Is an LL.M. degree essential for law practice?
Today, several high-profile lawyers hold an LL.M. degree. Although, many would question the significance of holding a post-graduate law degree, commonly known as LL.M. and perhaps not find it necessary for practice, there is no doubt that it provides multitude of skills and knowledge essential for practice. In addition, majority of law firms prefer to hire candidates with an LL.M. degree as they consider it as a valuable asset. One of these firms is Jones Day, which hires almost 43 % of LL.Ms.
Regardless of its exorbitant tuition fees, many lawyers opt for world’s elite law schools (Harvard Law School, University of California, Berkeley Law and Columbia Law School) to pursue the world’s best LL.M. programs.
So, there is good enough reason to believe an LL.M. program is likely to become more popular in the coming days. But, what exactly makes an LL.M. program valuable to upcoming and established lawyers (such as Amal Clooney– a high-profile human rights lawyer who represented the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, in fight against his extradition) and potential employers?
Let us take a look at the most common reasons behind its popularity:
Knowledge and skills
Law is a complicated field – to say the least. Studying law, no matter what the area of specialization may be, requires hours of reading and understanding multifaceted legal concepts. An LL.M. program helps lawyers gain comprehensive knowledge into understanding the intricacies of this complex field. It provides lawyers with the essential expertise and knowledge to boost their career prospects. It enhances the resume of experienced lawyers and prepares unemployed lawyers by developing their analytical and legal skills.
Whether you are unemployed or looking for career advancement, an LL.M. degree will help in jumpstarting your legal career. Pursuing an LL.M. program provides lawyers with suitable tools and techniques to excel in their practice of law.
It gives law students hands-on experience and knowledge and adds to the skills of established lawyers. It can also help experienced lawyers choose a new area of specialization and boost their career growth.
Pursuing LL.M. degree gives lawyers an opportunity to specialize in a specific field of law, such as human rights or taxation. As a result, specializing in a particular field allows them to focus on a particular area and gain expertise.
An LL.M. program can help lawyers gain in-depth knowledge in a particular field and prepare them for a career in that field. And the more specialized a lawyer is, the more attractive they are to highly reputed law firms. In other words, specialization gives lawyers a clear edge over others in this highly competitive profession.
Networking is critical for surviving in today’s cut-throat job market. Having access to a large pool of contacts will help law students thrive in law school as well as secure stable jobs.
A law school is a perfect platform for law students to meet with law professors, fellow students and perhaps, potential employers. Consequently, it increases their chances of securing their first job and gives established lawyers the opportunity to land up in a better job.
If a lawyer wishes to make a transition from practice to teaching, then they need to have an advanced degree to kick-start their teaching career. Pursuing an LL.M. degree makes it plausible for lawyers to conduct publishable research work which can again add value to their resume. Moreover, an LL.M. program is an appropriate avenue for those wanting to pursue their Ph.D.
Pursuing an LL.M. program is challenging in terms of money and time, however, the multitude of benefits exceeds costs. Even though some might prefer the quick route of not opting for an LL.M. degree, its benefits are too many to be missed out on. With that in mind, an LL.M. degree is fundamental to instil the practical skills needed for law practice.