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Posted June 11, 2019

US vs UK: Which Is The Best Country For Your LLM Studies?

LLM studentThere's more to studying in the US than burgers and college football and you won't necessarily be stepping onto a Hogwarts set when attending law school in the UK!

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Here we take a look at the various factors that you should consider when trying to choose which one of these two great nations you should select for your LLM studies.

Living Costs 

In the US, transportation costs are often higher as public transportation is not as comprehensive as it is in most cities and towns in the UK. However, many parts of life, like food shopping, are cheaper in the US, as is socialising and eating out. University halls of residence tend to be broadly similar in price around the UK, with those in London a little more expensive. In the States rents vary from state to state, and those in large cities will always be higher than college towns. 

Future Career Plans 

If you want to work in the United States, then you should be careful about where you study in as the course will only qualify you to undertake the state Bar Exam where the law school is based. In the UK if you want to work in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, then the law tends to be similar, so you can study anywhere. However, in Scotland, the legal system is different and you will need to study an LLM in Scotland to specialise there. Law schools in the UK and the US have strong links with the local business and legal community which will help you with your early career, so in both countries, it's important to consider where you want to be based for your future career.

LLM Topics

In the US, a General LLM course is for foreign-trained lawyers to retrain and gain the skills to take the Bar Exam in the US, for example at Harvard Law School. Topics for study are broadly similar in both countries, but in the States you can focus on topics like Real Estate Law, Tax Law, Energy Law and Intellectual Property Law, whilst in the UK there are LLMs in topics like Finance Law and EU Law. In the UK, there are far more general LLM courses and these are not necessarily aimed at foreign-trained lawyers only. 

LLM Tuition Fees 

Generally, LLM tuition fees are higher in the US than they are in the UK, and the top US law schools charge tuition fees that, when compared with the top law schools in the UK are much higher. However, the top law schools in the US are often ranked as the best law schools in the world and are usually private universities. Public universities in the US charge tuition fees that tend to be a little lower and for international students closer to the tuition fees they would pay in the UK. Remember, when looking at tuition fees there are plenty of funding sources in the US and the UK. 

LLM Tuition Fees Of Top 5 Law Schools In The UK

Here is a table showing the internationald and home student tuition fees for LLM programs at the top five UK law schools.

UK law schools

LLM Tuition Fees Of Top 5 Law Schools In The USA

And here is a table showing the international and home tuition fees to study an LLM program at the top five US law schools.

US law school fees

Sources: 1 and law schools own websites.

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Emma May 2, 2023, 8:10 a.m.

Thank you for sharing this valuable information. I think the UK is the best choice for international students. The education system is top-notch, the people are friendly and welcoming, and the country is absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend studying in UK.

Charlotte King May 8, 2023, 5:43 p.m.

Thanks for your comment Emma!

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