In most countries, having a foreign LLM degree is not required to practice law. The natural question is, therefore, why spend an income to get one? An LLM degree is about $45, 000, not including expenses like housing, food, travel, cultural activities, etc. The legal landscape has changed drastically over time, especially in the usa. Almost everyday you see news about the rising being out of work rate of law graduates. Therefore, the question of merit is worth asking.
In my opinion, there are a variety of reasons why lawyers should look into pursuing an LLM. However, to be very frank, an LLM is neither security for success in general nor online llm. for finding a job. In the past, an LLM degree might have contributed that will get a better entry job or more salary but the economy has changed so drastically that this is not always true anymore.
Nevertheless, pursuing an LLM can do much more for your career than getting a better entry job. I truly believe that pursuing an LLM is something everyone should look into. Just looking at employment rates doesn’t do the whole LLM experience justice. There is much more to it than finding a job. I can tell you from my own personal experience that my LLM year was one of the best years of my well being. The excitement of the first weeks is really unique. Task of resolving legal issues in a language that’s not your own gives you great self-confidence as a lawyer. And graduating from a US law school is still something extremely amazing. Furthermore, an LLM can give you the chance to take a US bar quiz and turn into an said lawyer in the usa. This can give you an advantage in your home country when working with multinational organizations but it also adds another country in which you can practice law. This opens doors to great professional opportunities.
Here are some reasons why doing an LLM is still a good idea.
1. Spending twelve months abroad is a very exciting experience
Spending twelve months internationally is something that I would recommend to everyone. Of course there are a variety of ways to do so, but the LLM is a great path for lawyers to do so. From the my first day in New york, with two suitcases, sitting in an apartment with a bunkmate I had never met before. The LLM we hadn’t started yet so i was playing around a city I had visited a couple of times before, but this time being totally lost. I recently wanted to go home. It sucked. In retrospect, I am so pleased for having had the chance in my life to experience this. A new person in a foreign place, calling it your new home. What I have learned in this year about myself, cultural differences and how much I can miss my children is really amazing. I even learned so much about my home country by being able to view it from the outside. I begun to appreciate reasons for my home that we would have never noticed while living there. I have never heard an LLM saying that he or she disliked the time abroad.
2. It broadens your horizons
I don’t would like to get philosophical here but studying abroad opens your horizons, personally as well as professionally. Lots of things are done differently and you will end up asking yourself, is this an easier way to do it? You leave your safe place, you leave the place where most of your activity in your every day life was almost done intuitively, you know how it worked. Now it takes you two times as enough time to go food shopping, to send a package, to get an ID, to get registered for classes and assessments, to find information, to find the right person to talk to, and so on. It is really hard to go into detail how the most simple things take so much longer in a country that you haven’t lived in before. You have to break down walls every day. And this truly broadens your horizons.
3. Meeting people from all over the world
This is something very special about the LLM program and is intertwined with the point above. You will meet so many students/lawyers from all over the world. You will maybe never ever get the chance to work so closely with people from different cultures. Just yesterday I was at an LLM party. In 2 hours I met students from: Ghana, England, Croatia, Denmark, Paris, China, Taiwan, Albania, Turkey, Mexico, South america, Germany, US and I am sure I didn’t remember some. That is truly truly amazing. I can’t think of another professional situation where you will sit in a room with so many people from so many countries.
4. Creating a network of lawyers that is worth an income
Everyone you study with will be a lawyer in his respective country. Networking is something that becomes more and more important as the usual way of applying for jobs becomes harder and harder. Having a network that is traversing boarders is worth an income. I know of people who have and continue to grow tremendous networks across the world. They get invited to the most wonderful places to go to meetings, participate in projects, give lectures, you name it. These are career opportunities that are widely overlooked. We tend to only look out for a “regular” job, but in this time and age the finding a “regular” job approach is not working very well. We need to be much more creative. And honestly it is much more fun. I truly believe that if you only use your LLM year to manufacture a worldwide network and grow it, if that is whatever you do this year (and you will do much more) it is worth investing even more than $45, 000.
5. Studying a different legal system to increase your legal understanding
It is not only interesting to learn how other legal systems approach legal problems but also very useful in use of your home place’s law. You start thinking beyond the box. The legal industry needs people that think artistically. Its not all legal problem can be greeted just as. And just because you are used to your home system does not mean that it is the golden path. The LLM gives you the opportunity to study outside your system, to reflect upon different approaches and to use some and decline others. A very great lawyer thinks beyond the box and studying different concepts can help getting that process started.
6. Being able to take the us bar and grow said as a lawyer internationally
Being said as a lawyer internationally they can be handy at home if you are working with multinational organizations or clients. It also adds another country your location said to practice law and this adds another career way to your list. If job prospects are bad where you live right now, adding another country to practice law can’t make it worse, can’t it?
7. Resolving and reasoning legal issues in a language improves self-confidence as lawyers
Granted, there are LLM students coming from countries where English is the local language which means this aspect does not affect them. But for the others this is something to consider. We lawyers claim all the time. Words are our weapon. Doing this in your own language has already been challenging. Doing this in a language is where it gets really fun. Getting up and reasoning in another language and discussing a legal problem can make you feel like a school kid. You bumble and fish for words and you use more ahs, and eahms, as ever before. You will get better and better and this will really improve your confidence. Writing assessments and getting a great grade for it in a foreign law school is really awesome. Receiving your degree and perhaps also passing the bar quiz will really start being active . self-confidence professionally.
8. If you don’t have a job after graduating, use the time to get an LLM
If you are jobless after law school you have two choices: You can sit and wait to get hired or you can do the LLM to use the time effectively. I have heard from students that they are pursuing an LLM because the alternative would have gone to be jobless in your home country.
And once I think as to what I recently wrote I can honestly recommend pursuing an LLM degree. Of course, as a lawyer I would like to add a disclaimer. There may be very special personal circumstances that can lead to another conclusion and this cannot be answered in an article here. Also, the LLM experience is very very expensive and the money issue lingers over everything I recently said. But there are options to deal with that issue. If you are doing an LLM with the sole requirement of getting employed, you might very well be disappointed. If you change your requirement and make use of this year as a life experience giving you all of the above opportunities, I can guarantee you you won’t be disappointed. It is a matter of setting expectations.