Law School Discussion

L.L.M. in Law and Government: Is it beneficial?

L.L.M. in Law and Government: Is it beneficial?
« on: October 05, 2009, 07:48:13 PM »
I'm at a law school in the lower part of the T2.  Like everyone else, I'm scared of finding work.  I'm also pretty against the idea of hanging my own shingle or working for a small firm in a small town.  I just don't think that life would be fulfilling.  I looked into the Law and Government LLM at American or GW and it looks great.  However, I'm not sure if it would lead to anything.  I'm most interested in policy type work.  Does anyone have any advice?


Re: L.L.M. in Law and Government: Is it beneficial?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2009, 09:34:42 PM »

What are your specific or targeted career interests?  The program would be most beneficial if the institutions have established/strategic links with prospective employers, particularly in federal government and NGO's in the DC area.  If you could, examine the achievements of the program's graduates, and what careers they transitioned into after they received the LLM.  Also, if you have the funds to pay for the program, studying for a year in DC could be an ideal platform to make contacts, intern, establish relationships, and build a presence in DC that could lead to work - this could be more valuable than the degree itself. 

Where do you study law currently, and where do you rank.  Please email me directly,

Kal, Write Track Admissions

Re: L.L.M. in Law and Government: Is it beneficial?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2009, 11:38:31 AM »
For anyone else who might reply, the answers to the above post are as follows:

I go to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  I'm in the top quarter.  I'd like to work at some place like ADF, ACLJ, Heritage, etc. 

Re: L.L.M. in Law and Government: Is it beneficial?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2009, 03:12:09 PM »
I'd advise against doing that LLM. That program is basically a cash cow for those law schools and it is highly likely that it will not lead to any employment opportunities of the type you want. The places you mentioned do not hire very often. Once in a blue moon they will look for attorneys with several years of relevant experience, Ivy League + Federal Clerkship types, or they will have some kind of very competitive fellowship program for fresh grads.

While interning in DC seems like a great idea, the notion that it could lead to some type of employment for you is probably false. There are a TON of people flocking to DC right now in the hopes of doing policy/govt/non-profit/etc work. Most of them have better schools on their resumes, and/or better work experience, and/or got better grades in law school than you did. The pool is just too competitive (even in a good economy) and you're not going to be able to hack it.

If you want to do govt/policy work, try to get a job with state government in your state. Look at the governor's office, state legislature, local city government, etc. Try doing some campaign work maybe. Consider non-legal or quasi-legal work. You'll either end up working for free or will get paid even less than you would at a small town small firm, but at least you'll get to do the work you want and amass some work experience.

Re: L.L.M. in Law and Government: Is it beneficial?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2009, 09:40:19 AM »
I realize I'm not at a top school, but I'm not at a bad one either. Plus, that's kind of the idea behind the L.L.M:  to put a more highly regarded school on my resume. I've already done a fellowship at one of these organizations, so I have a background with them. I refuse to believe that simply going to a mid-level school reduces you to mediocrity for the rest of your life.

With that said, what do you base this opinion on?  Are you in this field?  Do you work in the DC market?  I don't mean to doubt you, I just want to know the situation of the person giving me advice.

Re: L.L.M. in Law and Government: Is it beneficial?
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2009, 11:31:00 AM »
Scooby, feel free to PM me if you want to get into specifics.

I never said you were doomed to mediocrity. There is nothing inherently mediocre about working in state govt. Lots of grads from all types of schools do. Also, where you start isn't the same thing as where you finish. However, coming out of a school like yours with no mention of substantial work experience or anything else that separates you from the horde of students seeking work in DC (who all think they're special), I believe I gave you a fairly realistic assessment. I also stand behind my statement that these LLM programs are cash cows for the schools and nothing more. Like I said, your best bet is probably to seek work in your home state or AR, get some substantial experience and then try to move to the Federal/DC level.

If you want to see what kind of odds you are up against for Fed Govt. positions take a look at this:

Your school career office should be able to get you a password. Note that the app pool for these jobs has increased quite a bit since the stats in the handbook were published.