How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

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TheInquirer
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How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby TheInquirer » Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:59 pm

Dear community,

I'm currently enrolled at a European (civil) law school. After graduation, I would like to enrol at a premier US law school to get an LLM in order to be able to practice in the US. Apart from the apparent difficulties to establish myself as a foreign lawyer in the US, I would at this point only like to inquire possible ways to increase my chances to become accepted at a top law school.

Crucial are of course grades, LSAT and TOEFL scores as well as convincing letters. But what about extracurricular activities? So far, I...

- participated in an international moot court (placed close to the top)
- hold a position of elevated responsibility at a law review
- am learning my 5th foreign language
- am a member of ELSA (European Law Student Association)
- hold a political scholarship and another "neutral" one
- am an elected member of various clerical councils
- do some more charity work
- will do an internship at a big law firm this summer
- spent a year as an exchange student in the US
- and another one in a 3rd world country working for a NGO

It is not as time consuming as it may sound and I won't continue all of these things until graduation. I'm also planning to do 2-3 internships abroad and 1-2 semesters in another country.

Since I am far less knowledgeable about American law schools than the majority of the users here, I would like to ask what might increase my chances to be admitted.

These are some things, I'm toying with right now:

- joining a student-run consulting firm (non-profit)
- competing in a local debate club
- do another moot court
- do some more Model United Nations (have done various so far, both as participant and coach, which is why it's not so high on my agenda)
- get involved in local politics/ running for offices (Im afraid of the time consumption with this, though)
- joining the student parliament
- Phd (between graduation and LLM; takes about 1-1.5 years here)

What else could be helpful?

What do you guys think about those suggestions? Or is it all in vain and grades are the only thing that matter?

Thank you very much for your time!

NOTE: Please don't think, I'm only doing this for my CV. Sure, that is a major reason, who are we kidding? But I also genuinely enjoy all the things, I'm doing (minus ELSA maybe, but I'm going to leave them anyways).

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Veyron
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Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby Veyron » Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:14 pm

^ You should apply to an American JD program if you are serious about practicing in the states. JD programs consider LSAT score and GPA and pretty much nothing else.

CanadianWolf
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Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:12 pm

LLM programs for foreign educated lawyers primary look at class rank. LLM programs are one year in length; JD programs are three years. Extracurricular activities beyond law review & published articles are irrelevant to your chances of admission. A PhD in some disciplines will help if seeking a career in academia.

P.S. If, for some reason, you feel compelled to get a US JD degree, then try to get a full year of transfer credits based on your completed law school courses so that you only have to do two years in the US JD program. A JD from a US ABA accredited law school will enable you to sit fot all 50 state bars, as well as for the Washington D. C. bar & all bars in US territories and possessions such as the US Virgin Islands, Guam & Puerto Rico. The LLM may limit your options to a few state bars such as New York, California, Vermont, possibly Minnesota & a few others.
As for law school options, Harvard & Columbia are great options for either degree.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.

lawgod
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Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby lawgod » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:13 pm

NU has a 2 year JD for international lawyers. Much better idea than an LLM. It also gives you opportunity to summer at a firm and be hired through the normal way

CanadianWolf
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Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:27 pm

Northwestern University's two (2) year JD degree for international lawyers "expects" at least one year of work experience in business or law prior to starting the degree program.

My suggestion above regarding trying to get a year of transfer credit for other US JD programs may not work if the ABA (American Bar Association) requires that all transfer credits be earned at ABA member law schools. I am not sure, however, as credit is given by a few US ABA accredited law schools for a year of study at certain Canadian law schools with which the schools have a formal partnership (similiar to earning study abroad credits).

lawgod
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Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby lawgod » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:38 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Northwestern University's two (2) year JD degree for international lawyers "expects" at least one year of work experience in business or law prior to starting the degree program.


Well, they "expect" that for their regular JD also, and people get in without it. And I think they are fudging the numbers and counting some things as WE which are not quite.

TheInquirer
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Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby TheInquirer » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:16 pm

Thank you all for your advice. Could you, however, please be more responsive to my actual question, which was the admission to LLM programs, not JDs? I would greatly appreciate some more info on that.

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Veyron
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Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby Veyron » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:34 pm

TheInquirer wrote:Thank you all for your advice. Could you, however, please be more responsive to my actual question, which was the admission to LLM programs, not JDs? I would greatly appreciate some more info on that.


You really don't understand the American market, do you?

TheInquirer
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Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:31 am

Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby TheInquirer » Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:28 am

Maybe I have oversimplified my question when saying I want to work in the US. I have not completely given up on the idea of getting a job in Europe, where an LLM from a good US law school is highly sought after, but did not want to go into too much detail.

Be it as it may, I asked what increases my chances of admission to an LLM program, not what increases my job prospects. I would appreciate focusing on the former only.

BKB
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Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby BKB » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:58 am

Get a 120 TOEFL would be helpful.

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Veyron
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Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby Veyron » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:37 am

TheInquirer wrote:Maybe I have oversimplified my question when saying I want to work in the US. I have not completely given up on the idea of getting a job in Europe, where an LLM from a good US law school is highly sought after, but did not want to go into too much detail.

Be it as it may, I asked what increases my chances of admission to an LLM program, not what increases my job prospects. I would appreciate focusing on the former only.


Ok, as long as you understand that LLMs from even the best law schools are seldom able to find work in the United States.

TheInquirer
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Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:31 am

Re: How to improve chances for LLM Admission?

Postby TheInquirer » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:04 pm

All right, as no further information about the LLM seems to be around, then I might as well modify my question.

I checked the JD programs of several law schools and apparently it is common to accept transfer students from other law schools or even without legal background as 2Ls? Does anyone know if a legal non-bachelor degree is accepted as an admission criterion to such an transfer program?

The reason I don't want to do a full JD is because it takes three years and I will already have had 6-7 yrs. of legal education (including the practical component).




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