Posted Jan. 9, 2023
If you're looking to study law, an LLM is a great option.
It stands for Master of Laws, and it’s a degree that can help you expand your legal knowledge in a specific area. Choosing an LLM program can be a difficult decision, with so many programs to choose from, how do you know which one is the best for you?
Prestigious law schools
Most popular and highly regarded law schools worldwide offer LLM programs, including:
- Harvard Law School
- Yale Law School
- Columbia Law School
- Duke University
- University of Oxford
- University of Cambridge
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Popular LLM courses
As well as choosing your law school, you also need to choose your LLM specialism – here are five of the most popular LLM courses.
1. LLM in International Law
If you want to study law, an LLM in International Law is a good choice. This course will teach you the basics of international trade and how it works. It will also teach you about human rights treaties, patents and trademarks. This course is an excellent option if you’re looking to work for an international company or enter the legal profession.
2. LLM in Tax Law
If you're working in the financial industry and looking for an LLM that can help you with your current career or perhaps make you more qualified for a promotion, taking a tax law course is a great choice. This option will teach you about the history of tax laws and how to complete them effectively. You’ll also learn about international tax conventions and how they work.
3. LLM in Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual property law deals with the way trademarks, patents and copyrights are protected in the world. If you want to know how IP works or become a lawyer specialising in this area, an LLM course is a great choice. Many courses will give you the opportunity to focus on your specific country's laws during your courses.
4. LLM in Human Rights Law
Human rights law deals with the way people’s civil liberties are protected by law. If you want to understand international human rights treaties or how they affect your country, taking an LLM in Human Rights Law course is a good choice. Many courses will also let you study specific parts of human rights law so you can focus on what interests you the most.
5. LLM in Legal Practice
If you want to become a lawyer, an LLM in legal practice can help you achieve your goal. The course will allow you to learn about general legal principles like contract law and criminal law, but it will also teach you how to run a law firm. Many students use this course to work towards becoming a lawyer. Please note, that the recent introduction of the SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Examination) is the new route to becoming a lawyer in England and Wales, however this can be taken alongside LLMs at various institutions including The University of Law.
Why should you choose popular LLM courses?
There are various reasons why it’s a good idea to choose a popular LLM course – let’s take a look.
1. You’ll have the best supervisors
If you’re studying a popular LLM program at a top university for law, you are likely to be taught by some of the best supervisors when you undertake the LLM. The best professors who teach these courses are very experienced in their field, and they’re always on hand to help students out. These supervisors know everything there is to know about this industry, and you’ll learn a lot by studying with them.
2. Renowned in the world of employment
When you take an LLM, opting for a well-known and popular program can be useful when you’re looking for employment. Many top law firms and businesses will look at your CV to see what courses you've taken, because having this degree shows that you’ve got the drive and determination to complete a difficult course. Ultimately an LLM benefits you in that you stand out from other job applicants, but going for a popular hard-to-get-on LLM could make you stand out even more.
3. Get more career opportunities
An LLM course will also give you more legal career opportunities. Although there are many graduates who want to work in the legal industry – or even other industries with affiliated LLM specialisms such as business or human rights – these are not easy professions to get into. But when you have an LLM on your CV, employers are certain to give you a second look.
Reasons why a popular program might not appeal
There are a few reasons why taking a popular LLM program might not necessarily be the best option for you.
1. They are expensive
LLM degrees aren’t cheap and they're only getting more expensive, with costs at some of the more prestigious law schools being very high. For example, studying an LLM at Harvard Law School for the 2021-2022 academic year is $67,720 in tuition fees. In addition to this, students will need to cover living costs, such as health insurance, dental insurance, housing, food, books and supplies, and personal and travel expenses – and these costs are estimated to be at least $36,830 for a single student over the year. This takes the overall costs of studying an LLM to a total of at least $104,550! When you take on this course, you'll have to invest a lot of money into it, which could be used for other things, however bear in mid that it is an investment in your future so will hopefully lead to big financial rewards further along in your career.
2. The market for these courses is competitive
When you apply for an LLM course, it’s important to know that there are many people who are likely to want to study the same course as you. This will make the course much harder to get on to and you will really need to make your application stand out from the others who have applied too. It can be tough to do this when you’re trying to compete with other graduates.
3. You may not have much free time
LLM courses demand a lot from you. You'll need to do a lot of research and writing, so you won't have as much time for yourself as normal. It's important to keep your other commitments in check during your studies because it might be difficult to manage everything. If you have other important commitments (such as family or work) you might find it easier to fit in an online LLM or blended learning LLM, or a part-time course. These are often taught out of the newer law schools.
No matter what LLM program you choose to study, this postgraduate law qualification is a cost-effective way of gaining practical legal knowledge that will help you with your current role or to progress your career, because you'll be studying at the postgraduate level, employers are very likely to value your qualification. So, if you're considering undertaking an LLM course, look for one that suits your interests and career aspirations.
amber is one of many potential private accommodation options for international postgraduate students. Other private student accommodation options are available and LLMstudy.com advises you to research all your options thoroughly before making such a commitment. Postgrad Solutions accepts no responsibility for your choice of student accommodation and does not endorse or support amber.
Editor’s note: this blog post was originally published in February 2022.
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