If you’ve recently finished law school or are eagerly seeking a way to advance your career, it’s likely you’re already aware of how difficult it can be to come by graduate positions in law. To put this statement into perspective, the Solicitors Journal reports that in 2013-14, the number of students graduating with a law degree reached an all-time-high, while both the number of registered training contracts and admissions to the roll declined by six percent.
While it’s easy to feel bogged down amid a sea of wavering statistics, many forecasts predict that by 2017, the number of students graduating from accredited law schools will be at their lowest level since the late 1970s – great news for all prospective lawyers hoping to set off on the best possible foot.
Despite this, the Faculty Lounge still predicts that 2017 will see 33,791 law school graduates in the U.S. alone. So, the question is – how can you set yourself apart and ensure you’re in the running for the most respected, specialized roles?
Well, Argentinian lawyer, Fernando Gutierrez, is living proof of the postgraduate law advantage; shortly after completing his Comparative Law LLM in the U.S. He claims that this postgraduate qualification was a ‘decisive factor’ that helped him land the job.
“I think the LLM did definitely open a lot of doors that otherwise would have been closed,” he says.
“Having an LLM does not only show a good academic position, but also some other personal and professional characteristics that every law firm is already looking for. These are perseverance, tenacity, maturity, and a desire to grow…having an LLM and due to the fact that you are a foreign lawyer, the firms know that they are getting not only an important and very valuable human resource,” he says, “but also many more potential contacts with different jurisdictions that can always open new business that before were totally unknown.”
So then, willing potentials! The answer is that to give yourself an edge over job market competition, you should pursue a leading postgraduate law qualification from a prestigious institution.
Washington University in St. Louis is an institution known as the driving force behind a world-class education in the heart of the U.S. The University’s School of Law follows in its long-held tradition of excellence, providing a wealth of Graduate programs, specially-designed to take your career to the next level.
So, if you seek the postgraduate advantage to boost your professional prospects, here are 10 reasons to pursue graduate study at Washington University Law…
1. Unparalleled opportunities for professional growth
Ranked 18th in the U.S. by the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law School rankings, Washington University’s School of Law strives to be among the best in the nation. On top of leading faculty who provide outstanding classroom instruction, the School offers all LLM students unrivalled opportunities for professional growth outside of the classroom.
2. Judicial Experiential Learning Program for foreign-trained lawyers
While most non-native law students will only experience the U.S. justice system through dry readings and classroom debates, Washington University Law brings this complex system to life, thoroughly immersing all international applicants in this engaging process. The School’s Experiential Learning Program provides students with a comprehensive view of U.S. courts, giving them the chance to work alongside some of the nation’s most experienced judges, and allowing them the learn the ins-and-outs of the real-world U.S. legal system long before they graduate.
3. Washington University Global Studies Review International Advisory Board
LLM students at the School of Law are granted the invaluable chance to join the advisory board of the Washington University Global Studies Law Review. Access to these outstanding articles, book reviews, essays and notes from distinguished academics and practitioners means Washington students can enhance their academic research and writing skills, and get their name in print as they contribute to some of the most esteemed scholarly documents in the legal world.
4. Attorney Advisor Program
LLM students at Washington School of Law are assigned a personal Attorney Advisor at the beginning of the fall semester. The role of the Advisor is to meet with students at several points throughout the year, providing a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and general support as they lead them down the path to becoming a successful law practitioner.
5. The chance to compete in Lawyering Skills Competitions
The School’s LLM students are encouraged to compete in at least one of four renowned Lawyering Skills Competitions; the Client Interviewing and Counseling Competition; the Motions Practice Competition; the Trial Advocacy Competition; and the Jessup International Moot Court Competition. The first three Competitions listed are intra-school endeavours, specifically-designed for the international student population and open to all interested students. The fourth is an inter-school Competition, requiring Washington students to go head-to-head for limited spots on the team.
Some of these activities allow participants to earn academic credit, while all provide experience in valuable lawyering skills and professional values.
6. LLM English Advantage Summer Language Program
Trying to learn in a language that’s not your first is no easy feat, but Washington University’s School of Law is ready to accommodate students in need of additional training in U.S. Legal jargon. The English Advantage Summer Language Program submerges students in 20-hours per week of English Language Training, designed to boost both academic and professional communication skills.
7. Teaching Assistants
All LLM students are designated a TA, whose role is to make the transition into life at the School run as smoothly as possible. On top of providing academic support, the TAs are the primary point of contact for both students and members of faculty, remaining on-hand for guidance and advice throughout the LLM curriculum.
8. Two-week Orientation
LLM students are required to participate in a mandatory two-week orientation program, including a short course in Civil Procedure, used to instil the skills necessary to succeed throughout the rigorous program.
9. LLM and JD transfer for foreign-trained lawyers
Graduates of the School’s residential LLM degree can transfer to the JD program without having to submit an LSAT score. Those who succeed are integrated as second-year law students, with most of their LLM course credits converting to the JD program, meaning students can complete their degree in as few as two additional years.
10. LLM Post-Graduation Summer Internship Program – coming Spring 2017!
Washington University School of Law is proud to announce the new LLM Post-Graduation Summer Internship Program, specifically-tailored to lawyers who were initially trained overseas. Strong in the belief that its non-native law students have earned the right to work in the U.S. after they graduate, the Washington School of Law works with its network of alumni and friends to provide profitable work experience in key US cities.
These factors – and so many more – contribute to making legal education at Washington University in St. Louis among the best in the U.S. If you’re looking to make your legal study dream become an achievable reality, there’s really no better place to go.