Below are our top 10 LLM degree tips. We hope you find them useful whether you are targeting a top 10 LLM program or your local commuter school that won’t interfere with your career and family obligations.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any suggestions or other thoughts you may have on this top 10 LL.M. list.
10. Do not base the decision to earn your LL.M. degree on anyone else besides yourself. Don’t go because of relationships or loved ones, etc.
9. Be prepared for the course work. If you can afford to make the investment of time and tuition, you better be able to invest the time in getting good grades and mastering all the material. Is your boss understanding? Are you willing to burn some midnight oil?
8. Understand what is expected and know what you are getting into. LL.M. programs can be very intense.
7. Invest the “up front” time to determine which LL.M. degree programs are best suited for you. Once again, this is a huge investment that you are about to make. You don’t want to attend a LL.M. program where you will not be happy and/or adequately prepared for your future career. Research the schools to see what each institute provides.
6. Research the LL.M. degree programs. Carefully! You wouldn’t go to a job interview without first conducting some research on your prospective employer, right? So why would you not do the same for a law school? Find out all you can about the program’s culture, specialties, faculty, etc. Do not base your decision solely on rankings or else you might disappoint yourself.
5. Develop a good “story” to tell the admissions committees. Think about who you are, why you want to become a lawyer, and what makes you unique. It is much more effective and efficient to complete your applications once you know what story/theme/message you need to advocate. The top law schools are extremely competitive and good grades and LSAT scores alone will not get you admitted. You need to differentiate your candidacy from the many other applicants who have similarly high GPAs and LSAT scores. Be unique.
4. Write your personal statement. You’re writing about a topic you know better than anyone else: you. If you’ve followed the steps outlined above, writer’s block should not be much of a problem. Above all else, take the time to write a separate statement for each law school. According to University of North Carolina Law School Assistant Dean for Admissions Michael J. States, “the most common mistake that law school applicants make is submitting the same personal statement to different schools. By doing so, they risk sending in a statement that does not adequately respond to the school’s admission questions, and are wasting an opportunity to say why a particular school is right for them.” (Click here to read the full transcript of our interview with Dean States.)
3. Obtain your letters of reference. Select who you want for references and determine how to approach them. Tell them what you would like them to say and explain your “story” to them. They will need to substantiate that story and any questionable specifics in your personal statement.
2. Practice for the admission interview – if one is required. (It likely won’t be.) Review your application from a third person’s perspective. Anticipate what questions they will ask you. Arrange one or more mock interviews to ensure you have your story down and it flows naturally. Practice is key.
1. Sit back and relax. You’ve done everything you can to the best of your ability. With some luck, you’ll be deciding which of your many offers to accept! Saying a prayer won’t hurt either.