.
I've been made aware of several accelerated 2-year JDs geared towards foreign-trained lawyers (Northwestern, DePaul, Brooklyn), or that include domestic students (Pepperdine), in addition to law school like American University that offer advanced standing for foreign graduates.
However, the accelerated JD programs are at Tier II schools at best, and located in cities that aren't necessarily the best for networking. An LLM at a better-ranked school, in NY or DC, seems more attractive for networking opportunies and internships/jobs...
It is my understanding that regardless of being admitted to the Bar, the difference in salaries between JD and LLM lawyers is astronomical; most posts here focus on the difficulty of getting a job in the US due to visa requirements.
But based on the academic aspect - is a 2 year JD worth the extra time to have more networking opportunities (depending on the city) and background knowledge of the US legal system? Or will an LLM be enough, to give me a fighting chance at a decent job if I decide to stay in the US? (considering everyone does bar prep anyways, regardless of whether they did a 3 year JD or one year LLM)

It's been hard to find experiences of foreign-trained accelerated JD alumni, so hopefully this provides guidance.
Hi everyone! I've seen some similar posts from lawyers trained in common law, so thought I'd give it a try.

I am a dual US-Argentine citizen, born in the US, raised a number different places, then ended up in Argentina for high school and university, where I completed a law degree that enables me to practice in my home jurisdiction.

I am definitely interested in pursuing postgraduate studies in international/business/energy and natural resources law, and plan on practicing mostly in the private sector. I had always planned on doing an LLM and taking the New York / California / Texas bar, bust mostly practice in Argentina. If things went south, or if life ended up taking me back to the US, by being admitted to the bar I figured I'd be able to work things out.
I've been made aware of several accelerated 2-year JDs geared towards foreign-trained lawyers (Northwestern, DePaul, Brooklyn), or that include domestic students (Pepperdine), in addition to law school like American University that offer advanced standing for foreign graduates.
However, the accelerated JD programs are at Tier II schools at best, and located in cities that aren't necessarily the best for networking. An LLM at a better-ranked school, in NY or DC, seems more attractive for networking opportunies and internships/jobs...
It is my understanding that regardless of being admitted to the Bar, the difference in salaries between JD and LLM lawyers is astronomical; most posts here focus on the difficulty of getting a job in the US due to visa requirements.
But based on the academic aspect - is a 2 year JD worth the extra time to have more networking opportunities (depending on the city) and background knowledge of the US legal system? Or will an LLM be enough, to give me a fighting chance at a decent job if I decide to stay in the US? (considering everyone does bar prep anyways, regardless of whether they did a 3 year JD or one year LLM)

It's been hard to find experiences of foreign-trained accelerated JD alumni, so hopefully this provides guidance.
quote
chicken so...
I would think that the salary differences between a JD and LLM program are due to expectations, and what each degree helps the students accomplish.

When we think of typical JD programs, these are usually pretty effective in railroading (US-based) grads into (high-paying) careers in law firms. On the other hand, LLMs are not designed for this, and rather, international students studying for an LLM in the US will more than likely return to their home countries where the salaries are often lower than in the US.

I would like to see salary details for 2-year JDs, because I'm not entirely sure for the most part who benefits from these, and what graduates accomplish. Due to visa restrictions, and the hardships of having an H1B visa sponsored, I'm a bit doubtful that they're super-effective in placing international students in US-based law firms.

Even though, given that you're a US citizen and have the right to work in the country, you may want to explore these issues with the schools offering the programs. In terms of recruitment, do they operate in the same way as their 3-year counterparts?
I would think that the salary differences between a JD and LLM program are due to expectations, and what each degree helps the students accomplish.

When we think of typical JD programs, these are usually pretty effective in railroading (US-based) grads into (high-paying) careers in law firms. On the other hand, LLMs are not designed for this, and rather, international students studying for an LLM in the US will more than likely return to their home countries where the salaries are often lower than in the US.

I would like to see salary details for 2-year JDs, because I'm not entirely sure for the most part who benefits from these, and what graduates accomplish. Due to visa restrictions, and the hardships of having an H1B visa sponsored, I'm a bit doubtful that they're super-effective in placing international students in US-based law firms.

Even though, given that you're a US citizen and have the right to work in the country, you may want to explore these issues with the schools offering the programs. In terms of recruitment, do they operate in the same way as their 3-year counterparts?
quote
Hi mmad27 - let me tell you what my experience has been so far and hopefully it will be helpful to you as you decide what to do.

I'm also an Argentine citizen who obtained a law degree in Argentina and after a few years in private practice, decided to pursue graduate studies in the US. I completed an LL.M. in Michigan and then took/passed the NY Bar, and have been practicing as a regular associate in NY law firms since 2013.

From my experience, completing an LLM at a reputable law school (like Michigan, or any top 10-15) gives you a really good fighting chance to stay and get a decent job, particularly if you take the bar immediately thereafter. At the end of the day, the courses you will take during your LLM will prepare you well, but the bar prep course will fill the gaps you may have compared to regular JD students, and that's what matters the most.

Once you are admitted to the bar, as you know you would have an option to either (i) do a 9-month / 1 year visiting attorney position in NY or elsewhere, and then go back to Argentina, or (ii) stay in the US as a regular associate. From a law firm perspective I don't think it matters the nominal degree you have for purposes of salary (i.e. you would be making the same as any JD who graduated the year you did).

Seems to me from your background that a one-year LLM would be a very good idea, especially if you want to go back to Argentina and keep your options open and flexible.

Hope this was helpful and happy to answer additional questions!

[Edited by mpueyrredon on Oct 08, 2019]

Hi mmad27 - let me tell you what my experience has been so far and hopefully it will be helpful to you as you decide what to do.

I'm also an Argentine citizen who obtained a law degree in Argentina and after a few years in private practice, decided to pursue graduate studies in the US. I completed an LL.M. in Michigan and then took/passed the NY Bar, and have been practicing as a regular associate in NY law firms since 2013.

From my experience, completing an LLM at a reputable law school (like Michigan, or any top 10-15) gives you a really good fighting chance to stay and get a decent job, particularly if you take the bar immediately thereafter. At the end of the day, the courses you will take during your LLM will prepare you well, but the bar prep course will fill the gaps you may have compared to regular JD students, and that's what matters the most.

Once you are admitted to the bar, as you know you would have an option to either (i) do a 9-month / 1 year visiting attorney position in NY or elsewhere, and then go back to Argentina, or (ii) stay in the US as a regular associate. From a law firm perspective I don't think it matters the nominal degree you have for purposes of salary (i.e. you would be making the same as any JD who graduated the year you did).

Seems to me from your background that a one-year LLM would be a very good idea, especially if you want to go back to Argentina and keep your options open and flexible.

Hope this was helpful and happy to answer additional questions!
quote
chicken so...
If I may ask, are you on an H1B visa? If so, how were you sponsored?
If I may ask, are you on an H1B visa? If so, how were you sponsored?
quote
mmad27

Hope this was helpful and happy to answer additional questions!

Hi mpueyrredon! Your reply was spot on, thanks so much.
The one-year LLM definitely keeps my options open, and your insight on the importance of the quality of the school is definitely something to keep in mind.
Gracias!
[quote]
Hope this was helpful and happy to answer additional questions!
[/quote]
Hi mpueyrredon! Your reply was spot on, thanks so much.
The one-year LLM definitely keeps my options open, and your insight on the importance of the quality of the school is definitely something to keep in mind.
Gracias!
quote

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