What is an LLM and how could it benefit your career?

students taking notes in a seminar

The experts at The University of Law explain why students choose to study a Master of Laws, and explore how it could boost your employability

If you’re set on becoming a lawyer, you’re probably aware that the competition to get a training contract can be very fierce. Studying a Master of Laws (LLM), on top of the vocational training courses required to become a solicitor or barrister, is one way that you could potentially give yourself an edge by boosting your academic legal knowledge. 

We spoke to Vicky Gregory, head of academic LLM programmes, and Joanna Webster-Jones, national programme director for academic LLM programmes, both at The University of Law, to get their thoughts on how a Master of Laws could get your career on the right track.

Who would take an LLM?

It’s not only aspiring lawyers that benefit from taking an LLM. At The University of Law, for example, Vicky and Joanna explain that “our academic LLM programmes are aimed at law and non-law graduates who want to explore the practical application of a particular, specialist area of law. We also offer a Master of Sciences (MSc) in Legal Technology.”

Having graduated, “our students move into a variety of careers, including corporate governance, legal technology, international relations, finance and policy roles,” say Vicky and Joanna. 

Of course, it’s still a popular option for future lawyers, as well. Joanna and Vicky comment that “we do also have a number of students studying an LLM to increase their employability prospects for more traditional legal careers.”

Why would you take an LLM?

The reasons why students opt to take an LLM will vary according to their personal circumstances – but Joanna and Vicky explain that “most often we see individuals who are wanting to improve their employability prospects or to transition into law from another discipline. It is important to note, though, that our LLMs are academic rather than vocational courses.”

“Many applicants opt to complete an LLM in order to make their application stand out in the increasingly competitive marketplace,” Vicky and Joanna add. 

And for people who are already in employment, “even if you are not wanting to change your career path, an LLM can help you develop and progress in your chosen field through the development of expert subject knowledge,” comment Joanna and Vicky.

What is it like to take an LLM?

For anyone wondering what the day-to-day reality of taking an LLM looks like, Vicky and Joanna run through what students taking the course at The University of Law can expect. 

For the majority of programmes, students have the option to choose three electives, giving far more choice than most master’s programmes. Students are therefore able to design the degree that meets their career objectives,” say Joanna and Vicky. 

At The University of Law, in-person and virtual modules both run concurrently, “meaning students can elect to study face-to-face and online at the same time. This means that if you wanted to study one of our LLMs at our Bristol campus, for example, but not all of your preferred modules are running out of Bristol, you could join our online classroom for those modules you wish to study online,” say Joanna and Vicky.

And although the course is an academic rather than a vocational one, at The University of Law, “our focus is on academic law in context. Although these are academic awards, we believe in teaching theory and practice together to ensure that students come away with a firm understanding of how the law works in the real world,” comment Vicky and Joanna. 

In terms of everyday teaching, “our method at The University of Law is to focus on realistic scenarios bringing in relevant theory in two-hour workshops of around 20 in-person students and 14 online students, with a mix of approaches including students working typically in groups of 4-5 and together in plenary,” say Vicky and Joanna. 

And whether students opt for remote learning or face-to-face classes, they “will benefit from an array of online resources to support their learning experience,” explain Joanna and Vicky. 

For anyone with an interest in the tech side of the legal world, “all students at The University of Law are able to take advantage of learning about legal technology, if they choose to do so. Whether that is through our master’s level modules available across the LLM, MSc and PG Dip/Cert programmes or via one of the skills workshops run cross programme,” comment Vicky and Joanna. 

Finally, for those taking an LLM at The University of Law, “each student will have an academic coach and a subject lecturer, and we operate an open door policy,” say Joanna and Vicky. 

How can taking an LLM benefit your career?

An LLM can give you a much wider depth of legal knowledge, which could help you stand out to employers. 

“The main benefit of an academic LLM is to enable yourself to study a specific area of law in more depth so as to acquire specialist legal knowledge,” say Vicky and Joanna. 

And in turn, having this knowledge can make your applications look more impressive. 

Joanna and Vicky explain: “An LLM may also help you to improve your career opportunities by enhancing your CV. You will be able to show how you’ve widened your legal knowledge and breadth of skills, as well as link your newly acquired specialist knowledge to your training and demonstrate current awareness.”

Our partnership with The University of Law

The University of Law

The Student Room is proud to work with The University of Law as the official partner of our law hub, where current and future law students can find the advice and guidance they need.

The University of Law welcomes intelligent, ambitious students interested in the world around them; people who question systems, procedures and behaviours, and are not afraid to challenge convention.

Study at The University of Law and you’ll be equipped with the professional knowledge you need to excel in your chosen career, and supported by an award-winning employability service to help you get there.