Below are some basic responses to frequently asked questions posed by current and admitted students in the traditional track.
Berkeley Law does not provide job placement services to LL.M. students. Rather, our professional development advisors in the Advanced Degree Programs Office create workshops and provide counseling designed to assist in our students’ professional development and career advancement internationally.
Students should view the LL.M. program at Berkeley Law as a tool for intellectual growth, exposure to the U.S. legal system, and career advancement internationally. This is because short- and long-term job opportunities for foreign attorneys in the U.S. immediately following graduation are limited and exist primarily in New York. While we always encourage interested students to apply to relevant job opportunities, and will work with you on your application materials, students should have a plan for work outside the U.S. following their LL.M. program.
Yes. Bar admission is required to practice law in the United States on a permanent basis, whether the roles are in law firms, in-house, government, or the non-profit sector. 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.”
There is no singular time that LL.M. students are hired for positions in the U.S. (or abroad). For many reasons, including U.S. employers’ desire to hire bar-admitted attorneys and to see grades earned at Berkeley Law, a job search will require a year-round effort and often extends well beyond the end of the LL.M. program. Most employers do not hire LL.M. students on a regular basis, but rather when a need arises or a particular student is able to demonstrate their unique value to an employer. These opportunities are often generated through networking and require a great deal of effort on behalf of the student.
- Networking. This may include attending lunch-time programming at Berkeley Law and on-campus conferences, as well as seeking out professional networking opportunities off-campus.
- Responding to advertised positions in the Berkeley Law job database. Do keep in mind that the vast majority of advertised positions require a J.D. degree and/or bar admission.
- Notifying previous contacts of one’s current academic endeavors and employment goals and requesting their support.
- Seeking referrals from faculty, alumni, and other students.
- Targeted mail campaign.
- The most frequently reported sources of employment in the United States are referrals from a student’s current/former employer and self-initiated contact. Still other students find positions through the International Student Interview Program (ISIP) at NYU Law School or by responding to job-postings found on the Berkeley Law jobs database or other sources.
- All LL.M. students are advised to use a variety of job search strategies including networking, targeted mail campaigns, attending ISIP, responding to positions announced on the Berkeley Law jobs database and external postings, reaching out to prior contacts to leverage relationships, and seeking referrals from Berkeley Law faculty, alumni and students. The international LL.M. job search is a very individualized one given the diversity of the population with respect to education, experience, language skills, and geographic desirability.
- The advisors within the Advanced Degree Programs Office provide support to LL.M. students with respect to their job search through workshops, individual counseling, and provision of resources. We do not provide job placement services, but rather provide students with the tools to maximize their efforts.
Students at Berkeley Law are eligible to participate in the International Student Interview Program (ISIP) hosted by NYU School of Law in January of the academic school year. ISIP is an annual event sponsored by 32 law schools nationwide and hosted by NYU School of Law to facilitate the hiring of highly qualified foreign-trained attorneys enrolled in LL.M. programs.
The program attracts more than 160 of the leading employers (primarily law firms) from around the world, who review student resumes based on their hiring needs and country of practice. Only current LL.M. students with law degrees from outside the U.S. and Canada are eligible for ISIP. Since ISIP interviews are set by employer preference, some students will find that their backgrounds are more in demand than others based on market factors and law firm relationships. While there are some U.S. based positions available through ISIP, the vast majority of positions available are international. Students interested in learning more about ISIP may read about it at http://www.law.nyu.edu/isip. ISIP is just one method by which LL.M. students obtain post-graduate positions and students should not rely on this program alone.
Berkeley Law LL.M. students are not eligible to participate in the On-Campus Interview (“OCI”) program hosted at Berkeley Law in August. Employers attending OCI recruit second-year J.D. students through the OCI program to hire for summer associate positions. Employers make the decision whether they wish to interview LL.M. students and generally decline to do so because they view the recruitment cycle for LL.M. students differently than the J.D. recruitment cycle. LL.M. students interested in working for U.S. law firms should adopt the job search strategies mentioned above and meet with an LL.M. advisor to discuss the realities of the job search and how to maximize their potential.
- Ask your professional development advisor how to develop 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.
- Utilize the ADP guides for resume and cover letter writing.
- To the extent possible, be sure to change your transcripts and degree translations into a format that a U.S. employer can understand.
- After revising your CV and converting it to a U.S. style resume using the guides provided, you can send your documents to your LL.M. professional development advisors for review.
- Make a one-on-one advising appointment.
- Join our workshop for current students on interviewing skills.
- Review resources we provide on interviewing skills which address everything from what questions to expect, to what questions to ask, to what to wear, and how to follow up after the interview.
- Schedule a “mock interview” with your LL.M. professional development advisors.
Yes. Be aware of visa regulations for Academic Training and Optional Practical Training. Admitted students, current students and alumni may contact UC Berkeley International Office to learn more about their ability to work in the United States.
The market for foreign graduate students is not seasonal and is a year round effort.
The great majority of our alumni work in private practice in law firms around the world. However, we do have alumni working in-house, in government, and in public interest. While each year a small percentage of foreign-trained LL.M.s obtain positions in the U.S. (internships or permanent), most of our alumni find that their degree can be leveraged into professional progression abroad.
Our LL.M. students are highly diverse with respect to language skills, experience level, education, business development potential, and practice area of interest. We can help you craft materials and practice expressing your value to potential employers. It is the responsibility of each individual student to highlight his or her most attractive qualities directly to a potential employer. Attractive qualities might include: a relationship with a client or law firm in the student’s home country, the ability to work in multiple languages, or experience in a particular area of law.
That is up to you! Before you start searching, know what you want – an internship, a one-year foreign associate position, or a permanent associate position.