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What exactly is a LLM degree and how is it better than a JD?

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What exactly is a LLM degree and how is it better than a JD?

Attorney Answers 6

  1. It is not better and has nothing to do, in general, with ability or experience in the practice of law. It is an advanced degree which a law school graduate who already has the basic JD degree might pursue either out of a particular interest or with the intention of pursuing a teaching career or some highly specialized kind of legal work in which an additional academic background might be required or useful.

  2. An LL.M is a Master of Laws degree. It is the next step up from a J.D. and usually requires 2 more years of specialized schooling in a particular discipline: for example, tax. Whether it is "better" or not depends on the lawyer and the type of professional expertise the client needs.

    I am unaware of any certificate authority that requires an LL.M degree. As an advance degree, it usually represents an early interest in an specific area of law and not any specialized expertise developed in the practice. This is a question you should research on your own through Google. – Michael

    SINCE 1974. My answers are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers assume California law. I am licensed in California, only. Answers must not be relied upon.<br> <br> Legal advice and counsel must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice and counsel during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us.<br> <br> The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential. I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo because I have answered or commented on a question. Specifically, I assume no duty to respond to any question, comment, telephone call, or email because of my participation.<br> <br> All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice or counsel in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult an attorney licensed in the appropriate jurisdiction for advice and counsel. See, also, Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference.<br>

  3. LLM = Master of Letters of the Law
    JD = Juris Doctor (previously known as, and sometimes still called LLB, Bachelor of Letters of the Law)

    The field of law, to my knowledge, is the only field in which a person gets their Masters, after they've gotten a Doctorate.

    LLMs are usually issued in two situations:
    1. When someone wants to specialize ... Tax is a common LLM
    2. When someone is a lawyer from a foreign country and they want to take a 'short course' to get their LLM, rather than go through the 'full' course of getting a JD. In a couple of states, people with a foreign law degree and an LLM can take the bar exam and practice law without a JD/LLB.

    Better? As my colleague pointed out, neither one is better ... they're just different.

    PS There is one more degree: SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) that is more 'akin' to a Ph.D ... mostly obtained by people who want to devote themselves to academics. Here's Harvard's program:

    PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- -- -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.

  4. Many lawyers who were in other countries get an LLM, so they can take the NY bar (or other state) and practice in the US. So they have an LLM without having a JD.

    609-271-3573. This answer is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

  5. It is as better than JD as this is an immigration quesiton.

    NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS; email:; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

  6. One cannot get an LL.M. without first having a J.D. (or LL.B. for an older lawyer), so it is not "better," just more study in a specialized area of the law. Tax is the most common; international law is another.

    I am not your attorney and any posts/messages or responses to posts/messages can not and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon free legal advice, and I disclaim any liability for the outcome if you do. Any opinions offered on matters outside New York State are for general informational purposes only.

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