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Gathering information on your new country/state as a LLM student in the USA
Where you choose to study your LLM program will depend on a number of factors, but once you’ve been accepted onto a course it's important to be fully prepared to start your studies. But how can you learn more about the university you’re about to become part of? The most valuable research can be carried out online, where numerous websites can act as a gateway to further information.
How can I find out more about the state I’ll be studying in?
For a more personal perspective on the area that you are moving to for your studies, check out your university’s website for links to student blogs and information pages about the local area and accommodation options. As a law graduate you’ll be used to scanning the media to broaden your awareness of current affairs, but to find out more about a particular town or state, regional newspapers are an excellent source of news. You’ll learn about the various suburbs and districts in your new neighbourhood, and gain a deeper understanding of what makes the place tick.
What will my social life be like at law school?
Campus life varies from law school to law school, but while you’re studying for a LLM there will be the chance to explore a whole new social scene. To discover more about what’s on offer at your particular school, go on their website and search through the range of registered clubs and societies. Many universities have a volunteer program where students can work in the local community and a student government, which is often divided into three sections of service, judicial, executive and legislative. Competitive sports are very popular on US campuses, so it’s easy to become involved with an athletic team of some kind, or even start your own!
How you choose to organise your life beyond the classroom is up to you, there are certainly plenty of things to become involved with, but always give priority to your studies. The Student Review website has some candid reports from alumni and current students on the social side of many US law schools, so browse through their pages for some interesting insider information. US universities also have a reputation for fostering single-sex social organisations known as fraternities, for men, and sororities, for women. They arrange many convivial and philanthropic activities, but are more popular with undergraduates who are spending three or more years at a university.
What are my career prospects like?
You can find exact graduation statistics at a law school rankings site like US News, the employment figures will reveal how many people went on to paid work, the kind of salary they command and who their employer is. Once you’ve established what the figures for your law school are, you can compare them to the national averages using the Approved Law School Graduate Employment Data. This is provided by the American Bar association on their website and takes the form of a chart, ideal for comparing figures side by side.
If you’d prefer less raw data with an analytical slant, check out the websites of Bloomsburg Business, Forbes and Business Insider. All three of these quality online newspapers regularly run well researched and considered articles on issues that affect law graduates choosing an LLM. They create in depth copy on schools with the best and worst employment rates, those with good career prospects, and the job market overall in the legal sector.
However, it’s important not to rely on rankings and data alone. If you enjoy your course and the law school that you opt to study at you are more likely to get a good result in your LLM program – and this in itself will stand you in good stead for your future career.