YALE, STANFORD SPILS, HARVARD, BERKELEY, COLUMBIA: Admission Prospects


mms1
Hello guys. I am really sorry for my extended post. However, I would like to give you a brief description of my profile in order to ask your opinion about my admission prospects.
I am 29 and I am coming from a Southern European country.
I hold: A. Universities of my country 1. LLB (valedictorian), 2. LLM (Civil Law/ valedictorian), 3. MBA (2 yrs specialisation in finance/ valedictorian), 4. MA in Tax Law. In all of them I ranked either 1st of all students or at 1% of all students. B. UK Universities: 5. Lancaster University LLM by Research- 30,000 words thesis/ Contracts 6. Cambridge Diploma in Legal Studies- 1 year Research Degree like LLM by Research again 30,000 words thesis/ Competition-Energy Law. 7. Queen Mary PGDipl Arbitration (not finished yet and actually I don't know if it 's worth the effort to pay and finish it!)
Plus: I am a PhD student at Tilburg (TILEC)/ Energy Law/ PhD by 5 papers. I am working towards my first 2 papers; however I am not sure if I am going to have them published before I apply.
I have published 10 articles and about 20 case comments in peer-reviewed law journals of my country, I am working towards 2 more publications in international law journals (2+2 for my PhD= 4 international publications until March/April; however I will have already applied!).
Plus: I have about 25 electronic publications in ssrn and bepress (about 7,000 and 1,200 total downloads respectively and 2 citations).
Work experience: 1. 7 years as an attorney at law in my country (I have been recently promoted to "attorney before the Court of Appeals") 2. 2 years as a special advisor of a Regional Government 3. 4-5 months as an external researcher of RAND Corporation/ Cambridge 4. 7-8 months as a Professor's teaching/research assistant in my country 5. 2 years as a Member of the Board of Directors of a pension fund. I have also been peer-reviewer for an international law journal, member of a renown local law journal's editing committee, representative of my Region in many EU funded project groups and steering committees etc.

I am going to apply (for 2013-2014) to the following programmes (listed according to my preference):
1. Yale LLM 2. Stanford SPILS 3. Harvard LLM 4. Berkeley 5. Columbia 6. Chicago 7. New York. Actually, I would be delighted if I could be admitted to Yale or at least the first 3-4 of the programmes above.

The reason why I want to pursue an extra LLM degree is to strengthen my chances for an academic career. My goal is to finish the LLM, then try for a fellowship or SJD/JSD and stay in US for 3-5 years in order to acquire teaching experience. And then, maybe I will return maybe not.

I would like to ask you the following:
1. (on the grounds of my profile) What is your opinion about my admission perspectives (especially regarding Yale, Stanford, Harvard)?
2. Is it good or bad that I am already studying towards a PhD in Europe?
3. Should I mention my forthcoming publications? I don't know if they are necessary or not; however, they show the evolution of my research effort.
4. Especially regarding Yale and Stanford, should I try to show an interest in any particular field? For example, my field is mainly private law, however Stanford (it asks for a research proposal) seems to be more focused on constitution law and policy issues.

* Please, assume that the cost factor plays no role.
** Also assume that my TOEFL will be ok (some of these Universities will give me a waiver).
*** Sorry, but I am really anxious. I am going to try once and I would like to achieve the best possible result.

Thank you in advance!
Hello guys. I am really sorry for my extended post. However, I would like to give you a brief description of my profile in order to ask your opinion about my admission prospects.
I am 29 and I am coming from a Southern European country.
I hold: A. Universities of my country 1. LLB (valedictorian), 2. LLM (Civil Law/ valedictorian), 3. MBA (2 yrs specialisation in finance/ valedictorian), 4. MA in Tax Law. In all of them I ranked either 1st of all students or at 1% of all students. B. UK Universities: 5. Lancaster University LLM by Research- 30,000 words thesis/ Contracts 6. Cambridge Diploma in Legal Studies- 1 year Research Degree like LLM by Research again 30,000 words thesis/ Competition-Energy Law. 7. Queen Mary PGDipl Arbitration (not finished yet and actually I don't know if it 's worth the effort to pay and finish it!)
Plus: I am a PhD student at Tilburg (TILEC)/ Energy Law/ PhD by 5 papers. I am working towards my first 2 papers; however I am not sure if I am going to have them published before I apply.
I have published 10 articles and about 20 case comments in peer-reviewed law journals of my country, I am working towards 2 more publications in international law journals (2+2 for my PhD= 4 international publications until March/April; however I will have already applied!).
Plus: I have about 25 electronic publications in ssrn and bepress (about 7,000 and 1,200 total downloads respectively and 2 citations).
Work experience: 1. 7 years as an attorney at law in my country (I have been recently promoted to "attorney before the Court of Appeals") 2. 2 years as a special advisor of a Regional Government 3. 4-5 months as an external researcher of RAND Corporation/ Cambridge 4. 7-8 months as a Professor's teaching/research assistant in my country 5. 2 years as a Member of the Board of Directors of a pension fund. I have also been peer-reviewer for an international law journal, member of a renown local law journal's editing committee, representative of my Region in many EU funded project groups and steering committees etc.

I am going to apply (for 2013-2014) to the following programmes (listed according to my preference):
1. Yale LLM 2. Stanford SPILS 3. Harvard LLM 4. Berkeley 5. Columbia 6. Chicago 7. New York. Actually, I would be delighted if I could be admitted to Yale or at least the first 3-4 of the programmes above.

The reason why I want to pursue an extra LLM degree is to strengthen my chances for an academic career. My goal is to finish the LLM, then try for a fellowship or SJD/JSD and stay in US for 3-5 years in order to acquire teaching experience. And then, maybe I will return maybe not.

I would like to ask you the following:
1. (on the grounds of my profile) What is your opinion about my admission perspectives (especially regarding Yale, Stanford, Harvard)?
2. Is it good or bad that I am already studying towards a PhD in Europe?
3. Should I mention my forthcoming publications? I don't know if they are necessary or not; however, they show the evolution of my research effort.
4. Especially regarding Yale and Stanford, should I try to show an interest in any particular field? For example, my field is mainly private law, however Stanford (it asks for a research proposal) seems to be more focused on constitution law and policy issues.

* Please, assume that the cost factor plays no role.
** Also assume that my TOEFL will be ok (some of these Universities will give me a waiver).
*** Sorry, but I am really anxious. I am going to try once and I would like to achieve the best possible result.

Thank you in advance!
quote
hotpursuit
mms1, my answers:

1. (on the grounds of my profile) What is your opinion about my admission perspectives (especially regarding Yale, Stanford, Harvard)?

You should most certainly be accepted in Berkely, Columbia, Chicago, NYU and HLS.

I will say you have a great change of getting accepted in YLS and also in SLS.

2. Is it good or bad that I am already studying towards a PhD in Europe?

It is very good. Most candidates for YLS LLM and HLS are already PHD candidates.

3. Should I mention my forthcoming publications? I don't know if they are necessary or not; however, they show the evolution of my research effort.

You should, most people do, it shows research interest.


4. Especially regarding Yale and Stanford, should I try to show an interest in any particular field? For example, my field is mainly private law, however Stanford (it asks for a research proposal) seems to be more focused on constitution law and policy issues.

I think you have an amazing profile and that you will be accepted in a likehood in any of these programs. The only thing you have to do is make sure you have clear goals, by this i mean that you have a plan, that you know what you are going to do in the future, explain to them why you need to go to their law school, how will that help your career. Forget about your profile, you already have an excelent one, just focus on the deep questions.

My 2 cents. Wish you the bests of luck.
H.
mms1, my answers:

1. (on the grounds of my profile) What is your opinion about my admission perspectives (especially regarding Yale, Stanford, Harvard)?

You should most certainly be accepted in Berkely, Columbia, Chicago, NYU and HLS.

I will say you have a great change of getting accepted in YLS and also in SLS.

2. Is it good or bad that I am already studying towards a PhD in Europe?

It is very good. Most candidates for YLS LLM and HLS are already PHD candidates.

3. Should I mention my forthcoming publications? I don't know if they are necessary or not; however, they show the evolution of my research effort.

You should, most people do, it shows research interest.


4. Especially regarding Yale and Stanford, should I try to show an interest in any particular field? For example, my field is mainly private law, however Stanford (it asks for a research proposal) seems to be more focused on constitution law and policy issues.

I think you have an amazing profile and that you will be accepted in a likehood in any of these programs. The only thing you have to do is make sure you have clear goals, by this i mean that you have a plan, that you know what you are going to do in the future, explain to them why you need to go to their law school, how will that help your career. Forget about your profile, you already have an excelent one, just focus on the deep questions.

My 2 cents. Wish you the bests of luck.
H.
quote
hawkme
My predecessor provided accurate advice.

Since I tend to be a bit acid sometimes, I would say that I will be surprised if you gain admission to any of those.

:)

Seriously now... based on your background, you will surely be admitted to all. I can bet on that. Your background is probably better than 95% of all other applicants.

The things I don't understand are:
a - "Please, assume that the cost factor plays no role": what do you mean by that? Will you not seek financial assistance or what?
b - "Also assume that my TOEFL will be ok (some of these Universities will give me a waiver)." Assume nothing; this is law, not psychology. If you score below 100, that'll be a problem, if not, you're fine.
My predecessor provided accurate advice.

Since I tend to be a bit acid sometimes, I would say that I will be surprised if you gain admission to any of those.

:)

Seriously now... based on your background, you will surely be admitted to all. I can bet on that. Your background is probably better than 95% of all other applicants.

The things I don't understand are:
a - "Please, assume that the cost factor plays no role": what do you mean by that? Will you not seek financial assistance or what?
b - "Also assume that my TOEFL will be ok (some of these Universities will give me a waiver)." Assume nothing; this is law, not psychology. If you score below 100, that'll be a problem, if not, you're fine.
quote
hotpursuit
My predecessor provided accurate advice.

Since I tend to be a bit acid sometimes, I would say that I will be surprised if you gain admission to any of those.

:)

Seriously now... based on your background, you will surely be admitted to all. I can bet on that. Your background is probably better than 95% of all other applicants.

The things I don't understand are:
a - "Please, assume that the cost factor plays no role": what do you mean by that? Will you not seek financial assistance or what?
b - "Also assume that my TOEFL will be ok (some of these Universities will give me a waiver)." Assume nothing; this is law, not psychology. If you score below 100, that'll be a problem, if not, you're fine.



Accurate advice also, nevertheless:

a-maybe he has the money or his family.
b- if he studied one of his many masters degree (at least 2 years) in english, i believe he does not have to take the toefl, he may request a waiver.
<blockquote>My predecessor provided accurate advice.

Since I tend to be a bit acid sometimes, I would say that I will be surprised if you gain admission to any of those.

:)

Seriously now... based on your background, you will surely be admitted to all. I can bet on that. Your background is probably better than 95% of all other applicants.

The things I don't understand are:
a - "Please, assume that the cost factor plays no role": what do you mean by that? Will you not seek financial assistance or what?
b - "Also assume that my TOEFL will be ok (some of these Universities will give me a waiver)." Assume nothing; this is law, not psychology. If you score below 100, that'll be a problem, if not, you're fine.</blockquote>


Accurate advice also, nevertheless:

a-maybe he has the money or his family.
b- if he studied one of his many masters degree (at least 2 years) in english, i believe he does not have to take the toefl, he may request a waiver.

quote
mms1
@hotpursuit & hawkme

Thank you very much for your helpful answers.

1. Of course I am going to ask for financial assistance both from the Universities and from Fulbright. Personally, I think that the difficult part is to be admitted to such schools. If admitted, in most cases you are going to also receive financial aid. However, I needed to underline that IN THE WORST CASE SCENARIO I have the ability to cover the costs myself. Worst case scenario of course.
2. I have already taken IELTS (8.0) and I have 2 years studies in UK (2009-2011). So, most of the Universities will give me a waiver regarding English. Yale, Harvard and Stanford will not. However, I am going to take TOEFL until the middle of September. Ok, let's say that I believe it is highly impossible that I won't have 110. In any case, I wanted to underline that I am afraid of all the other parameters and not this particular one.

My plan: I am finishing my current 'life stage': initial professional development and building of my academic skills. I need to take a step further. As I explained, further studies in US are going to be the end of my effort to prepare for an academic career. Ok, let's face it: especially Yale LLM or Stanford SPILS are more or less a 'safe passport' for an academic career (if other parameters are ok). Harvard is Harvard after all! Although it is more professionaly oriented, its brandname really counts in most EU countries I know.
Second, just consider my age (29)! And please consider that if admitted, I will stop working and will go to US for some years. For professional and personal reasons, it is going to be a 'life decision'. So, I don't have the luxury to try and try again. I will be obliged to accept whatever I achieve in the first place. That's the reason why I am so anxious.

A small but important detail: Recommendations. It will be easy to have a recommendation 1. from the rector of my alma mater University in my country, 2. a former supervisor of mine in UK and 3. from the Governor of the Regional Government for which I work (in my country it is assumed as a really high political position). However, I am not sure that I will get a recommendation from my PhD supervisor. I am not sure that she will be very understanding about the fact that I will interrupt my PhD for at least 1 year! Besides, if I am admitted and if after my graduation I will continue towards a JSD/ SJD and if it is really demanding, I am not really sure that I will finish it too (that's the reason why I preferred PhD by publications: publications are still publications if you don't finish the PhD; a half written dissertation is merely nothing!).

I understand that recommendations are the last factor examined, however I would like an advice about the following: given the above, which recommendations seem the strongest?
@hotpursuit & hawkme

Thank you very much for your helpful answers.

1. Of course I am going to ask for financial assistance both from the Universities and from Fulbright. Personally, I think that the difficult part is to be admitted to such schools. If admitted, in most cases you are going to also receive financial aid. However, I needed to underline that IN THE WORST CASE SCENARIO I have the ability to cover the costs myself. Worst case scenario of course.
2. I have already taken IELTS (8.0) and I have 2 years studies in UK (2009-2011). So, most of the Universities will give me a waiver regarding English. Yale, Harvard and Stanford will not. However, I am going to take TOEFL until the middle of September. Ok, let's say that I believe it is highly impossible that I won't have 110. In any case, I wanted to underline that I am afraid of all the other parameters and not this particular one.

My plan: I am finishing my current 'life stage': initial professional development and building of my academic skills. I need to take a step further. As I explained, further studies in US are going to be the end of my effort to prepare for an academic career. Ok, let's face it: especially Yale LLM or Stanford SPILS are more or less a 'safe passport' for an academic career (if other parameters are ok). Harvard is Harvard after all! Although it is more professionaly oriented, its brandname really counts in most EU countries I know.
Second, just consider my age (29)! And please consider that if admitted, I will stop working and will go to US for some years. For professional and personal reasons, it is going to be a 'life decision'. So, I don't have the luxury to try and try again. I will be obliged to accept whatever I achieve in the first place. That's the reason why I am so anxious.

A small but important detail: Recommendations. It will be easy to have a recommendation 1. from the rector of my alma mater University in my country, 2. a former supervisor of mine in UK and 3. from the Governor of the Regional Government for which I work (in my country it is assumed as a really high political position). However, I am not sure that I will get a recommendation from my PhD supervisor. I am not sure that she will be very understanding about the fact that I will interrupt my PhD for at least 1 year! Besides, if I am admitted and if after my graduation I will continue towards a JSD/ SJD and if it is really demanding, I am not really sure that I will finish it too (that's the reason why I preferred PhD by publications: publications are still publications if you don't finish the PhD; a half written dissertation is merely nothing!).

I understand that recommendations are the last factor examined, however I would like an advice about the following: given the above, which recommendations seem the strongest?
quote
hawkme
I see. I think I now "read" you completely.

While I still think you'll be a stellar applicant, you are making some crucial mistakes.

1. You are applying without completing the PhD. If anything, PhD shows advanced research skills and commitment to a key area. If you apply before holding the PhD it'll be highly detrimental. If I were the admissions coordinator I would ask myself why would a current PhD student INTERRUPT his studies. Regardless how you put it, it looks bad.

2. References must come from your professors. Unless the Rector was also your professor, that reference is a waste. And so is the one from the Governor.

3. LLM admission does not guarantee automatic SJD follow-up. In is, arguably, much easier to gain LLM admission as opposed to gaining SJD admission.
I see. I think I now "read" you completely.

While I still think you'll be a stellar applicant, you are making some crucial mistakes.

1. You are applying without completing the PhD. If anything, PhD shows advanced research skills and commitment to a key area. If you apply before holding the PhD it'll be highly detrimental. If I were the admissions coordinator I would ask myself why would a current PhD student INTERRUPT his studies. Regardless how you put it, it looks bad.

2. References must come from your professors. Unless the Rector was also your professor, that reference is a waste. And so is the one from the Governor.

3. LLM admission does not guarantee automatic SJD follow-up. In is, arguably, much easier to gain LLM admission as opposed to gaining SJD admission.
quote
mms1
@hawkme

1. Exactly! That's what bothers me too. However, my problem is really simple. I will need 1,5-2 years in order to finish my PhD. If I am going to wait until I finish my PhD, I will be 31-32. And just consider that even if I finish my writing, I may need 4-8 months just to be examined! It's a whole academic year! So, I have the following suspicion: most schools of my list are not going to bother about the PhD. However, my two top choices (Yale & Stanford) may offer under the condition of PhD completion. Even if I press myself in order to finish until next September (and that's not so easy as you may understand; besides it depends on my supervisor too! Here, it's Continental Europe: that means that law professors are full time practicing lawyers who need about one month in order to read a working paper!), I may need about one additional year waiting for viva voce! And it will be really difficult to prepare and attend such a demanding procedure when I will be simultaneously studying for a LLM! Therefore, I wonder: should I mention the PhD or not? Because if we accept that it's bad to interrupt one PhD for studying in US, then I will never be able to go to US. Come on! You understand that it's impossible to leave after the age of 32 for hundreds of reasons! + that I may not be able to become a 'law student' again at this age! However, I have checked many previous Yale LLMs CVs. Only a few of them had a PhD before joining. Most of them had LLB+LLM (with excellent grades and rankings of course)+ a few publications. As I understand, when their application file was under review, their profile was showing more POTENTIAL than ACHIEVEMENTS.
And here is where my fear lies: Maybe I will seem too old or overqualified for Stanford SPILS or Yale. My current PhD is a good example of that: if I mention it I may be considered as an unstable student; if I don't, I just hide something that means a lot of effort for me. It's absurd!
Considering Harvard or Columbia, this is not going to play any negative role. However, Yale accepts 25 students and SPILS 12. It's not just competitive; one person's admission excludes one other excellent applicant! So, such details may play a role indeed.
Sincerely, what do you think I should do? It will be a great pity to risk admission because of my CV management!

2. I will not disagree. However, the Regional Government is my current employer and I am providing legal advice on EU Law issues (+ writing official legal opinions about EU Development Law issues and scientific support for our representation in EU Regions Committee). It is not so irrelevant as it may seem. The current Rector was a former professor of mine (several years ago). Besides, some of these schools accept employers' references. I am going to think about it.
* As I continue thinking about it, maybe my supervisor will not be really negative about giving me a recommendation. Besides, our pace is really lax no matter how much I work (as I have already said: Continental Europe PhDs!). Ok, I think it 's a bit rude to ask her about a reference (without any preparation!), but if I have something finished to deliver the soonest possible I will have some grounds for discussing about it... Aaaah! Huge burden! Huge burden!
3. I know. But in practice, if you have a good LLM academic record and (of course) you find supervisor(s), it is highly unlikely that the Law School will not accept you as SJD/ JSD. Actually, I believe that only a few of Yale LLMs wish to continue for JSD (they can prefer a fellowship and that's not bad at all!). Others just return to Europe. I don't know if there are many cases of (successful) LLMs who tried to continue for JSD and failed. I don't know either what's about SPILS.
Don't misunderstand me: I don't take SJD potential for granted. Maybe it will noit be necessary at all. Just look the evolution of recent Yale LLMs: only a few of them proceeded towards a PhD, JSD etc. The only thing I am sure about (considering some students coming from my country) is that after your graduation you have many positive alternatives (with minimum waste of time). That's enough for me.

** hawkme you are really really helpful! I thank you so much!
@hawkme

1. Exactly! That's what bothers me too. However, my problem is really simple. I will need 1,5-2 years in order to finish my PhD. If I am going to wait until I finish my PhD, I will be 31-32. And just consider that even if I finish my writing, I may need 4-8 months just to be examined! It's a whole academic year! So, I have the following suspicion: most schools of my list are not going to bother about the PhD. However, my two top choices (Yale & Stanford) may offer under the condition of PhD completion. Even if I press myself in order to finish until next September (and that's not so easy as you may understand; besides it depends on my supervisor too! Here, it's Continental Europe: that means that law professors are full time practicing lawyers who need about one month in order to read a working paper!), I may need about one additional year waiting for viva voce! And it will be really difficult to prepare and attend such a demanding procedure when I will be simultaneously studying for a LLM! Therefore, I wonder: should I mention the PhD or not? Because if we accept that it's bad to interrupt one PhD for studying in US, then I will never be able to go to US. Come on! You understand that it's impossible to leave after the age of 32 for hundreds of reasons! + that I may not be able to become a 'law student' again at this age! However, I have checked many previous Yale LLMs CVs. Only a few of them had a PhD before joining. Most of them had LLB+LLM (with excellent grades and rankings of course)+ a few publications. As I understand, when their application file was under review, their profile was showing more POTENTIAL than ACHIEVEMENTS.
And here is where my fear lies: Maybe I will seem too old or overqualified for Stanford SPILS or Yale. My current PhD is a good example of that: if I mention it I may be considered as an unstable student; if I don't, I just hide something that means a lot of effort for me. It's absurd!
Considering Harvard or Columbia, this is not going to play any negative role. However, Yale accepts 25 students and SPILS 12. It's not just competitive; one person's admission excludes one other excellent applicant! So, such details may play a role indeed.
Sincerely, what do you think I should do? It will be a great pity to risk admission because of my CV management!

2. I will not disagree. However, the Regional Government is my current employer and I am providing legal advice on EU Law issues (+ writing official legal opinions about EU Development Law issues and scientific support for our representation in EU Regions Committee). It is not so irrelevant as it may seem. The current Rector was a former professor of mine (several years ago). Besides, some of these schools accept employers' references. I am going to think about it.
* As I continue thinking about it, maybe my supervisor will not be really negative about giving me a recommendation. Besides, our pace is really lax no matter how much I work (as I have already said: Continental Europe PhDs!). Ok, I think it 's a bit rude to ask her about a reference (without any preparation!), but if I have something finished to deliver the soonest possible I will have some grounds for discussing about it... Aaaah! Huge burden! Huge burden!
3. I know. But in practice, if you have a good LLM academic record and (of course) you find supervisor(s), it is highly unlikely that the Law School will not accept you as SJD/ JSD. Actually, I believe that only a few of Yale LLMs wish to continue for JSD (they can prefer a fellowship and that's not bad at all!). Others just return to Europe. I don't know if there are many cases of (successful) LLMs who tried to continue for JSD and failed. I don't know either what's about SPILS.
Don't misunderstand me: I don't take SJD potential for granted. Maybe it will noit be necessary at all. Just look the evolution of recent Yale LLMs: only a few of them proceeded towards a PhD, JSD etc. The only thing I am sure about (considering some students coming from my country) is that after your graduation you have many positive alternatives (with minimum waste of time). That's enough for me.

** hawkme you are really really helpful! I thank you so much!
quote
hawkme
" ** hawkme you are really really helpful! I thank you so much! " = don't mention it, I'm glad I can help.

1. I understand everything you say. You have 2 options

a) You disclose your PhD track, but it will obviously state you haven't earned it yet. Highly detrimental for the reasons I previously indicated. It is much, MUCH, better to apply once you have the PhD. Applying without having it means, plain English, that for whatever reason, you are not committed and/or are unable to complete it.

b) You do not disclose (as you would prefer). This is the worst thing you can do. Intentionally withholding information (basically hiding it) may lead to you being thrown out of the US Law School you'll get into, and this is just one of the problems you may get into.

That's why I strongly recommended that you finish the PhD and only then apply for the LLM.

Plus, I have no idea why you're in such a hurry. Do you believe in Mayan prophecies? Hope not :D - anyway, keep in mind that, generally, most people value seniority: it means you are (presumably) mature, responsible, smart, wise.

Why waste the benefit of being considered mature and wise, and also with a PhD 2 years from now in this golden rush to apply asap? Based on your background I see you worked very hard to get here, don't ruin that by hasty decisions.

2. People forget that references must be targetted towards the degree. Are you looking for an MBA or a job? Employer references are perfect? Are you looking to study? Professor references are a must. Admission staff looks for intellectual ability as the MAIN prong, and only afterwards employment, publications, etc...

3. "considering some students coming from my country" - what is your country? Universities try to make as diverse a body as they can. The fewer applicants from a country, the better off you are.
" ** hawkme you are really really helpful! I thank you so much! " = don't mention it, I'm glad I can help.

1. I understand everything you say. You have 2 options

a) You disclose your PhD track, but it will obviously state you haven't earned it yet. Highly detrimental for the reasons I previously indicated. It is much, MUCH, better to apply once you have the PhD. Applying without having it means, plain English, that for whatever reason, you are not committed and/or are unable to complete it.

b) You do not disclose (as you would prefer). This is the worst thing you can do. Intentionally withholding information (basically hiding it) may lead to you being thrown out of the US Law School you'll get into, and this is just one of the problems you may get into.

That's why I strongly recommended that you finish the PhD and only then apply for the LLM.

Plus, I have no idea why you're in such a hurry. Do you believe in Mayan prophecies? Hope not :D - anyway, keep in mind that, generally, most people value seniority: it means you are (presumably) mature, responsible, smart, wise.

Why waste the benefit of being considered mature and wise, and also with a PhD 2 years from now in this golden rush to apply asap? Based on your background I see you worked very hard to get here, don't ruin that by hasty decisions.

2. People forget that references must be targetted towards the degree. Are you looking for an MBA or a job? Employer references are perfect? Are you looking to study? Professor references are a must. Admission staff looks for intellectual ability as the MAIN prong, and only afterwards employment, publications, etc...

3. "considering some students coming from my country" - what is your country? Universities try to make as diverse a body as they can. The fewer applicants from a country, the better off you are.
quote
hotpursuit
mms1,

Quick replies:

1) I know someone who got accepted into YLS LLM program that was in the middle of his Phd. The important thing is to give them a good reason why to stop. Thats it. But it can be done. DIsclose it, stop worrying, it is actually a PLUS!

2) Best recos are from professors. And you are wrong that they are the last thing they look at. You want to have all or 3/4 recos from your professors.

3) telling them that you want to get a job in the US or stay in the US after the LLM is a tricky thing considering the difficult job situation in US, this might be a negative point for you, after all, you are "stealing" jobs from americans. They mostly want people that go back to their country. But it all depends on how you present your goals.

As i told you before, you have the CV, focus on questions on goals, objectives and how will there LLM help you.

Goodluck.
H.
mms1,

Quick replies:

1) I know someone who got accepted into YLS LLM program that was in the middle of his Phd. The important thing is to give them a good reason why to stop. Thats it. But it can be done. DIsclose it, stop worrying, it is actually a PLUS!

2) Best recos are from professors. And you are wrong that they are the last thing they look at. You want to have all or 3/4 recos from your professors.

3) telling them that you want to get a job in the US or stay in the US after the LLM is a tricky thing considering the difficult job situation in US, this might be a negative point for you, after all, you are "stealing" jobs from americans. They mostly want people that go back to their country. But it all depends on how you present your goals.

As i told you before, you have the CV, focus on questions on goals, objectives and how will there LLM help you.

Goodluck.
H.
quote
(1) You will be most likely admitted to Berkeley, Columbia and Harvard.

(2) Yale and Stanford are another story. Perhaps you're a little bit overqualified for a LLM. Perhaps they could think, "what's the matter with this guy collecting grades?" You need to EXPLAIN to them, in a very precise and convincing way, why a LLM would add to your current goals.

(3) I would disclose the PhD subject. That's what I did, and it worked. I didn't apply to Yale because I lost the deadline, but went into Harvard (not that difficult btw).
(1) You will be most likely admitted to Berkeley, Columbia and Harvard.

(2) Yale and Stanford are another story. Perhaps you're a little bit overqualified for a LLM. Perhaps they could think, "what's the matter with this guy collecting grades?" You need to EXPLAIN to them, in a very precise and convincing way, why a LLM would add to your current goals.

(3) I would disclose the PhD subject. That's what I did, and it worked. I didn't apply to Yale because I lost the deadline, but went into Harvard (not that difficult btw).
quote
Mac23
mms1, if I may ask you as a matter of curiosity, are you Spanish, or Italian or Greek?
mms1, if I may ask you as a matter of curiosity, are you Spanish, or Italian or Greek?
quote
mms1
I am Greek.
I just checked all CVs available of Yale JSDs. None of them had a PhD (finished) before her admission (only one had, but she had a PhD in History...). It's true that most of them had the LLB+LLM combo (most of them didn't have any publications at all before admission; a few had temporary teaching positions).
I just thought a bit about what we discussed...
Ok, it's really stupid not to present yourself in the best possible way. After all my CV is my work, my effort, my research interests, my academic evolution (I have two law degrees by research; so I have developed some satisfactory research skills). And it is clear that I won't make the decision to go to US for tourism or 'degrees' collection'.
The reason why I need to take this step now is to enhance my prospects for an academic career and create a more mature and 'rounded' research background.
My PhD also leads to the same direction. However, it is a continental type PhD. That means many years, lax conditions, lax commitments, a lot of writing, more independence. The average time for completing a PhD in Law in my University as a non-internal student is 4.5 years. So, the strong thing about this type of PhD is that it can be combined with further/ parallel studies.
Besides, the fact that I have not completed is the reason why I want to go for LLM in US. When I finish the LLM, the 'best case scenario' is that I combine the PhD with further studies/ fellowship in US for the next 3 years (and then back in Europe). The 'satisfactory scenario' is that I return back and I finish the PhD within the next 1-2 years. But, if I wait until I finish the PhD, proceeding to LLM AFTERWARDS will be absurd (I may proceed to post-doctoral studies i.e. 2 steps further than LLM).
Therefore, according to my opinion, the 'right way' to combine things is 1. finishing the first half of my PhD studies; 2. LLM/ Research degree in US 3. second half of my PhD+ further studies-writing-research in US. This plan will allow me the maximum benefit from my studies and more publications. And when I finish I will 33-34, not so bad.

Guys, I really thank you for your help...
I am Greek.
I just checked all CVs available of Yale JSDs. None of them had a PhD (finished) before her admission (only one had, but she had a PhD in History...). It's true that most of them had the LLB+LLM combo (most of them didn't have any publications at all before admission; a few had temporary teaching positions).
I just thought a bit about what we discussed...
Ok, it's really stupid not to present yourself in the best possible way. After all my CV is my work, my effort, my research interests, my academic evolution (I have two law degrees by research; so I have developed some satisfactory research skills). And it is clear that I won't make the decision to go to US for tourism or 'degrees' collection'.
The reason why I need to take this step now is to enhance my prospects for an academic career and create a more mature and 'rounded' research background.
My PhD also leads to the same direction. However, it is a continental type PhD. That means many years, lax conditions, lax commitments, a lot of writing, more independence. The average time for completing a PhD in Law in my University as a non-internal student is 4.5 years. So, the strong thing about this type of PhD is that it can be combined with further/ parallel studies.
Besides, the fact that I have not completed is the reason why I want to go for LLM in US. When I finish the LLM, the 'best case scenario' is that I combine the PhD with further studies/ fellowship in US for the next 3 years (and then back in Europe). The 'satisfactory scenario' is that I return back and I finish the PhD within the next 1-2 years. But, if I wait until I finish the PhD, proceeding to LLM AFTERWARDS will be absurd (I may proceed to post-doctoral studies i.e. 2 steps further than LLM).
Therefore, according to my opinion, the 'right way' to combine things is 1. finishing the first half of my PhD studies; 2. LLM/ Research degree in US 3. second half of my PhD+ further studies-writing-research in US. This plan will allow me the maximum benefit from my studies and more publications. And when I finish I will 33-34, not so bad.

Guys, I really thank you for your help...
quote
hawkme
Two guys above forget one important thing. One speaks about someone he knows, the other himself is a PhD turned into Harvard LLM.

What they fail to understand however is that they automatically extend their knowing/personal experience to other cases, in this instance - you, mms1. If anything, admissions are a hazard.

As opposed to the cases they describe, you are a particular case in that you have:

1. LLB
2. LLM
3. MBA
4. MA in Tax Law
5. LLM by Research
6. Cambridge Diploma
7. Queen Mary PGDipl Arbitration (pending)
8. PhD (pending)

You are therefore, different, than 95-98% of all applicants as you have a multitude of degrees.

Applying without completing the PhD shows lack of CLOSURE. It indicates you are unwilling or unable to commit to a serious degree. And let's be serious. To all thoe who matter, a PhD is the best of the best. Anyone can do a LLB, and almost virtually all can even do an LLM. PhD however is another story.

Don't forget that, in order to build the bridge between your current status and the LLM application to US Law Schools, you must PROVE LLM is critical to your plans. Is it, really? You may be the best student in the world, but as long as you don't build up a perfect argument, you'll ultimately be rejected.

I asked you before, no answer :) - why the rush? Why NOW? Why not be patient, finish the PhD, and apply once you have it?

The best advice one can give you is that patience is gold. I rest my case, and wish you the best of luck! If there's anything else I can help with, let me know.
Two guys above forget one important thing. One speaks about someone he knows, the other himself is a PhD turned into Harvard LLM.

What they fail to understand however is that they automatically extend their knowing/personal experience to other cases, in this instance - you, mms1. If anything, admissions are a hazard.

As opposed to the cases they describe, you are a particular case in that you have:

1. LLB
2. LLM
3. MBA
4. MA in Tax Law
5. LLM by Research
6. Cambridge Diploma
7. Queen Mary PGDipl Arbitration (pending)
8. PhD (pending)

You are therefore, different, than 95-98% of all applicants as you have a multitude of degrees.

Applying without completing the PhD shows lack of CLOSURE. It indicates you are unwilling or unable to commit to a serious degree. And let's be serious. To all thoe who matter, a PhD is the best of the best. Anyone can do a LLB, and almost virtually all can even do an LLM. PhD however is another story.

Don't forget that, in order to build the bridge between your current status and the LLM application to US Law Schools, you must PROVE LLM is critical to your plans. Is it, really? You may be the best student in the world, but as long as you don't build up a perfect argument, you'll ultimately be rejected.

I asked you before, no answer :) - why the rush? Why NOW? Why not be patient, finish the PhD, and apply once you have it?

The best advice one can give you is that patience is gold. I rest my case, and wish you the best of luck! If there's anything else I can help with, let me know.
quote
mms1
@hawkme

We have no dispute here so you haven't to rest your case :).

a. I understand that it may look like a degree collection to you but believe this is not. Leaving aside tax law (mere professional reasons) everything else is related to each other:
LLM Civil Law (with a dissertation on law & economics )+LLM by Research with a dissertation about Relational Contracts and applied Law & Econ theories to contract design and disputes+MBA (with strong finance and economics requirements and a dissertation -received an award- on business relations as a corporate asset)+ Research Diploma Cambridge (with a dissertation on dynamic competition and regulatory policy design in energy)+ PhD (with a focus on dynamic competition)+ PGDipl Arb with a dissertation on arbitration as a means to resolve competition disputes. As you may see, of course I wanted to EXPAND my academic and research horizons. As I see it, it is really tricky for a 22-25 years old student to select her field of specialisation without exploring and researching related fields. On the other hand, everything is connected. And it is connected because any previous background I had, formed the foundations and provided me with food for thought for my next studies.
b. I understand what you mean when talking about commitment. I don't know where you come from, however you seem to consider US/UK style of PhD. My PhD is not that intensive. I have to notify my supervisor 2 months in advance for scheduling a supervision. She supervises 7-8 students, teaches in 2 universities and is a practicing lawyer. I see her 3 times per year. I design my research schedule, presentations, seminars etc on my own and I just ask her for help when I need. These PhDs resemble more part-time PhDs and most PhD students combine them with full time work or other studies. So, it's not that I break my commitments as you may think.
c. Believe me Cambridge Diploma was a really serious degree= it was not about a thesis; it was a mini-sized PhD in just 8 months with a strong element of independent work+ oral examination. And not everybody can do that. I was the only person admitted within the previous 3 years.

I generally see what you mean. But consider the following: a. if I accomplish my PhD what's the purpose of doing LLM even in Yale? After a PhD you go post-doc! If I look overqualified now, won't I look overqualified with a PhD? If my CV seems like a degree collection now, won't it seem as a collection afterwards? And just think: LLM is 2 2 steps before post-doc. Do you disagree?

c. You ask why I am in rush. I am 29 now. I am going to complete the PhD in 32. If I pursue the LLM afterwards, I will finish at 33. So, let's imagine that I will stay here for 4 more years and then I will travel to US. Do you imagine what a personal-professional interruption that will be? If I already had an academic position, it might be rational. But leaving everything behind after a PhD at the age of 33 in order to pursue a LLM... I don't know. Besides, it is not so easy to study as a LLM student after 30. On the other hand, leaving at the age of 29 in order to return back at the age of 30-33 (even if I need one more year for my PhD) will be 'smoother'.
Generally speaking, how you think I could present my situation in order not to endanger my admission?

* I hope I am not tiring.
@hawkme

We have no dispute here so you haven't to rest your case :).

a. I understand that it may look like a degree collection to you but believe this is not. Leaving aside tax law (mere professional reasons) everything else is related to each other:
LLM Civil Law (with a dissertation on law & economics )+LLM by Research with a dissertation about Relational Contracts and applied Law & Econ theories to contract design and disputes+MBA (with strong finance and economics requirements and a dissertation -received an award- on business relations as a corporate asset)+ Research Diploma Cambridge (with a dissertation on dynamic competition and regulatory policy design in energy)+ PhD (with a focus on dynamic competition)+ PGDipl Arb with a dissertation on arbitration as a means to resolve competition disputes. As you may see, of course I wanted to EXPAND my academic and research horizons. As I see it, it is really tricky for a 22-25 years old student to select her field of specialisation without exploring and researching related fields. On the other hand, everything is connected. And it is connected because any previous background I had, formed the foundations and provided me with food for thought for my next studies.
b. I understand what you mean when talking about commitment. I don't know where you come from, however you seem to consider US/UK style of PhD. My PhD is not that intensive. I have to notify my supervisor 2 months in advance for scheduling a supervision. She supervises 7-8 students, teaches in 2 universities and is a practicing lawyer. I see her 3 times per year. I design my research schedule, presentations, seminars etc on my own and I just ask her for help when I need. These PhDs resemble more part-time PhDs and most PhD students combine them with full time work or other studies. So, it's not that I break my commitments as you may think.
c. Believe me Cambridge Diploma was a really serious degree= it was not about a thesis; it was a mini-sized PhD in just 8 months with a strong element of independent work+ oral examination. And not everybody can do that. I was the only person admitted within the previous 3 years.

I generally see what you mean. But consider the following: a. if I accomplish my PhD what's the purpose of doing LLM even in Yale? After a PhD you go post-doc! If I look overqualified now, won't I look overqualified with a PhD? If my CV seems like a degree collection now, won't it seem as a collection afterwards? And just think: LLM is 2 2 steps before post-doc. Do you disagree?

c. You ask why I am in rush. I am 29 now. I am going to complete the PhD in 32. If I pursue the LLM afterwards, I will finish at 33. So, let's imagine that I will stay here for 4 more years and then I will travel to US. Do you imagine what a personal-professional interruption that will be? If I already had an academic position, it might be rational. But leaving everything behind after a PhD at the age of 33 in order to pursue a LLM... I don't know. Besides, it is not so easy to study as a LLM student after 30. On the other hand, leaving at the age of 29 in order to return back at the age of 30-33 (even if I need one more year for my PhD) will be 'smoother'.
Generally speaking, how you think I could present my situation in order not to endanger my admission?

* I hope I am not tiring.

quote
hawkme
Of course there's no dispute. I just signaled the fact I presented all the arguments before the "court" - which is you :)

"Generally speaking, how you think I could present my situation in order not to endanger my admission?" - that's the whole trick. Regardless of whatever advice we give you, regardless of whatever you decide with your PhD, it is ultimately you who must find the most adequate way to present your situation. We can't give you a fail-proof piece of advice because we aren't in your position.

We can put ourselves in your shoes, but that's all. We can think about a hypothetical solution. You must FIND the solution.

I'm not sure if you're following me ...
Of course there's no dispute. I just signaled the fact I presented all the arguments before the "court" - which is you :)

"Generally speaking, how you think I could present my situation in order not to endanger my admission?" - that's the whole trick. Regardless of whatever advice we give you, regardless of whatever you decide with your PhD, it is ultimately you who must find the most adequate way to present your situation. We can't give you a fail-proof piece of advice because we aren't in your position.

We can put ourselves in your shoes, but that's all. We can think about a hypothetical solution. You must FIND the solution.

I'm not sure if you're following me ...
quote
(1) Be specific: try to present a specific research agenda connected to some Yale or Stanford professor.

(2) Be persuasive: try to demonstrate why a second LLM would foster your academic goals. But also try not to put yourself in an overly defensive mode ("yeah, I know that a second LLM, after a PhD and God knows what, must seem like an overkill, but hear me"). Be subtle.

(3) Finish your PhD. Do it. Now.

(4) Disclose everything. Come on, that's the right thing to do. Do you want to risk being caught red handed?

(5) Open your mind to other options: Yale and Stanford search for very narrow profiles. They want to be formative rather than to be seen as "just one more degree in an already overcrowded crown".

(6) Don't bother with your age. I've seem LLMs from all ages: from twentysomethings to thirtysomethings. Being 34 isn't being Methuselah.

Have I already earned my Elliniko Cafe with the suggestions? :)
(1) Be specific: try to present a specific research agenda connected to some Yale or Stanford professor.

(2) Be persuasive: try to demonstrate why a second LLM would foster your academic goals. But also try not to put yourself in an overly defensive mode ("yeah, I know that a second LLM, after a PhD and God knows what, must seem like an overkill, but hear me"). Be subtle.

(3) Finish your PhD. Do it. Now.

(4) Disclose everything. Come on, that's the right thing to do. Do you want to risk being caught red handed?

(5) Open your mind to other options: Yale and Stanford search for very narrow profiles. They want to be formative rather than to be seen as "just one more degree in an already overcrowded crown".

(6) Don't bother with your age. I've seem LLMs from all ages: from twentysomethings to thirtysomethings. Being 34 isn't being Methuselah.

Have I already earned my Elliniko Cafe with the suggestions? :)
quote
mms1
@hawkme
of course it's me who will make the decision. However, hypothetical solutions suggested by other persons provide food for thought (brainstorming!) :)

@OSapoNaoLavaOPe
1. that's a really really good idea. especially concerning Stanford (i think yale llm does not focus so much on the single expanded paper idea)
2, that's correct too. to speak the plain truth, I don't feel guilty for my achievements. Besides, I think that most succesful candidates already have a first LLM or even a MPhil. It's simple: except if you come with a first degree from Oxbridge (speaking for European students) or something like that it is highly impossible that your CV will be impressive enough (even if you rank 1st in your class) holding only LLB from any uknown european university. So, you need the second degree in order to show 'something more'! Maybe the whole discussion for my PhD makes me feel 'a bit guilty' and apologetic! Ok I am joking but I feel like I am treating an 'asset' as a problem here.
3. That's not easy. As I explained, most PhDs in my University last about 4,5 years (it's free after all!). I started the PhD September 2011. Next September I will have finished my second year. Let's say that I spend all the year studying for my PhD I will not be able to finish more than 3/5 publications. Moreover, even if I was the 'miracle-boy' there is no way that any supervisor (including mine) is going to accept that (i.e. 'ok I think you proceed a bit faster than I was thinking about, so it's a good opportunity to study more this and that and then work more on this and that and that and then we think about it etc; if I was running my 4th PhD year the supervisor would say -for the same papers- 'ahhh, ok it's not bad, it could be better but it's not bad at all, just correct this and that now and let's go publish it and finish with you'). I mean it's not normal to finish within 2 years even if you finish. Besides, don't forget: I will have to get them published too! That means 1 additional year AT LEAST!
4. Of course, I will disclose everything. Don't misunderstand me! Sometimes I am rhetorically speaking! And ok! What are we talking about guys? After all, I was accepted for a PhD in one of the most specialised universities in the world regarding my field. Should I be ashamed about that? My fellow PhD students work for the most well-paid energy law firms in Europe. We are making a thorough technical discussion here about admission preferences of two of the top law schools of the world -and I really thank you for that-. But ok, there is nothing to hide! I have not cheated in my LLM exams and I have not committed any fellony! After all, even if I am not accepted, a PhD candidancy is a plus and a honour... I am not forgetting that!
5. Could you please explain that a bit more? I am really interested. 'narrow profiles'?
I am really sad that it seems like I want to add one more degree in my collection. And I am sad because I think it may seem like that indeed. I always thought that building a strong academic CV through years (and I am not speaking only about degrees here, but publications, teaching, research etc as well) gradually, with hard effort and by trying to combine your knowledge was a difficult but finally fruitful experience.
Please understand my frustration: we are discussing that if I had made half the effort and if I had half the credentials, I would have been in a better position.
And regarding the 'overcrowded crown' argument: if I go to US I will have to leave 2 well-paid jobs, a family, a personal and social life. And we are talking about the professional, personal and social life of a 29-30 years old person, not the one of a 23 years old man! If I was 23 I might be excited. I am not excited about leaving; I am excited about enhancing my career prospects. In other words, leaving will be REALLY PAINFUL for me. When I returned back from Cambridge 2 years ago, it was really difficult to build my life again (and I was younger). And I decided to go for it again as a huge -and last- sacrifice for the benefit of my most long term goals. Sincerely, I would not make this sacrifice for UPenn, Boston or Northwestern. They have very good law schools; but if I am going to do it, I will do it for the best one or at least one of the best.
And of course it will be 'formative' for me. Believe me there is no relation or comparison between a continental or even UK LLM or PhD and a LLM in one of the best 5-10 US schools. Different continent, different law, different quality, different career prospects and ESPECIALLY DIFFERENT WAY OF SCIENTIFIC THINKING (legally and generally). That's what I know for sure judging from some fellows of mine who studied in Columbia/ Harvard.
Moreover, I don't want to advertise myself but my background may allow for a very good 'scientific and intellectual osmosis' than the background of a person without previous research experience.
6. Don't misjudge me, ok it is an option. But according to my opinion at the age of 34 everybody should have already started his/her career. If a LLM at this age is providing a bonus to an ongoing career (e.g. a lawyer's or a professor's career) that's perfect. But starting a LLM in order to start a career -and who knows if you may suceed!- it's a bit... ahh! But, I am going to follow your thoughts. Suppose that I am 34 with a PhD. And I apply for LLM. Won't my profile be even 'larger' and the LLM less 'formative' and my career intentions even more -seemingly- complicated? I will be sincere. If I were an application examiner and I was seeing such a CV, I would think "why does this crazy person want to study more? now, he should write and produce research and not sitting in student desks along with persons who want to start the long path towards an academic career". Sincerely, the only rational explanation is that this person wants either to take a US bar exam or earn a permanent academic position in US. And THIS IS NOT MY GOAL!

* You earned a double espresso! I prefer it...
@hawkme
of course it's me who will make the decision. However, hypothetical solutions suggested by other persons provide food for thought (brainstorming!) :)

@OSapoNaoLavaOPe
1. that's a really really good idea. especially concerning Stanford (i think yale llm does not focus so much on the single expanded paper idea)
2, that's correct too. to speak the plain truth, I don't feel guilty for my achievements. Besides, I think that most succesful candidates already have a first LLM or even a MPhil. It's simple: except if you come with a first degree from Oxbridge (speaking for European students) or something like that it is highly impossible that your CV will be impressive enough (even if you rank 1st in your class) holding only LLB from any uknown european university. So, you need the second degree in order to show 'something more'! Maybe the whole discussion for my PhD makes me feel 'a bit guilty' and apologetic! Ok I am joking but I feel like I am treating an 'asset' as a problem here.
3. That's not easy. As I explained, most PhDs in my University last about 4,5 years (it's free after all!). I started the PhD September 2011. Next September I will have finished my second year. Let's say that I spend all the year studying for my PhD I will not be able to finish more than 3/5 publications. Moreover, even if I was the 'miracle-boy' there is no way that any supervisor (including mine) is going to accept that (i.e. 'ok I think you proceed a bit faster than I was thinking about, so it's a good opportunity to study more this and that and then work more on this and that and that and then we think about it etc; if I was running my 4th PhD year the supervisor would say -for the same papers- 'ahhh, ok it's not bad, it could be better but it's not bad at all, just correct this and that now and let's go publish it and finish with you'). I mean it's not normal to finish within 2 years even if you finish. Besides, don't forget: I will have to get them published too! That means 1 additional year AT LEAST!
4. Of course, I will disclose everything. Don't misunderstand me! Sometimes I am rhetorically speaking! And ok! What are we talking about guys? After all, I was accepted for a PhD in one of the most specialised universities in the world regarding my field. Should I be ashamed about that? My fellow PhD students work for the most well-paid energy law firms in Europe. We are making a thorough technical discussion here about admission preferences of two of the top law schools of the world -and I really thank you for that-. But ok, there is nothing to hide! I have not cheated in my LLM exams and I have not committed any fellony! After all, even if I am not accepted, a PhD candidancy is a plus and a honour... I am not forgetting that!
5. Could you please explain that a bit more? I am really interested. 'narrow profiles'?
I am really sad that it seems like I want to add one more degree in my collection. And I am sad because I think it may seem like that indeed. I always thought that building a strong academic CV through years (and I am not speaking only about degrees here, but publications, teaching, research etc as well) gradually, with hard effort and by trying to combine your knowledge was a difficult but finally fruitful experience.
Please understand my frustration: we are discussing that if I had made half the effort and if I had half the credentials, I would have been in a better position.
And regarding the 'overcrowded crown' argument: if I go to US I will have to leave 2 well-paid jobs, a family, a personal and social life. And we are talking about the professional, personal and social life of a 29-30 years old person, not the one of a 23 years old man! If I was 23 I might be excited. I am not excited about leaving; I am excited about enhancing my career prospects. In other words, leaving will be REALLY PAINFUL for me. When I returned back from Cambridge 2 years ago, it was really difficult to build my life again (and I was younger). And I decided to go for it again as a huge -and last- sacrifice for the benefit of my most long term goals. Sincerely, I would not make this sacrifice for UPenn, Boston or Northwestern. They have very good law schools; but if I am going to do it, I will do it for the best one or at least one of the best.
And of course it will be 'formative' for me. Believe me there is no relation or comparison between a continental or even UK LLM or PhD and a LLM in one of the best 5-10 US schools. Different continent, different law, different quality, different career prospects and ESPECIALLY DIFFERENT WAY OF SCIENTIFIC THINKING (legally and generally). That's what I know for sure judging from some fellows of mine who studied in Columbia/ Harvard.
Moreover, I don't want to advertise myself but my background may allow for a very good 'scientific and intellectual osmosis' than the background of a person without previous research experience.
6. Don't misjudge me, ok it is an option. But according to my opinion at the age of 34 everybody should have already started his/her career. If a LLM at this age is providing a bonus to an ongoing career (e.g. a lawyer's or a professor's career) that's perfect. But starting a LLM in order to start a career -and who knows if you may suceed!- it's a bit... ahh! But, I am going to follow your thoughts. Suppose that I am 34 with a PhD. And I apply for LLM. Won't my profile be even 'larger' and the LLM less 'formative' and my career intentions even more -seemingly- complicated? I will be sincere. If I were an application examiner and I was seeing such a CV, I would think "why does this crazy person want to study more? now, he should write and produce research and not sitting in student desks along with persons who want to start the long path towards an academic career". Sincerely, the only rational explanation is that this person wants either to take a US bar exam or earn a permanent academic position in US. And THIS IS NOT MY GOAL!

* You earned a double espresso! I prefer it...
quote
mms1
Ok, I just spent 5 minutes researching 16 profiles of 2010, 2011 and 2012 SPILS students.

http://adsa.stanford.edu/LLMJSMstudents2010.html
http://adsa.stanford.edu/LLMJSMstudents2011.html
http://adsa.stanford.edu/LLMJSMstudents2012.html

I think that' s the most secure solution for resolving my/our questions... (they have disclosed their profiles and I don't refer to anybody personally, so I think it's ok to discuss about it).
Conclusions:

1. Geography: A lot, a lot of South America! Usually one or two from Canada and one from Israel.
2. Average age: about 30. And you will understand why.
3. Only a few coming from 'topnotch' schools. The best seen were LSE, UCL, McGill, New York and one from Cambridge.
4. All had a significant -given their age- professional experience. Lawyers, clerks, Hague, government etc. And some of them have also big intervals between their last degree and SPILS. That means that professional achievements DO PLAY A ROLE for SPILS.
5. Most of them have 2-3 degrees before admission.
6. Most of them have interdisciplinary background (economics, mathematics even chemistry).
7. There is a focus on 'law & economics' and 'law and policy' background. Either regarding their studies or their overall professional and academic profile.
8. Nobody had a PhD. Started, interrupted or finished. On the other hand, who knows if they had or not. It seems a bit difficult to understand how somebody can be a research and especially teaching assistant in a University without having started a PhD. At least in my country and in Netherlands it is impossible. And I think in UK -from now on- it is merely impossible too. I repeat: I am talking about teaching assistants.
9. There seems to be a 'subtle preference' towards candidates with previous political activity or activity related to international bodies, human rights or respectful government positions. I underline the term 'subtle' but take it into consideration. There exists. Just read the profiles and you will understand.

Overall impression judging from 16 profiles.

Are we talking about 'narrow profiles'? NO NO NO.
Are we talking about 'the typical young super-student with 2 1:1 degrees'? NO NO NO. Any younger than 25-26 had something plus (political activity, international activity, participation in international fora etc).
What are we talking about? A very selective admission procedure based on dozens of parameters. According to my opinion, they are not searching for the best researcher or academic or student. I am sure that there were many other candidates with stronger academic -strictly academic- credentials. They are searching for 'something special' and for 'promising personalities'.
What's for sure is that when applying to SPILS you should not overlook your non-academic credentials.
* Recommendations (and I am not talking only about academic recommendations) and the overall CV (i underline the term 'overall') seem to play a huge role here.
Ok, I just spent 5 minutes researching 16 profiles of 2010, 2011 and 2012 SPILS students.

http://adsa.stanford.edu/LLMJSMstudents2010.html
http://adsa.stanford.edu/LLMJSMstudents2011.html
http://adsa.stanford.edu/LLMJSMstudents2012.html

I think that' s the most secure solution for resolving my/our questions... (they have disclosed their profiles and I don't refer to anybody personally, so I think it's ok to discuss about it).
Conclusions:

1. Geography: A lot, a lot of South America! Usually one or two from Canada and one from Israel.
2. Average age: about 30. And you will understand why.
3. Only a few coming from 'topnotch' schools. The best seen were LSE, UCL, McGill, New York and one from Cambridge.
4. All had a significant -given their age- professional experience. Lawyers, clerks, Hague, government etc. And some of them have also big intervals between their last degree and SPILS. That means that professional achievements DO PLAY A ROLE for SPILS.
5. Most of them have 2-3 degrees before admission.
6. Most of them have interdisciplinary background (economics, mathematics even chemistry).
7. There is a focus on 'law & economics' and 'law and policy' background. Either regarding their studies or their overall professional and academic profile.
8. Nobody had a PhD. Started, interrupted or finished. On the other hand, who knows if they had or not. It seems a bit difficult to understand how somebody can be a research and especially teaching assistant in a University without having started a PhD. At least in my country and in Netherlands it is impossible. And I think in UK -from now on- it is merely impossible too. I repeat: I am talking about teaching assistants.
9. There seems to be a 'subtle preference' towards candidates with previous political activity or activity related to international bodies, human rights or respectful government positions. I underline the term 'subtle' but take it into consideration. There exists. Just read the profiles and you will understand.

Overall impression judging from 16 profiles.

Are we talking about 'narrow profiles'? NO NO NO.
Are we talking about 'the typical young super-student with 2 1:1 degrees'? NO NO NO. Any younger than 25-26 had something plus (political activity, international activity, participation in international fora etc).
What are we talking about? A very selective admission procedure based on dozens of parameters. According to my opinion, they are not searching for the best researcher or academic or student. I am sure that there were many other candidates with stronger academic -strictly academic- credentials. They are searching for 'something special' and for 'promising personalities'.
What's for sure is that when applying to SPILS you should not overlook your non-academic credentials.
* Recommendations (and I am not talking only about academic recommendations) and the overall CV (i underline the term 'overall') seem to play a huge role here.
quote
jur_ma
Hi guys,

I see you are experts on applications for LLM in the US. I just got my toefl scores and they are not the best, 94 and the required score is 100.
I was planning to apply to Yale, Columbia, Georgetown and NYU. I already have an LLM in English but from a European University, and English is not the official language of that country.
Do you think I have any chances to being accepted with that score? Should I wait to apply for next year?
Thanks!
Hi guys,

I see you are experts on applications for LLM in the US. I just got my toefl scores and they are not the best, 94 and the required score is 100.
I was planning to apply to Yale, Columbia, Georgetown and NYU. I already have an LLM in English but from a European University, and English is not the official language of that country.
Do you think I have any chances to being accepted with that score? Should I wait to apply for next year?
Thanks!
quote

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