Jan 29, 2023

Written By Lawrence Topley

Can you do an LLM without a law degree?

Jan 29, 2023

Written By Lawrence Topley

A Master of Laws, known as a LLM, is a postgraduate law degree that allows students to gain a deeper insight into specific areas of law. Whilst it is possible for non-law students to complete a LLM at some providers, there are others who require a law degree or vast levels of relevant experience. This article aims to address the entry requirements of an LLM, the type of work you will have to complete and where it could lead your career.

The Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for LLMs differ from place to place. Before highlighting some examples of the different requirements that may crop in your search for a LLM, it is worth noting that sometimes these requirements are indicative of the course you are enrolling for.

This is because the modules on the degree may be designed for students who have experience in these fields of study. So do not be disheartened if you are not eligible for some of the courses, there are still plenty out there for you to successfully apply to.

The entry requirements can be very specific, and so there is no clear cut answer for all LLMs. For example, a LLM in Banking and Finance at the University of Law requires that you have an undergraduate degree with a 2:1 minimum. Although you may have to take a two-week induction, there are no further requirements. However, some LLMs state that if students without a law background apply, they must show that they have a high level of professional and academic experience to be considered.

Hopefully, these entry requirements should act as a guide for you in choosing the right course for your current knowledge and study background. Most of them are in place because students without such experience or knowledge would struggle to keep up with the degree.

A Typical LLM Course

As with most masters degrees, both law and non-law, you will likely be required to write a dissertation. These are around 15,000 words long, and you’ll have to complete written assessments throughout the course. LLMs are renowned for being very research oriented, with a lot of independent study. There are two key takeaways from this.

The LLM Career Path

The first is that completing a LLM is very challenging in terms of the skills you will require. If you do not have a background of plenty of independent research and writing, you may want to build up these skills before you enrol on one of these courses. In turn, the challenge of an LLM is also reflected in their prestige and attractiveness to law firms, so do not let this put you off, these skills can be developed during the course.

The second is that you should be certain that this is the course for you. Without a high passion or interest for the degree, you will struggle to meet the demands of a testing course. In addition to this, you should be confident that you want a career in this area. In most cases this is a desire to work as a lawyer in a specific sector such as Environmental Law. However, due to the heavy research nature of the degree, this also can open up a route to teaching in this field.

An important note for non-law students that are wanting to progress into a career in law, is that an LLM is not a qualifying law degree. While it will provide valuable insights into the legal profession, a standard LLM will not provide the skills necessary to pass the SQE exams. However, providers like the University of Law offer a LLM Legal Practice (SQE1&2), with exam prep incorporated into the course. Click here to learn more about this option.

Finally, you do not need a LLM to obtain a training contract. Whilst they are still very highly regarded by firms, as they show your passion and commitment to an area of law, they are not essential.