With the ever-increasing popularity of social media we thought we’d take a look at whether it could actually be beneficial for your LLM program.
You still come across lawyers who shy away from the social media glare for various reasons such as not having the spare time to manage a social profile, not wanting the world to know how they are progressing or shying away from the competition created by the generation of social media users. However, the majority of the legal community are now known to use social media as it has become one of the preferred routes to advance professional interests for growing networks, showcasing work profiles, and publishing legal views. The American Bar Association (ABA) in its TechReport of 2017 highlights the trend on how lawyers and law firms have taken positively to social media. As the report explains, the traditional ‘word of mouth’ approach is still followed by lawyers, albeit through internet communities and forums where opinions on law firms and professionals are given and shared. Moreover, LinkedIn was found to be the leading social network for lawyers followed by Facebook and Twitter.
When it comes to students, research led by publication house McGraw Hill’s found that students felt that the technology they use to study should be as tailored to their needs in like social media feeds to bring about more personalised and collaborate ways of studying.
Times Higher Education recently did some research into how international students used social media to decide on their UK university choices – and this table reflects the popularity in this method of research when asked to international students in 10 different countries.
Here is a table showing the percentage of international students who use social media to choose their UK university.
Does Social Media Really Help?
But the big question is can you actually use social media to further your professional ambitions or research pursuits?
Well the answer is yes!
There are several ways in which you can use the various social media tools to aid and advance your LLM studies. And, in addition to exploring legal career and academic opportunities on social media, you can also promote your own work through these platforms. Here are some of the popular ways in which social media can help with you LLM program:
Among law students this is probably the most popular source used for searching on legal topics, opinions, current affairs, events, etc. Through blog sites students are able to access legal views, student research, information on seminars and events, etc. Some of the well-known blog sites where academics, practitioners and legal experts post their personal views and case summaries on judgments include Opinio Juris, Intlawgrrls and EJILTalk. As an LLM student you can contribute to specialist areas by posting your article/case summary subject to review by the blog’s editors. Although blog articles are seldom used as valid reference sources, they can be a good source of information depending on the contributors and relevance of material posted.
If you plan on going quiet on your LinkedIn profile after joining your LLM program, then think again! You can highlight your progress through the LLM course on your profile. For instance, you could post about an important seminar/event that you attended or mention an article that you may have contributed to your law school journal/newsletter. You can continue building on your professional profile as you progressed through your studies.
Most law firms, companies and government agencies manage social media profiles on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They also tend to update their vacancies online. If you were considering internship opportunities whilst studying your LLM program or even after you’ve finished, you could start by following these entities to access up-to-date information on opportunities. It could also help you find out more about these firms and agencies if you plan on applying to their advertised roles in the future.
Students can use file-sharing platforms such as Google Drive or SharePoint to share research work or articles. These forums allow a number of people to comment and review documents at a given point of time. And for students who want to continue discussing assignment topics over holiday period, they can schedule conferences using Skype or similar means. Collaborative ways of working are now the norm among students undertaking group activities enabling them to share knowledge and experience through an online platform.
Events & networking
A great way of finding out about local law-related events is by following updates through social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Students usually tend to follow their law school updates as soon as they enrol so as not to miss important updates. The same can be done for social media sites of law firms that sponsor law seminars, institutions that host guest legal speakers, and charities that discuss social issues.
In an age where LLM students are increasingly opting for distance learning programs, the use of social media becomes hugely important as students can host discussion groups online to discuss progress on their studies as well as join student communities to talk about student social and wellbeing issues. This makes the distance learning LLM experience much less isolated. Online students can also use social media to create social groups to get to know each other personally and organise meet ups, and sign into university Facebook or Instagram pages to stay updated on university events.
In short, social media drives communication and brings people closer in so many ways. It is only natural that LLM students are keen to continue following updates on the legal community, current affairs and network with other students through social media platforms, and social media can play an important role in your LLM program given its beneficial uses in advancing your research and career ambitions.