The United States is a vast and diverse country – and the ideal place to study postgraduate law. But just how do you choose the right state to base yourself for your studies?
There’s more to making the right choice than just looking at law school rankings, and this blog has a few tips about what other things you should consider when choosing one of the 50 states in America for your LLM studies.
Of course, Alaska is in the Arctic Circle and Hawaii is a tropical paradise, but even concentrating on the mainland and less extreme parts of the US have a very varied climate. You'll want to be prepared for cold weather and lots of snow in the northern states and hot, humid conditions further south towards Georgia and Alabama. California has a mild climate all year round and states like Texas and Arizona can get extremely hot with large deserts covering parts of these states.
City Uni v College Town
You might enjoy the anonymity of a large city and the US has plenty of these to choose from. When looking beyond cities like New York, Chicago and LA and you'll find plenty of large cities. Houston and Phoenix are both in the top 10 of cities by population and both have a large number of LLM courses available. Alternatively, the distractions from your studies will come in different forms in a smaller college town from a large city and you'll see familiar faces everywhere you go. Students in towns like Boulder, Colorado home to the University of Colorado often make up over 10% of the population.
If you have a real interest in activities like surfing or mountain climbing, then you will want to pick a state that can offer you access to the right activities. States like California and Oregon can offer easy access to both the coast for surfing and the mountains for hiking in. There is no point in choosing a college town in a rural setting if the way you like to relax is by attending the theatre or massive concerts, as you're more likely to find something you enjoy in a big city.
Your future plans are important and the subjects available for LLM study vary from state to state because of the industries based there or the different laws. In Nevada, you can study an LLM in Gaming Law and if you want to focus on Energy Law, try to aim for states like Texas where the Energy Industry is a big part of the economy. For Human Rights Law, New York, home to the United Nations, offers plenty of LLM courses for students to specialise in.
Law Schools in the US have excellent connections to the local legal and business communities. If you know where you want to live and work after graduation, then studying in that area will offer you an excellent start to your career with brilliant networking opportunities while you study.
Consider the cost of travelling home during and after you LLM year and the length of the journey. There are large airports all over the US and living near to cities such as Miami, Denver or St Louis will allow you to fly home fairly easily.
Improving Language Skills
English isn't the only language spoken across the US and there are large communities all over the country that use other languages. For example, if you want to improve your Spanish skills, then studying in California, Texas, Georgia or Utah could be advantageous.