Now you have decided to study an LLM program it’s now time to choose your law school. Getting a place in your desired law school and where you ultimately end up studying can unfortunately be two different things. For some the former can become a reality, however the chances of getting into the right law school will depend on factors where luck can just be one of them.
A recent report shows that in the UK student enrolments in postgraduate law between 2014/15 and 2015/16 has increased. The rising number of applicants in law schools may not necessarily mean that for all the applicants UK was their first choice of study destination. And while a law school’s ranking turns into a key element in shaping your decision, you may want to look at other aspects too. With a competitive job market where not only the popularity of law school would matter but also the specialisms that you chose, it is important that you draw from a holistic view to make your choice on what is the best university for you to study law at.
Here is our top 5 list of things to consider when choosing your law school:
If you have narrowed your choice down to the country that you would like to go to, then you have simplified things for yourself, to an extent. Your next step should be to draw up a list of law schools within the country that you desire to go to. For instance, if you are keen to apply to UK universities, then there are plenty of law schools that fall in the world list of rankings depending on their reputation and variety of LLM programs offered that give them the appeal. However, with so many law schools to choose from, narrowing down on the best can be a challenging task! List them down by regions that you can see yourself living in realistic terms and then look at which ones run the desired programs. Location will matter if you plan to consider your future career options in that place or to settle down on a long term.
Looking at rankings before you decide on applying to a law school is commonplace for most LLM aspirants. You can look at different sources that list regional and worldwide rankings. You could also check rankings based on the different courses that are being offered. Although rankings are an important factor in determining your selection of a law school, you must link it to other considerations that make it most practical for you to apply so that your ambitions are aligned with your abilities to get into that university.
If you are keen on being taught by leading academics you should looking closely at staff profiles on university websites to see which law schools employ the leading academics in your chosen field. People who plan on following up an LLM with a further research degree leading to a doctorate should pay particular attention to academics teaching the topics that they wish to specialise in. This will help them steer towards specialist areas of research through the right guidance and mentoring.
Legal professionals looking to specialise in an area through an LLM would look at staff profiles to get a better sense of their background, work experience, knowledge in the specialist area and the potential to network with legal professionals. If you wish to know more about academic staff don’t hesitate to contact the institution for more information.
You may be drawn to a certain set of modules when you look at specialism options online, and the selections on offer will help you decide on the law school. In most cases you’ll also have the opportunity to decide on the specialism once you enroll. See our article on how to go about choosing an LLM specialism.
Once you have narrowed down your list of universities you can look at the specialism modules that they offer suiting your needs. This will in turn help you narrow the list down even further to the most relevant choices.
5. Students and alumni
Are you among those who consider student feedback and first-hand experience of a university degree before applying to that university? If so, it’s a great way to set about convincing yourself about your choice of law school. You can take into account the following points from student testimonials, family members or friends who attended the law school which you wish to consider for yourself:
a. Experience of teaching and assessments
b. Career guidance, internship offers
c. Equality and diversity policies that caters to international applicants
d. Being mindful of specific student needs
e. Funding options
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to go forth and apply for an LLM degree!