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Posted June 21, 2022

How do I know if an LLM is right for me?

While the prospect of pursuing an LLM sounds attractive in theory, how do you know if an LLM is the right course for you and for your career or personal aspirations?

Should you pursue a masters degree in law even if you don’t intend to practice as a lawyer? In this blog article, we aim to help you navigate whether an LLM is the right qualification for you.

Why should you do an LLM?

An LLM is the right qualification for you if…

1. You’re sure that you want to practice as a lawyer

If working as a lawyer is the endgame for you, then a masters degree in law is certainly a good call. Pursuing an LLM demonstrates to potential employers that you have a keen interest in sharpening your legal acumen. Also, given that there are a wide range of LLMs available in a wide variety of specialism from Corporate Law, to Medical Law and Business Law ­– and much more – an LLM will help you gain specialist knowledge in the field you intend to practice in. This is surely an asset that will help you provide more rigorous legal analysis and impress both your bosses and your clients.

2. You want to become an in-house legal counsel

If your game plan involves working as an in-house counsel for a company, then an LLM is a sure-fire way to indicate to employers who may not be legally-trained that you have an in-depth understanding of the legal matters in the industry. For example, you could pursue an LLM with a specialisation in IP or FinTech legal issues if you intend to work in a finance or tech company. An LLM is one way to demonstrate that you are a legal specialist, which shows your dedication to your field. All in all, greater subject matter knowledge will surely aid your efforts to carve a career pathway as an in-house lawyer.

3.  You’re interested in law but want to apply legal knowledge to other fields

If you loved studying law as an undergraduate or if you find that you enjoy debates about topics like ethics and justice and legal principles, then an LLM could be the right qualification for you, even if you don’t necessarily intend to pursue legal work straight away. The rigorous training in analytical, writing, speaking and argumentative skills are easily applicable to many areas of work including business, communications, teaching or even if you are an entrepreneur looking to create your own start-up, the skills you gain on an LLM course will certainly help you to have the skillset and the confidence to excel in whatever path you choose. If you’re unsure of what you want to do for your career, but you want to do a postgraduate course that provides you with several options, an LLM is a great option.

4. If you relate to the description below, an LLM might be for you

 If you value discussions and debates, or if you’re the person who’s always “playing the devil’s advocate” when your friendship group has a discussion, or if you’re someone who enjoys analysing the outcomes of news stories on high-profile court cases, then you might just have a disposition that is suited for an LLM. If you’re the type of person who is meticulous and concerned with details, but also conscious that it’s important to consider the “big picture”, then you have a sense of perspective that will be valuable on an LLM course. If you’re able to keep track of multiple tasks and finish them on time, then you’ll be able to handle the expectations of any LLM course and achieve success.

5. In conclusion…

It can be hard to figure out what the best postgraduate degree option is for you, and there are so many factors to consider. While it's not a clear-cut answer, what’s important is that you do plenty of research on the particular LLM program you are interested in and check if it aligns with your career, academic and personal aspirations. It doesn’t matter whether you see yourself in private practice, or if you’re thinking of working in an entirely different field, the training an LLM provides is valuable, nonetheless. Still not sure if an LLM is the right course for you? Check out this quiz on whether an LLM is the right course for you, for more details on what makes for a thriving LLM student.   

Writer: Alisa Maya is a graduate student at the UCL Institute of Education.                                                       
She is passionate about improving learning experiences for all through EdTech.

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