LLM Interview: Jonathan Charbit, LL.M. alumni at UCLA

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Jonathan is French and works in London after attending an LL.M. at UCLA School of Law with a concentration in Corporate Law and Entertainment, Media Law and Policy .


Could you tell us about your training?

I started my legal education at University Paris West Nanterre. After four years I obtained a Master's degree in Business Law and I was admitted to the Master 214 at Paris-Dauphine University, a post graduate degree in Business Law.

While a student at Dauphine, I decided to apply to several Master of Laws (LL.M.) in the U.S and finally decided to go to the University of California - Los Angeles, UCLA, where I have been awarded a degree in Corporate Law and Entertainment, Media Law and Policy.



Why did you decide to do an LL.M.?

I really wanted to have a double training. In my opinion, nowadays it is a strong asset to have an education like this so as to be considered at major international law firms.
Thus, two options were available to me: doing an LL.M. or going to a Business School. While both options offer the possibility to study abroad, the academic training at a Business School lasts three years whereas the LL.M. lasts only one and offers the possibility, at least in the US, to stay one more year following the degree to work on the territory. Moreover I really wanted to study law from a different perspective. That is why I chose the LL.M. option.





Did you consider applying for a Specialized Master (MS program in France - Degree in Business School obtained after one year of study)?




I haven't considered applying to a Specialized Master but many of friends have done so and really enjoyed it.



Why did you choose to leave for the United States?

I have family in the United-States, so I’ve spent quite some time there since my childhood. In addition I have always wanted to study in a prestigious American university. They offer such amazing studying conditions.



Three years after your experience, what do you think of the training?



An LL.M. is very expensive and every candidate should think about it seriously and wisely.

That being said, this year was truly beneficial to me! I really enjoyed lectures at UCLA, but not only that. Every week, a lot of conferences and meetings were organized and offered us the possibility to really get the best out of our experience.


Each experience is different. You will not experience exactly the same things if you do an LL.M. at NYU or Duke for instance. The programs, cities and campuses lives are very different from each other.


Students should be aware of these differences in order to choose the right University and maximize the benefits of their LL.M.


However, at the end, wherever you are, it is a fantastic intellectual and human adventure.




Why did you apply for a Specialized LL.M.?




I really wanted to specialize in a field that I love. The LL.M. at UCLA was perfect for me. I could follow Business Law classes as well as Entertainment Law classes. Moreover, all the classes were taught by leading lawyers and professors unanimously respected, especially in the Film Industry.




How did you select your LL.M.?

Actually, I didn’t know well how to select the LL.M. that best suited me. After visiting the websites of the most prestigious universities, according to international rankings, I called the administration offices of a few universities which put me in contact the Head of LL.M. programs. This helped me to understand the culture of the University and to make a decision. I also exchanged with many former students from these LLM. It was useful to have their feedback.




Do you need a specific law background to apply for a specialized LL.M.?




My legal background was essential to apply for the program, but I didn’t directly use my French legal knowledge during the lectures. However it allowed me to make analogies and comparisons between both French and American legal systems, and thus to really understand the major differences between those systems.

Also, the rigor and structure of the French education system helped me to organize myself. American Law courses are not that structured - they take the form of discussion classes, case studies. They are not as theoretical as it is in France, but much more practical.



Do you have any advice for a successful LL.M. application?



You have to take it very seriously. Unlike French administration which can be flexible, the administrations of the top American universities rarely allow delays in the application.

The Personal Statement and the Resume are the key elements of the application. Previous professional experiences are of course appreciated but are not always a requirement. Trainings/Internships though, are very important.


I would also add that your application must tell a story, your story.

The Personal Statement and Resume must demonstrate a very good level of English and highlight the student's professional goals.

Each application must be personalised to the program/university you are applying for: you must carefully justify your choice. In my case, UCLA was the only university in the United-States to offer this speciality, I thus highlighted how the program corresponded to my career goals.



You decided to take the New York Bar - Why?



Taking the New York Bar is a great opportunity: it is an additional degree and it is prestigious. If you can take it, it is a good option to try.  



How did you trained?



I attended a prep school. It is expensive but almost every student follow one of this prep schools because they are very efficient (Barbri, notably).



Is there any regret / mistake you made during your LL.M. year that you would like to share?



I have not taken advantage of the opportunities offered by the LL.M as much as I could have (such as conferences, seminars…). Indeed, the year goes by very quickly and it is easy to miss interesting events.

However, there are a lot of people to meet and it is only a one-year experience, so it is important to enjoy it as much as possible.

Another advice would be to wait until you are mature enough before deciding to follow such program because with more wisdom, I guess anybody would realize even more the opportunities that an LL.M can offer.


Many thanks Jonathan for your time and good luck for the continuation !








Statement collected by Sophie André



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Founded in 1949, UCLA School of Law has garnered a reputation for artful teaching, influential scholarship and enduring innovation. As the first public law school in Southern California and the younge...