My experience at The University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

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Why an LL.M. degree

An LL.M. degree is quickly becoming a prerequisite for any lawyer or any law student aiming to work in an international law firm or in a large company dealing with international clients. For some specialties, such as intellectual property where exchanges happen on an international basis, the use of a foreign language, most specifically English is a must that is required since most clients or companies use it on a daily basis.

For me the LLM degree was the achievement of my studies, as a graduate from the Masters in Bilingual studies in French and Common Law from Paris 10 Nanterre. I already had some knowledge of the English legal system and a high level of language skills but I never had spent any long time in an English speaking country before applying to an LLM Degree.


Why the LL.M. in Media Law, Policy and Practice

Since my aim was to work in a field where both Intellectual Property and the Media Industry were involved I tried to limit my choices around the universities that proposed LLMs centered on this specialty. So I had to choose between general Intellectual Property Law LLMs and some LLMs that proposed lectures on IT Law or Media Law.

From a practical standpoint in order to apply to any LLM degree you have to prepare yourself at least a year in advance with transcripts of your academic years, results from a language test, translations of your diplomas, letters of recommendation and the final and most essential piece which is a personal statement of your motivation to enter the degree.

 I eventually chose an LLM in Media Law, Policy and Practice from the University of East Anglia in Norwich located 200km northeast of London.

Even though I know that most people are attracted towards big cities such as London, Edinburgh or Glasgow. The fact that I was in a small city had some advantages such as cheaper lodging, transportation while still having the chance to experience my international experiences with students coming from all quarters of the globe as well as the typical feel of a true English city.


An LL.M. : an academic and personal experience

From an academic point of view an LLM degree resembles the kind of experience that you get from a Master 2. Nevertheless the workload and the methods are a lot different than those of French universities, there are almost no lectures and all courses are based on exchanges between the professor and the students.

All lectures have to be prepared in advance from the required reading on the subject to be dealt with in the session. As for exams they are much more based on a thought process rather than a strict knowledge of the lectures, and most courses are graded on coursework which are papers to finish at the end of the semester and the dissertation which is a longer piece on a subject of our choosing. 

By doing an LLM degree I had the chance to experience in person a different legal system, work with people of different cultural and legal background. It is both a personal and academic experience that is valuable on a resume and in an interview where your interviewer will know that you have language skills as well as personal skills and the capacity to adapt to a foreign situation which is a valuable asset in any company or law firm.


My life after the LL.M.

When I came back home with my LLM and my masters in hand I still felt that I was lacking something. Even though I had a deep understanding of English Intellectual Property and Media Law I still felt that I lacked professional experience.

Therefore I applied for a specialized Masters 2 in Lyon which gave me the chance to intern in the International Acquisitions department of a large production company where I could apply my knowledge of the language and the law.

Even with this experience I had trouble finding a job therefore I am at the moment passing my oral exams for the entrance into bar school and hopefully become a lawyer in an international firm or dealing with international clients.

Mickaël Rigault


For further information on the LL.M. in Media Law, Policy and Practice from the University of East Anglia, click here.