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LLM Resources and Further Information

Here we have information about the latest issues affecting LLM students, including Covid-19 and Brexit.

Plus we have a roundup of useful websites, books and associations for LLM (Master of Laws) students to use as their resources.

LLM student societies and associations

Law is not a solitary profession; unlike writers and artists you won’t get much done if you shut yourself off from the rest of the world! Because the social and professional interactions that will fuel your legal career start in the early stages of academic training and continue after graduation, we’ve drawn up a list of some associations you might find useful during your LLM program and beyond. Joining them could help improve your legal skills or enhance your CV as well as provide networking opportunities and global connections. Some associations are viewed as prestigious and could impress potential employers, particularly if you played an active leadership role within the association.

Improving your legal skills while studying

Mooting: mooting involves arguing a fictional case, against an opposing team, in front of a judge (or a legal academic playing the role of a judge.) Mooting improves your skills in advocacy, legal research, analysis, interpretation, argument and presentation and can be very useful, particularly if you’re a non-law graduate who is converting to law and thus did not take part in mooting as an undergrad. Practically every university offering law degrees has a mooting team or club so there’s no excuse for you not to join them and become an expert in mooting! Some law schools even have mock courtrooms which can really enhance the experience and help you understand what a real-life court case could be like.

Toastmaster clubs: skilful legal advocacy requires the confidence to speak authoritatively in public and unfortunately this isn’t always something that comes naturally. Toastmaster International is a global organisation with club branches in nearly every country, set up to help its members get rid of stage fright and develop confident, assertive public speaking and communication skills. Members meet regularly and hone their skills in delivering presentations and speeches through practical workshops. Information on local toastmaster clubs can be found online. There might even be a club in your university, and if there isn’t, perhaps you could set one up!

Networking and enhancing your CV

Student law societies: being a member of your school’s law society will demonstrate your interest in, and commitment to, law. Run by students, your institution’s law society will organise a wide range of social and professional activities, from parties and sporting events to careers events, law fairs, seminars with guest speakers, networking evenings, and visits to legal institutions. Mooting is usually coordinated by the student-run law societies (in collaboration with university staff), and some law societies even organise pro-bono opportunities that will provide the essential work experience you need on your CV.

Law journal editorial committee: playing a role in the planning and publishing of a legal journal will be a good boost to your CV, demonstrating a commitment to the profession. However if you can’t find the time to be an active member of the editorial committee, getting an article published will also be viewed favourably by employers, as it indicates a willingness to engage in scholarly research and discourse about law reform.

Other useful student associations to join: other associations that you might want to consider are the International Law Students Association (ILSA) and the European Law Students Association (ELSA).

Global connections after you graduate

Global LLM connections

International associations: while national associations provide valuable focus on issues relevant to your legal jurisdiction, the frequency of inter-jurisdictional transactions calls for up-to-date understanding of how things are done further afield – having a network of legal professionals to call on in other countries will be a definite advantage. There are international associations for general legal practice, for instance the International Bar Association, which has law societies and individual lawyers (barristers and solicitors) as members. There are also international associations for specific practice areas, from intellectual property law to media law or sports law. Here are a few examples:

  • Centre for International Environmental Law
  • European Communities Trade Mark Association
  • International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • International Association of Constitutional Law
  • International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property
  • International Association of Sports Law
  • International Tax Planning Association
  • International Technology Law Association
  • International Trade Mark Association
  • Pan-European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Niche associations: these are the associations that have been set up for select groups of lawyers with a common background, history or purpose to have greater influence on the profession, for instance:

  • Commonwealth Lawyers Association
  • Criminal Bar Association of England & Wales
  • Muslim Lawyers Guild
  • International Federation of Women Lawyers.

In some cases these niche associations are a sub-group of larger organisations. Niche associations tend to be smaller than the general associations and thus present more of an opportunity to meet and get to know senior professionals. Securing a mentor within a smaller niche association of a few hundred or thousand members could also be a lot easier than within an organisation with tens of thousands of members.

Non-negotiable associations: certain associations are non-negotiable; for instance in the US, qualified lawyers must be members of the American Bar Association. In the UK, the Law Society and the Law Society of Scotland provide representation, accreditation and training for solicitors in England, Wales and Scotland respectively, while the Bar Council and the Faculty of Advocates do the same for barristers in England, Wales and in Scotland. With these sorts of associations, membership is not viewed as optional and so it would be more a case of ensuring you keep your membership up-to-date and pay your membership dues promptly!

Essential LLM books

Now that you’ve taken the decision to do a Masters in Law, we present a few helpful books that we guarantee won’t gather dust on your bookshelf! Packed with practical tips, advice and information, you’ll find yourself reaching for these handy books again and again.

Choosing the right law school and LLM program

The first thing you need to do is choose your LLM program and law school.

LLM Roadmap (An International Student’s Guide to US Law School Programs) by George E Edwards
George Edwards’ book has received very positive reviews for the depth of its coverage of issues facing international students in search of a US LLM. Presented in a clear, uncomplicated format, this “Roadmap” is a reference guide that simplifies the task of finding the right program at the right school, with the funding you need; applying, and then surviving your LLM program.

Click here to find it on Amazon in the UK.

The Times Good University Guide 2024 by Zoe Thomas
If you’ve decided to make Britain your base, then get yourself the latest copy of the Times Good University Guide, which has provided information and advice on British Universities, for over 20 years. The Guide covers various aspects of choosing the right institution, looking at ranking, location, living costs, the application process and much, much more.   

Click here to find it on Amazon in the UK.

Finding funding 

LLMs are expensive business and every penny helps. While some students are able to secure one main scholarship that takes care of a chunk of their LLM tuition and living costs, others offset part of their costs by pulling together various little sources of funding. We’ve got some great LLM funding opportunities here, in the meantime here is our roundup of books to help you out.

The Grants Register 2023 by Palgrave Macmillan
This book is a stress-buster for the postgrad candidate seeking financial help. The annual Grants Register lists various sources of funding around the world so sit back, relax and flip through; the funding you need just might be on the next page. But be warned, the book comes at a rather hefty price!

Click here to find it on Amazon in the UK.

Application and admissions

Once you've chosen your law school, selected your area of interest and sourced your LLM funding, your next hurdle is getting your application accepted...

The Law School Admission Game: Play It Like An Expert by Ann K Levine Esq
Written by a former director of admissions for law schools who is now a law school admissions consultant, this book was first published in 2009 with an updated second edition released in May 2013. It is primarily focused on anyone wanting to enter a US law school and covers law school essays, personal statements and scholarships, CVs and resumes, how to explain low grades, securing strong letters of recommendations and many other elements of the ‘game’, as experienced by the author in her decade of work in the admissions field.

Click here to find it on Amazon in the UK.

55 Successful Harvard Law School Application Essays by Staff of the Harvard Crimson
For those of you setting your sights on the big ‘H’, or another Ivy League or Russell Group university, here’s a book you might find useful. It features application essays of successful candidates, collated and analysed by staff of the Harvard Crimson, the school’s daily newspaper (who themselves are successful Harvard applicants!). You may find some of the essays impressive and some a bit blah, so it’s worth bearing in mind that the success of their applications did not rest solely on these essays – it makes for interesting reading.    

Click here to find it on Amazon in the UK.

Study skills

Once you start your Master of Laws program you will soon realise that postgraduate study is very different to studying at undergrad level, and a bit of advice with regards to planning and writing your dissertation will probably be very welcome!

Writing Law Dissertations: An Introduction and Guide to the Conduct of Legal Research by Michael Salter and Julie Mason
Drawing mixed reviews from readers, this book offers specific advice to the legal students about to embark on planning, researching and writing a dissertation and includes advice on choosing a topic. It is marketed at both LLB and LLM students but delivers more value to postgrad legal students.  

Click here to find it on Amazon in the UK.

The Postgraduate Research Handbook by Gina Wisker
General advice on researching a postgrad dissertation by the publishers of the well-known Palgrave Study Skills series. The author walks you through the various stages involved in research in a clear, easy-to-read format, including tips on managing the relationship with your supervisor. Although it is targeted at all postgrad students, the content does seem better suited to those doing their masters degree program, rather than PhD candidates. 

Click here to find it on Amazon in the UK.

Law and LLM websites

Study information
English UK is the national association of accredited English language centres in the UK, with over 350 member centres in private schools, educational trusts and charities, further education colleges and universities. Visit the English UK site to search a database of English language courses at institutions accredited by the Accreditation UK Scheme, which English UK runs in partnership with the British Council.
The Postgrad site offers in-depth information and advice about studying in the UK at postgraduate level.

Careers information
The Graduate Recruitment Bureau (GRB) specialises in placing graduates into graduate jobs, advertising student jobs, internships, placements, gap years and courses. 
Features a listing of legal vacancies currently on offer in Ireland.

UK university/law school rankings

The Guardian University Guide 

Times Higher Education World Rankings

US university/law school rankings

US News's law school rankings

Brian Leiter's law school rankings rankings

LLM Glossary

LLM Glossary

Are you getting confused about some of the LLM terminology? Here we explain some of the more commonly used LLM terms to make our site – and your search for the perfect Master of Laws program – easier to use.

The validation of a law school degree by an independent organisation that has established standards for judging quality. In many countries, the national bar association (or equivalent professional body) accredits programs.

Outdated British term for the two years of work after a Legal Practice Course when one trains to be a solicitor. Now called a training contract.

A junior lawyer in a law firm. Generally salaried rather than compensated largely on the basis of firm results.

Bar exam
The exam law school graduates must pass in order to be licensed to practise law.

A barrister, in British parlance, is a lawyer whose speciality is litigating (going to court) on behalf of a client. Qualifying as a barrister in England involves completing a law degree, followed by a Bar Vocational Course, and then a year’s pupillage. (Those who initially do a non-law degree can complete a law conversion course and then move on to a Bar Vocational Course.) After a pupillage, a lawyer may be offered a tenancy, a further step on the road to becoming a full-fledged barrister.

Billable hours
The number of hours a lawyer works and bills to clients. Non-billable hours include those devoted to continuing education or simply written off due to inefficiency and so on.

A law school book containing reported appellate case decisions on a given subject, structured to present a logical development of the field.

Case method
A method of instruction that requires students to read the decisions of (usually) appellate courts, and to evaluate and criticise their decisions. In common-law jurisdictions, this is the standard teaching methodology for non-statutory subjects.

Class of degree
In British-style systems, undergraduate degrees are awarded in classes, according to level of performance. The best is a first (typically awarded to 10–20% of graduates), followed by an upper second (often abbreviated as 2.1), lower second (2.2), third, and pass.

Traditional term for a junior lawyer in a law firm or a recent graduate working for a judge for a year or two before moving on to a permanent job.

Civil law
In common-law countries, civil law generally refers to private law, as opposed to criminal law. Contract and tort law are examples. On the other hand, civil law also refers to the law of countries based on Roman law, in which most laws are found in codes rather than court decisions.

Clinical courses
In contrast to traditional classroom courses, clinical courses offer students the opportunity to assist practising lawyers to do actual legal work – whether that be advising a client or trying a case.

Common law
The system of rules of law developed by judges through their decisions in actual cases rather than by legislatures through their writing of statutes.

Common Professional Examination
A one-year course that non-law graduates must take in order to enter a Legal Practice Course (to become a solicitor in Britain).

Concentration, focus, major or specialisation
Many law schools require or encourage students to take a minimum number of courses in a single field of their choice, in order to develop a depth of knowledge. These groupings of courses are variously termed as a concentration, focus, major or specialisation. At the undergraduate level, the same terminology applies.

Core (courses)
The central, required set of courses that all law students on a given program must complete.

A school can defer a decision about an applicant, if it is undecided about the application, until a later point in the admissions cycle or until more information is available. An applicant can also seek to defer attendance. Deferrals of one year are granted by some schools.

The amount of non-refundable money a student must give to a school to hold a place for a future class or program.

Distance learning
A method of study whereby courses are provided by means of printed materials and/or e-learning, so that students can study at home or while travelling. Many schools’ distance-learning programs do, however, require students to spend some time on campus – usually a week or occasional weekends.

Education that is offered using electronic delivery methods, such as CD-ROMs, video conferencing, websites and e-mail. It is often used in distance-learning programs.

Elective courses
Most LLM programs require that students complete specified core courses, plus choose a set number of additional (elective) courses or seminars to complete.

In British parlance, ‘faculty’ tends to refer to a university department. In American parlance, the term refers to the instructors (professors, lecturers and so on) in a programme, department or university.

Financial need
The difference between what an applicant can afford to pay for a program and the cost of the program as calculated by a law school or university.

Full-time program
On a full-time program, students are generally expected to give up their jobs and immerse themselves in study. Most full-time programs take between nine and twelve months.

Short for Grade Point Average, GPA ordinarily refers to the grades (or marks) received in undergraduate or postgraduate degree programs.

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test measures ability to communicate in English across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication. IELTS is internationally owned by the British Council, University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and IDP:IELTS Australia.

A short period of supervised work at a company.

Juris Doctor degree; the basic law degree given by American and various other law schools.

Law review
A legal journal generally consisting of articles written by professors and practitioners, but edited by law students (who also may write shorter articles themselves). Some law schools produce many law journals; the most prestigious is generally termed the school’s ‘law review’.

Lecture (method)
A traditional method of instruction in which students listen to a professor or other instructor explain a subject.

Legal outlines
Commercially sold booklets designed to summarise an area of law, expressly made for law students. In contrast, books of case briefs are summaries of specific cases (and are generally read in lieu of the actual cases by lazy – or savvy – law students).

Legal Practice Course
Vocational one-year course taken after a qualifying law degree by those intending to become solicitors in England.

Abbreviation, taken from the Latin, for Master of Laws; a postgraduate law degree.

Law School Admission Test; an exam required of applicants for the JD degree in the US and Canada, but not generally required for the LLM.

Merit aid
Financial aid given on the basis of an applicant’s ‘merit’ or value to the program, as opposed to his or her financial need (discussed above).

Modular program
They provide alternate periods of full-time study with periods in which the student returns to work. Designed to allow students to remain employed while pursuing a degree.

Need-based aid
Financial aid given on the basis of an applicant’s financial need rather than his or her merit (ie value to the program).

A member of a law firm. Generally, one who is a part owner of a firm and thereby shares in the company’s profits.

Part-time program
Allows students to continue working full time while pursuing a degree. Most part-time programs are offered in the evenings or on weekends. They usually take two years to complete.

Pro bono (publico)
Latin phrase meaning ‘for the public good’. Work undertaken on a free or subsidised basis for those otherwise unable to afford it.

University term lasting about four months.

Socratic method
A teaching method, used in American and some other law schools, in which an instructor intensely questions students about specific cases.

A solicitor, in British parlance, is a lawyer who generally does not litigate (go to court) on behalf of clients. Qualifying as a solicitor in England generally requires completing a law degree, then taking a professional skills course, followed by a two-year traineeship with a firm of solicitors. (Those who initially do a non-law degree can complete a law conversion course and then move on to a professional skills course.)

Test of English as a Foreign Language. An examination created by the Education Testing Service to measure English-language proficiency in non-native speakers. It tests all four language skills: reading, writing, speaking (in the Test’s internet format) and listening.

A written record of a student’s academic performance, including courses studied and grades received, officially issued by his or her university.

In British parlance, ‘tuition’ refers to instruction. In American parlance, it refers to the basic fee charged for a course or program.

Waiting list
Law schools often delay a decision about a small percentage of applicants, who are placed on a waiting list from which the school later admits those necessary to fill the class.

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