There is a lot of information out there on the importance of studying an LLM and how it can help in progressing your career as well as hel you to develop additional skills. And to be honest, it can get a bit overwhelming if you read too much about it! It is important to stay focused and think of how an LLM program can align with your career goals. And don’t forget to make the most of career placement advisors on campus whenever you can – they are there to help!
Irrespective of what position you are at in your life – a fresh law graduate or a working professional – an LLM program can widen your career choices and give you a fresh outlook on your future prospects.
If you haven’t already, you can start by:
Understanding which areas draw on your interest
Identifying your skill sets and abilities
Discussing your options with peers and supervisors
Contacting universities to see how they can meet your requirements
Consulting career advisors
Here we’ve drawn up a list of things to bear in mind when you plan your career around your LLM study:
The 3 Big 'S's
Skills: You will acquire different types of skills on your LLM course since an LLM is meant to prepare you for the next stage of your legal career. If you are transitioning to law and using an LLM as the medium, then it is the right time to focus on your transferable skills, which can become the highlight of your CV when you graduate. Employers tend to give consideration to subject knowledge, awareness of current affairs and your confidence in managing problems. Some of the key skills and abilities that are sought after: Critical thinking; presentation skills; research methodology; organisational skills; problem solving; time management; confidence; and motivation.
Salary: A good salary could be the reason that started you chasing this dream – and an LLM could help you secure a higher salary. However others may achieve their career satisfaction working in the public sector or charities, where salary may not be the criteria. Whichever job you settle down into, an LLM can provide you with an opportunity for career progression depending on how you utilise it to get the job. Based on the role that you apply for after your LLM study, the employer may reward you with a proportionate share of remuneration and opportunity.
Satisfaction: To be happy in life you should ideally aim for a career path that can bring you reasonable amount of satisfaction. By not losing sight of your goals and working hard you can still inch closer to the job that you have been envisaging for yourself. It is essential to study the legal market before choosing your specialisation. There is no point in blindly sitting on a popular course when you don’t have any interest in the subject. You must feel passionate about the topic that will enable you to chart a career going forward.
Broadening your professional network can help in understanding the latest trends in the law and give you a sense of the competition that is out there. You can attend career fairs and open days to get more information on trending topics. Law firms host events too that can be useful to practice information directly from legal professionals. Whilst studying your Master of Laws program it's important to make the most of every networking opportunity that you're presented with.
To stay ahead of everyone else, lawyers have a challenging job of retaining clients by constantly demonstrating their uniqueness. For instance, in the corporate sector, it is important to take holistic approach when dealing with issues rather than waiting for problems to come up. If you planned on resuming litigation practice, then an LLM study can help you build more teeth into your submissions by putting to use drafting and presentation techniques. Whichever sector you lean towards after LLM, it is necessary to brush up on your skills each day to set yourself apart from your peers.
By narrowing down on your desired subject, you can stay focused from the beginning of your LLM journey. You can decide on the dissertation topic well in advance (even before you start applying for an LLM!) so that your mind is tuned to the topic and explores its intricacies from the beginning rather than having to wait till you graduate. This will also give you the confidence to be clear and concise in your job applications and allow you to highlight your specialised topics.
There are various options available to you after you after you graduate with an LLM degree. These include:
Apply to law firm either as a trainee or experienced lawyer or /resume your position at your previous firm.
Apply to become a barrister by qualifying first and gaining a pupillage in barristers’ chambers. For more information see here.
Work as part of a corporate legal team and assist in both corporate and litigation work that relates to the organization.
Working for charity organisations locally/internationally or join the government services. These jobs are advertised widely so start working on their requirements early on.
Teach or do further research by taking up a PhD.
Other alternative career options include legal publishing, compliance, consultancy, etc. These utilise legal knowledge and expertise.