The LLM or Master of Laws is a postgraduate qualification in law (well, duh!). You may be aware that it costs quite a bit to study, but what are the benefits of studying an LLM?
Specialist legal knowledge
So what is an LLM, and how can it help you? Due to the nature of LLM courses, studying for one can improve your knowledge of a specific area of law dramatically. For example, you could study for an LLM in European law or Human Rights law, allowing you to further your understanding and commercial awareness about these areas.
Usually, LLMs require an undergraduate degree in law, so with your knowledge of basic principles, concepts and theories, combined with a speciality will give your career in that area a head start.
Additionally, with LLMs continually developing to include a more practice-based approach, firms are beginning to value LLMs more, which could help you when it comes to securing a training contract or pupillage. Leading us on nicely to…
Improve your career prospects
If you have an LLB or studied the Graduate Diploma in Law, you will be joining thousands of other wannabe lawyers in the hunt for a training contract. Taking the time to do an LLM might help you stand out from the crowd – rather than possessing ‘just’ a LLB graded at 2:1 or higher, you’ll have an LLM under your qualifications belt. Additionally, the LLM will provide you with a greater chance of working internationally when you qualify.
An LLM is also extremely beneficial if you want to go into teaching law. Given that most are research based and very intensive courses, they can open doors to studying PhD’s and, subsequently, lecturing and teaching law.
Is an LLM Worth It?
First things first, an LLM is by no means necessary when it comes to securing a training contract. In fact, most firms adopt a neutral position toward an LLM. They don’t view it as better than working in industry, but it’s by no means worse. Therefore, the ideal CV would have a mix of work experience and strong academic qualifications. If you haven’t had any legal work experience, it’s probably best to concentrate on developing this aspect of your CV rather than undertaking an LLM.
Overall, LLMs should be taken by those who know what area of law they want to specialise in and not as a stop-gap between your undergraduate studies and training contract. You need to get the most out of the LLM so that your career will benefit in the future.