Reasons to study an LLM (Master of Laws) abroad

Study abroad

Getting a Master of Laws is an academic option that is open to law graduates as well as eligible non-law graduates. The immediately apparent benefit of an LLM is the specialist knowledge it provides, however there is an added benefit of enhanced employability, because the specialist skills you gain are acquired in a legal context, and this is recognised as being of significant commercial value. Why? Well because we are living in a world where law, politics and business are increasingly intertwined, and a candidate who is familiar with the legal perspective on business practice, government policies or regulatory requirements will have a definite advantage in the workplace.

So once you’ve decided to study for an LLM – why not go further afield and study it abroad? Whether you are searching for a postgrad degree to build on your existing qualifications, looking to give your CV an international sheen, or just want to broaden your outlook by living abroad for a year or so, studying for your LLM abroad could be just the thing for you.

Master of Laws: an opportunity to specialise

For graduates in law, an LLM is an opportunity for in-depth study and exploration of areas of law you may have found intriguing when doing your LLB. Pinpointing your focus in such a way may be helpful when the time comes to choose the right firm or chambers to apply to for a training contract or pupillage, as you can concentrate on the organisations that have strong practice areas in or around your LLM specialism.

While studying an LLM you will interact with academics that have years of experience not only lecturing but also, in some cases, advising policy makers in your chosen field. Many universities invite legal practitioners as guest lecturers and organise opportunities for students to attend industry events, with all this meaning that you gain exposure to the thinking and practices that contribute to shaping your area of specialism.

An LLM is a great route to specialisation. If for instance you have been working in Finance, perhaps consider an LLM in Banking and Finance Law or Tax Law – and if you are seriously considering doing an LLM in this subject area it could be a good idea to study it in one of the world’s financial capitals like London, Frankfurt on New York. If you’ve built a career in Human Resources then a Master of Laws in Labour Law could support your aspiration to become Human Resources Director or to run your own recruitment consultancy. A previous career in advertising or media could be enhanced by an LLM in Media or Intellectual Property Law. Human life is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of regulation and so law is relevant to every sphere of society. Even medical doctors have been known to get LLMs in Medical Law!

Build on your experience and develop your skills

Study abroad law studentA postgraduate law degree may not be the obvious choice if you aren’t actually planning a legal career, however, it is a qualification that is respected by employers for the skills it imparts in negotiation, critical analysis, research, persuasive writing and speaking. With an LLM program comes an understanding of the link between business issues and public policy, as well as the ability to sift through masses of complex information to extract what is relevant. 

You may not even plan to submit any job applications after your postgraduate studies; perhaps you’re entrepreneurially minded and can see yourself setting up a consultancy business. But even if you are your own boss, you are in fact still ‘employed’ by your clients who will consider your qualifications alongside your competence and professional achievements. So although you may have no intention of ever arguing a position in court or advocating on a client’s behalf, whether you seek a career in government, politics, or as an entrepreneur, a law degree is widely recognised for the professional training it provides

Will I have difficulty studying an LLM in a different country?

At first glance there may be some problems in studying your Master of Laws in a different country. For example, your home country’s legal system may be different to the system in which you want to study your LLM – but in the most part the skills and knowledge that you have should be transferrable. And, particularly if you have no plans to become a lawyer, you will find that your legal studies will bring an enhanced perspective to your day-to-day work. Several universities in the UK will accept you onto their specialist LLM programs even if you do not have a first degree in law, provided you have sufficient experience that is relevant to your chosen law specialism and of course, the required academic capacity.

Give your CV some global gloss

While we may all be a bit tired of the phrase ‘globalisation’, the reality is that the world is more joined up than ever before and people with an international education and understanding of how things work in global markets do have a professional advantage over those who do not have this perspective. If you earned your first degree in your own country, you would have enjoyed the benefits of a familiar operating system, and of having the support of family and friends. Well now that it’s time for a postgrad experience, it may be time to go further afield. LLMs are available from reputable institutions around the world and having this on your CV demonstrates that you have engaged with scholars and academics that are possibly world-renowned, interacted with a diverse international student body and acquired a global way of thinking. With the internet embedded in our daily lives, gone are the days when business remained within national borders, and the same has to be said of education.

Live abroad, study abroad

Your LLM experience could be viewed as a grown up gap year where you get to live in a new country, meet new people and acquire new tastes and yet have more than just a suitcase of souvenirs and a memory card of photographs to show for it; at the end of it all you would be returning home with a tangible long term investment in your future: a Master of Laws.In a nutshell, studying for an LLM abroad provides an opportunity for you to consolidate the career experience you may have gained in your country with a specialised qualification in a respected field. Add to this an international outlook and a year spent experiencing new things. How perfect is that!

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