LLMs help UN entry: myth or fact?


todd28
So i'd really like to work for United Nations or a related NGO. Am I right to think that an LLM is actually going to give some advantage in pursuing such a career?
So i'd really like to work for United Nations or a related NGO. Am I right to think that an LLM is actually going to give some advantage in pursuing such a career?

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todd28
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oncogene
Yes, I have the same question.....
Yes, I have the same question.....
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let's look at a typical job vacancy for the UN legal office; i've taken the portion on qualifications:

QUALIFICATIONS

Education
Advanced University Degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in law, with an emphasis on Administrative or International Law. A first level university degree with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience
At least seven years of progressively responsible experience in administrative law is required. Experience in the application of United Nations regulations and rules, policies and procedure is required as well as experience in decision-making processes in international organizations.

Languages
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in oral and written English is required. Ability to work in French is desirable. Knowledge of another official language of the UN is an advantage.

CONCLUSION -- an LLM is can be helpful (and if you don't have the required years of experience, is a prerequisite) to get a job in the UN. when i was interning there, almost all the non-US legal officers had LLMs, around two legal officers from the UK did not have LLMs and some of the US legal officers had LLMs, but a JD is enough if you are from the US. BUT, as you see from the qualifications, an LLM ***BY AND OF ITSELF*** will not get you a job in the UN.
let's look at a typical job vacancy for the UN legal office; i've taken the portion on qualifications:

QUALIFICATIONS

Education
Advanced University Degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in law, with an emphasis on Administrative or International Law. A first level university degree with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience
At least seven years of progressively responsible experience in administrative law is required. Experience in the application of United Nations regulations and rules, policies and procedure is required as well as experience in decision-making processes in international organizations.

Languages
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in oral and written English is required. Ability to work in French is desirable. Knowledge of another official language of the UN is an advantage.

CONCLUSION -- an LLM is can be helpful (and if you don't have the required years of experience, is a prerequisite) to get a job in the UN. when i was interning there, almost all the non-US legal officers had LLMs, around two legal officers from the UK did not have LLMs and some of the US legal officers had LLMs, but a JD is enough if you are from the US. BUT, as you see from the qualifications, an LLM ***BY AND OF ITSELF*** will not get you a job in the UN.
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nicktracy
True..

let's look at a typical job vacancy for the UN legal office; i've taken the portion on qualifications:

QUALIFICATIONS

Education
Advanced University Degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in law, with an emphasis on Administrative or International Law. A first level university degree with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience
At least seven years of progressively responsible experience in administrative law is required. Experience in the application of United Nations regulations and rules, policies and procedure is required as well as experience in decision-making processes in international organizations.

Languages
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in oral and written English is required. Ability to work in French is desirable. Knowledge of another official language of the UN is an advantage.

CONCLUSION -- an LLM is can be helpful (and if you don't have the required years of experience, is a prerequisite) to get a job in the UN. when i was interning there, almost all the non-US legal officers had LLMs, around two legal officers from the UK did not have LLMs and some of the US legal officers had LLMs, but a JD is enough if you are from the US. BUT, as you see from the qualifications, an LLM ***BY AND OF ITSELF*** will not get you a job in the UN.
True..

<blockquote>let's look at a typical job vacancy for the UN legal office; i've taken the portion on qualifications:

QUALIFICATIONS

Education
Advanced University Degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in law, with an emphasis on Administrative or International Law. A first level university degree with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience
At least seven years of progressively responsible experience in administrative law is required. Experience in the application of United Nations regulations and rules, policies and procedure is required as well as experience in decision-making processes in international organizations.

Languages
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in oral and written English is required. Ability to work in French is desirable. Knowledge of another official language of the UN is an advantage.

CONCLUSION -- an LLM is can be helpful (and if you don't have the required years of experience, is a prerequisite) to get a job in the UN. when i was interning there, almost all the non-US legal officers had LLMs, around two legal officers from the UK did not have LLMs and some of the US legal officers had LLMs, but a JD is enough if you are from the US. BUT, as you see from the qualifications, an LLM ***BY AND OF ITSELF*** will not get you a job in the UN. </blockquote>
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todd28
Thanks for that info, Michael.

It looks like the UN expects applicants for that job to have done similar work with NGOs/law firms/govts etc. for many years before getting a look in.

I have 5 years full time experience as a paralegal in a NZ property-based law firm, and I'm continuing to work while completing an LLB part time. I guess I will need some more varied work experience in order for the UN to be interested, but it seems an LLM in international legal studies at NYU would be quite useful.

Does anyone else out there have any experience/knowledge of how an LLM can help with legal or human rights based jobs at the UN ? I wonder also what kind of work experience is most favourable to them.
Thanks for that info, Michael.

It looks like the UN expects applicants for that job to have done similar work with NGOs/law firms/govts etc. for many years before getting a look in.

I have 5 years full time experience as a paralegal in a NZ property-based law firm, and I'm continuing to work while completing an LLB part time. I guess I will need some more varied work experience in order for the UN to be interested, but it seems an LLM in international legal studies at NYU would be quite useful.

Does anyone else out there have any experience/knowledge of how an LLM can help with legal or human rights based jobs at the UN ? I wonder also what kind of work experience is most favourable to them.
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Stagista11
give me some more months and I should be able to answer your question based on my personal experience. Bear in mind the access is subordinated to the amount of funding payed by your government... the LL.M. by itself can help you win the competition between your fellow nationals... that said, you want to check the Northwestern LL.M. in IHR with Prof. Scheffer.
best of luck
give me some more months and I should be able to answer your question based on my personal experience. Bear in mind the access is subordinated to the amount of funding payed by your government... the LL.M. by itself can help you win the competition between your fellow nationals... that said, you want to check the Northwestern LL.M. in IHR with Prof. Scheffer.
best of luck
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It looks like the UN expects applicants for that job to have done similar work with NGOs/law firms/govts etc. for many years before getting a look in.


exactly. the UN doesn't want to have to train "fresh grads". it wants to hire people who are already able to start doing work from day one. i was told bluntly by the principal legal officer in the office that i'm not going to be hired because of my degrees, and that if i want to go back (no longer as an intern) i'd need to start earning some years of experience.
<blockquote>
It looks like the UN expects applicants for that job to have done similar work with NGOs/law firms/govts etc. for many years before getting a look in. </blockquote>

exactly. the UN doesn't want to have to train "fresh grads". it wants to hire people who are already able to start doing work from day one. i was told bluntly by the principal legal officer in the office that i'm not going to be hired because of my degrees, and that if i want to go back (no longer as an intern) i'd need to start earning some years of experience.
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oncogene

It looks like the UN expects applicants for that job to have done similar work with NGOs/law firms/govts etc. for many years before getting a look in.


exactly. the UN doesn't want to have to train "fresh grads". it wants to hire people who are already able to start doing work from day one. i was told bluntly by the principal legal officer in the office that i'm not going to be hired because of my degrees, and that if i want to go back (no longer as an intern) i'd need to start earning some years of experience.


Good point!
<blockquote><blockquote>
It looks like the UN expects applicants for that job to have done similar work with NGOs/law firms/govts etc. for many years before getting a look in. </blockquote>

exactly. the UN doesn't want to have to train "fresh grads". it wants to hire people who are already able to start doing work from day one. i was told bluntly by the principal legal officer in the office that i'm not going to be hired because of my degrees, and that if i want to go back (no longer as an intern) i'd need to start earning some years of experience.</blockquote>

Good point!
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todd28


exactly. the UN doesn't want to have to train "fresh grads". it wants to hire people who are already able to start doing work from day one. i was told bluntly by the principal legal officer in the office that i'm not going to be hired because of my degrees, and that if i want to go back (no longer as an intern) i'd need to start earning some years of experience.



That's interesting. I know someone who has a (non-legal) job at the UN, and was told that he could move up to a higher paid position ONLY if he got an MBA. So it appears that in some cases, employees hit a 'ceiling' unless they become more highly qualified.

In my case, I should probably continue to work full time in legal-type jobs, especially diplomat or human rights positions , while slowly working through my law degree and aiming for top marks. If I still want to work for the UN, at some point I might have to consider the trade-off between 12 months of LLM study or more work experience.

Personally, I think 'hands on' practice is worth more than study - thats an insight gained from working in a law office and then starting a LLB.
<blockquote>

exactly. the UN doesn't want to have to train "fresh grads". it wants to hire people who are already able to start doing work from day one. i was told bluntly by the principal legal officer in the office that i'm not going to be hired because of my degrees, and that if i want to go back (no longer as an intern) i'd need to start earning some years of experience.</blockquote>


That's interesting. I know someone who has a (non-legal) job at the UN, and was told that he could move up to a higher paid position ONLY if he got an MBA. So it appears that in some cases, employees hit a 'ceiling' unless they become more highly qualified.

In my case, I should probably continue to work full time in legal-type jobs, especially diplomat or human rights positions , while slowly working through my law degree and aiming for top marks. If I still want to work for the UN, at some point I might have to consider the trade-off between 12 months of LLM study or more work experience.

Personally, I think 'hands on' practice is worth more than study - thats an insight gained from working in a law office and then starting a LLB.



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Stagista11
Truth is that human resources offices tend to overestimate US degrees 'cause of the branding power of some top schools. It's hard to deny that a law degree from Harvard is regarded as better than any non-US school, with the only exception of few English universities. This is the main reason for which you want to undertake time and financial resources in a LL.M. in the US, since what you study here you can study anywhere in the world... Lastly, as I already said in a previous post, you better know if your country is over or underrepresented. The US are often overrepresented, especially in the NYC headquarters...
Truth is that human resources offices tend to overestimate US degrees 'cause of the branding power of some top schools. It's hard to deny that a law degree from Harvard is regarded as better than any non-US school, with the only exception of few English universities. This is the main reason for which you want to undertake time and financial resources in a LL.M. in the US, since what you study here you can study anywhere in the world... Lastly, as I already said in a previous post, you better know if your country is over or underrepresented. The US are often overrepresented, especially in the NYC headquarters...
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Truth is that human resources offices tend to overestimate US degrees 'cause of the branding power of some top schools. It's hard to deny that a law degree from Harvard is regarded as better than any non-US school, with the only exception of few English universities. This is the main reason for which you want to undertake time and financial resources in a LL.M. in the US, since what you study here you can study anywhere in the world... Lastly, as I already said in a previous post, you better know if your country is over or underrepresented. The US are often overrepresented, especially in the NYC headquarters...


I would say that in the UN, where they say that it doesn't matter where you received your degree as long as you have the required experience, where you received your degree still matters because the job experience (pre-UN) you have will most likely depend on where you received your degree. If you received your LLB and LLM from a small unknown university in a small unknown country, you will most likely not have been able to work on huge project financing deals or the most cutting edge human rights issues. Compared to someone who, let's take the recently retired director of the UN office of legal affairs, received her doctor of laws in the University of Argentina and her LLM from Columbia. Those degrees place her in the position to work on international law and arbitration at very high levels and to get great experience all over the world. So while it is true that the UN does not discriminate based on where you received your degree, it will take applicants with the better job experience, and sometimes, how good your prior professional experience will be heavily influenced by where you received your degree.
<blockquote>Truth is that human resources offices tend to overestimate US degrees 'cause of the branding power of some top schools. It's hard to deny that a law degree from Harvard is regarded as better than any non-US school, with the only exception of few English universities. This is the main reason for which you want to undertake time and financial resources in a LL.M. in the US, since what you study here you can study anywhere in the world... Lastly, as I already said in a previous post, you better know if your country is over or underrepresented. The US are often overrepresented, especially in the NYC headquarters...</blockquote>

I would say that in the UN, where they say that it doesn't matter where you received your degree as long as you have the required experience, where you received your degree still matters because the job experience (pre-UN) you have will most likely depend on where you received your degree. If you received your LLB and LLM from a small unknown university in a small unknown country, you will most likely not have been able to work on huge project financing deals or the most cutting edge human rights issues. Compared to someone who, let's take the recently retired director of the UN office of legal affairs, received her doctor of laws in the University of Argentina and her LLM from Columbia. Those degrees place her in the position to work on international law and arbitration at very high levels and to get great experience all over the world. So while it is true that the UN does not discriminate based on where you received your degree, it will take applicants with the better job experience, and sometimes, how good your prior professional experience will be heavily influenced by where you received your degree.

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todd28
Good point, Michael.

Luckily the University of Auckland in NZ has a fairly high international ranking (for a small country).

I'm noot sure whether most employers actually look upon LLMs highly - are they not regarded as more of an academic interest pursuit?
Good point, Michael.

Luckily the University of Auckland in NZ has a fairly high international ranking (for a small country).

I'm noot sure whether most employers actually look upon LLMs highly - are they not regarded as more of an academic interest pursuit?
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Stagista11
Most of the Human Resources Office(s) personnel is of US citizenship, and this is true especially in the NYC headquarters. As I've already written before, you'll be competing against your fellow nationals, whatever country you're citizen of. In this regard, however, is undeniable that you can really jump off the list if you've earned a degree from a very well known school. All that said, hope Northwestern is a brand good enough, since I'm studying my master for no other reason that the one just above outlined... I'll keep you posted as soon as they (to be read UN) get back to me!
Most of the Human Resources Office(s) personnel is of US citizenship, and this is true especially in the NYC headquarters. As I've already written before, you'll be competing against your fellow nationals, whatever country you're citizen of. In this regard, however, is undeniable that you can really jump off the list if you've earned a degree from a very well known school. All that said, hope Northwestern is a brand good enough, since I'm studying my master for no other reason that the one just above outlined... I'll keep you posted as soon as they (to be read UN) get back to me!
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todd28
Thanks Stagista. Good luck.
Thanks Stagista. Good luck.
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A program that has been quite succesful at UN and similar NGO placements is the LLM in intercultural human rights at St. Thomas University.

That Miami based program enrolls both lawyers and non-lawyers. The faculty fly in for two weeks at a time from the UN, various NGOs, as well as government departments.

Talk to the director or assoc director about their career service focus (as you should with any program of consideration).

Hope this helps.
A program that has been quite succesful at UN and similar NGO placements is the LLM in intercultural human rights at St. Thomas University.

That Miami based program enrolls both lawyers and non-lawyers. The faculty fly in for two weeks at a time from the UN, various NGOs, as well as government departments.

Talk to the director or assoc director about their career service focus (as you should with any program of consideration).

Hope this helps.
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that's true.
that's true.
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Mohitn
Does working under the United Nations volunteer Program and then subsequently getting the masters degree in international law beneficial for a UN job??
Does working under the United Nations volunteer Program and then subsequently getting the masters degree in international law beneficial for a UN job??
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