If you will be starting your 3L year soon and are undecided about your post-law school plans, you may want to explore the pros and cons of doing an LLM—a post-J.D. degree.
Law students wanting to specialize in a specific area of law (tax, finance, international, environmental), may boost their credentials by completing an LLM degree from a school—if that school has an excellent reputation in the field of study. Another reason to pursue an LLM is to establish yourself in a new geographic market. While completing the LLM program, take advantage of the opportunity network and develop contacts—both locally and in areas where you will be seeking. What’s the downside of doing an LLM? The costs of lost earning dollars as well as the tuition for the program itself are factors that students should consider carefully before deciding to take on additional debt. You should carefully research the value of the LLM and the specific program to which you are applying. Many tax and estate planning attorneys, for example, view favorably an LLM in tax—but particularly from NYU and Georgetown. (Read this week’s “How I Got My Job” feature on Rylee McDermott for an example of using a tax LLM). Attorneys in other practice areas, however, may not value an LLM as much. Most LLM programs have fixed deadlines for receiving applications, but the deadlines vary among programs. For a comprehensive list of LLM programs see http://www.llm-guide.com/.