You may have heard people ask what good an LLM is if it doesn’t guarantee you a job at an international law firm? How can an LLM help you if you want to kick-start a career in the civil services or as in-house counsel? Or even, is it valuable enough to further your current job prospects?
All this would depend on your answer to the more pertinent question– where do I see myself in the future with an LLM degree? Knowing this will bring you more clarity and conviction in doing an LLM degree, whether you are working in a law firm, as an undergraduate law student or simple want a break from your in-house legal job.
It is not just the question of why you want to do an LLM degree but what you can achieve by doing it that is important! Answering this will in turn help you chart a course to achieve your long-term career goals whether in academia, as a solicitor or as an international lawyer. Additionally, an LLM can help in making a stronger choice in the area of specialisation that you wish to take up.
However, it's worth noting that doing an LLM degree can be an expensive affair, especially if you plan to study it overseasand don’t have a scholarship to cover tuition. Therefore weigh your options carefully and convince yourself of the pros of what you can do with an LLM degree before you start applying.
Here are a few things that you can do with an LLM degree:
1. SPECIALISED PRACTICE
If you are currently practicing in a particular area of law and wish to learn more about the subject by doing a further degree, then an LLM in that area can widen your approach to the topic and give you more exposure internationally. For instance, subjects such as maritime, tax, corporate governance, and intellectual property rights are highly in demand given their international relevance. It is also advantageous for foreign attorneys to get a foot in the door at international law firms rendering specialised advice.
2. UPGRADE YOUR PROFILE
By doing an LLM degree, you can take advantage of opportunities to meet academics in specialized areas of law conducting specialized research. There could also be opportunities to attend seminars, conferences and networking events giving you the chance to discuss your research interests, identify specialised areas of law and understand the hot topics in those areas through extensive interaction.
You could be encouraged to publish your own material based on your research interests especially if you are attracted to a career in the academia. Early publishing experience will benefit you in the long run and this can begin while you begin studying LLM.
4. TRANSITION INTO NEW AREAS
Some may consider an LLM as a career transition from one type of activity to another. For instance, from legal practice to academia or from academia to the civil services. Although this can be very challenging, it can be well worthwhile – especially if you take advantage of all the new contacts you’ll meet.
5. TRAVEL AND BUILD CONNECTIONS
Since the legal professional heavily draws from well-developed connections, especially if you’re working with a law firm or practicing in-house. An LLM degree can give exposure to a new market and possibly open the doors to developing more connections in similar areas of interest. Whilst this might not be a strong enough reason to do one by itself, it’s worth remembering as you weigh up your options!