Are you seriously considering doing a Masters of Law? It's a giant academic leap to take, but it could be the best decision you'll ever make.
Here are six questions anyone considering studying an LLM degree should consider before making this serious commitment.
1) Am I eligible for an LLM?
First and foremost, as an aspiring grad student in law you need to check if you have the right prerequisites. You are probably going to need an undergraduate degree in law, and this is usually a JD or an LLB. Although some specialist courses may accept you if you have another relevant degree or work experience eg an LLM in Business Law. Also in certain cases, there may be LLM programs that admit applicants who don't have an undergraduate degree but do have work experience working as a paralegal. If English is your second language you will most definitely require a high score on the IELTS exam, and all LLM applicants will need letters of recommendation.
2) What LLM specialisation should I choose?
Many Master of Laws programs are specialised programs. So you should ask yourself: am I interested in tax law, or is business law more thing? There are a lot of factors that can influence this decision, with one of the most important being the job market. So ask yourself again: what are the most elite law firms specialising in, and do I want to work in this field?
3) Is money important to me?
Law is a lucrative profession across the board, but some fields of specialisation are better paid than others. If money is an important drive in your quest for an LLM then you may want to consider what field of law you ultimately want to go into as this may well affect your earning potential.
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4) Could I pursue an LLM abroad?
The answer to this question is a definite 'yes'. Studying abroad is a great experience as well as a brilliant addition to your CV. and indeed it is true that a lot of law students see an LLM as a way to get some overseas experience. Some of the most popular destinations for overseas LLM degrees are law schools in the USA and the UK, but you can also go as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, or even China.
5) How many law schools should I apply to?
Apply to as many LLM programs you want to, but do take the time to make each application tailored and specific to each school/program—no one likes to feel that they are simply "one of the many", and this includes the law school Deans and others who review LLM applications. As for which law schools to apply to, there are plenty of rankings out there. It should be noted, however, that the majority of these rankings consider a school's law programs as a whole (their undergrad program together with their masters, and not just the latter on its own).
6) What are some different ways I can fund my LLM?
Anyone doing any kind of masters degree in the UK should expect to pay from around £10,000. For law students pursuing a one year LLM program who don't have that hefty sum saved up, the cost of tuition and living expenses for a year that they likely won't be working (at least not full-time) can seem quite daunting, to say the least. There are financial solutions for cash-strapped students though. There are lots of LLM scholarships, and various law schools also offer bursaries as well as subsidised student housing options. There are also plenty of non-profit organisations who offer grants, but you are going to have to do your research. You can start by applying for a £500 Global LLM Study Bursary to help with your tuition fees.