LLM vs. J.D.: Which Should You Get?

The Master of Laws, or LLM degree, is an advanced law certification that you can earn after your J.D. It can be an additional investment of your time and money, and law school is already a significant investment. So why should you consider going for it? The answer might depend on your answer to these questions. Take a look to find your answer to the question of LLM vs. J.D.:

Are You a Foreign Attorney?

Earning an LLM degree is the gateway for foreign-trained attorneys to practicing in the U.S. If you earned your law degree outside the U.S., in some states, you can qualify to take the bar exam if you complete an LLM. But be careful: some of the most prominent states don’t allow this. New York does not allow foreign trained attorneys to sit for the bar. Neither does Florida. (Check out the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission in All U.S. Jurisdictions.)

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However, according to the University of Miami, you’ll have better luck in states like Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and California if you’re a foreign lawyer.

Are You An Attorney Who Wants to Upgrade a Resume?

An LLM might be some attorney’s last chance to get a degree from a higher-ranked school. If you’re looking to practice in a competitive city like New York, NY or Washington D.C., getting into a prestigious school might really be to your advantage.

Do You Need a Law Specialization?

Some areas of law demand more years of training than three years can provide. This is especially true for those interested in tax law.The tax LL.M. is held in high esteem because of how complicated and ever-changing tax law can be.” Many great schools like Georgetown and the University of Miami offer unique tax law LLM programs. And at UM, “The tax program draws upon Miami’s unique location – the pivot point between S. America, N. America and Europe – to bring the region’s diverse perspectives and career-building opportunities to students.

LLM vs. J.D.? Consider Your Career

In the end, you’ll want to seriously consider your career plans and weigh your options carefully. If you’re clear about the direction you’d like to take, and an LLM makes sense for your plans, then go for it! But if you’ve looked at these questions and realized none apply to you, maybe the LLM isn’t the right option for you.

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Of course, your first step is taking the LSAT and doing the best you can, to set up your future plans as an attorney!

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