UM LLM: Estate Planning vs Tax?


tsimpson
Has anybody heard any buzz about the value of UM's LLM EP program as compared with their LLM Tax program? We all know their LLM program ranks high, but their EP curriculum is very different and obviously unranked. My concern is whether the perception is that students get their LLM in EP because they can't get into the tax program. What have y'all heard?
Has anybody heard any buzz about the value of UM's LLM EP program as compared with their LLM Tax program? We all know their LLM program ranks high, but their EP curriculum is very different and obviously unranked. My concern is whether the perception is that students get their LLM in EP because they can't get into the tax program. What have y'all heard?
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tsimpson
P.S. UM = University of Miami.
P.S. UM = University of Miami.
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mw3L08
My understanding is that UM is the place to go if you want an Estate Planning LLM. However, many people pursue tax LLMs and then go into estate planning. I tend to think that the EP LLM offers more practice-focused courses as well as a few more courses in wills/trusts... but I think the tax LLM is more versatile and probably prepares you nearly as well for estate planning practice. That's just me, however.
My understanding is that UM is the place to go if you want an Estate Planning LLM. However, many people pursue tax LLMs and then go into estate planning. I tend to think that the EP LLM offers more practice-focused courses as well as a few more courses in wills/trusts... but I think the tax LLM is more versatile and probably prepares you nearly as well for estate planning practice. That's just me, however.
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tsimpson
My question is not so much about what is the best choice (good question, but separate question), but how the EP degree is perceived. Is it considered a wannabe stepchild of UM's tax LLM? Is it highly respected? Does it not yet have a developed reputation? I am already practicing in EP and while the education will certainly be valuable, I am equally interested in the value of the credential itself.
My question is not so much about what is the best choice (good question, but separate question), but how the EP degree is perceived. Is it considered a wannabe stepchild of UM's tax LLM? Is it highly respected? Does it not yet have a developed reputation? I am already practicing in EP and while the education will certainly be valuable, I am equally interested in the value of the credential itself.
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macorsz
Western New England College School of Law has a live, completely online LL.M. in Estate Planning and Elder Law.
Western New England College School of Law has a live, completely online LL.M. in Estate Planning and Elder Law.
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razorbk77
I'm been told by practicing estate planning lawyers that the Estate Planning LLM will serve you far better than a LLM in Tax. Tax degree is great if you want to do corporate tax stuff (shoot me), but if you really want to know how to draft documents and be prepared to tackle real world client problems..go with the Estate Planning LLM.
I'm been told by practicing estate planning lawyers that the Estate Planning LLM will serve you far better than a LLM in Tax. Tax degree is great if you want to do corporate tax stuff (shoot me), but if you really want to know how to draft documents and be prepared to tackle real world client problems..go with the Estate Planning LLM.
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CSJTax
The UM LLM in Estate Planning is backed by the Heckerling Institute. Every estate planning attorney knows the Heckerling Institue, which holds a national conference every year. It is the most highly regarded Estate Planning Conference.

That being said, I don't know how that plays into the reputation of the UM Estate Planning LLM vs. UM Tax LLM.

Most firms are used to requiring Tax LLMs and may not think as highly of Estate Planning LLMs. But perhaps the perception is changing?

BTW, John Marshall Law School in Chicago also has a distance learning Estate Planning LLM.

We're beginning to see more Estate Planning LLM programs. Maybe they will become well-regarded; or maybe they will always play second-fiddle to Tax LLMs. It's probably too early to tell.

I still haven't decided whether to go LLM in Estate Planning (which is my practice area) or in Tax (which is what firms require).
The UM LLM in Estate Planning is backed by the Heckerling Institute. Every estate planning attorney knows the Heckerling Institue, which holds a national conference every year. It is the most highly regarded Estate Planning Conference.

That being said, I don't know how that plays into the reputation of the UM Estate Planning LLM vs. UM Tax LLM.

Most firms are used to requiring Tax LLMs and may not think as highly of Estate Planning LLMs. But perhaps the perception is changing?

BTW, John Marshall Law School in Chicago also has a distance learning Estate Planning LLM.

We're beginning to see more Estate Planning LLM programs. Maybe they will become well-regarded; or maybe they will always play second-fiddle to Tax LLMs. It's probably too early to tell.

I still haven't decided whether to go LLM in Estate Planning (which is my practice area) or in Tax (which is what firms require).
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tpdavey
I had to register just to chime in on this question.

I'm a practicing estate planning attorney in SoCal who received my LL.M. in Estate Planning from "the U". I struggled with the same questions as I looked at schools. I knew I wanted to do estate planning, and I got into the tax LL.M. program at NYU, Georgetown and U of Florida and only applied to the Estate Planning LL.M. program at Miami. I absolutely made the right decision. I've actually asked this question of a few estate planning attorneys, including during the interviewing process, and the consensus was that they looked much harder at graduates from the Estate Planning LL.M. program and the Tax LL.M. at NYU, if you didn't go to one of those two schools, you wouldn't get as much attention. The Estate Planning LL.M. graduates were looked on more favorably because it reflects more of a commitment and focus to estate planning than the Tax LL.M. (whether or not this is true, perception is reality). We've interviewed UM graduates and Tax LL.M. graduates at my current firm since I've joined and I have to be honest, you can explain all day that you're focused on estate planning and you went into the Tax LL.M. with that focus, but you'll still get the question (and perhaps a little skepticism) of why you didn't get the Estate Planning LL.M. from Miami then. If your Tax LL.M. transcripts don't show electives in estate planning, then you will really lose credibility.

As another post mentioned, the January Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning (held in Orlando vs Miami for about the last decade, unfortunately) that is run by UM is "the" conference of the year for estate planners and the UM students get the week off in the spring to attend the program. It's a great learning experience and even better networking experience (if one of your goals is to get a good job out of the program), there were about 3,000 estate planners from across the country there this year.

The curriculum at UM is much different as well. The fall semester is probably comparable to any Tax LL.M. but the spring semester consists of one week seminars in a specific area of estate planning, all taught by nationally recognized top practitioners in the field. The spring semester is what really sets the program apart.

Bottom line - you are kidding yourself if you don't think Miami will give you a leg up - both in preparing for the practice and in the eyes of potential employers IF estate planning is really what you want to do (that goes for NYU Tax grads as well). However, if you are unsure whether estate planning is for you or you'd like to explore other areas of tax law, then I'd go for the Tax LL.M. as you will be exposed to a broader survey of tax law in other areas (most/all of which won't really help you with estate planning). If you go the Tax LL.M. route, NYU or Florida/Georgetown (IMO, in that order) will give you a leg up, I don't think outside of southern Florida that the Tax LL.M. program at Miami is anything special.

Hope this helps your decision-making.
I had to register just to chime in on this question.

I'm a practicing estate planning attorney in SoCal who received my LL.M. in Estate Planning from "the U". I struggled with the same questions as I looked at schools. I knew I wanted to do estate planning, and I got into the tax LL.M. program at NYU, Georgetown and U of Florida and only applied to the Estate Planning LL.M. program at Miami. I absolutely made the right decision. I've actually asked this question of a few estate planning attorneys, including during the interviewing process, and the consensus was that they looked much harder at graduates from the Estate Planning LL.M. program and the Tax LL.M. at NYU, if you didn't go to one of those two schools, you wouldn't get as much attention. The Estate Planning LL.M. graduates were looked on more favorably because it reflects more of a commitment and focus to estate planning than the Tax LL.M. (whether or not this is true, perception is reality). We've interviewed UM graduates and Tax LL.M. graduates at my current firm since I've joined and I have to be honest, you can explain all day that you're focused on estate planning and you went into the Tax LL.M. with that focus, but you'll still get the question (and perhaps a little skepticism) of why you didn't get the Estate Planning LL.M. from Miami then. If your Tax LL.M. transcripts don't show electives in estate planning, then you will really lose credibility.

As another post mentioned, the January Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning (held in Orlando vs Miami for about the last decade, unfortunately) that is run by UM is "the" conference of the year for estate planners and the UM students get the week off in the spring to attend the program. It's a great learning experience and even better networking experience (if one of your goals is to get a good job out of the program), there were about 3,000 estate planners from across the country there this year.

The curriculum at UM is much different as well. The fall semester is probably comparable to any Tax LL.M. but the spring semester consists of one week seminars in a specific area of estate planning, all taught by nationally recognized top practitioners in the field. The spring semester is what really sets the program apart.

Bottom line - you are kidding yourself if you don't think Miami will give you a leg up - both in preparing for the practice and in the eyes of potential employers IF estate planning is really what you want to do (that goes for NYU Tax grads as well). However, if you are unsure whether estate planning is for you or you'd like to explore other areas of tax law, then I'd go for the Tax LL.M. as you will be exposed to a broader survey of tax law in other areas (most/all of which won't really help you with estate planning). If you go the Tax LL.M. route, NYU or Florida/Georgetown (IMO, in that order) will give you a leg up, I don't think outside of southern Florida that the Tax LL.M. program at Miami is anything special.

Hope this helps your decision-making.
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CSJTax
Wow, tpdavey, thank you for the comprehensive response!

It's great to hear from someone who went through the program and who also is involved with hiring at his/her current firm.

I was wondering whether UM LLM would be recognized just locally. But you're in Calif and UM's Estate Planning LLM reputation seems to have reached cross-country.

I looked at the curriculum and was skeptical about the week-long "seminars." I was wondering whether one gets enough depth in the subjects, or whether it was like attending a bunch of bar association seminars. You seem to have liked that part of the curriculum.

Also, I had not considered the networking possibilities at Heckerling. Very good point.

I have applied to the Georgetown Tax LLM with the Certificate in Estate Planning. My chances of getting into that program are very good. Also, I live in Maryland and am practicing locally (been practicing Estate Planning for 3 years). Most of the Tax LLM attys here have their degrees from Georgetown and many of them also have the GULC Certificate in Estate Planning (it's only been around for abt 7 years so the more senior attys don't have the certificate). I wonder whether local attys would consider the UM Estate Planning LLM as highly as they do the Georgetown Tax LLM. Hard to tell.

Thanks again for your comments.
Wow, tpdavey, thank you for the comprehensive response!

It's great to hear from someone who went through the program and who also is involved with hiring at his/her current firm.

I was wondering whether UM LLM would be recognized just locally. But you're in Calif and UM's Estate Planning LLM reputation seems to have reached cross-country.

I looked at the curriculum and was skeptical about the week-long "seminars." I was wondering whether one gets enough depth in the subjects, or whether it was like attending a bunch of bar association seminars. You seem to have liked that part of the curriculum.

Also, I had not considered the networking possibilities at Heckerling. Very good point.

I have applied to the Georgetown Tax LLM with the Certificate in Estate Planning. My chances of getting into that program are very good. Also, I live in Maryland and am practicing locally (been practicing Estate Planning for 3 years). Most of the Tax LLM attys here have their degrees from Georgetown and many of them also have the GULC Certificate in Estate Planning (it's only been around for abt 7 years so the more senior attys don't have the certificate). I wonder whether local attys would consider the UM Estate Planning LLM as highly as they do the Georgetown Tax LLM. Hard to tell.

Thanks again for your comments.
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tpdavey
I'd have to agree that I don't know how the GULC Tax LLC w/ EP certificate would be viewed in your locality vs the UM's program. Sounds like either one may get you a bump. As for the weekly "seminars" in the spring, they definitely get into a lot of depth. If you really want to get a lot out of the program (and get good grades), you will be studying a lot in the spring because they do get into depth and a lot of material to cover. I noticed that I spent my time at the beach in the fall, not nearly as much in the spring :)
I'd have to agree that I don't know how the GULC Tax LLC w/ EP certificate would be viewed in your locality vs the UM's program. Sounds like either one may get you a bump. As for the weekly "seminars" in the spring, they definitely get into a lot of depth. If you really want to get a lot out of the program (and get good grades), you will be studying a lot in the spring because they do get into depth and a lot of material to cover. I noticed that I spent my time at the beach in the fall, not nearly as much in the spring :)
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CSJTax
I'd have to agree that I don't know how the GULC Tax LLC w/ EP certificate would be viewed in your locality vs the UM's program. Sounds like either one may get you a bump. As for the weekly "seminars" in the spring, they definitely get into a lot of depth. If you really want to get a lot out of the program (and get good grades), you will be studying a lot in the spring because they do get into depth and a lot of material to cover. I noticed that I spent my time at the beach in the fall, not nearly as much in the spring :)


Ah, time at the beach is definitely a plus at UM. Beach time in DC means driving 3 hrs and you wouldn't want to be there between Oct and March in a bathing suit!

I'm thinking that both programs would be good for my career (and for my clients). Thank you for your comments--I would not have considered UM so seriously without them.
<blockquote>I'd have to agree that I don't know how the GULC Tax LLC w/ EP certificate would be viewed in your locality vs the UM's program. Sounds like either one may get you a bump. As for the weekly "seminars" in the spring, they definitely get into a lot of depth. If you really want to get a lot out of the program (and get good grades), you will be studying a lot in the spring because they do get into depth and a lot of material to cover. I noticed that I spent my time at the beach in the fall, not nearly as much in the spring :)</blockquote>

Ah, time at the beach is definitely a plus at UM. Beach time in DC means driving 3 hrs and you wouldn't want to be there between Oct and March in a bathing suit!

I'm thinking that both programs would be good for my career (and for my clients). Thank you for your comments--I would not have considered UM so seriously without them.
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