New England Law | Boston

Return to the New England Law | Boston home page.
New England Law Opportunities

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Should You Enroll in an LLM Program?

For students contemplating pursuing an LLM degree directly after graduating from law school, there are a number of factors to consider.  

Do you already have a strong background and genuine interest in this particular area of law? 
Do employers within the particular field value the degree?
Is your main reason for enrolling in an LLM program to delay your job search?

While an LLM degree program can be a great way to specialize in a specific area of law, it is not always a strong substitute for practical experience and may not necessarily make the candidate more employable after graduation. Students should also not expect an LLM to make up for weak grades they received while in law school. This issue was recently covered by the TaxProf Blog in response to a recent question featured in the Advice for the Lawlorn column:

Here we distinguish between two different types of prospective Tax LLM students: (1) prospective Tax LLM students who have a genuine interest in and aptitude for tax and want to develop additional tax expertise to improve their chances of being hired for a tax position to which they aspire; and (2) prospective Tax LLM students who do not have a particular interest in and aptitude for tax, but assume that a Tax LLM degree from a prestigious Tax LLM program will rehabilitate less-than-stellar JD credentials and improve their chance of obtaining a job at an elite, big firm. Based on our experience, the former type of prospective Tax LLM students should apply to Tax LLM programs, but the latter type should not. Tax LLM classes are rigorous and demanding. For many employers, both JD grades and Tax LLM grades are extremely important. A prospective Tax LLM student who is not genuinely interested in tax is not likely to do well in Tax LLM classes. In addition, the potential resume boost from successful completion of a Tax LLM degree is greatest when applying for tax-specific positions.

 Once a student has decided that pursuing an LLM is the best choice for their situation, factors in deciding on a program should include whether the program offers career services and specific recruitment programs for LLM students.

For further reading on LLM degree programs:

Advising JD Students on LLM Programs (NALP Bulletin)
Post-JD Programs by Category (American Bar Association)
Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Why and When? (U of Cincinnati Public Law Research Paper No. 10-11; Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2010-9)

Bookmark and Share

No comments: