With thousands of law schools all over the world, it might be hard to figure out where to do your LL.M.
The value of a postgraduate law degree depends to a great extent on the reputation of the university awarding it. An LL.M. from a prestigious law school can enhance career opportunities, while an LL.M. from a less prestigious institution might only waste your time and money.
But how to wade through the incredibly long list of LL.M. programs published by the American Bar Association? One way to determine the quality of a school's LL.M. program is to examine its overall ranking. These law school rankings take into account LSAT scores of matriculating students, job placement success, reputation and more. But since law school rankings often only rank a school’s JD programs, they may not accurately reflect the quality of its LL.M. program; a strong JD program doesn't necessarily indicate a good post-graduate law program.
For students who are interested in studying outside the United States, LLM Guide's Popularity Rankings provides a list of the most popular programs in regions all over the world. Students can familiarize themselves with various LL.M. programs by perusing these lists.
But in many cases, instead of only applying to the highest-ranked or most popular programs, students are better off applying to law schools that offer a specialized LL.M. in a particular field of interest. One of the main reasons that students decide to pursue LL.M.s is to gain expertise in a particular legal field, such as bankruptcy or taxation. You can use LLM GUIDE’s Advanced Search feature to filter programs by different legal fields and focus areas.
Prospective students should also consider secondary factors besides school ranking, popularity or specializations, such as schools' affiliations with other institutions, as well as faculty members and alumni networks, all of which may provide useful contacts and job prospects upon completion of the degree. Students should also take into account the location of their university. For example, students who want to embark on a career in New York should consider the networking opportunities inherent in pursuing an LL.M. in New York.
Students planning to study in the US should make sure that the university they want to apply to is approved by the ABA. This is particularly important for students who intend to earn their degree through distance learning. Please note that the ABA's approval of a law school extends only to the first professional degree in law (JD) offered.
Image: Harvard Law School Library in Langdell Hall at night by Chensiyuan / Creative Commons (cropped and rotated)