Is an LLM worth it?

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  • I am a recent LLM Graduate from Queen Mary University with a Merit and I am still in search of a legal position. It will be soon a year I am looking for internships,permanent or contractual employment. The feedback I receive are diverse lack of experience, over qualified, or skills do not match job requirements! I have no regret of being an LLM holder as I was always eager to explore Commercial law further , however the burden of loan to finance my LLM is still left unanswered!
    I believe experience is more valued than being a post graduate from even top universities.
    I would equally wish to higlight that I studied modules which I found interesting like E Commerce and Banking and Tax law without thinking of the UK Job market but I finally came to the conclusion that most of my LLM friends are still without the 'proper legal job'!

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  • If you're set on a career in law, and can't get any work experience, take a more practical focused LLM in the area/s of law you're specifically hoping to work in. You should already have demonstrated your academic ability on the degree/GDL and LPC. If you're a bit more open-minded about your future career, the LLM is a way of getting an internationally recognised qualification which could make you more appealing to other employers than you might be to a law firm- law will always be a great background degree, and many top business people were once law graduates. Relevant work experience is always going to be more attractive to an employer, so keep applying, but in the meantime, if you have some spare cash, it may well be worth doing.

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  • I find it genuinely saddening that an LLM is now viewed by many as nothing more than a way to fill time when their job search goes awry.

    Surely (having failed at their first attempt to secure a training contract), somebody will do no better the second time around just because they've spent another year in the world of academia. A solid undergraduate degree from a respectable institution is more than enough to prove one's academic credentials. Stop following the crowd of other rejects through the doors of another university. Stop deluding yourselves. And stop devaluing LLMs for those who genuinely want to pursue them. Get into the real world and get some work experience. Then maybe you'll have a chance.

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  • It's ok for those in the law firms already secure to keep going on about experience, but if folk cannot get the experience due to no opportunities to get in during tough times (huge competition), then what are youngsters who qualify even from the upper crust uni's supposed to do. It's almost a closed shop! I am not a lawyer but a business person and you do not get experience without someone giving you a break, knocking someone's hard work whatever the degree sucks.

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  • I am just starting my LLM and I am not planning on practicing law. I also do not have any intentions of changing careers or jobs. The LLM attracted me due to a specialized Financial Services Law path. As a senior financial planner within the government I think the specialized LLM will be better suited to me than going through the LLB route. It is a way to balance my MBA, CFP, RFP, FMA,CIM,FCSI,ChP, TEP (all trust and financial designations) with a legal prospective. I also engage law firms in my work and having legal training will be of value in my discussions and when I give expert witness accounts in court.

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  • If you have not qualified I think an LLM can be useful to bolster your knowledge in a specific area.
    For those who have been in practice and then go to do an LLM (following redundancy say) I have had recruitment agents say that it counts for nothing.
    Personally I think doing an LLM is better than doing nothing - it bolsters your knowledge and surely demonstrates commitment to the area you want to practice in and sure beats applying for jobs which simply aren't there at the moment. Also I notice that many international organisations often specify that an LLM is required so maybe no harm to have one.

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  • All interesting and very valid comments.
    Thank you for creating this post on the LL.M.
    My advice to anyone is to keep on trying. And to go for things your attracted to. I think there are a multitude of opportunities out there that your degree or LL.M could be useful or suitable to. They key is not to pigeon hole yourself.

    Best of Luck
    And enjoy the knowledge and skills that you have

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  • It is such a shame that the LLB and LLM, both respected academic qualifications, are now being offered as 'bolt-ons' to the GDL and LPC / BVC.

    A sad result of the modern-day 'bums-on-seats' approach to education, where anyone can get a qualification in anything, so long as they are prepared to fork out course fees.

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  • I think you've hit on a few of the key reasons why lawyers pursue the LLM: specialization and alma mater upgrade. I would add formal English skills and international experience, which is pretty key for international firms.

    And for the bold ones who pass the bar (after qualifying via the LLM), then that adds another big plus on the resume for foreign-trained lawyers.

    But do firms really value the LLM? It depends a lot on where you're looking to get hired. True, most lawyers get hired and promoted without an LL.M. It's not enough on its own, but it can sharpen an already promising profile.


    http://www.llm-guide.com/article/534/do-law-firms-value-the-llm

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  • I took an LLM in maritime law and I was hired on the strength of that qualification a few months later in a marine insurance company in Hong Kong. It led on to me being admitted as a lawyer in Hong Kong in one of the top shipping law firms in the world.

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