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What Is An LLM Student? A Definition

What is an LLM student?LLM students have a fairly unique set of circumstances and are often highly motivated and career focused.

Here's a handy definition of what an LLM student actually is. 

They’ve probably studied law already

This might sound a bit obvious, but almost all LLM students will have an undergraduate degree in the law already. It's usually a requirement for getting onto an LLM course in the first place, but not always. It's often the case that they've also already got some further postgraduate training to begin the process of becoming a practising lawyer, solicitor or barrister depending on which country they are studying in. 

They've often got work experience under their belts

It's pretty common for LLM students to be undertaking the LLM course because they want to specialise in an area of the law that they find interesting. The only way to find out which area of the law you might enjoy studying further is to work in it. So, most LLM students will have either done extensive work experience and placements before settling into one specialism, or they will have already worked as a lawyer or in that particular area of the law in another capacity. 


They usually working really hard

A large number of LLM courses are studied full time in one year, and this makes them an intensive course to undertake and students have to work hard to achieve LLM success. Even the part-time courses take two years to complete and that is on top of any other employment the student is doing at the same time. An LLM student isn't going to have much spare time outside of working on essays and revision and will need the support of their friends and family for just a short year or two. They will also need a sympathetic ear as they will be working hard to take the next step in their careers and they will need support to ensure they maintain good mental health and wellbeing

Students with a plan

Since an LLM usually involves an element of focusing and specialising career plans, most LLM students are studying with a purpose. They will have a specific area they want to work in and maybe even have a handful of law firms in mind for when they graduate. So all this hard work is for a purpose and this makes an LLM student particularity focused on their studies. 

What about when they're not studying

Outside of their studies, for example at the weekends and during the university holidays (or when they are procrastinating), Master of Laws students can often be found networking like mad to take advantage of the year they are spending in a law school with all the connections and benefits that association with the university's law professors brings. They also might be working part time, maybe in a lawyer’s office as a legal secretary or maybe in a local bar to pay for their studies. If they're not working in paid employment, then you can be sure they are hunting down internships and work experience to build their CVs for that perfect graduation job. To put it simply, they are great at balancing their LLM studies with other elements of their lives. 

Searching for funding

Since plenty of LLM students might already be working as lawyers, many of them will have some unique funding sources. Some will have their fees paid for by their employers or by the money they have saved up. Others will have loans and other student grants from more traditional sources to pay for their studies.

LLM students are a little unique in the world of postgraduate study as many of them are specialising and focusing on careers that have already begun. Many LLM students work long hours both in the office and then in the library but that's because they have a goal in mind that is just within reach. So if you're going to be an LLM student, what sort of LLM student are you going to be?


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