According to reports, the demand for lawyers remains strong. Leopard Solutions — a legal market data provider — said there were 8,268 open jobs for lawyers at all levels at just over 1,000 firms across the US as of May 14, representing a 150% increase from the start of the pandemic. The number of open positions has kept growing since the report’s calculations, said Reuters.
Strong demand for lawyers was also reported in other countries, including Australia, suggesting that legal expertise will remain in demand. If you’re looking to stand out in the legal profession, a Master of Laws (LLM) degree can help you develop specialised knowledge that will serve as an invaluable investment. Just ask Catherine Zhu.
She’s had a long, fruitful career in New Zealand — working at the New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, and the New Zealand Stock Exchange — racking up legal achievements on a national scale. Still, she knew she could go further, which is why she decided to pursue an LLM from the top-ranked School of Law at Emory University (Emory Law).
“The school had a reputation for fostering a collaborative legal environment, and in my research, I found a number of independent testimonies from Emory LLM graduates who spoke of the community environment,” she explains. “It seemed like the place for me.”
It was. Upon arriving, Zhu immersed herself in the community by organising group activities and encouraging the LLM Society to become more engaged in orientation. Eventually, she worked her way up to serving as president of the group, leading it through several significant events, such as the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Zhu also worked with the law school during the COVID-19 transition to online learning.
There are also opportunities for students to gain practical legal skills during their programme. Some students take part in moot court exercises and competitions. Others are able to work in volunteer clinics or take simulation courses. During her study, Zhu learned more about how in-house counsel at an international corporation worked,
“Coming from a small country, I wanted to see how my experience translated to a US setting,” Zhu says. “And it seemed to translate well!”
Zhu’s ability to lead is evident in her accomplishments at Emory Law. Today, she is an associate at Coleman Talley LLP, a thriving firm with offices in Atlanta, Valdosta (GA), and Jacksonville (FL).
Such success stories are typical of Emory Law LLM graduates. The 24-credit-hour programme was designed for individuals looking to build on their legal backgrounds for professional and scholarly advancement. It covers American legal principles while offers areas of strength in law and religion; transactional and business law; complex litigation; intellectual property, among others.
The degree offers curriculum alongside JD students that can prepare students for diverse legal aspirations, and it is robust enough to ensure students’ bar and career readiness. Emory Law also ensures students are well-equipped with the tools and resources that would help them find a lucrative legal role in the US.
Emory Law’s English Language Specialist Kirsten Schaetzel works with Associate Director of Career Services and former international student Liz Kazungu-Emerson, alongside many other faculty members, to host workshops for LLM students and international Juris Doctor students to boost their career readiness.
“Because so many of our LLM students are international, this series focuses on helping them find a job in the US,” Schaetzel explains. “Liz designed them, I do an English language portion of each one, and Claudette Harris, our career services advisor for LLM students, presents part of the workshop and provides one-on-one sessions.”
Various topics are covered in each workshop, such as job searches and job strategies; study strategies for law classes; writing a resume; writing cover letters and professional emails; preparing for practice exams; networking and elevator pitches; interviewing; self-assessment; and more. Kazungu-Emerson even covers top law firms in the US who put in the most applications for H-1B visas — a coveted work visa for international graduates.
At this dynamic law school, there’s room for every aspirant with a passion for upholding justice. To discover yours, learn more about admissions for the Emory LLM here.