What is an LLM?
An LLM, or Legum Magister in Latin meaning ‘Master of Laws’, is a postgraduate law degree. This particular type of Master’s degree allows graduates, usually from an undergraduate law background, to expand their knowledge of the law. It provides an opportunity to further develop academic research skills in the legal field.
One big appeal for people considering the LLM is the option to specialise in a specific area of law. In the space of a year (if studied full time) a student will engage with their subject at a really in-depth level.
Students who aim to pursue a career in the legal sector after obtaining an LLM could find they are in a stronger position to shape their specialisations and expertise as a solicitor or barrister. Alternatively, extensive knowledge of a legal subject can also be highly advantageous for careers in industries such as banking, finance, HR, accountancy and consultancy.
This type of degree can also be suitable for anyone keen to dive further into academia, and perhaps continue onto a PhD, or MPhil.
Instead, LLMs have evolved to encourage and foster independent thinking and analysis of the law. The large number of courses now on offer and the ever-changing nature of the law mean that an LLM is now also becoming a pursuit of qualified lawyers and barristers – not just that of recent graduates.
They are an internationally recognised qualification; however, they are no longer designed as a prerequisite for gaining knowledge of a foreign legal system. Jurisdictions differ greatly between countries; though an LLM can provide great insight, more specific vocational/conversion qualifications are usually necessary in order to practise as a solicitor or barrister in a foreign country.
Where can I study an LLM?
Hundreds of law schools and university institutions across the world offer LLM degree programmes. Knowing where to start looking can be quite confusing!
A number of UK law schools offer postgraduate studies in law. Both home and international students are able to take these degrees in the UK. Costs and entry requirements differ according to each law school.
What can I study?
There is an LLM to suit almost all interests. A great variety of taught programmes cover specific topics. Maybe you’re keen to learn more about human rights law? Or perhaps in-depth knowledge of commercial law will be a huge advantage in advance of your training contract? If you can’t quite find the subject you are looking for as a taught programme, it may still be possible to pursue your interests in the form of an LLM by Research. As with most other Master’s degrees, it is possible to study an LLM either full or part-time, or even as a distance learning LLM.
There are a lot of things to consider before taking the decision to invest in an LLM. Take some time to read on through our LLM sections to find out more about your options!