The LLM – A Specialist Credential to Open Doors in Practice Niches

Your LLB/JD  Doesn’t Put You at the Practice of Law “Finish Line,” It’s the Starting Point!

Law school has been an interesting learning experience. However, you’re now facing the hard- core reality as you contemplate entering the legal profession. If you’re in a UK law school the LLB is, in reality, a euphemism for “law learning basics”. For Canadian law school students, the JD is a euphemism for “just a degree”. In other words, you’ve learned a lot about the basic principles that form the foundation of the law and legal system but you don’t know how to put them into practice.

Until recently, that wasn’t a problem when lawyers and law firms operated in a stable monopoly market.  The combination of articling for a lawyer in a law firm and the climb up the law firm pyramid ladder  from junior associate to senior associate, perhaps even to partner, provided law graduates with a 5-7-year window of learning experiences. In what was basically an “earn while you learned” program, clients would grudgingly subsidize your work under the tutelage of a more seasoned practitioner who leveraged your billable hours into their bills until you developed the combination of niche specialized knowledge and practice management skills to provide the value to a client that warranted you billing independently.

Law is now a buyer’s market

A knowledge management information paradigm shift is taking place.  Law is being integrated into a dynamic professional services market. Disruptors in the form of technological applications and a growing breed of savvy professional service providers are providing clients with options that are now challenging the dominance of lawyers as the preferred first choice for legal services. The big four consultancies are dominant disruptors in the knowledge management spectrum. They are now among the largest recruiters of lawyer with specialist designations.

Unemployment/underemployment  for law students and newly minted law graduates with generalist LLB/JD Degrees is on the rise as the law firm pyramid model of employment is in the process of a free fall. Canadian law firm consultant Jordan Furlong aptly sums up what the future is for the generalist LLB/JD graduate looking to climb the law firm ladder pyramid:

“Only a small fraction of a law firm’s first-year associates ever make it to partnership ranks. This isn’t an unfortunate side effect of the associate system, but rather one of its core features. A  high level of attrition makes the traditional law firm pyramid structure possible. Most associates, in fact, are specifically hired not to be future partners. If they have any role to play, it’s to provide competition to the ones who will.”[1]

The UK LLM Degree : Pathway to a Specialist Legal Credential and Practice Niche

  • The LLM (Masters of Legal Laws) Degree is recognized internationally as a specialist designation for lawyers in practice of law niches and law related professional services
  • The UK has been a pioneer in the development of innovative leading edge LLM Degree programs!
  •  The Canadian government has come to the realization that the future prosperity of the country is dependent on developing an incoming generation of professionals with the skills and knowledge management capability to be active participants in the global economy and international political arena. The federal government white paper:Global Education for Canadians, makes the point for the need by stating that: “Global education generates the skills, understanding, outlooks and relationships that can help our country at a time of rapid change in the world and at home.”

How Professional Career Launcher Can Help You:

The Professional Career Launcher knows where the opportunities markets are for LLM Degree holders and will equip you with the knowledge base to connect with a network in your optimal practice of law or new economy  legal services  opportunity market. The Professional Career Launcher will link you and your  preferred legal career with the best fit LLM program, Contact us today for more information!


[1] Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago. University of Chicago Press. (4th ed. 2012) at page 168.