Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stop Exploiting Foreign LLM Students

As we all know, law schools are reporting misleading statistics (especially regarding employment) in order to convince students to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars obtaining a law degree.  This leaves many students with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and no job or any other realistic way of paying off the loan.  For those that do get a job, they can look forward to a lifetime of crushing debt - for example, if they owe $200K at an average interest rate of 8% (which is pretty realistic for a law school with a $40K/year tuition) then the first $16K/year that they pay goes to only pay interest - if they are in the 28% bracket, that means that the first $22K they earn goes to loans.

That's bad - but it could be even worse.  Imagine that the promises were even higher - this misleading statistics even worse - and the debt even more insurmountable.  That's the reality for most foreign LLM students. 

Law schools seem to have become more aggressive in recruiting foreign LLM students these days.  There is certainly an increase in the number of students.  The law schools also routinely sell to the foreign students the idea that there will be jobs waiting in America as soon as they get the degree.  Some law schools have become aggressive enough to start sending delegations to Asian countries to attempt to recruit students.

One big problem that many LLM students face is that they will be competing with US JD students and unless they can find a very specific job that allows them to leverage their specific skill (like an immigration lawyer serving immigrants from their country), then the LLM student is going to be at a great disadvantage.  More specifically, I am not talking about LLM students from English-speaking countries like the UK, Canada, or Australia - they have some disadvantage, but not that much.  I am more referring to the increasing number of LLM students from non-English speaking countries like China.

Even more frighteningly, I have begun to encounter more and more LLM students who have a very poor grasp of the English language.  For some, they have difficulty even carrying on a conversation.  For many, their writing does not make grammatical sense at all.  However, these students seem to believe that they will be able to successfully compete with American JDs who are typically much, much better at spoken and written English.  They seem to believe that someone will hire them as a lawyer even though they can barely speak or write English.  I get the feeling that American law schools are lowering their requirements and seeking to increase their number of foreign LLM students as a profit center for the law school and have sold the foreign LLM students a very unrealistic vision.

Potential LLM students - don't believe them that all you need is to pass the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and you will be fine.  Instead, you will be at a great disadvantage to US JDs because clients want their lawyer to be able to speak and write clearly - and law firms only want lawyers who can speak and write English clearly.  Seriously.  Dump your ego.  I know several LLM students who think their English skills are top notch, but they have difficulty speaking and writing.  Here's the test - do you speak English as well as the lawyers on TV - ALL THE TIME?  If not, then you will be at a disadvantage to US-born JDs who do speak and write that well.

The LLM students are really getting a bum deal because they are not familiar with the principles of "Caveat Emptor" when it comes to law schools - they have been trained to believe and not question statistics given to them by people in power.  Consequently, they don't question, they drink the kool-aid, and the law schools get to exploit them.

Now here's the tough part.  The overwhelming majority of foreign LLM students are not able to find a job in America and consequently they end up going back to their home country - I would say that the percentage that are unable to obtain a job as a US lawyer is greater than 90%.  The down side is that salaries in China (for example) are nowhere near where they are in the US.  For example, the average US salary is around $40K, but the average Chinese salary, even in the urban areas, is really only around $10K.  Now consider the fact that the law students owe $100K on their loans.  At 8%, if they only paid the interest it would pretty much wipe them out.  (Most of them would not qualify for lower-cost federal student loans because they are foreign nationals.)  It is unlikely that they will ever be able to pay off their loans working in China. 

I would like to assert that it is disingenuous of the law schools to be going after foreign LLM students in today's market.  It's disingenuous to go after regular JD students based on misleading job statistics, but it is even more disingenuous to go after foreign LLM students (using even more disingenuous statistics) who have an even worse chance of getting a US law firm job.

If you are a potential LLM student (especially one from a non-English speaking country like China) thinking that you might get a job in the US market - here's a word of advice:  It's not going to happen.   Instead there is a huge mismatch between the number of graduating JDs and the available jobs.  Also - guess what - as a foreign LLM, you will get hired LAST by just about all law firms.  Getting your LLM in the US at this time is NOT a winning scenario.

34 comments:

  1. 1) Excellent article, but if the key audience for this message cannot comfortably read English, the message won't be getting through to them. Perhaps you should look at having this piece translated and disseminated more widely.

    2) If a Chinese (or another foreign) national defaults on a student loan to a US bank, is there realistically any recourse by the bank?

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  2. @947:

    Often foreign students get private loans in their own country or have a co-signer in the United States. IIRC, they're ineligible for federal loans.

    I don't know what the value of an American LLM in overseas, but I do know a lot of people from Europe and China come here and then go back home. But the ones who think there's anything waiting for them in the US are being severely duped. I've had some classes with foreign, non-English LLMs and I'd agree on the language thing. They also don't have any natural familiarity with American political systems, which can be a big problem. They're very very bright people, but law is not medicine or engineering.

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  3. 9:47 - You are right with regard to the translation, but I don't really know how to get that done. How about this - If anyone wishes to translate the above post into Chinese and re-post it where Chinese potential LLM students would see it, you have my permission to do so. Just include a link to this site, please!

    Also, one of the things that made me want to do this post is that I noticed that my international page views have increased to about 25% recently. I thought the increase might be due to people considering a LLM.

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  4. J-Dog - Yep, it's also my understanding that non-US citizens can't get federal student loans. With regard to bank recourse, it will depend on the country. My understanding is that you primarily have two types of banks in many countries - local-owned (which tend to be smaller) and the local branches of the megabanks like Citibanks, Bank of America, etc. From talking with some LLM students, I understand that the local-owned banks typically don't want to provide student loans - especially for attentind foreign schools. On the other hand, if they can get a loan from a megabank, then that is prety much going to follow them around for as long as possible. Also, recognize that many foreign countries don't have the protection for debtors that we have in this country. Also, loans may not be considered as "personal" as we think of them in that the banks may feel justified collecting on the assets of the family - including real estate or any national benefits.

    J-Dog - I also have to agree with your comments about the language and political system lack of knowledge. It's a big factor. I really hate to see smart people having to go home in disgrace because they were swindeled into thinking that there were ready opportunities in the US.

    Listen foreign students - although it is rare where you come from for anyone to have a law degree, it is MUCH more common in the US and the opportunities are not there for you.

    Medicine or engineering (especially engineering) would be a MUCH better choice.

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  5. I left Big Law a few years ago and frequently worked with first rate engineers from numerous disclipines on my clients' projects. I also recently served as hiring manager for several engineering spots within my current renewable energy company. I can attest that the market is abysmal for engineers. One job post brought in upwards of 400 resumes in a week! Most of my former engineer colleagues are currently unemployed or have excepted take-it-or-leave-it type jobs. Do not go into engineering.

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  6. It seems like everybody is screwed except the banks/lenders and the higher education industry.

    Too bad the average person refuses to blame either industry for anything. If enough people got annoyed maybe we could take these bottom feeders out of the equation.

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  7. 1:17 - That's interesting. I have several relatives that are in engineering - including one who just graduated in 2010. They don't seem to be having much trouble and they report that the market is no where near as bad as it was during the dot com crash.

    So which seems like the best bet to you - in terms of greatest odds of being hired - law, medicine, or engineering?

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  8. 9:26 - I can sense and appreciate your frustration and I can certainly see being angry at the higher education industry. However, I think that there is someone even better to be angry about - your government. When I was in college in 1990, I went to a state school and the tuition was less than $2K/semester - now it is approaching $8K/semester (if it had risen at the rate of inflation, it would be only about $3K).

    State schools were supposed to be there to help middle class people get a high-quality, low-cost education - and to benefit society by having a better-educated worker pool. However, states have withdrawn almost all of their support from state schools and today's students are stuck with debt.

    If I were 20 today, I would be incredibly pissed about how the government has bankrupted itself providing every possible benefit to the baby boomers and today's 20-year-olds are going to get stuck with the bill.

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  9. I kind of agree with you that LLM graduated from China have the disadvantage of get a job in US. But I don’t think their English is as bad as you think; all the law schools requirements non-English based student to score TOEFL over 600, which consider a good grade, so how bad can they be? They may not speak good English as British or American, it is because they don’t have do speak it everyday. So I don’t think this article need to translation to Chinese, they understand it perfectly.

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  10. Yes, I mostly agree with your article. There's almost no possibility for LLM student getting a legal job in the US. But they surely can understand what the article talking about. I am a LLM student in the US and I think I and my LLM friends have no difficulty to understand it. And yes, you are correct, the JD students have 25 years or more to practice English naturally every day while LLM students do not have many chance to practice English even though they study in the US. Law schools advertised beautifully about their LLM program to make sure they get some big additional funds from foreign students annually.

    About the question of why non-English student still wanted to attend the LLM program, you guys come to visit Asia, live as Asian live, think as Asian think, immerse to Asian life, open your eyes and you will find out the answer!

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  11. This article is certainly interesting! However you should consider the point of view of a LLM student. I finished my LLM in the US 3 months ago. I'm from Latin America, and I speak Spanish, French and let’s say a little bit English. Right now I just started my OPT (Optional practical Training) in one really good law office with offices in 5 states and other countries. My job is really hard, but I’m learning a lot.
    After I finish my practice (in 12 months) I'm planning to go back to my country, where a LLM is very valuable.
    Although I know you are right about many things in your article, I wouldn't change my decision of coming here to do my LLM.
    Now, I would like to give my advice as an International lawyer to all American JD. Guys, don't waste your money! don't go to law school. Seriously, US is full of lawyers! you won't find a job easily. The US economy is not the best right now, and If you speak just English, you won’t be able to look for opportunities out of your country. Also here in the US if you want to work in international law, you should be able to communicate with others besides Americans. If you want to have something extra to offer to an employer, I would suggest to you to take classes in Spanish, German, French, mandarin, Italian, Portuguese, etc! Now if you don't have a useful bachelor degree, don’t waste your time going to law school!!.
    Finally, if you have the opportunity to share some time with a LLM, instead of being worried for his English, I would suggest you to think further.
    We are more than a simple JD. We finished law school before you guys, we are lawyers! . We work in best law offices in the world and in the biggest international companies.
    We may be the right person to help you to get a better job later. You may not see that right now, but later, after you finish your law school, you will be able to understand what I'm talking about.

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    Replies
    1. I believe that this article was more for the Chinese students.I met many of them in that situation. I'm also from South American and I just finished my LL.M. Because, I'm naturalized I already received some job offers, but off course working with my own community. Also, I'm applying for a federal job to get part of my "huge loan" forgiven . Most of my LL.M colleagues either transferred to the J.D program or went back to their countries cause they couldn't find a job or after OPT they didn't get hired. From a class of 50, so far only 2 of them passed the NY bar (not even half tried). I really agree with a lot things that you said, and if we ever would be able to offer jobs to JDs it would be a pleasure, cause I met great Americans from law school who were barely affording a place to live but were full of expectations.

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  12. This article is certainly interesting! However you should consider the point of view of a LLM student. I finished my LLM in the US 3 months ago. I'm from Latin America, and I speak Spanish, French and let’s say a little bit English. Right now I just started my OPT (Optional practical Training) in one really good law office with offices in 5 states and other countries. My job is really hard, but I’m learning a lot.
    After I finish my practice (in 12 months) I'm planning to go back to my country, where a LLM is very valuable.
    Although I know you are right about many things in your article, I wouldn't change my decision of coming here to do my LLM.
    Now, I would like to give my advice as an International lawyer to all American JD. Guys, don't waste your money! don't go to law school. Seriously, US is full of lawyers! you won't find a job easily. The US economy is not the best right now, and If you speak just English, you won’t be able to look for opportunities out of your country. Also here in the US if you want to work in international law, you should be able to communicate with others besides Americans. If you want to have something extra to offer to an employer, I would suggest to you to take classes in Spanish, German, French, mandarin, Italian, Portuguese, etc! Now if you don't have a useful bachelor degree, don’t waste your time going to law school!!.
    Finally, if you have the opportunity to share some time with a LLM, instead of being worried for his English, I would suggest you to think further.
    We are more than a simple JD. We finished law school before you guys, we are lawyers! . We work in best law offices in the world and in the biggest international companies.
    We may be the right person to help you to get a better job later. You may not see that right now, but later, after you finish your law school, you will be able to understand what I'm talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This article is certainly interesting! However you should consider the point of view of a LLM student. I finished my LLM in the US 3 months ago. I'm from Latin America, and I speak Spanish, French and let’s say a little bit English. Right now I just started my OPT (Optional practical Training) in one really good law office with offices in 5 states and other countries. My job is really hard, but I’m learning a lot.
    After I finish my practice (in 12 months) I'm planning to go back to my country, where a LLM is very valuable.
    Although I know you are right about many things in your article, I wouldn't change my decision of coming here to do my LLM.
    Now, I would like to give my advice as an International lawyer to all American JD. Guys, don't waste your money! don't go to law school. Seriously, US is full of lawyers! you won't find a job easily. The US economy is not the best right now, and If you speak just English, you won’t be able to look for opportunities out of your country. Also here in the US if you want to work in international law, you should be able to communicate with others besides Americans. If you want to have something extra to offer to an employer, I would suggest to you to take classes in Spanish, German, French, mandarin, Italian, Portuguese, etc! Now if you don't have a useful bachelor degree, don’t waste your time going to law school!!.
    Finally, if you have the opportunity to share some time with a LLM, instead of being worried for his English, I would suggest you to think further.
    We are more than a simple JD. We finished law school before you guys, we are lawyers! . We work in best law offices in the world and in the biggest international companies.
    We may be the right person to help you to get a better job later. You may not see that right now, but later, after you finish your law school, you will be able to understand what I'm talking about.

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  14. A big "thank-you" to the foreign JDs for posting addition insight! It seems like we agree that getting an LLM is probably not a good route to practice in the US (although it may help returning LLM students.)

    Two other thoughts occur to me:
    1) There are a lot of pre-law students who say that they are going to go into "international law". However, those students should realize that these foreign LLM students typically out-skill you with their knowledge of multiple languges, cultures, and contacts. The US JD student will be competing with foreign LLM students with more experience - not a winning situation.
    2) It seems like the LLM commentors believe that a high percentage of the LLM students go back to good jobs at home. I wonder if there is any data on this? Personally, I know that I have talked to a number of LLM students in recent years who believed that the LLM was a route to practice in the US (who had been sold that idea by law schools).

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  15. I have worked in law firms in China and have met many of the attorneys that come to the US to get LLMs and I must agree with most of what is posted here. Chinese student's writing skills are, for the most part, awful. They are able to score well on the TOELF through rigorous study programs where the focus is not on becoming stronger in English but to do well on the test. Even with the language issue aside, the legal training in China leaves much to be desired, even at the more prestigious universities like Beida (Peaking University). Most law students are great at memorizing volumes of laws and decisions but their ability to adapt and think outside the box is severely lacking. Additionally, few of them have mastered the art of interpersonal communication to the level that they could gain the confidence of prospective clients.

    I would add that many US schools are instituting a sort of grade inflation with foreign LLMs. I have heard stories of law schools (cough… Case Western) giving international students extra time and even tutoring in order to make them competitive with their classmates. To expect these students to then go out into the world, without these advantages, is pure fantasy. Where law schools do not coddle their foreign students, they often use them to inflate the JD student’s GPAs by including the foreign students in the class curve.

    Now that being said, it you are a foreign LLM student where your specialty would benefit from your knowledge of foreign laws (immigration, intellectual property, international transactional law) then a LLM might not be so bad a deal if you work your ass off networking. On that same note, foreign students really need to go to a school that has a lot of contacts in the area of their specialty. Once you do that, they need to get a job in any legal environment just to prove they can do the work and can adapt to the American legal environment. Oh, then they must go and pass the NY or California Bar, two of the hardest in the nation.

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  16. Great article and it has conjured up a lot of emotion for me!

    I can understand your frustration at the legal school system since there are lots of hyped advertising. But, I don't think that you should blame the system but the students who haven't done the necessary research before hand and also didn't have a backup plan if it didn't work out. Nothing in this world is guaranteed.

    With an LLM, one doesn't have to work at a top law firm as you assert to be successful. You can work anywhere since the education of law is a mindset and not a guarantee to legal or financial success. If someone really wanted to get a LLM, it shouldn't matter how much money they make but more of how much they have learned and how much of a difference they can make with this knowledge/education.

    Also, as someone else noted, a US LLM is not for most to live in the US. It is for the foreign lawyer, judge, legal professor et al, to return to their country with a better perspective of the US system so that they can use it in their home country or anywhere else in the world. After all, the legal system doesn't revolve only around the US and big law firms aren't only in the US.

    Contrary to your assertion, foreign lawyers with US LLMs can and do make much more and live significantly better than their US JD counterpart in lots of cases - that's if this is the measurement of success. The biggest disadvantage that US JD's have is that they only know one language (English) thus they are disadvantaged to foreign LLMs who for the most part know at least 2 languages (English included since they had to take the TOEFL - ha!)

    Most lawyers in other countries were lawyers long before any US JD (age wise) and their admission to law school was probably more stringent than US law schools. The main reason is that there are hundreds of law schools in the US that really have no value and will let anyone in without any real merit.

    While in other countries, you have to be at the top of your class and have passed the required entrance exam with extremely high scores after high school to be accepted. Here, we have to obtain a Bachelors first before even qualifying in most cases. Thus, we have 4 or more years of college level studying experience, writing skills, and age over them before we enter law schools while they usually enter in their teenage years!

    Also, there are tons of "prep" courses to take here in the US to pass the LSAT and Bar exam which doesn't exist in other countries - if you want to point out a scam, why not finger the prep course companies and Bar associations too?

    If you really want to understand what a US LLM does for a foreign legal professional, why not visit a foreign law firm's, foreign law school's, or a regulatory body's website and see what the credentials are of the head people there? You'll notice that a lot of them have LLMs from law schools outside of their country and are admitted to Bars elsewhere in some cases.

    If you really want to understand, try taking an LLM in another country with a language quite different to yours. And, on top of that, imagine living in that country for 1 year without fully understanding the language or culture. You'll then understand how much of an eye opener it will be. Just try to imagine how much you'll learn in one year!

    Like any degree, an LLM is just a stepping stone. You just have to be prepared and understand how it will help you. It is like any other masters degree from any school or any degree for that matter. And, there is no need to fantasize about what it will do for you.

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  17. 1:45 - Thanks for the insight! I think that we agree that getting an LLM is not a path to a US job for a foreign student. However, you assert that having a US LLM can be useful in the home country. I agree that it certainly can be useful in some cases - however, I wonder how many cases and I wonder about the financial payoff, especially considering the very high (and increasing) expense of the LLM and the often very modest salary in some foreign countries compared to the LLM cost.

    Unfortunately, I don't have good information about the payoff for the LLM back in the student's home country - and I really wonder if anyone does. Unfortunately, in situations where data is not certain, law schools have not shown any restraint in marketing their product as a wonderful investment for students, even if the potential payoff is negligible or negative.

    Law schools are going to keep "selling" the LLM because they want the money. It seems like we agree that the aspect of their sales pitch that "the LLM will allow most of you to practice in the US" is pretty much not true. However, the aspect of their sales pitch of "the LLM may help you once you return to your home country - and it will be worth the price you paid" is currently unknown. It may be true in some cases, but is it true for most? I don't have any hard data one way or the other.

    As for your comments about living in another country being an eye-opener, I agree! However, you don't have to pay a law school $40K just to go live in another country for a year.

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  18. Yes, I agree with you that an LLM as a road to US employment has no guarantee. However, for the foreign lawyer who now lives in the US but cannot get decent work because we don't know/recognize their school, it's a path to more opportunities since their qualification is now validated since he/she now has US credentials.

    Just imagine what an LLM from a top notch law school can do for you? Even just for the connections and admittance to the exclusive clubs in NYC? As a close friend told me recently, "after leaving Harvard on a 1 year program, I now have connections and access to people that I would never have gotten if I didn't go there. The $45k was well worth it!"

    As for living in another country for another year, for us Americans, it's quite easy. We just get up and go anywhere. We are in a very fortunate situation than most in the world!

    For foreigners, it's almost impossible to get a visa to come to the US. I think that there are only 4 US embassies in Brazil which has ~200 million people and a land mass equal to or larger than the US (minus Alaska). And, unlike the Brazilian embassy in NY, you can't send someone to get the visa for you! You have to be interviewed in that office in your country to get a visa which can take years!

    Just imagine how long it would take a Brazilian to get a visitor's visa (much less a permanent visa) to get to the US! As a reference point, imagine if you had to drive from CA to NY to get a visa and then get turned down on the first 2 tries over 2 or 3 years! That is the norm for a lot of Brazilians even the rich.

    The LLM offers the foreign legal professional an option to be educated for 1 year and then an additional 1 year for an OPT (One year Practical Training). In short, student visas, especially for graduate schools are very easy to get almost anywhere. Thus, in essence, these LLMs get 2 years in the US.

    As for hard data as if this helps in the long run, I don't know if there is any as yet and, of course, you can't trust the law schools to give you real/factual data ;) However, from the people I know or I've read about who have taken their LLM here in the US, they have returned home in higher roles than they had before they left.

    Look at the credentials of the lawyers/partners at these sites:
    Argentina:
    www . alfarolaw . com/ing/members.shtml#

    Brazil:
    www . pinheironeto . com . br/socios.php

    You will notice that a lot of them have external degrees or further education and the majority who do have US credentials.

    Thus, if you view the LLM as another masters degree (but more exclusive than an MBA since anyone can get an MBA), you'll realize that it's worth getting for the foreign legal professional.

    And, since we're on MBAs, just realize that an LLM from a top 10 law school is a fraction of the cost of a top 10 MBA school! The last time I checked, an MBA from any top notch school was well over $150k (+ 2 years opportunity cost) while the LLM was only $50k (+ 1 year opportunity cost)!

    Also, anyone with any degree can get into an MBA program. But, you have to be a lawyer and Bar admitted in your country before you can even qualify to apply to a top notch law school for an LLM in the US.

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  19. cont'd

    So, in short, that $50k now looks like a bargain compared to the MBA :)) As a close friend who went to the best (arguably) business school in the US told me, "You don't need to work to hard to get the [MBA] degree. You just need to get in and then make the right connections. After that, you are golden especially since my school doesn't allow employers to see our grades." :)) Thus, getting the LMM can be viewed as a cost to get connections which you'll do in the real world anyway ;)

    If GW Bush could get into HBS (Harvard) with a C average, anyone can get into any business school! And, I actually know someone who had a C average too who got into CBS (Columbia) MBA :)) On top of that, almost everyone I speak to lately who is in grad school is doing an MBA (on campus or online)!

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  20. BTW, I have no affiliation with any LLM program or school. This is solely my view regardless of how misconstrued it is.

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  21. Hi Anonymous,
    Agreed - it's cheaper for the LLM than MBA. Agreed - it's one fairly easy way to get 2 years in the US. Agreed - It *may* be beneficial for those who return home, good data is not available. It also seems like you agree that the LLM is not a good route to getting a job in the US - which was really my main point.

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  22. Yes, we are closer to the same page now :) However, the LLM can be a route for some people but definitely not for all.

    1. This is good for the person who has moved to the US and need to validate their credentials so as to be properly employed here,
    2. This is route to gain contacts, and
    3. This is a possibility to convert an OPT to permanent employment if they decide to stay and prove themselves "worthy"

    And, I definitely agree that it is disingenuous for the schools to assert that you'll get a job in the US with the degree. But, it can open doors that you'd never have access to before the degree depending on the school and the contacts you make while there.

    My key point though is that it makes sense to attend a top rated school. This applies to any [law] degree for that matter.

    As a background though, I know or know of a few foreign lawyers/judges who have moved to the US to live because of love/marriage and would like to find decent work here. However, their degree isn't valid nor recognized here which only affords them to take menial jobs or become home makers. Thus, getting the LLM and passing the Bar validates their credentials to get decent (albeit proper) work here.

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  23. 12:13 - Thanks for the info and insight!

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  24. Most you guys here are very small minded. I have an LLM here in the States after studying and trained in England as a lawyer. I passed the bar here and I'm doing great with a firm in New York City. I have an edge over a JD who doesn't have background like a training from England. Mind you, I'm of an African origin.

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  25. Great blog!

    I truly appreciate the content of your blog..... Keep going

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  26. I came from Africa and got my LL.M here in the States. I have taken couple of classes with JD students who are only good at slang, which doesn't add any value to a resume law firms are looking for. While I published at least three articles during my LL.M time, the self-professing good English speakers of my class mates ended-up being my mentee. You ask me where I am right now? Just offered a position as a visiting scholar of international law in one of the best and top 25 law school in the nation. So, relax!

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  27. This article has been posted in the middle of 2011. so I am not 100% sure whether someone would check my comments out or not but I mostly agree with the idea of the one who asserted that the majority of foreign LLM stduents were already admitted as lawyer or passed the Bar in their nation and have minumum experiences in the field of law. Therefore "worthless" LLM degree could be a leverage for the lawyers or judges who already have background and refuge to return in their home country. For example, in republic of korea - the country barely finds foreigners who fluent in spoken and written Korean -, most of prestigious law firm members have persued the LLM degree after they passed the Korean bar (bar pass rate is less than 10% and avg 5 study years to pass the bar). Because they noticed that how well you understand the US law and how well you speak fluent both in spoken and written English is much more important than how much you cram korean law articles to success in such a US law centered business world.(korean litigation fields is heavily saturated as lawschool system established in 2008 and in the field of transaction, English ability and the comphrensive knowledge of the US law is literally "basic". Then, all you american guys care about is just Salary?(I get the feeling that All you guys care is just money... like most of Americans) Well, in Korea, according to the statistic, 1st yr junior Associate in big korean law firm earns approximately $120K. You guy might want to scorn that like "you got into the big law firm and worked ass off like 18hr a day then you got $120K??, Koreans are idiot!!". But you just got into the trap. Compare New york with Seoul. the cost of living and rent gap between two cities are not comparable with...if you are penny pincher, you can live Seoul with $1,000 including spacious housing and humble dinner. But, living in New york? that's needless to say... BTW, check with the site i attached. You will find the FACTs of LLM for the most of foreign students.
    http://www.kimchang.com/frame2.jsp?lang=2

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  28. Ah, I forgot about it, when you got into Big law firm in Korea and work 5-6 yrs straight then firm send you and your family a LLM course paying tuition and living costs to compensate your hard work and loyalty.(but after 2008...this unique culture is getting disappeared though... anyway is it helpful to raise your understanding about the foreign LLM students from ASIA?? Come and take opportunity in Asian country. Asian Country will give you much much more attractive benefits than you stuck in america and never try to look and understand your true neighborhood. If you have a JD and you are native English speaker? then you could be anything in this fantastic world. Don't stuck in your own country and culture. Look outside of the wall! there's hundreds of thousands of jobs and opportunities you never dreamed of.. Good luck! Smartest US lawyers!

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  29. I agree with the article. Especially for NYC. We have 12,000 students attempting the bar exam 2x a year with a 70% average pass rate. The pass rate for LLMs is only 30%. The number of unemployed lawyers excluding LLMs is already extremely high here in the city and 99% of the LLMs have to return to their home country because they can't find a job here.

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  30. For those who are finding a good employer that can help you to have a stable job. You can try this job searching website Australia because I found a lot of job vacancies there.

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