View Full Version : Opinions Wanted on LL.M.s
08-12-2003, 04:30 PM
I was wondering if anyone had any opinions on LL.M. programs: specifically...
1.) The merits of an LL.M. in the job market
2.) Tax LL.M.s vs. general corporate law LL.M.
3.) How difficult it is to get into good LL.M. programs (is it as cutthroat as it is at the majority of Tier 1 lawschools?)
I'm currently in the middle of my J.D. at a pretty decent school (doing pretty decently :)). All of a sudden I've taken a fancy to getting an LL.M. and I was wondering if anyone had opinions on the merits of this flight of fancy? The cost issue is not as big a deal for me as I have no undergraduate debt and minimal law school debt.
I would appreciate any opinions that Doper Lawyers would have to proffer.
My very general impression is that an LL.M does not make you that much more marketable. That said, the only LLM program I've seen that may have some effect is for tax. I don't know if corporate law LLMs are widely available, but I'm in neither tax nor corporate, so take my opinion in that light.
Spectre of Pithecanthropus
08-12-2003, 06:39 PM
Law...The only field where you get your doctorate first, and then your master's! :D
Well, IAAL but I don't have an LLM. The only LLM that I'm aware of that really is a marketable credential is Tax. A lot of people I know have gone on to get a tax LLM and some firms now really prefer or even require it. Other than that one specialty, though, I'm not aware that it adds any especial shine to your resume.
If you're doing pretty well in school, try to get a clerkship when you're done (in order of prestige/perceived value: U.S Supreme Court -- hey, you can dream; Federal; state supreme court; state lower court). A clerkship is IMO and IME a really helpful credential to have -- and probably more meaningful than an LLM. Plus you'll be paid -- not a lot, but still -- instead of paying tuition, which after three years of law school is not an insignificant distinction.
08-13-2003, 01:09 AM
For what it's worth, I know a few people who have recently obtained tax LLMs from the top program in the country (I think), and they're not all employed. That kind of surprised me. Most of the LLMs I've known are foreigners, who try to use it as their entree into US firms, with little success. If you really like taxation and want to specialize in it, it might make sense; otherwise, I don't know why you would.
08-13-2003, 01:56 AM
Originally posted by chula
Most of the LLMs I've known are foreigners, who try to use it as their entree into US firms, with little success. If you really like taxation and want to specialize in it, it might make sense; otherwise, I don't know why you would.
I second this. Unless you are getting an LLM in tax, I think it would be a mistake for you to pursue an LLM. I have never heard of someone with a JD from an American school getting an LLM in anything other than tax. At my law school, ALL of the LLM's were students who already had law degrees from non-US schools.
Not that you asked, but I think now would be a good time for you to think about what you want to do with your law degree. Do you want to teach? Go into government? Commercial litigation? Public defenders' office?
Why do you want the LLM? Do you really like the law school environment, and this seems like an easy way to stretch it out from 3 to 4 years? If so, perhaps you ought to think about teaching? Is it just that you aren't sure what you want to do (or what you're even doing in law school) and want to put off the decision a while longer? Please take that last question in the spirit its meant. I'm not saying that is the case--just asking because it seemed to me that a number of my law school classmates had those thoughts.
I say figure out where you want to be in the next 5 or 10 years (not easy, but well worth the effort) and THEN think about whether an LLM (or a clerkship, or an art history degree, or whatever) will help you get there.
08-13-2003, 04:40 AM
I have an LL.M. from a major US school (i'm one of those foreigners others have posted about). It certainly has helped me to get a couple of positions I wanted, doing public law, and I think has helped me fulfill the duties of that position much better than if I hadn't had it. (Plus I teach on the side for fun, now and again.)
So yes, I would definitely say it was a good move, both for personal development and career.
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