Top 5 qualities that you can acquire from doing an LL.M
Top 5 qualities that you can acquire from doing an LL.M
Building on your professional skills
Career websites and job forums often cite professional skills as key factors in increasing your chances of gaining employment or progressing in your current role. However, many of you may be unclear as to what these skills mean and which of them would best fit your background and experience. In fact, the use of skills and qualities can vary across the various branches of the legal professions.
Typically, in legal professions you will need to demonstrate a certain set of qualities if you were engaged in litigation practice and another type of skill-set if you were working as an in-house legal executive. What matters is that you acquired these skills whilst studying your degree (LLM, for instance) or through work experience and are in a position to apply them to progress as a legal professional. On the other hand, legal academics have a unique set of skills that helps them research in a more organized way and engage constructively in academic discussions. It is not uncommon to possess transferable skills which means that you have qualities that can be used across different spheres too.
Essential qualities can be acquired not only by being trained in specific areas of law but also through presentations, writing, research, analysis and so forth which can be developed through LLM degree, internships, etc.
Acquiring skills through an LLM degree
An LLM course can equip you with a number of qualities that can prove useful when you wish to progress into a career or pursue further legal research and we hope that you can acquire and develop the right set of skills to make the best out of your study.
So what are the top 5 qualities that you can acquire from an LLM course?
1.Research and critical thinking skills
The level of research that you undertake during an LLM study is quite advanced in comparison to the work that you put in to draft a quick opinion for a client in response to a legal query. However, time is an important factor in both cases and so is the depth of your research. An LLM study will help you manage your time on research work and to make sure that your writing is structured well.
Critical reading does not mean that you criticise content that you read, but that you question concepts and analyse them through interactive discussions. Similarly, critical writing does not need to be characteristic of your approach in your assessments. You can choose a theme that balances both critical thinking and workable suggestions. For instance, in the course of your seminars you can ask questions about concepts, generate debate around a topical issue or share your thoughts on an approach which in your opinion does not fit within the scope of a topic.
These thoughts can be translated into your thesis or written assessments however, you must bear in mind that it is important to mould your explanation into the scope of the course through research inputs. Asking questions in class and engaging in discussions is a good way of developing your critical mind.
2.Presentation and communication skills
In some law schools LLM seminars include student presentations on topics of your choice or as suggested by the lecturer. This gives you a good platform to put your research skills and knowledge to test. You can improve upon your approaches by hearing your fellow students’ analyses. In addition, you will have ample opportunities to participate in legal research seminars or conferences held in your law school. Keep an eye out for invitations to participate in such forums as notices are put up well in advance.
You can also communicate your views on legal affairs and law school events by contributing to your department’s newsletter. This can develop your media and communication skills and give you wider exposure to topical discussions.
Assessments at law school can expose you to several aspects of project-based work that you would experience in
a law firms or in an in-house corporate team. They are similar to project-based work that have specified scope of content, deadlines, recommended structure and research methods. These are some of the elements that prepare you for the future. For instance, your LLM thesis is a good example of seeing your own project to execution and final submission.
During LLM study, you can take advantage of guidance sessions to prepare yourself for assignments and thesis submissions. You can also seek advice from alumni students at networking sessions on their experience of managing LLM assignments.
By getting involved in different aspects of LLM student life, you will gain the key quality of multi-tasking which can prove very useful in your professional career!
4.Inter-personal skills and team activities
A lawyer’s interaction with his or her clients is key to developing and maintaining long-term business relationships. It is therefore important that you engage in client management skills through the course of your LLM study. Some modules may require you to attend client-counselling sessions, while others may look at professional development skills through case examples.
By participating in group assignments you will be exposed to team work and problem-solving. Qualities such as efficiency, politeness and patience will be tested during these assignments.
On individual projects such as your dissertation, skills such as time management and multi-tasking can help you work your way through to final submission.
5.Attention to detail and taking in complex information
Being in the legal profession can be demanding and the ability to be able to take on several tasks is key to progressing within your role. On your LLM course you will take on intensive reading before your seminars where you will skim through a long reading list to prepare yourself for class. For assessment submissions, you will spend hours in the library scanning hundreds of scholarly titles, but will only cite a few to support your arguments. Your acute sense of picking up on critical information will prove very useful in the long run when you skim through client files.
Similarly, it is essential that you take in and analyse complex information in a short span of time. One of the key skills that you develop whilst doing an LLM degree is to manage large amounts of complex material. Methods such as mind mapping and highlighting key words are useful to absorb vast amounts of information.
The above list is not entirely exhaustive and does not come close to covering the breadth of skills that you can develop through your LLM study and on your onward journey as a legal professional. However, it is important that you think of ways to develop and build on your skills and studying an LLM is a great way to start with!