Friday 9 January 2009


I've just been asked by a bright young qualifying solicitor, bilingual in two major European languages and with a very good law degree from a leading university, if the College of Law's LLM in Professional Legal Practice is as truly career-enhancing as the course's website appears to portray it.

My own impression is that neither law firms nor clients are particularly impressed by any LLMs. This impression is based partly on the vast number of references I have penned for apparently good students who read specialist LLMs with an intellectual property or Information Technology bias, but who had little luck in terms of career advancement; it's also partly based on my observation that, on the whole, my former students who have done best are those with the best portfolio of personal skills (languages, literacy, diligence, ability to work with others) rather than those with the best paper qualifications. I have no familiarity with the College of Law LLM in Professional Legal Practice, though, and don't want to prejudge it.

Any comments? If so, can they be delivered with great expedition? The closing date for applications is this coming Monday ...


  1. However if you are out of work and your law firm is paying for it out of the outplacement budget it might be a useful option.

  2. We constantly receive unsolicited applications, or are deluged with applications when we advertise for any sort of legal help on Gumtree. So we need a way to filter them, and I tend to do this by looking more closely at anyone who can offer good academics (which will usually mean an LLM) or solid work experience. I tend to be biased in favour of QMW LLMs having studied there myself. But I agree with you Jeremy as to the personal skills needed to succeed. Probably top of the list of desirable attributes is strong social skills, and the ability to write well.

  3. Is the main advantage of this LLM that you can use your LPC (and GDL?) courses as "credits" towards the LLM, so that you can get a degree out of the practice courses, with some extra work?

    Back in the 1980s, I was part-way through an LLM (having had a reference from Jeremy), when I joined a well-known IP law firm. When I asked them on their views about my doing an LLM, they said that if I did it in my own time, at my own cost, and it didn't interfere with client work, that was fine. Hardly a ringing endorsement, so I decided to drop it, which I have come to regret.