Making the Shift from Local to International Legal Matters: How an LL.M in U.S. Law Can Help
Many lawyers are able to have robust and fulfilling careers without ever having to work on matters that involve parties outside their own national borders.
But modern practice, especially when representing large corporate entities, involves a great deal of transnational work. And as the business world has grown more comfortable working across national boundaries, lawyers have had to adapt to meet the new demands created by these activities.
For lawyers residing outside the U.S. that intend to serve this increasingly international clientele, an LL.M. in United States law can open doors.
As you likely know, legal systems in countries around the world are not all founded on the same structures and principles. While the laws of your home country may be based on civil law, which is codified into statutes, the U.S. legal system largely employs common law. In a common law jurisdiction, legal precedent is created by the decisions of judges, which are continuously published throughout each year. In order to represent clients that are interacting with parties in the U.S., or that are conducting their own activities there, it is extraordinarily helpful to have a basic understanding of the U.S. legal system.
An LL.M. in U.S. law covers the fundamental topics that will allow you to understand the U.S. legal system, from how to research law, to how lawsuits proceed, to the main legal concerns of U.S. business entities. With this knowledge and the LL.M. degree, you will become much more attractive to top-level law firms and clients, and will be able to provide legal advice in a wide variety of situations regarding matters outside the borders of your home country.
Along with the broader variety of matters you will have the skills to handle, you will also gain valuable expertise in interacting with people in the U.S. Over the course of the year or two it typically takes to earn an LL.M., through your coursework and working with your classmates, you will improve your speaking, writing, and interpersonal skills. This cultural expertise is highly desirable to employers and international clients. For these reasons, an LL.M. is one of the most effective steps to take toward working on international matters and transactions.