Still not sure that you want to study LLM? Here is some essential advice to help you decide.
While you were completing your undergraduate law degree, you probably considered doing an LLM as your next goal. Irrespective of what others tell you about the course, you still felt the need to pursue it at some point but are not ready as yet.
You may not be ready to do an LLM, perhaps because you are apprehensive of quitting your present legal job or not confident enough that you would qualify for a full LLM scholarship. These are all very valid concerns and pretty common too! Here are some tips to help you decide if you are ready to do an LLM.
LIST YOUR CAREER OPTIONS AND THINK HOW AN LLM WILL HELP
This is the most difficult task because at this stage you you’re probably not even sure if an LLM will help improve your current salary scales or land you in a good research profile. Therefore the best thing is to have all your questions in front of you and then make a decision. Now the motivator in me is talking!
Here are some useful steps:
LIST your desired areas of interest on a chart and place it where you can see it often.
Meanwhile RESEARCH/ENQUIRE if there is demand for jobs in those areas; if so, who are the potential employers?
FIND out which field of LLM study will help boost your CV in applying for potential roles?
Finally, ASK YOURSELF will you be in a better position when you have an LLM than you were before?
CHOOSING BETWEEN A GENERAL OR SPECIAL LLM?
Once you feel that you can look at potential LLM degrees that may suit your interests, you can start looking up on the type of LLM degree that you can opt for. Some find it difficult to decide on a specialised LLM stream while others may have chosen their specialism even before they applied for the course. Although you may not be required to tick on the final choices until the time of enrolment, it is better you have a clear view early on!
So what does this mean to you? Typically, if you apply for a general LLM your final degree certificate will show Master of Laws but if you choose a specific area of law then you will have a specialised LLM degree. A general LLM can give you enough room to manoeuvre your way through varied law topics while you pick up essential skills while studying an LLM. As for a specialised degree, you may have already practiced in the area and are looking to expand your options or develop specialist knowledge, in which case it will be an ideally suited option.
IS IT MY TIME TO TRAVEL AND TAKE A BREAK FROM WORK?
You probably thought that by doing an LLM you are giving yourself a much-deserved break from your work-life and dedicate some time to quiet research and study. Maybe this could be your chance to visit a new place and get an LLM degree by the end of the year!
POST-LLM CAREER ROADMAP
Would you be keen to meet students from other countries and network with academics and legal professionals? An LLM could provide a window of opportunity into the world of international legal experience and potential avenues for enhancing your career choices that you have never been in a position to consider before.
ARE YOU PLANNING A CHANGE IN CAREER?
Very often lawyers feel the need to transition into a new career path within the legal profession. This could mean a switch from corporate law practice to human rights or from oil and gas contracts to environment and climate change topics! To give you a push towards this new career path, you see LLM as the guiding light.
It will be useful to look at universities offering popular courses that you are interested in and also to check if faculty are highly specialised in these areas. This can put you into the right path straight away and open doors for networking and potential change in roles.
SHOW MORE ENTHUSIASM!
On top of all the preparatory work that you will need to do to decide on an LLM, it is very important to have a positive approach in that direction and constant enthusiasm so that you weigh your options objectively. Take your time to explore your LLM options and do something that you feel passionate about.
Remember, the topics you choose during LLM will matter when you write your dissertation and also help you build a base for your PhD (should you wish to do one). Therefore you will need to stay inspired!
We have some great sources to help you decide on doing an LLM. Have a look at the article on Postgraduate Law options as well as our interesting infographic on the Science of Law.
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