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Does It Pay To Get An L.L.M.?

It has been a little while since I have posted here at Cyber-Esq., and for those of you who inquired personally, thank you for your concern and kind comments.  I was just taking a much-needed break, so not to worry.  I am revving up to post more articles of interest to the tech-savvy lawyers, virtual or otherwise, so I hope you keep reading.  And, stay tuned, as there are some big stylistic changes afoot for Cyber-Esq., plus we will soon be moving to our own domain.  Excitement!

To get the writing juices flowing, I thought I would start with a quick article that links to an interesting piece from the Wall Street Journal.  I became aware of this article through the Adjunct Law Prof Blog, an excellent blog on legal topics (and not just for adjuncts, by the way).  The WSJ article addresses a topic that many of my friends wrestled with, I have wrestled with, and perhaps you are wrestling with now – should you go on to get an L.L.M.?  Will it improve your pay?  Prestige?

Or, is it just one of those things that, darn it, sounds so good when you say it and looks so good on one’s resume?  For those of you who may be non-lawyers and unfamiliar with this term, the LL.M. (Master of Laws) is an internationally recognized postgraduate law degree. It is usually obtained by completing a one-year full-time program. Law students and professionals frequently pursue the LL.M. to gain expertise in a specialized field of law.  You can read more about the L.L.M. degree here.  Law school is the only course of study I know where the “doctorate” – i.e., the Doctor of Jurisprudence – is not the highest degree level one can attain.

As it turns out, the Master of Laws (L.L.M.) degree may not be all the glitter it is often made out to be, particularly by law schools that, in case you haven’t clued in, make bank on these postgraduate degrees.  According to the WSJ, unless you are interested in a field such as tax, the L.L.M. degree may not be worth the investment of additional time and money and may not make much difference to hiring partners.

So, give the L.L.M. some thought; check out the link to the Wall Street Journal article here.  If you are looking to just give your credentials a little boost while you establish yourself, consider teaching.  That is one of the first things that I did out of law school, starting as an instructor in a paralegal program.  Not only did this work sharpen my communication and analytical skills, but it even managed to get me a few clients along the way, not to mention some great employees.

Glad to be back everybody.


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