Expert Advice On How To Choose Your LLM (Master of Laws) Program
Emily Huns is the Head of Careers & Enterprise at Queen Mary – University of London. Here she gives potential LLM students invaluable advice on making sure they choose the right LLM (Master of Laws) program for them.
Students' motivations for studying a particular LLM (Master of Laws) program vary. Most wish to pursue or continue a career in the legal profession, whilst some will be considering going on to do a PhD and possibly an academic career. As to which particular LLM to follow, below are just a few practical suggestions worth considering in the process.Many students are concerned that their choice will influence their future employment prospects, by either limiting the range of work that they can apply for if they choose a specialist LLM or conversely having too broad expertise if they select the Master of Laws (General) LLM.
There is no right or wrong choice, as ultimately the decision should depend upon your own personal experiences, goals and aspirations.
Checklist for choosing the right LLM Program
Do your research early – ideally starting a year in advance, as some universities will have early closing dates for applying. However bear in mind that they might launch new LLM programs or modules throughout the year, so it is sensible to regularly visit their LLM course pages.
Read in detail about the modules offered within each LLM program and consider how they fit in with your current career profile and the one that you wish to develop-are you looking for a broad understanding on an unfamiliar/new area of law or have you professional experience already in that area and looking for more in depth and theoretical knowledge?
Does the program or individual modules’ offer any professional exam exemptions or professional accreditation that could improve your career prospects?
Consider the assessment methods for each module – just exams or do you have some choice – and whether the university offers additional support to help prepare for exams, dissertation writing?
Do you have to choose in advance of joining the university the modules/courses within the LLM program or can you select these after arriving? For example, at QMUL we provide students with a detailed two week induction followed by one week to try out different LLM modules before they have to select their chosen modules.
Which academics are actually teaching on the LLM program? Have they published or undertaken research in your particular area of interest? Are they known in their respective fields? What contacts do they have with law firms, the judiciary, industry, NGOs etc?
Are you seeking internship, job shadowing opportunities or mooting experience during your LLM studies? Does the law school provide such assistance and in particular for the LLM you are interested in?
Don’t underestimate the work involved in producing a 10-20,000 word dissertation, plus the work for the modules, which almost all LLM programs require. You are much more likely to do well in a program if you are interested and motivated to learn more about the subject area.
If you still can’t decide on which program to choose/which career path to take, have a look at specialist legal publications/online forums for discussions on up and coming areas of law/under represented areas of law set to grow in demand in terms of professional expertise.
Find your PERFECT LLM PROGRAM