JD or LLM for Britbro?

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DanDescartes
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JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby DanDescartes » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:03 am

Hi guys, I will soon be graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in law and would like to further my legal studies in the US, with plans to eventually settle and work there (I inherited US citizenship at birth so there should be no visa issues).

Based on my current class rank (top 5 overall in the university) and tutor predictions, I think I have a good chance of graduating with a high first class honours degree (or summa cum laude). I've done a few PTs for the LSAT and I don't think I will have a problem achieving a high score, especially since I was the top scorer in the UK for the LNAT (the bizarro undergrad British version of the LSAT).

My question is, given my credentials as a foreign trained law grad, will my prospects of landing biglaw (or somesuch lucrative job) really be increased that much by getting a JD? I've heard that the LLM hiring market is moribund, but on the other hand another three years of law school does not sound very appealing at all.

Please give me your opinions, and thank you in advance.



[Edit: I'm aware that my chances of biglaw are slim no matter what; I'm just asking which option would give me a relative boost.]

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:13 am

Don't get an LLM. Big law basically shuns LLMs, unless you're something special (e.g., you have language skills they desperately need, or some kind of unique and valuable experience). Of course, not many LLMs have U.S. citizenship, but I doubt that makes much of a difference.

DanDescartes wrote:will my prospects of landing biglaw really be increased that much by getting a JD?

Yes.

DanDescartes wrote:[Edit: I'm aware that my chances of biglaw are slim no matter what; I'm just asking which option would give me a relative boost.]

Not true. If you got into the JD program at HYS, or even CCN, you would be highly likely to get big law. You'd have to badly screw up to fail to get big law from HYS. You would also have a good shot at big law from a lower t14.

If you're a U.S. citizen with a degree from Oxford, they're not going to care much about a British accent.

Also, keep in mind that the LSAT matters more for international students than it does for US students, and it matters a great deal for them. Schools will be impressed by a 1st class honours degree in law from Oxford, but they would be much more impressed by an above-median LSAT score. Americans study for the test for many months - years in some cases - and studying really does make a difference.

DanDescartes
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby DanDescartes » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:37 am

AntipodeanPhil wrote:Also, keep in mind that the LSAT matters more for international students than it does for US students, and it matters a great deal for them. Schools will be impressed by a 1st class honours degree in law from Oxford, but they would be much more impressed by an above-median LSAT score. Americans study for the test for many months - years in some cases - and studying really does make a difference.


Thanks for the advice, AP. So far my PT scores on the LSAT have generally been in the 173-178 range under timed exam conditions... by what factor should I discount the PT scores to get an accurate prediction of what my real score will be? Also, will passing the bar in the UK count for anything when applying to JD programmes? Many thanks for your answers; they are greatly appreciated.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:52 am

DanDescartes wrote:So far my PT scores on the LSAT have generally been in the 173-178 range under timed exam conditions... by what factor should I discount the PT scores to get an accurate prediction of what my real score will be? Also, will passing the bar in the UK count for anything when applying to JD programmes? Many thanks for your answers; they are greatly appreciated.

That was basically my range and I got a 174. But some people seem to do a lot worse on the real thing. My suspicion is that some of the people who do a lot worse aren't taking the practice exams under strict test conditions - with exact timings, only 1 short break, etc. The rest probably let the stress get to them, or have very bad luck.

The law school admissions process in the U.S. really is all about numbers. There are some things beyond numbers that can help a little, but I have no idea if passing the bar in the UK is one of those things. My uninformed guess is that it is not, unless it ties credibly into the story you tell about your career plan in your personal statement (and even then, my guess is that it would help only a very little).

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jselson
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby jselson » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:59 am

DanDescartes wrote:
AntipodeanPhil wrote:Also, keep in mind that the LSAT matters more for international students than it does for US students, and it matters a great deal for them. Schools will be impressed by a 1st class honours degree in law from Oxford, but they would be much more impressed by an above-median LSAT score. Americans study for the test for many months - years in some cases - and studying really does make a difference.


Thanks for the advice, AP. So far my PT scores on the LSAT have generally been in the 173-178 range under timed exam conditions... by what factor should I discount the PT scores to get an accurate prediction of what my real score will be? Also, will passing the bar in the UK count for anything when applying to JD programmes? Many thanks for your answers; they are greatly appreciated.


If you're really doing strict setting and time controls for your PTs (like only one break after the third section, 5 sections rather than 4, etc), and you don't get particularly nervous the day of big tests, just expect your average. The PTs are no different than the real thing. My avg over the last 10 or so PTs was a 176, and I got a 177.

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stuckinthemiddle
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:05 am

Couldn't you just work at a British firm with an American office and then lateral? With your results, you literally have your pick of hundreds of options.

IDK. Going back to school seems like such a weird option given that you have already won the law school game.

DanDescartes
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby DanDescartes » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:26 am

stuckinthemiddle wrote:Couldn't you just work at a British firm with an American office and then lateral? With your results, you literally have your pick of hundreds of options.

IDK. Going back to school seems like such a weird option given that you have already won the law school game.


Well in the UK I'd have to go through the BPTC followed by a pupillage of 12 to 18 months before I can become a fully fledged barrister... if I get one year of advanced standing in an American JD programme, I can get a job right after graduation with a much higher starting salary. Even if I don't get advanced standing, I only lose out by 6 months (and the JD tuition fees, which my parents are generously sponsoring). I'm pretty sure I wanna settle down in the US (for some personal reasons), so I'd rather not take my chances on the possibility of a mid-career lateral.

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loomstate
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby loomstate » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:34 am

you know law school in the US is three years right? im also at Ox btw PM me if you want to meet up

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stuckinthemiddle
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:46 am

Yeah, a JD is three years. I think you're talking about an LLM.

DanDescartes
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby DanDescartes » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:55 am

stuckinthemiddle wrote:Yeah, a JD is three years. I think you're talking about an LLM.


UK: BPTC (1 year) + Pupillage (12 to 18 months) = 2-2.5 years
US: JD = 3 years, 2 if I'm granted advanced standing.

Best case scenario, I save half a year; worst case scenario, I lose out by one year. Largely depends on whether I get advanced standing or not. I've heard that HY offers one year off for UK law grads (Ronald Dworkin got a one year discount on his Harvard degree). The deciding factor is the financial cost, not the temporal one.
Last edited by DanDescartes on Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:24 am

DanDescartes wrote:I've heard that HY offers one year off for UK law grads (Ronald Dworkin got a one year discount on his Harvard degree). The deciding factor is the financial cost, not the temporal one.

I'm fairly confident the very top schools don't do this anymore. I know Y doesn't. There have been some threads about this in the past, and I think the consensus was that Northwestern was the best school that does offer this (and Northwestern offers a 2 year JD to Americans as well). Still, it would be worth emailing admissions offices to be certain.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby JamMasterJ » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:43 am

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
DanDescartes wrote:I've heard that HY offers one year off for UK law grads (Ronald Dworkin got a one year discount on his Harvard degree). The deciding factor is the financial cost, not the temporal one.

I'm fairly confident the very top schools don't do this anymore. I know Y doesn't. There have been some threads about this in the past, and I think the consensus was that Northwestern was the best school that does offer this (and Northwestern offers a 2 year JD to Americans as well). Still, it would be worth emailing admissions offices to be certain.

If I'm reading this right, OP, you're straight through school, in which case, NU won't accept you for the accelerated program.

DanDescartes
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby DanDescartes » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:10 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
DanDescartes wrote:I've heard that HY offers one year off for UK law grads (Ronald Dworkin got a one year discount on his Harvard degree). The deciding factor is the financial cost, not the temporal one.

I'm fairly confident the very top schools don't do this anymore. I know Y doesn't. There have been some threads about this in the past, and I think the consensus was that Northwestern was the best school that does offer this (and Northwestern offers a 2 year JD to Americans as well). Still, it would be worth emailing admissions offices to be certain.


I emailed HLS about it and they said one year of advanced standing was possible but granted on a case-by-case basis. Yale's website said something similar: "Advanced standing for prior law school coursework may be granted on a case-by-case basis. Determinations about advanced standing are made by the Registrar only after the point of admission."

I'm curious about where you got your information that Yale has ceased this arrangement. I hope it's not true. I'll email them to find out.

I honestly wouldn't mind even if I had to go through three years, though. I'm not all that keen on leaving the ivory tower and entering the "real" world.

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loomstate
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby loomstate » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:13 pm

the future donald dworkin ITT yall

DanDescartes
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby DanDescartes » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:25 pm

loomstate wrote:the future donald dworkin ITT yall


No need to be snarky; was just giving an example of someone who got advanced standing due to prior coursework in the UK. If I'm not mistaken Senator Russ Feingold did the same thing.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:15 pm

DanDescartes wrote:I'm curious about where you got your information that Yale has ceased this arrangement. I hope it's not true. I'll email them to find out.

I'm not sure if you'd want to do a 2 year JD, even if you could. You couldn't do OCI until after your first year, and at that point you'd only be one year from graduation. Firms generally hire two years in advance (ignoring the almost-non-existent 3L job market), so they'd have to make you a special case. And I'd be worried about firms being sceptical of you, as someone with less education in the US system than every other candidate they would be considering.
Last edited by AntipodeanPhil on Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

DanDescartes
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Re: JD or LLM for Britbro?

Postby DanDescartes » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:45 am

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
DanDescartes wrote:I'm curious about where you got your information that Yale has ceased this arrangement. I hope it's not true. I'll email them to find out.

I know a few international JD students with foreign law degrees at Yale, and they're in the three-year program. Still, I never actually asked any of them if they applied for advance standing, I just assumed they would have if they could have.


Could it possibly be because they were not from common law jurisdictions?




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