Which Law School is Right for Me?
The question of which Law School is the most appropriate for each prospective student provides an enormous number of variables to consider. The primary consideration for the student must be to decide what they wish to achieve from the completion of the LL.M. Each LL.M course or program is often extremely specialised and the candidate must be certain that the course considered is right for them. The student must also consider the quality of the qualification that will be achieved and how this may affect the student's career prospects. The mode of study and time taken to study must also be considered together with the inevitable cost burden to the student.
It would be impossible to list here all of the possible options for the student intending to undertake an LL.M in relation to the choice of course available. In all but a very few cases the reason for undertaking any kind of postgraduate study is to further the career prospects of the student. To this end the prospective LL.M student must consider very carefully what their required outcome is to be in the long term. For most this will be to make their CV stand out amongst a number of other applicants for any job, whether as a qualified practitioner or as a newly qualified lawyer seeking a UK training contract or its international equivalent. Clearly most students by this time in their education will have a clear idea of how they want their career to progress and in which area of law they wish to specialise. There are a number of ways to discover which courses are available, but a general internet search will provide a list of universities in the UK offering the LL.M together with the specialisation for each course. The range is enormous so it seems very likely that the majority of students will be able to find a course that meets their needs. It is of course not necessary for prospective students to limit their considerations to courses available at UK universities. Several jurisdictions consider the LL.M as a method of re-training for practice in a new country and under a different legal system. A student wishing to practice abroad should consider this option, rather than undertaking a complete new course of study in a different country.
Whilst the quality of the qualification received is far less significant in the UK than in other countries; the quality of universities being far less diverse, it would be advisable for a student to consider any affiliations that might exist between universities and law firms which might enhance their employment possibilities. If the student intends to study abroad it is vital that they consider how the quality of the institution and their prospective qualification is viewed in the country in which they intend to study.
The mode of study for an LL.M can vary a great deal. Courses are offered which are full time and will be completed within a year, but courses are also offered which can take as long as is required to complete, within certain guidelines for each module completed. Generally this kind of course takes the form of a part time or distance learning course made up of several assessed modules and a final dissertation. The student will complete a number of modules each within a specific time frame, but will be given a large amount of freedom over when and how many modules to undertaken. There are many courses which fall between these two extremes and most students should be able to find a course which is right for them.
The majority of students will need to consider the issue of funding for their LL.M and, with this in mind they must decide whether a full or part time course, which would allow them to work to cover costs, would be most appropriate. Clearly the longer the time taken to complete the course the more spread out and manageable the costs will be, but this must however be balanced against the employment advantages gained from obtaining the LL.M.