Posted Feb. 20, 2022
While legal studies remain a fascinating subject for many, in 2022, a rising number of law graduates and seasoned lawyers are choosing to move into in-house legal work instead.
Perhaps it’s because people are re-evaluating their career goals post-pandemic, but whatever the reason, we can’t deny that becoming an in-house legal counsel is a growing trend. If you want to make the switch in-house but are unsure of what postgraduate law qualifications can help you secure a job at your dream company, this article explores four ways that an LLM can give you an advantage in your application.
Here are some of the reasons why LLMs are uniquely advantageous as they help refine both general work skills and legal work skills simultaneously.
1. Develop the legal analyst in you
Pursuing An LLM means diving deep into legal research and honing your writing, critical thinking and analytical skills. Knowing how to analyse, write and present research in a clear but persuasive way is a valuable skill in any job. As an in-house counsel though, it is an essential quality that will give your credibility a boost when presenting legal advice. This is because, often as in-house counsel, you will be working with bosses and teammates who may not be legally trained. Therefore, it is critical to be able to give your team the confidence that the work you’ve come up with is legally rigorous and backed up by strong research. That’s why what can somettimes seem like tedious research work during the LLM course becomes an asset afterwards as an in-house counsel, helping you to prepare rock-solid reports with ease.
2. Become a top presenter and clinch the deal
The group work, presentations and thesis-writing elements of an LLM are going to help you to develop your confidence when sharing legal analyses with colleagues and clients alike. You’ll learn how to break down complex legal concepts and present them as easily digestible takeaways to any audience. Most of the people you meet when working in-house, from business partners to team members from a different department, will come from a range of academic backgrounds and possess a variety of work experiences. Therefore you will want to avoid being caught up in too much legal jargon when presenting your work to varied audiences. That’s why the opportunity to practise honing your communication skills through an LLM will be a huge advantage to you when trying to ensure your presentation leaves an impression on everyone in the boardroom.
3. Be a legal specialist and stand out from the crowd
Apart from general work skills, another clear benefit of studying an LLM is that it will certainly enhance your legal skills. For example, if you’ve worked in legal practice before, undertaking an LLM before switching in-house is a clear indication to employers of both your strengths and area of interest. Area-specific LLMs, for example in technologg or fintech or medical-related fields, will provide you with relevant know-how about a specific industry. In an time of increasing specialisation in the workforce, everyone is looking for a way to show employers that they are a cut above the other candidates. Having an LLM qualification in a relevant field will provide potential employers with the reassurance that you know more than just the law; that you can adapt to the business-end of things quickly as well. If you’re keen to show that you’ve got a handle on the industry objectives and require minimal orientation into the goals of the company, an LLM is a good shout for sure.
4. Gain a global perspective
While an LLB gives a good grounding in key legal principles, an LLM elevates your skill set by providing a more international perspective. LLM courses dig deeper into evolving demands of legal work in practice and beyond. They tend to look more broadly at regional- and international-level concerns and trends. This knowledge becomes extremely valuable, particularly as many firms seeking in-house counsel tend to be larger firms. Studying an LLM as a lawyer in practice at a small firm who is looking to go in-house at a regional or international organisation is one way to show that you have what it takes to meet the expectations of a larger company.
If you’re interested in the law but less keen to work in private practice, in-house legal work is certainly an attractive alternative option. One great way to show that you have both the legal knowledge and industry know-how to thrive as in-house counsel is an LLM. With a wide range of LLM options available, there’s surely an option that allows you to develop specialist knowledge in whatever field you’re passionate about. So why not ride the wave of change, chase after your dreams and pursue an LLM today?
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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