LLM Guide

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LLM Application Process

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LLM Guide – The Main Steps for LLM Applicants

Gaining admission to an LL.M. program, particularly at one of the leading law schools, is a long and winding process. This brief LL.M. guide is intended to outline the main steps that prospective applicants need to take.

While this guide is by no means complete, it will hopefully give you a better idea as to what steps and considerations are involved in the process between deciding to pursue an LL.M. and being admitted to an LL.M. program.

First Step – Why a Masters of Law?

Before you even start the LL.M. application and admissions process, and in view of the substantial time and financial resources that will be required, you have to be certain that an LL.M. is right for you.

Ask yourself why you want to pursue (graduate) legal studies and whether doing so is in line with your academic and/or professional goals. While there is some discussion as to what the value of an LL.M. is, with some commentators arguing that the degree is only helpful for those specializing in certain areas, it is clear that for most international lawyers an LL.M. remains highly valuable.

These resources might be helpful for this step:

Second Step – Research

Once the decision to pursue an LL.M. degree is made, the next step is thorough research. Here, the goal is to understand your strengths and your career goals and then identify  the best law schools and LL.M. programs that fit with your needs. You should also think about funding your studies and potentially identify scholarships and grants.

Obviously, all LL.M. programs are not created equal. Some programs are geared towards particular specializations, others towards a career in academia, while still others are better suited for law firm advancement. In addition, there are options such as online LL.M. programs or accelerated LL.M. degrees that may be considered. Based on your personal preferences and circumstances, you might also have specific needs in terms of location, academic focus, law school resources, etc.

Choosing the right LL.M. program is a function of an applicant’s academic background, strengths and interests, career goals, and personal factors. In addition to a law school’s ranking and subject matter preferences, you also need to consider a law school’s geographical location, the cost of living and job prospects in that place, tuition fees, the size of LL.M. classes, and any personal connections to a location or school.

These resources might be helpful for this step:

Third Step – Preparation

Getting into a prestigious LL.M. program is as competitive as it is valuable for successful applicants. For that reason, putting together a well-crafted LL.M. application is of utmost importance.

There are a multitude of tasks that applicants need to do and it is best to get started as early as possible. For example, at an early stage, prospective applicants should already prepare for and – as soon as they feel comfortable – take language tests such as the TOEFL or IELTS .

Applicants are also well advised to think about suitable persons to serve as their referees and start looking at each of their preferred law schools’ websites to learn more about them and their specialties.

Finally, this is also the time to start thinking about how to present and focus your candidacy in the best possible light and possibly begin brainstorming topics for LL.M. personal statements or essays.

These resources might be helpful for this step:

Fourth Step – Application

Generally, as part of your application file, you will have to provide law schools with your:

  • TOEFL score
  • diplomas and transcripts (original and translated into English)
  • completed application forms
  • resume
  • personal statement
  • additional essays (for example for Harvard and Yale)
  • 2-3 reference letters

Applicants will often have to register for the Law School Admission Council’s (LSAC) LL.M. Credential Assembly Service and their International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service (see generally the checklist here). These services are required by a number of law schools and applicants will use LSAC to apply electronically as well as to collect TOEFL score, transcripts, and, reference letters. These resource might be helpful for this step:

Fifth Step – Post-Application

Once you are admitted to an LL.M. program, the process is far from over. Now, the focus will be on leveraging your position with other schools, improving your chances to obtain scholarships, and deal with LL.M. waitlists. Finally, having multiple offers in hand, you will have to decide which school’s LL.M. program you will attend. This, however, is the part that LL.M. applicants enjoy the most!

These resources might be helpful:

You Have Reached Your Goal!

Once you are done with the final hurdles such as visa issues, accommodation, and travel arrangements, you are almost there and ready for the unique experience that is an LL.M. Now, all that is left to do is getting to your destination – and prepare for two semesters of studying, learning, networking, and enjoying yourself.

 

Top LLM Personal Statements Revealed

Get our eBook with exclusive LL.M. personal statement samples

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Top Personal Statements for LL.M. Programs, our new eBook, is the only resource on the market that helps you gain insight into the “black box” of the LL.M. admissions process by revealing real examples of winning LL.M. personal statements.

Boost your personal statement writing skills and increase your chances of admission to a top LL.M. program!

  • 10 full-length samples that worked for applicants at elite U.S. and U.K. law schools
  • Covers all major areas of law, including corporate, commercial, human rights, and international law
  • Instant and secure digital download (PDF)

Top LLM Personal Statements Revealed

Get our eBook with exclusive LL.M. personal statement samples

Your email will not be shared

Close this window

Top Personal Statements for LL.M. Programs, our new eBook, is the only resource on the market that helps you gain insight into the “black box” of the LL.M. admissions process by revealing real examples of winning LL.M. personal statements.

Boost your personal statement writing skills and increase your chances of admission to a top LL.M. program!

  • 10 full-length samples that worked for applicants at elite U.S. and U.K. law schools
  • Covers all major areas of law, including corporate, commercial, human rights, and international law
  • Instant and secure digital download (PDF)