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7 Great Reasons to Get a Master of Laws (LLM)

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated April 17, 2021 Updated April 17, 2021

Sponsored by IE University

Desperate to get your hands on a training contract with a law firm? If you are, then you’re probably painfully aware of just how scarce these opportunities can be. Law firms seem to jealously cling onto their training contracts while entry-level vacancies get filled up almost instantaneously.

Passing the bar and holding a qualification from a top law school long ago stopped being enough to guarantee graduates a job in law. So if you’re just finishing up school or considering specializing, then you should definitely consider doing a Master of Laws (LLM). Read on to discover seven ways an LLM could help you get started in your legal career.  

1. Prepare for an international career

Many law graduates complete their LLM overseas so as to learn another legal system and perhaps practice working and writing in a second language. Knowledge of international law could help you gain a competitive edge over other candidates – and especially so if you choose to specialize in a growing field like international business law. Some LLM programs based overseas are fully taught in English, while other courses such as IE University’s ‘Dual Degree International MBA & Master of Laws (LLM)’, combine two languages (in this case Spanish and English).

2. Narrow down your interests  

It’s likely that you didn’t get the chance to specialize in one particular field of law in your first degree, given that most undergraduate courses in law tend to be very general. If you’re particularly keen to focus on a specific area such as international business law or tax – as many law practitioners now choose to do, to differentiate themselves from their competitors – opting to pursue an LLM program might be the answer. An LLM course will get you to dedicate between one to two years of your life, depending on whether you attend a full- or part-time program, to training and acquiring the specialist in-depth knowledge, skills and experience needed for a long and prosperous career in one area of law.  

3. Switch specializations

If you have specialized but didn’t get it right the first time round, an LLM might do just the trick. Over a relatively short space of time, you will gain expert knowledge in a field of your choice, such as securities, intellectual property or tax, whilealso – and this is the important bit – having the credentials to show it. Because of course, while you could teach yourself, say, on your commutes to and from work, without an accredited degree you would stand little chance of actually practicing in the field.

4. Aim for the big bucks by diversifying

Holding an LLM from a top university could significantly lift your earning potential as well as your chances of getting that fabulous promotion or job offer from a top firm once you are more settled. Of course, do keep in mind that doing an LLM alone cannot guarantee you better job prospects, as other factors may come into play such as your specialization, years of legal experience and the reputation of your law school.

Developing valuable transferrable skills and in-depth knowledge of areas that extend beyond law, such as business management, is one way to increase your earning potential and become more desirable in the eyes of a recruiter. Some universities are driven by the needs and ambitions of today’s students and the changes in the global legal ecosystem and add value to their legal programs by getting their students to diversify. IE University’s Dual Degree Master in Management & Master of Laws, for instance, prepares students for a number of legal careers in corporate or tax law by helping them develop leadership, problem-solving and project/business management skills.

5. Pimp your CV

If, for personal reasons, you happen to have significant gaps on your CV that you feel you need to make up for, or perhaps if you failed to get into your dream law school and/or achieved a disappointing classification in your undergraduate degree, then an LLM from a top university might be one way of improving your CV and opening up new possibilities for yourself.

6. Embrace your inner academic

Depending on the LLM program you go for, there may be opportunities to write and publish legal research! If you are hoping to pursue this route in order to broaden your job prospects or become an academic, an LLM could be your golden ticket into a PhD and post-doctoral research positions. 

7. Grow a legal network

One of the biggest draws of LLM programs is, by far, the sheer number of new law connections they create and potential jobs... Having a second degree on your CV would arm you with a second set of law friends, professors and past alumni to reach out to when hunting for a job, come graduation. This is especially true of studying abroad: an overseas LLM course would introduce you to students from all four corners of the world, who might in turn open up new avenues for you to work overseas. IE University’s alumni network is one of the best in the world. With over a hundred nationalities represented on campus and links with as many as 95 universities in 30 countries, IE University has a strong international presence and access to top professionals across industries and geographical regions.

Boost your legal career at IE University

Improve your future legal career by diversifying with IE University! Helping students excel and access higher positions is what IE does best. Whether it’s by providing you with exceptional careers guidance and counselling, ensuring that you are able to shake some hands or shoot an email to high-earning alumni worldwide, IE will help you develop valuable new skills both within and outside of law, and teach you to market yourself to today’s top recruiters.

Connect with IE University on Twitter, Facebook  and LinkedIn for careers guidance, student success stories and the news about the university.

This article was originally published in January 2017 . It was last updated in April 2021

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