How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

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mrwarre85
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How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby mrwarre85 » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:12 pm

I'd like to end up in Academia, and I know that school prestige matters big-time on your CV. However, I'd rather pay one year tuition at a big-time school for an LLM than three years for a JD.

Could I get into a top LLM program from a T2 JD?

MrAnon
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby MrAnon » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:22 pm

The best way to put it is that it is more difficult to breathe.

LurkerNoMore
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:31 pm

An LLM won't get you academia.

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dextermorgan
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby dextermorgan » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:35 pm

LurkerNoMore wrote:An LLM won't get you anything.

FTFY

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patrickd139
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:52 pm

dextermorgan wrote:
LurkerNoMore wrote:An LLM won't get you anything. Unless you want to do tax. Then NYU, GULC and UF might help. Might.

FTFM


Also, IBLLMFlowchart

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dextermorgan
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby dextermorgan » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:32 pm

patrickd139 wrote:
dextermorgan wrote:
LurkerNoMore wrote:An LLM won't get you anything. Unless you want to do tax. Then NYU, GULC and UF might help. Might.

FTFM


Also, IBLLMFlowchart

Shit!
Image

mrwarre85
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby mrwarre85 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:42 am

LurkerNoMore wrote:An LLM won't get you academia.


It won't help?

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gwuorbust
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby gwuorbust » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:15 am

mrwarre85 wrote:
LurkerNoMore wrote:An LLM won't get you academia.


It won't help?


again, see flow chart above.

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jump_man
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby jump_man » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:44 am

If you're serious about academia, you will need a terminal degree like a PhD or an SJD. Check out these excerpts from the TLS interview with Brian Leiter (full interview here http://www.top-law-schools.com/brian-le ... rview.html):

TLS: Should someone interested in academia even bother going to a school that is not a top 14 law school? Looking at your rankings would suggest that they should not.

Leiter: Again, looking at the data I’ve collected, the first correct conclusion to draw is that “top 14” is not a relevant category. If you want to go into legal academia, you should go to Texas over Cornell, to take an obvious example. The law teaching market is, indeed, very pedigree-sensitive, but ‘top 14’ isn’t the relevant marker. The market is dominated by Yale (though faculty retention troubles at Yale may well change that over the next decade), and then Harvard, Chicago, and Stanford each have a big chunk of the market. After those four, Columbia, Michigan, and increasingly NYU are major players, also Berkeley. Virginia also does well. Then there’s another drop-off before you get to the Georgetown, Duke, Northwestern, Texas, Penn et al. cluster. I’d choose among these based on your interests, since finding faculty mentors, as noted, is really key to success on the academic job market. Texas and Penn, for example, have strong criminal law groups, and also a strong commitment to law & philosophy; Northwestern is an excellent place to be for someone with an empirical social science background interested in studying the legal system—so too Cornell. Finding a good intellectual match can also be relevant with respect to the top four schools for law teaching. All of them are quite strong in law & economics, but only Harvard and Stanford would make sense for a student interested in critical race theory, while only Yale and Chicago would really work for a student interested in law & philosophy. By the same token, a philosophy student thinking about law school and interested in teaching would be crazy not to consider NYU too, and a student interested in critical race theory or feminist jurisprudence ought to be thinking about UCLA. There are lots of specialty niches where particular schools excel.

TLS: As legal research becomes increasingly interdisciplinary, do you anticipate a continued increase in law school professors having a J.D. /PhD?

Leiter: Yes.

BeautifulSW
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby BeautifulSW » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:12 pm

I'm interested to see that UCBerkeley isn't on Leiter's list of very top schools, though it does appear on the edge of his second tier. Boalt Hall does have something they call the JSP program that is supposed to generate JD/PhD types for the academic law market. I have no idea how well its graduates place. Boalt brags about their placement, but then again, they would, wouldn't they.

Interesting to hear his opinion that the T14 grouping isn't relevant. Not so sure I agree, though; seems to me from his own statements that law schools recruit mostly from the top 3 plus Chicago then descend mostly into other T14 schools. From my own information and experience (admittedly limited) Yale and Harvard grads are all over the law professoriate almost to the exclusion of anyone else. Not totally true, of course. I'm sure that virtually every T1 and T2 school has produced a few law professors in their histories.

Me? I'd try for Stanford. No doubt. Much better weather than the other top schools. And I just don't LIKE UC Berkeley. But if you want to teach tax, get your LL.M. from NYU. Otherwise, forget the LL.M.

LoyalRebel
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby LoyalRebel » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:19 am

Ok well....


How hard is it to get into NYU/Florida/Georgetown?

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patrickd139
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:55 am

LoyalRebel wrote:Ok well....


How hard is it to get into NYU/Florida/Georgetown?

This reeks of "I have a J.D. from a T2 and am looking for prestige so I can get into biglaw. I know! I'll get an LLM in Tax." It doesn't quite work like that.

Do you have substantive tax experience? An undergraduate degree in accounting or a CPA? Have you taken any tax courses in law school? How have you done in them? Are you in range of getting biglaw with just your J.D.?

General consensus with Tax LLMs is that it's not going to open the biglaw doors that are not open with just your JD. There are exceptions, but, due to the immense cost of LLM programs (especially those in NYC and DC, which are the only two you should be considering, barring exigent circumstances) I would not want to bet on becoming one of those exceptions.

If you do not have any experience with or aptitude for tax law before setting foot into a Tax LLM program, your life will likely be miserable. Again, you might be a special snowflake, but you might not.

However, if you have a demonstrated interest and aptitude in tax, an LLM could further your career in significant ways, if for no other reason than you become conversant in Code language. If so, mosey on over to taxtalent.com and peruse the forum. From my browsing, it appears that you need around an A- average in JD tax courses coupled with a "solid" class rank ("solid" being a sliding scale depending on the rigor of your law school, a.k.a. school rank). Moreover, if you work for a firm for a couple of years as a tax attorney, and then get an LLM in Tax, you might be able to deduct at least part of the cost of tuition under Treasury Regulation 1.162-5(c)(1). This is not the case if you go straight from law school to LLM.

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jump_man
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby jump_man » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:17 pm

BeautifulSW wrote:I'm interested to see that UCBerkeley isn't on Leiter's list of very top schools, though it does appear on the edge of his second tier. Boalt Hall does have something they call the JSP program that is supposed to generate JD/PhD types for the academic law market. I have no idea how well its graduates place. Boalt brags about their placement, but then again, they would, wouldn't they.


Brian Leiter also has an interesting discussion of SJD programs at his law school blog (full post here: http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leit ... ms-wo.html) - but here is the important part of the discussion:

SJD Programs: Worth It for a US JD?
An aspiring law professor writes:


I'm a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, generally interested in the academic teaching market, and a fan of your blog. To the extent you have not covered this issue on your blog in the past, I would like to suggest that you address S.J.D. programs. Among the questions that I (and perhaps other readers of your blog) have are the following: Is an S.J.D. the law school equivalent of a PhD? Or is it more for foreign law students (as the website describing Harvard's program implies)? What value does an S.J.D degree bring on the law school teaching market? Would it be more productive for someone interested in improving his or her credentials to obtain an LLM -- perhaps via a specialized aspiring law school professor program like the one offered at Georgetown?

Here are my answers: (1) An SJD is a bit like a PhD in law, but these days it is aimed almost entirely at foreign lawyers. The strong interdisciplinary turn of law schools over the past thirty years means that the credential of real value to an American lawyer is a PhD in a cognate discipline, not a "PhD" in law. (2) It is relatively rare to see American lawyers with SJDs, far more common to see very good foreign-trained lawyers with SJDs. (3) The LLM isn't much of a credential for aspiring law teachers; its real value is the opportunity to be in a scholarly setting and have the opportunity to do research and writing and perhaps gain some teaching experience. These days, the multiplying VAP-style programs meet that need as well. (See our earlier discussion on this.)

LoyalRebel
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby LoyalRebel » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:58 am

patrickd139 wrote:
LoyalRebel wrote:Ok well....


How hard is it to get into NYU/Florida/Georgetown?

This reeks of "I have a J.D. from a T2 and am looking for prestige so I can get into biglaw. I know! I'll get an LLM in Tax." It doesn't quite work like that.

Do you have substantive tax experience? An undergraduate degree in accounting or a CPA? Have you taken any tax courses in law school? How have you done in them? Are you in range of getting biglaw with just your J.D.?

General consensus with Tax LLMs is that it's not going to open the biglaw doors that are not open with just your JD. There are exceptions, but, due to the immense cost of LLM programs (especially those in NYC and DC, which are the only two you should be considering, barring exigent circumstances) I would not want to bet on becoming one of those exceptions.

If you do not have any experience with or aptitude for tax law before setting foot into a Tax LLM program, your life will likely be miserable. Again, you might be a special snowflake, but you might not.

However, if you have a demonstrated interest and aptitude in tax, an LLM could further your career in significant ways, if for no other reason than you become conversant in Code language. If so, mosey on over to taxtalent.com and peruse the forum. From my browsing, it appears that you need around an A- average in JD tax courses coupled with a "solid" class rank ("solid" being a sliding scale depending on the rigor of your law school, a.k.a. school rank). Moreover, if you work for a firm for a couple of years as a tax attorney, and then get an LLM in Tax, you might be able to deduct at least part of the cost of tuition under Treasury Regulation 1.162-5(c)(1). This is not the case if you go straight from law school to LLM.



I'm currently a tax accountant with an undergrad in Accounting. I'm still waiting for responses from the law schools I've applied to. I was advised by an attorney I know (who's pretty successful, I might add) to go to my mediocre state school and get an LLM in tax law from a prestigious LLM program. This sounds good on paper, but I if I don't get in then... well you do the math. Money is a big issue with me, so that's why I'd really like to go that route and really pile on the debt in one final year at a top notch school than spend it over 4 years at a more expensive JD program.

Any thoughts?

BlueDiamond
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby BlueDiamond » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:06 am

LoyalRebel wrote:
patrickd139 wrote:
LoyalRebel wrote:Ok well....


How hard is it to get into NYU/Florida/Georgetown?

This reeks of "I have a J.D. from a T2 and am looking for prestige so I can get into biglaw. I know! I'll get an LLM in Tax." It doesn't quite work like that.

Do you have substantive tax experience? An undergraduate degree in accounting or a CPA? Have you taken any tax courses in law school? How have you done in them? Are you in range of getting biglaw with just your J.D.?

General consensus with Tax LLMs is that it's not going to open the biglaw doors that are not open with just your JD. There are exceptions, but, due to the immense cost of LLM programs (especially those in NYC and DC, which are the only two you should be considering, barring exigent circumstances) I would not want to bet on becoming one of those exceptions.

If you do not have any experience with or aptitude for tax law before setting foot into a Tax LLM program, your life will likely be miserable. Again, you might be a special snowflake, but you might not.

However, if you have a demonstrated interest and aptitude in tax, an LLM could further your career in significant ways, if for no other reason than you become conversant in Code language. If so, mosey on over to taxtalent.com and peruse the forum. From my browsing, it appears that you need around an A- average in JD tax courses coupled with a "solid" class rank ("solid" being a sliding scale depending on the rigor of your law school, a.k.a. school rank). Moreover, if you work for a firm for a couple of years as a tax attorney, and then get an LLM in Tax, you might be able to deduct at least part of the cost of tuition under Treasury Regulation 1.162-5(c)(1). This is not the case if you go straight from law school to LLM.



I'm currently a tax accountant with an undergrad in Accounting. I'm still waiting for responses from the law schools I've applied to. I was advised by an attorney I know (who's pretty successful, I might add) to go to my mediocre state school and get an LLM in tax law from a prestigious LLM program. This sounds good on paper, but I if I don't get in then... well you do the math. Money is a big issue with me, so that's why I'd really like to go that route and really pile on the debt in one final year at a top notch school than spend it over 4 years at a more expensive JD program.

Any thoughts?


this is a little hard to answer without the "mediocre state school", career hopes, where youd like to live?

general answer without this info is absolutely do not do this... i know one lawyer who gave this advice (he's really unsuccessful, I might add).. just a joke but you get the point.. but really a school for three years that you yourself consider mediocre to have an unsure chance of getting into an LLM program which wont open many doors? why??

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patrickd139
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby patrickd139 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:40 am

LoyalRebel wrote:I'm currently a tax accountant with an undergrad in Accounting. I'm still waiting for responses from the law schools I've applied to. I was advised by an attorney I know (who's pretty successful, I might add) to go to my mediocre state school and get an LLM in tax law from a prestigious LLM program. This sounds good on paper, but I if I don't get in then... well you do the math. Money is a big issue with me, so that's why I'd really like to go that route and really pile on the debt in one final year at a top notch school than spend it over 4 years at a more expensive JD program.

Any thoughts?

Some thoughts, in no particular order. You can disregard most of my previous post, as it's aimed at a different segment of the potential LLM market.

The part about not getting biglaw without a biglaw JD tends to hold true, if you believe anecdotes and forums like taxtalent.com. Your significant tax accounting background could help you overcome a slightly less than stellar JD, but I always advise people on this forum to hedge their bets. Maybe you'll be right at the median, or (worse for Tax LLM admissions) maybe you'll get straight Bs and B-s in your tax courses. With your experience, it's unlikely, but anything is possible in law school.

My suspicion is that you'll be just as well off if you go to a top JD program and highlight your tax accounting experience during the job process. This will do a few things: first, it will get you a crack at the biglaw tax jobs and Big 4 accounting legal departments (if that's what you're looking to get out of law school), many of which do not require an LLM. Second, it will give you a shot at the other non-tax corporate law firm jobs that will almost decidedly not be available to you if you go to a mediocre state school (there are exceptions, of course). Finally, if you decide you've had enough of tax and litigation or trust law or whatever lights a fire under you during law school, you can transition into those areas a lot easier from a top school than a mediocre state school.

All of this is useless, of course, until you get the credentials to get in. If you're sitting on a 158 LSAT and 3.2 UGPA, keep your accounting job and profit ;)

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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby Mr. Pelican Pants » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:02 pm

What if you are already a tax attorney, but were not a great student and took no tax in school? How hard are LLM programs (particularly executive LLM programs) to get into in that situation?

My situation: American. Bachelor's from a "Little Ivy," but near the bottom of the class. Worked for several years, then got a JD from a low-to-mid-tier state U. down South - middle of the class. Took no tax courses in law school. No law review or honors. 98th percentile LSAT. Now a practicing "private client/tax minimization" attorney, which means I do a mixture of trusts and estates, asset protection and business transactions. All phases of this work include a heavy tax component, with particular emphasis on Subchapters J, K and S. I've been doing this work for three years, I enjoy it and I appear to have an aptitude for it.

I am learning a lot of tax law on my own, both on the job and by reading, but the advantages of a tax LLM are apparent to me. I would learn a lot more of what I ought to know more efficiently in an academic setting. The credential would also look better to clients than my "regional" JD as our practice expands nationally. Plus I would be the only person in the firm with an LLM, so the degree would add value to the firm as a whole.

I am at a Southern boutique and I like it. I have no desire for academic career or a move to another firm. Indeed I would want to continue working at my job while going to school. Our work is project-driven, and 80% of it could be done anywhere. And as we are handling clients increasingly further afield, I could actually sell a temporary relocation as a benefit.

I'm told there was a time when all you needed to get an LLM from a good school was a JD and the money to pay the tuition. Today my sense is that, experience and personal commitment notwithstanding, I don't have a snowball's chance of getting into any reputable program. But I really don't know, so I'm asking. Furthermore, I may be totally naive about the value of an LLM to me or my firm, so I guess I am asking about that too.

Thanks.

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Fred_McGriff
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby Fred_McGriff » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:28 pm

You should get an LLM in space law to set you apart.

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typ3
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby typ3 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:23 pm

Fred_McGriff wrote:You should get an LLM in space law to set you apart.


Yea, because getting a degree from UN-L is a great idea for big law!

BeautifulSW
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Re: How hard is it to get into an LLM program?

Postby BeautifulSW » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:36 pm

I wonder how much you would really learn in a tax LL.M. program. Sounds like, in the areas of your practice anyway, you already know more than you are likely to learn from a professor.

I am hearing a few rather specific things from you; please correct me if I'm wrong:

-You are doing tax law full-time or nearly full-time in a boutique firm that you like and that likes you. This is an enviable position to be in.

-You think that the formal structure of LL.M. study will make you a better tax lawyer (probably true) and be good for your firm but your eventual employability really isn't an issue.

-You think that having the LL.M. will be useful in, well, advertising I guess. Maybe but you would know best about that. I have my doubts; your ability to do the work accurately and efficiently probably counts for more than any initials.

I deduce from this that taking a year off for an LL.M. isn't a realistic possibility. I also gather that the prestige of your LL.M. school is not very important compared with the considerations above.

Well, unless there is a part-time evening tax LL.M. program in your city, your options are kind of limited. First, if there is such a program within commuting distance, that's probably the one to go for. Since it isn't NYU, you won't have any difficulty getting in. Second, you could go for one of the two or three distance learning LL.M. Tax programs out there which are offered by ABA approved law schools. These are NYU (very expensive and you have to spend some time in NYC), U. Alabama (expensive and not very well known), and Thomas Jefferson's Diamond Program (expensive, International Tax oriented I believe and, well, it IS TJLS.) There may be a couple more that I don't know about.

Your third, and maybe most attractive option might be to go after a Master of Science in Taxation. There are a fair number of online programs and, while expensive, they tend cheaper than the online LL.M. programs are. Run a search and you'll see.

There are also a couple of distance LL.M./M.S.T. tax programs offered by non-ABA schools. Given your situation, though, I doubt these would meet your needs since they are unknown to the public and not of much advertising value.

The last option is to do nothing. You are doing quite well as it is and building your reputation. An additional degree might not be worth the effort.




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