LL.M. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q.: As an academic year (as opposed to a summer) LL.M. student, what are the realities of a U.S. job search:
- Foreign-trained LL.M. students are encouraged to pursue graduate study at Boalt for intellectual growth, exposure to the U.S. legal system, and career advancement; however, long-term job opportunities for foreign attorneys in the U.S. are limited.
- Most frequently reported sources of employment are self-initiated contact with employers or through the International Student Interview Program (ISIP) at NYU.
- Bar admission requirements vary from state to state. For more information on bar admission requirements, see the American Bar Association's "Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements." You can download a free copy via this link: http://www.abanet.org/legaled/baradmissions/bar.html
Q.: I am enrolled in Berkeley Law's Summer LL.M. program. What are my prospects for finding work in the U.S. either between semesters or after completing the LL.M. degree after my second summer semester?
The Berkeley Law Summer LL.M. program was developed to enable foreign-trained attorneys to temporarily leave their practices for shortened periods of intense study and then continue law practice in their home nation between semesters and after receiving their degrees. It is not designed for international students who are looking to pursue legal employment in the U.S. In addition to the extremely competitive nature of the U.S. legal job market particularly for foreign-trained attorneys, the unique structure of the summer program – combined with the legal restrictions imposed under U.S. immigration law – make it highly unlikely that students enrolled in the summer program will be able to work in the U.S. on a permanent or even a temporary basis. For example, summer LLM students do not qualify for F-1 Optional Practical Training that normally allows an international student to work in the U.S. for up to twelve months upon graduation. As a result, to be able to work in the U.S., you will be required to obtain a “non-immigrant work visa” which would require a U.S. legal employer’s sponsorship. Such sponsorship is extremely rare for LLM students. However, if your ability to legally enter (and remain) here in the U.S. is not typical (i.e., if it is not based on having an international student visa) – or, if you have strong basis for believing that a U.S. legal employer will sponsor you for a “non-immigrant work visa”, you should contact Minji Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org) in our Career Development Office who can provide you with a more in-depth analysis of your job prospects and assist with your job search.
Q.: What are some job search specifics for LL.M. students enrolled in the academic year (non-summer) program:
- Timeline: job-search will most likely involve a year-round effort and may extend beyond the end of the LL.M. program.
- Know what you want - an internship, fellowship, or associate position.
- Be aware of Visa Regulations - for Academic Training and Optional Practical Training.
- Visit UC Berkeley's International Office, in person at the I-House, or online at: http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/
Q.: What are some job search strategies:
- Targeted mail campaign
- Responding to advertised positions in the CDO job database
- Notifying previous contacts of one's current academic endeavors and employment goals
- Seeking referrals from faculty, alumni, and other students
Q.: Where do I start:
- Targeted Mail - identify resources and search accordingly
- Boalt International Alumni Association
- B-Line (CDO Job Database)
Q.: How can I make networking work for me:
- Find opportunities before they are advertised. Most jobs are never advertised.
- Call a contact and tell them you are interested in their organization. Ask them if they have 10 minutes to talk to you about their job. Ask them what they would recommend, if you wanted to do something similar. Never ask the contact for a job.
- Ask for suggestions of other people you might contact and be sure to follow-up with those leads.
- Follow-up with a thank you letter.
Q.: How do I make contacts:
- Ask a CDO attorney-counselor for possible contacts
- Speak with a professor who is knowledgeable on your interest of practice
- Talk to program speakers and guests after an event
- Check with your own Embassy, Consulate, and/or Chamber of Commerce here in the U.S.
Q.: How do I change my CV to a resume and write a cover letter:
- The CDO website contains a Guides to both resume and cover letter writing, accessible via the Guides and Webcasts webpage (see Job Search Skills section).
- To the extent possible, be sure to change your transcripts and degree translations into a format that a U.S. employer can understand
- A CDO attorney-counselor can review your documents and give advice
Q.: What about interviewing:
- Review the CDO website resources on interviewing skills
- Schedule a "mock interview" with a CDO attorney-counselor
Q.: When can I expect to obtain job offers:
- The market for foreign graduate students is not seasonal, but can ebb and flow through out the year. Job search, therefore, is a year round effort. Some students may obtain offers after fall interviews, others in the spring, and yet others even after completing their program at Boalt.