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Why do an LLM?

For students interested in law, there seems to be an obvious career path: firstly you do an undergraduate LLB degree, then you take some legal qualifications, and before you know it, you're a lawyer. Of course this isn't the only path, with a lot of lawyers having instead chosen to do a non-law degree followed by the law conversion course. There are other routes into law too, with paralegal work and apprenticeships appealing to those who prefer a less academic-focused view on law.

But what if you happen to like the academic side, and prefer the idea of learning to the practical route straight into a career? Well, it is possible to continue studying law after your LLB, with an LLM. Unlike the LPC, which covers everything you would need to know to practise law, an LLM will usually only cover only one area of law, but in great detail – but it also won't qualify you as a lawyer.

Why study an LLM?

Well, as we just discussed, an LLM will give you a very in-depth look into one specific area of law. There are many reasons for doing this. Some practising lawyers return to education to do an LLM in order to specialise further in an area they have worked in and found particularly interesting. The LLM allows lawyers to further develop their career in a direction of their choosing.

Some students fresh out of an LLB choose to do an LLM because they just love the academic side of law. Some may then go on to become a qualified lawyer, but some might use their LLM to go into teaching law.

Is the LLM right for me?

Only you can decide whether you should continue with an education in law or try to dive straight into your career, but we're here to advise.

Like with any postgraduate degree, the LLM is incredibly academically intense. This means that you should only really be considering it if you're prepared to put in the hours. You should really eat, sleep and breathe the particular area of law you're looking into.

Not just that, but you should also love academia itself. You might love law, but it's possible that it's just the more practical aspects that you enjoy. Continuing in university means more essays, more citations and a lot more reading. If the thought of that doesn't fill you with excitement, an LLM probably isn't for you.

Will an LLM improve my chances of employment?

It might, but there's no guarantee. While it's unlikely to improve your chances of getting a training contract, it will mean that you have very impressive and specific knowledge in your field. In the long term, knowing more about your area of law will always come in handy, but you could learn everything you'd want to know on the job.

Ultimately, the only real reason for doing an LLM is because you actually want to (we know, mind-blowing). They do cost a fair bit of money, but you can now get a government loan to help you out.

Does an LLM sound right up your street? Check out our course search.

By Lauren Bowes, Editor,