dayana3242
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Hi everyone!

So I am currently studying humanities at Cambridge and then doing my GDL, hopefully qualifying in corporate (e.g. M&A) after my training contract. However, I've been recently looking at corporate-minded LLMs because: 1) I am genuinely really interested in the stuff + I am quite a nerd 2) since choosing law as a career means that I will probably do it for the rest of my life, I might as well get as good at it as I possibly can.

I am particularly interested in either LLM at Cambridge or Law and Finance at Oxford, although potentially considering London unis as well.

But: obviously, these courses are all very expensive and I am not sure whether I will be able to secure funding; my parents could fund me but I think it would be unfair to ask them to pay for something that is not strictly essential. I am not sure if there are any sponsorship opportunities available from law firms themselves.

Counter-reason 2: Transactional areas in general seem a lot less technical than something like Tax - therefore, would the extra legal knowledge actually make me a better lawyer? Or would an extra year of practice in a good law firm be more beneficial?

Update: this is NOT at all about my chances at getting a TC itself - rather about the career development afterwards

I would love to hear any opinions/advice!
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Notoriety
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(Original post by dayana3242)
Hi everyone!

So I am currently studying humanities at Cambridge and then doing my GDL, hopefully qualifying in corporate (e.g. M&A) after my training contract. However, I've been recently looking at corporate-minded LLMs because: 1) I am genuinely really interested in the stuff + I am quite a nerd 2) since choosing a law career means that it is what I probably do for the rest of my life, might as well get as good at it as I possibly can.

But:
How do you know you are really interested in corporate LLMs when you haven't even done a GDL yet. Walk before you can run.

Academic law is quite different to practical law. Top firms take GDLs over first-class LLBs because they don't really care about how well you know academic law. If you're interested in law, or thinking to go to the bar, then that is a different story.
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dayana3242
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Hi!

Yep, that's a really fair point!

So I've done a few vac schemes before and thought that I really liked corporate; also, for some of the lawyers I've talked to there, their technical knowledge really made them stand out (eg there were people who were really knowledgeable about certain extremely obscure aspects of the law, to the point where the entire department would come to them for advice, or who got assigned really interesting work because they were basically considered experts) Of course, I know that this might not apply to other practices, hence my question!

The reason I am looking into this so early is that if I were to apply for a Masters', I would need to decide to do it fairly early into my GDL anyway - so might as well start researching now
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Uncle_Fester
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Having just done an LLM, it's not necessarily going to improve your ability to be a better lawyer. I'll use myself as an example:

I have a LLM in Diplomacy and International Law with distinction. Now, this is useful if I want to work in organisations where legal knowledge and the skills you learn are an asset, but not necessarily a general training contract. There is a law firm, Voltera Fietta, who only take candidates on their internship schemes if they have a postgrad (and possibly PhD). This is because they're firm is incredibly specialist.

So what I'm trying to say is, it depends. If you did an LLM in a specific area of corporate law that may aid you with understanding how things work, but it doesn't mean you'll be better as a lawyer in ten years as someone who didn't. It does, however, show a prolonged passion and drive in a particular area which some firms admire.

What I will also say is, just because you did law doesn't mean you have to be a lawyer! Law degrees are spectacular foundations for the skills and abilities (and yes knowledge) necessary in multiple areas of work. Civil Service, political parties, NGOs (especially!), policy roles, etc. Don't feel you're trapped to follow the TC route. I've been in academia now for five years (finally escaping!) and I know it's shoved down your throat to go for a TC. There's a lot more out there. Make sure that what you do is something that you actually want to do rather than being what you 'think' you should do!
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Perseverance
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(Original post by dayana3242)
Hi everyone!

So I am currently studying humanities at Cambridge and then doing my GDL, hopefully qualifying in corporate (e.g. M&A) after my training contract. However, I've been recently looking at corporate-minded LLMs because: 1) I am genuinely really interested in the stuff + I am quite a nerd 2) since choosing law as a career means that I will probably do it for the rest of my life, I might as well get as good at it as I possibly can.

I am particularly interested in either LLM at Cambridge or Law and Finance at Oxford, although potentially considering London unis as well.

But: obviously, these courses are all very expensive and I am not sure whether I will be able to secure funding; my parents could fund me but I think it would be unfair to ask them to pay for something that is not strictly essential. I am not sure if there are any sponsorship opportunities available from law firms themselves.

Counter-reason 2: Transactional areas in general seem a lot less technical than something like Tax - therefore, would the extra legal knowledge actually make me a better lawyer? Or would an extra year of practice in a good law firm be more beneficial?

Update: this is NOT at all about my chances at getting a TC itself - rather about the career development afterwards

I would love to hear any opinions/advice!
I did the Cambridge LLM before I began my training contract. Your first reason was why I did it.

Funding-wise I got 10k from the Career Development Loan and a 10k grant from Cambridge -- you may want to look into those if you are eligible.

I chose all corporate modules and would say I went in knowing the big picture stuff well, which is nice but not the most relevant for what trainee transactional lawyers do. Perhaps, I understood some of the references lawyers made when discussing what they were working on, but it wouldn't have taken that long to get up to speed on the need-to-know bits anyway. I didn't stay in practice long enough to know if it would have made me a good lawyer.

I'd say go for a year in practice if your main reason is to be a better transactional lawyer. If your main reason is because you find the academic side interesting (and you want a little extra knowledge going in) then go for the LLM. (Obviously, there are other factors to take into account too.)
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What was the thing that finally broke you with law? Bad week at work?
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Klm1234
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Flatlined, you sound thoroughly miserable, mate. Might be time to get a new job.
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mishieru07
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(Original post by dayana3242)
Hi everyone!

So I am currently studying humanities at Cambridge and then doing my GDL, hopefully qualifying in corporate (e.g. M&A) after my training contract. However, I've been recently looking at corporate-minded LLMs because: 1) I am genuinely really interested in the stuff + I am quite a nerd 2) since choosing law as a career means that I will probably do it for the rest of my life, I might as well get as good at it as I possibly can.

I am particularly interested in either LLM at Cambridge or Law and Finance at Oxford, although potentially considering London unis as well.

But: obviously, these courses are all very expensive and I am not sure whether I will be able to secure funding; my parents could fund me but I think it would be unfair to ask them to pay for something that is not strictly essential. I am not sure if there are any sponsorship opportunities available from law firms themselves.

Counter-reason 2: Transactional areas in general seem a lot less technical than something like Tax - therefore, would the extra legal knowledge actually make me a better lawyer? Or would an extra year of practice in a good law firm be more beneficial?

Update: this is NOT at all about my chances at getting a TC itself - rather about the career development afterwards

I would love to hear any opinions/advice!
MC Corporate associate who did the BCL here, albeit only some of my modules were related to transactional law.

Honestly, in terms of being a transactional trainee/ junior associate at least, I don't actually think having a masters degree is that helpful. It can be useful in terms of providing background knowledge (especially for more technical areas), but frankly there's nothing you can't pick up yourself through self-learning or doing actual work. Firms will also offer internal training and know-how to get you up to speed technically, although it can be a challenge when you're too busy working on transactions to sit down and learn the technical details.

On the other hand, if you intend to specialise in a very technical area of law (eg tax) or might go to the bar, a masters degree might be helpful.

I have yet to hear of anyone who got firm funding to do a masters except for PRC lawyers - they typically get sent to the US to do a LLM so that they can take the NY bar as you cannot be qualified to the PRC bar if you work at an international law firm. That said, no harm asking around.

flatlined's views are probably on the slightly extreme end but there is some truth in what he/she is saying. Attrition (by which I mean people who leave private practice law and so includes those going to the regulators/ government or in-house) does generally trend high for biglaw corporate. On average, corporate associates in my office only tend to stay for 3-4 years before moving on. The hours can be very punishing and I think pretty much everyone doubts whether it's worth it at some point in their career. At the junior end especially, transactional work also tends to be more process driven (eg due diligence), although it gets better as you get more senior and are more involved in drafting and strategic decision making.
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