Every once in a while, you get a post on www.Jdunderground.com on whether (s)he should get an LLM. My first two reactions are always this:“So, you can’t find a job?" and, "Are you trying to hide from your loans?” I can understand this. I have used these excuses. These are the top reasons people goto grad school/Law School. Generally, we are taught that furthering education will pay out in the end. This is not necessarily the case here. With an LLM, it doesn’t work out well in the end. Putting this aside. Let me ask you a basic question. What extra privilege does an LLM give you above a regular JD? None! So why get it:
a)If you are a foreign-trained attorney. NYU has a LLM program for foreign trained to meet the educational requirement for a US license. Can you say Nigerians?
b)If you want to teach at a Law School and haven’t clerked for an U.S. Federal Appeals Court.
c)If you are considered getting state board certified in a legal specialty, e.g. Tax.
d)If you are considering a back door into BIGLAW. In the past, there has been some discussion on bulletin boards on using a top ranked LLM in Taxation to slip into BIGLAW. It is true, some people have used this technique effectively. Recently, though, this technique has been failing.
Lets face it, LLMs are a lot of time and money. To use it to gain employment? The LLM have not proven to be an effective method. To use it to gain experience? Most attorneys to get their experience from mentors, from volunteer work, from struggling with practice manuals, or from taking CLEs. To use it to gain board certification? It is true some states require an LLM for board certification. Nonetheless, most attorneys, unlike physicians, don’t even consider board certification. Can you say increased malpractice insurance?
I practice Tax and am constantly asked if I have an LLM in Tax. I don’t. I have an undergraduate in Acctg, an EA, and a JD. In my small practice it has not mattered. Competition from cut-rate shops in India has effected me more than not having an LLM. Sorry to digress. For Tax Career advice see www.taxtalent.com. Consider the above before putting down another $50K for an LLM.