Should you jump straight into doing an LLM after graduation, or is it better to wait a few years? LLM graduate Dani Cyrus (no relation to Miley) offers her perspective…
Ultimately, the decision of whether to undertake an LLM course is up to the individual, but there are benefits to delaying the move to study a postgraduate law degree. It’s a big decision to make and a gap between your first degree and postgraduate study might give you the perspective to decide on the type of masters you’d like to undertake: whether you would like to do something more general, along the lines of EU law for example, or something more specialised such as environmental law and policy.
There’s work experience to take into account too. Employers offer look for those who have taken the initiative to get some experience relevant to their academic studies and a period as an intern or on a work placement will do wonders for your CV, making you more attractive to employers on completion of your masters. Alternatively you might wish to undertake your LLM part time whilst you continue to work. This will require enormous discipline and time management skills.
The working gap year…
Whichever route you take, the practical application of the skills you have learned through your undergraduate degree will be invaluable as you undertake your master's degree, as it will highlight an area where you might like to go into greater depth.
A period of work prior to taking on a LLM may also be more appealing for those who are unable to afford the LLM fees right away. A year or two working might give you a degree of financial stability, allowing you to save up enough to pay to for the LLM without having to consider a loan.
The restful gap year…
For students who have undertaken a three or four year degree, a gap year between an undergrad and an LLM might be just what is needed before you undertake another hectic workload.
A break from it all might very well enable you to jump back into academia with a new and revitalised approach to your studies, perhaps with a more mature outlook and a greater insight of how you wish to progress with your career.
This might also help you to get the most out of your LLM: tailoring it for your needs, asking the right questions, choosing the right modules and picking the most appropriate university. Undergraduates are often inclined to choose a university which resounds with them on a personal level, either because it is close to home, or as far away from home as possible, or because a lot of their peers are attending. All these motivations are not necessarily wrong and very often make the transition easier for students, but at masters level the type of institution chosen must be seen from an objective point of view. It should be one where you’ll get the best teaching for your chosen subject course.