Thursday, October 18, 2012

LLM programs

Three years ago the CU law faculty authorized a pilot LLM program, offering the degree in three different areas.  The program hasn't been marketed at all, and is at this point tiny (we have five LLM students this year).  We're being asked to reauthorize it for a couple of more years, with the understanding that the school will start marketing it aggressively to both current law students and mid-career professionals.

I spent some time yesterday researching the issue, and discovered the following, much of which will not be news to better-informed readers:

(1)  ABA law schools currently offer more than 300 different LLM degrees (Here's a partial list).  Total enrollment in such programs grew from 3,069 to 5,058 between 1999 and 2009.

(2)  The typical tuition cost for these degrees is equivalent to a year's tuition in a school's JD program.

(3) Obtaining an LLM qualifies a foreign lawyer to sit for the bar in California, New York, Alabama, New Hampshire, Virginia, and the independent republic of Palau.

(4) Neither the ABA nor NALP ask schools to report any statistics regarding employment outcomes for LLM graduates, and as far as I've been able to determine no such statistics exist.

(5)  The conventional wisdom regarding the value of LLM degrees for American law school graduates is reflected in this flowchart.  (See also this characteristically mordant thread from JDU).

Indeed, American lawyers who make hiring decisions express views on this matter that, to put it mildly, put the "value proposition" of an LLM into severe question:

In fact, [Steven John, a managing director at Major Lindsey] said, advanced degrees in law — with the exception of LL.M.s for foreign-trained attorneys and tax LL.M.s — can actually hurt job candidates, because they may signal uncertainty about their career paths or attempts to avoid the reality of a difficult job search. Also suspect is when candidates study in areas that do not dovetail with their practice experience.

John said he asked his fellow recruiters at Major Lindsey whether they ever had a client specifically request candidates with advanced degrees — with the exception of tax LL.M.s — or whether a candidate ever secured a job because of an advanced degree.

The answer to both questions was no.

“The market has never demanded it,” he said during a panel discussion. “Advanced degrees never come into the conversation.” In fact, he added, some of his colleagues advise job seekers to leave LL.M.s off their resumes.

Nevertheless, it appears that, in these days of sharply declining applicants to JD programs, LLM programs are coming to be considered something of a godsend by cash-strapped schools.  Here's a bemusing quote from a two-year-old NLJ article:

Administrators point out that per-student costs tend to be lower for advanced law degree programs because the curriculum largely consists of classes already offered to J.D. students - meaning there is little need to hire additional faculty. "Are these programs a cash cow? Yes and no," said Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington professor Carole Silver. "The school gets a year of tuition and the LL.M. students fill in the seats in classes that would otherwise be empty."
 If you're wondering if Prof. Silver then went on to explain the "no" part, the answer is she didn't, or at least the story omitted that aspect of her explanation.

A few months ago I got a fascinating email from a faculty member at a low ranked law school, who described how the school's budget was being kept in the black by the importation of a couple of dozen Saudi LLM students every year. These students, many of who have at best questionable English language skills, are the sons of various oil-enriched princelings, and are bundled off to American educational institutions in appropriately scenic and  fun-filled locations, so that they will at least putatively have something to do.

I myself have no compunction about putting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's resources to such uses, but on the available evidence, marketing LLM degrees to American law students and lawyers appears to be close to a straight up scam, and I will be (no doubt quite fruitlessly) expressing this view to my colleagues when we vote on the matter tomorrow.





114 comments:

  1. FIRST COMMENT HELL YESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Childish twit.

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    2. Really, you must be a loser. Don't you have anything better to do, but wait for the moment Campos posts another blog entry? Get a life you retard. Probably that Painter idiot.

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  2. How many American lawyers are getting non-tax LLM's? I never heard of such a thing.

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  3. Palau! goes the dynamite...

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  4. Headhunters recommend whatever makes their job easier.

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    1. Correct. And if they say that having X degree (LLM, PhD, etc) makes candidates less marketable, that's making their job of placing these candidates harder. Remember having candidates that employers want makes their jobs much easier.

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  5. The issue is that schools charge J.D. tuition for an L.L.M.

    The schools could treat LLMs like British research masters, in which the students are charged a reasonable amount (a few thousand dollars), allowed unlimited library and auditing privileges, and turn in a thesis at the end of the year. I think some Commonwealth LLMs operate on that model.

    But that would mean less money.

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  6. IP LLM do not teach one anything that cant be learned in actual practice or by reading a book. It may be useful for someone who focused in non ip classes in law school who now suddenly wants to get into ip, but thats about it.

    the classes are pretty basic stuff.

    It provides no to little advantage to the graduate.

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    1. "IP LLM do not teach one anything that cant be learned in actual practice or by reading a book."

      I would revise that to read: "Law schools do not teach one anything that cant be learned in actual practice or by reading a book."

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  7. One of the people I went to school with washed out at two small sweat-shop PI firms, and then went to a second tier school for a copyright LLM. Not that he had a background in copyright or IP. It's like he pulled it out of a hat. Last I heard he was at another churning PI shop.

    I know he paid full freight for my school, and suspect he paid 30K plus for the LLM.

    No sense at all. He is just a conduit for funds from the federal government to the education complex.

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  8. Nebraska offers a Space Law LLM, and Arkansas provides a Food Law LLM. Wouldn't you be embarrassed to put such tripe on your resume, let alone piss away an additional small fortune on these programs?

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    1. Indeed. People in those programs display an amusing combination of stupidity, naïveté, and arrogance.

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  9. Does the LLM help with becoming a law professor?

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    1. No, even from a top school.

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  10. I am a graduate of Nebraska Law. The Space Law LLM is a huge embarrassment. It's like all these law schools sit back and say, "What specialty niche can we serve that isn't being served so that we can be *the* best school?"

    "How about SPACE LAW!!!!"

    "Brilliant!"

    "Our vision is to make Nebraska Law the nation's leading law school in SPACE LAW!"

    I can tell you that when I was out looking for interviews, it gave me a huge leg up in the process. "I see you went to Nebraska Law. Fine institution, clearly the best SPACE LAW program in America, which is exactly what our practice needs right now. We're just booming in SPACE LAW. Welcome aboard, here's a $5,000 signing bonus, we trust that you'll be here first thing in the morning to begin work in our SPACE LAW section."

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    1. Well, it makes sense to me.

      One time I drove through Nebraska (once was enough).

      The whole time, I kept thinking to myself:

      "Man! They got a lotta space here!"

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    2. Have you met anyone on the program? What are they like? How do they justify such an "investment"?

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    3. Probably not PosnerOctober 18, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      Are they the ones who run the space law moot court?

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    4. No, it's referred to as the Orbit Court.

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  11. It's a scam! How do these deans look themselves in the mirror?

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  12. Fools and their government-backed money are easily parted.

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  13. Why wouldn't the University of Nebraska have an LLM in a locally useful topic, such as (I'm spitballing) government land use, water rights, agriculture law, etc.?

    I don't criticize Southwestern's LLM in entertainment law, because LA has a need for entertainment lawyers. Likewise, there would not be anything objectionable if the DC law schools offered reasonably priced LLMs in government claims and contracts.

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    1. LA may have a need for "entertainment lawyers," (although I have a hard time imagining what an entertainment lawyer is other than a business/IP lawyer whose clients happen to be in the entertainment industry) but I more than suspect that it has no need at all for lawyers with entertainment law LLMs from Southwestern.

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    2. 8:47 here (UNL Law alum). Good question. They picked SPACE LAW because of UNL's close proximity to the U.S. Strategic Command, which is located nearby in Nebraska. I guess they thought that Stratcom's need for Space Lawyers was grossly under served and needed to be supplemented.

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    3. LawProf and 10:17 a.m., if you think the SW/UNeb programs are rich, check out Oregon's enviro LLM program. Basically, it looks like they spend a good part of the year going on field trips: http://llm.uoregon.edu/trips/. I can't imagine explaining this to a prospective employer.

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    4. I'm also a Nebraska grad, and work for the federal government. I know the Air Force pays for one of its JAGs to attend the Space Law LLM program (which of course is another government fund transfer program). I will concede that there is a limited need for Space Law experts in government...Stratcom, Cyber Command, NASA, NSA, etc. ...but 8-10 a year? I cannot imagine there is any private demand.

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    5. Which special issues does "entertainment law" present? Is there anything about it that justifies framing it as a specialty?

      One hears about "entertainment law" and "sports law" (doesn't the former subsume the latter?) but never about "welding law" or "copper-smelting law". Could it be that only the glamorous ones get the distinction of a special designation?

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    6. I went to school with two people that claimed they were going into "entertainment law."

      I have no idea what it means.

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  14. I'm reminded of that brilliant quote, mentioned here a few days ago, from one Sy Jacobs:

    "Any business where you can sell a product and make money without having to worry about how the product performs is going to attract sleazy people."

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  15. LA is swimming in entertainment lawyers.

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  16. 1) doesn't help with professorship (except tax)
    2) Until this spring I worked at an NYC firm that hired 7-10 SAs a year; over the last three hiring seasons I'd say approximately 10% of the candidates had (non-tax, non-foreign) LLMs. I don't recall ever seeing such a thing before 2009 or so.
    3) For what it's worth, I thought the (non-tax, non-foreign) LLM was a bit of a black mark on a resume, all else being equal, but talked with a colleague (who, unlike me, actually had some influence over who got hired) who was moderately impressed by them. So there's at least one sucker out there...

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  17. End Grad PLUS loans. End them today and the whole damn scam stops tomorrow. It is the only way.

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  18. Isn't there something called an SJD as well? Supposedly it's rare and difficult to get although in no way am I suggesting that translates to increased value of the degree.

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  19. Off topic but your post made me curious about how faculty governance works at law schools. Is it one vote per member or is it run more like a large law firm where there is an executive committee that makes most of the decisions and the rest of the professors are just along for the ride? Do staff and adjuncts get to vote (and by staff I mean deans and assistant deans of various departments)? What level of autonomy does the law school have with regard to the central university (does the central university only care about revenue or must other changes be run by the board of visitors as well)?

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    1. "Off topic but your post made me curious about how faculty governance works at law schools. Is it one vote per member or is it run more like a large law firm where there is an executive committee that makes most of the decisions and the rest of the professors are just along for the ride?"

      Varies a lot by school. Some schools have a tradition of making almost all decisions at the committee level, with the vote of the whole faculty being pro forma except in rare circumstances. Others treat committee votes as advisory at best.


      "Do staff and adjuncts get to vote (and by staff I mean deans and assistant deans of various departments)?"

      I don't know of any school where staff or adjuncts get to vote. There's a lot of variation in regard to the voting rights of non-tenure track faculty however.

      "What level of autonomy does the law school have with regard to the central university (does the central university only care about revenue or must other changes be run by the board of visitors as well)?"

      This too varies a lot by school. As a general matter, if the law school wants to do something that's significantly different from the way the rest of the university does it this will require something other than rubber stamping by central and the regents.

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    2. Interesting food for thought, thanks for the response.

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  20. From Wake Forest Law:

    "The S.J.D. (Scientiae Juridicae Doctor) degree is designed for scholars and teachers of law and is most often obtained by international attorneys who are pursuing academic or high ranking governmental careers in their home countries. The S.J.D. is not a course-oriented degree but rather is directed towards scholarly research and producing a dissertation of publishable quality that contributes in an original manner to the area of law to which it is directed."

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  21. In my first job I worked with a Cooley grad who had an LLM in "labor law" from the same t-14 I got my JD from. There wasn't even an official "labor law LLM" at this school, it was basically an independent study where people took labor-related JD classes and then wrote a research paper. This guy was in several of the same classes I took as part of my JD, although we didn't know each other at the time. The really infuriating part was that the government agency we worked for started him at a higher grade than me because of his "LLM." (WHAT? I actually got in to the real version of the school you got your fake LLM from! You went to Cooley and then had to pay a bunch of your family's money to rehabilitate your degree with a degree from a better school!). Oh yeah, and this guy was a total moron, yet ended up being pretty successful due to his ability to network in GOP/good ol' boy circles. Sigh.

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    1. This is what I'm talking about. You go on USAJobs and you consistently see LLM mentioned. It's a total joke GENERALLY speaking for any job to consider an LLM as something meaningful.

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    2. ... And it's so mind boggling that you have to wonder how the government is so stupid as to actually take an LLM seriously (generally speaking) and whether there is actual collusion going on between government and the wicked people who run higher "education" in order to perpetuate the ripoff credential con game that does nothing but impoverish the naive and young people in this wasteland of a "country"

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    3. ... Oh and speaking of the topic of a potential nexus between government and higher "education," CU's law school dean, Phil Weiser, had a fairly prominent career in the government and was involved in some very controversial issues (net neutrality) that potentially are pulling the wool over the eyes of the public (i.e., FCC Chairman Genachowski may have been lying to the public this whole time and may have been planning all along to have his December 2010 net neutrality order be overturned by the courts.)

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  22. Don't a lot of people who go to crappy law schools "trade up" by getting an LLM from someplace better? Not that it makes a difference.

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    1. That's what the LLM programs are counting on.

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    2. A fellow graduate of mine has failed the bar at least once, maybe twice in different states, and gone on to secure an LLM at a higher-ranked school than the one we attended. So, this does seem to occur. However, I don't know if this was the exception or the norm.

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  23. Many attorneys with TTT JDs go for the LLM at a T-14 school with the hopes that the T-14 LLM will wipe out the stench of the TTT JD. Personally, the TTT JD will always overshadow the T-14 LLM. Also, unless the LLM is for tax and from NYU or G-Town, I just see the LLM as an unemployment gap filler. I agree, the LLM is more of a black eye on the resume than an enhancer.

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  24. Just an FYI to you MORONS COMPLAINING ABOUT THE $1 TRILLION STUDENT LOAN BALANCE:

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/18/report-welfare-governments-single-largest-budget-item-in-fy-2011-at-approx-1-03-trillion/

    STILL THINK LAW SCHOOL ADN STUDENT LOANS ARE A BAD IDEA?

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    1. You mean the "single largest budget item" comprised of dozens of various federal programs including Medicaid as well as tax credits and including state expenditures?

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  25. "(3) Obtaining an LLM qualifies a foreign lawyer to sit for the bar in California, New York, Alabama, New Hampshire, Virginia, and the independent republic of Palau."

    After they sit for the bar in California, New York, Alabama, New Hampshire, or Virginia, does that automatically qualify them for the bar in DC, since DC has reciprocal agreements?

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    1. No, but Palau gets `em in.

      It's where all the smart ellellemsters are barred.

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  26. "After they sit for the bar in California, New York, Alabama, New Hampshire, or Virginia, does that automatically qualify them for the bar in DC, since DC has reciprocal agreements?"

    Only if they get a certain score on the multistate, or after five years of practice.

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    1. The first part is kinda obvious isn't it?

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    2. It's higher than the score you need to pass most other bars, so not really.

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    3. Probably not PosnerOctober 18, 2012 at 7:08 PM

      Note that LLMs will soon not be allowed to sit for the VA bar. The VA bar decided to no longer recognize LLMs, if I recall because LLMs performed poorly on the bar exam.

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  27. I have the impression that Georgetown's LLM in international health law/policy does help people who want to move into pharmaceuticals, medical devices and health fields. It seems to cover a lot of FDA and other regulatory stuff that is hard to learn - along with some solid intellectual property. Certainly I know of people who took it and did move into these areas.

    Of course it is in DC where, of course, the FDA, patent office, HHS etc. are based.

    Most LLMs though that seem useful are in tax - with some foreign lawyers who want a US admission also taking LLMs so they can sit New York - usually to work in an international firm back home - some are also in-house in corporations and in the US legal department on assignment.

    The rest of the LLMs mystify me.

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    1. Mack

      I know Georgetown offers an LLM in Advocacy. At least this is free as it is included in a fellowship.

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  28. The LLM program at CLS (usually 250-275 strong) seemed to be made up primarily of students from Western European and Asia, with smaller contingents from Eastern Europe, South America, and Africa.

    I knew a few Western European LLMs and they seemed to treat the year like a networking opportunity first, a vacation in NYC second, and a job boost third. Most of them, predictably, had no educational debt (LOL right!). I remember them having a much better class cohesion than the JDs.

    For JDs, along with the budget increase, we got a nice boost to the curve in classes that were heavy with LLMs (usually the corporate focused classes) and a group of generally friendlier, less neurotic people.

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  29. here are some tidbits of research i did over the last 2 or so years regarding tax LLMs (mostly from TLS and TaxTalent).

    1. If you are getting a Tax LLM b/c you've struck out in OCI for other law sectors, it'll show in the interview.

    Employers do not want to hire someone who thinks that job prospects are better in tax, or who is looking to tax as a last resort after their dreams of criminal or corporate law evaporated with the recession. A tax lawyer can usually tell if you are genuinely enthusiastic about the practice. If you are not, the LL.M. is unlikely to make you more employable.

    2. M.S. Tax exam = whats the amount due.
    tax L.L.M exam = explain why and discuss ways to achieve a different result.

    What path do you want to take?
    - If you have a JD and want to do tax accounting with little law (shitlaw tax) = JD/MST
    - If you have a JD but want to do tax legal work = JD/LLM.
    - If you want to teach, the best academic combination for BigLaw tax = JD/LLM/CPA.
    - BigLaw firms will look at you like you're crazy if you get an MST after getting a JD (b/c you've moved from tax legal to tax accounting, the realm of ShitLaw Tax).

    3. On TaxTalent, the consensus is that if you get a JD/LLM and end up at the Big4, you've fucked up big time. Big4 is the default/backup option for those who could not get into BigLaw. With a JD or JD/LLM, you will enter the Big4 as a Senior Staff.

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    Replies
    1. Big 4 = everything that sucks about Biglaw for 1/3 the pay!

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  30. did you reach out to Carole Silver for the "no" explanation?

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  31. I think we will see the LLM programs develop into a career-enhancing device sold to foreign attorneys whose employers or governments are paying the tuition. It will be seen as a win-win situation: the schools will get full tuition, the students get the degree and go home where it may advance their careers or improve their social standing. I doubt these programs will attract U.S. students in significant numbers: everyone knows the degree is, with rare exceptions, not worth the cost. For foreigners who are not themselves paying the cost, the story may be different.

    The LLM program at a highly-ranked school, whose students are familiar to me, are almost all from East Asia and give no indication that they expect to practice here.

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  32. Wow, Paul, you really sound like a piece of shit when you endorse fleecing citizens of other countries as long as they don't do it to U.S. citizens.

    When you so easily draw such dividing lines I don't know how anyone can trust any position you have.

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    1. I think LP's point is that if rich families want to engage in conspicuous consumption by sending their kids to LLM programs that's one thing, while ripping off already desperate law grads with another useless degree is another.

      Plus an LLM might actually be useful for a foreign lawyer, since it could qualify him or her to practice law in the US.

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    2. Dances with Wolves meets Listens to PoopOctober 18, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      So, what exactly does it sound like when you listen to your scat?

      You should go over to Nando's paradise for a multi-media fantasy experience for yourself to enjoy. There you can both listen to it and see pictures of it.

      Delete
  33. I concur with 1:12:

    "I myself have no compunction about putting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's resources to such uses, but on the available evidence, marketing LLM degrees to American law students and lawyers appears to be close to a straight up scam."

    No, Paul, it's either a scam for everyone, or it's a scam for nobody. The source of the money is not important.

    Your logic, I assume, is that the Saudis have lots of money, so it's not a big deal for them to pay full price. But law schools applied that logic to US students, raising tuition and increasing student debt because the federal government had lots of money to give to students in the form of loans and it wasn't the school's problem where it came from.

    That's the innocent explanation of your quote. The less innocent explanation is that you believe that the Saudis deserve to be fleeced because they are terrorists, evil, attacked us on 9-11, etc. In which case, you're guilty of racism or stupidity, or perhaps a little of both.

    I'd advise staying away from comments related to international politics. If nothing else, saying that harm to foreigners is permissible but not Americans is the attitude behind many a misguided US policy.

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    1. Golly gee.

      Hyperbolic much?

      Got Milk?

      Delete
    2. "Your logic, I assume, is that the Saudis have lots of money, so it's not a big deal for them to pay full price. "


      Why make that assumption? You may have failed to read the paragraph immediately before the one you quoted, but it seems pretty clear that his "logic" expressed there is that the parents of these non-US students are getting exactly what they want and expect to get from the program, and are willing to pay for it. A nice place to dump their kids for a while, and the kids get a shiny new degree before they go back home to (again) become a pestersome burden on the parents.

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    3. Given the Saudis treatment of foreign workers, ban on churches, ban on non -Muzzers visiting Mecca and spreading of Salafism around the world, calling hating on the Saudis "racist" is, well, retarded.

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    4. There is a logic to non-US lawyers from Saudi and elsewhere (e.g., Japan) going to the US to get a serious LLM. First, it allows them to get admitted to a US Bar, New York, which has advantages in representing their domestic clients with business in the US. Second, a lot of international business law is common law based and again they get a real benefit from having a solid training in US Common law.

      That said, a lot of LLM courses are BS - but there is a real difference between someone taking a US LLM who has not had a US Common law legal education and someone just adding a everyday LLM to a JD - just as there is an issue with someone with a bachelors in business admin doing an MBA - with essentially the same classes.

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    5. I would also note that LawProf has frequently stated that he has no problem with the over-privileged children of the rich and famous soaking their parents for law school tuition. That seems pretty consistent with the junior sheiks burning their parents' petro dollars on LLM degrees.

      If you can't indulge in useless conspicuous consumption, what's the point of being rich?

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    6. "No, Paul, it's either a scam for everyone, or it's a scam for nobody. The source of the money is not important."

      I don't think LawProf or anyone else has said that it is a "scam for everyone". For those who get substantial scholarships and/or have a very good chance of getting a job that makes the cost of LS worthwhile it is not a scam, per se.

      Furthermore, if someone, FOREIGN OR DOMESTIC, is going to law school with no care about job prospects or costs because they are the child of the ultra-rich and are just doing it for pedigree reasons, again FOR THEM it is not a scam because they know what they are getting and paying for.

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    7. @1:59PM -

      "it seems pretty clear that his 'logic' expressed there is that the parents of these non-US students are getting exactly what they want and expect to get from the program, and are willing to pay for it. A nice place to dump their kids for a while, and the kids get a shiny new degree before they go back home to (again) become a pestersome burden on the parents."

      Which is the same as many US-based law students - law school is a nice place to hide out, get a shiny new degree, then go back to being a burden.

      So why the difference between US and foreign law students? Are they all here because they are children of wealthy parents? Or are some, perhaps, drawn here by the idea peddled by law schools that the US legal system is a beacon of light in a world of dictators and broken legal systems?

      Or was Paul's assumption that all students from the Middle East can be taken advantage of because they obviously came here to waste money?

      Does he treat them with the same disrespect when teaching them?

      What a ridiculous position to take on Paul's part. It was a shitty comment. Admit it and move on.

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    8. Concern troll is concerned.

      Delete
    9. SmallTownBoy, get over it. We're supposed to be better than them. They have their problems, we have ours. But we don't need to show such disrespect, particularly when many of those law students might be here to learn how to do things better than in their home country, and who might just take some of the lessons learned back to improve life over there.

      And we have law professors who think that it's okay to rape them financially?

      Great lesson.

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    10. Look you need to read the post again. LawProf wasn't talking about ALL foreign LLM students but a very particular subset. I quote:

      "These students, many of who have at best questionable English language skills, are the sons of various oil-enriched princelings, and are bundled off to American educational institutions in appropriately scenic and fun-filled locations, so that they will at least putatively have something to do."

      So he is NOT talking about foreign LLMs in general but about actual Saudi princeling children. I highly doubt these princelings want or expect to toil away in shitlaw or even BigLaw afterwards. FOR THEM it is very much just for pedigree reasons.

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    11. @3:50,
      so, first you casually accuse lawprof of racism. then,when i point out that the saudis are in fact racist to the core and desrving of contempt, you trot out moral relativism ("theyhave their problems we have ours"). Hope you're unemployed bc all you learned in skool was PC crap.

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    12. @4:37 STB:

      And most law students/grads are deserving of their debt plight too? Most of what is on this blog tends to be PC crap too, right? After all, being honest, we all went into law because we thought there was money in it. We didn't go to law school to "help people", nor were we all lambs to the slaughter.

      Be careful with your generalizations, or they come back and bite you in the ass.

      All Saudis are racist to the core? Well, we're all greedy losers to the core too. (Ever spent time in SA? I have - May 2005 through June 2007 - which is how I know for a fact you are absolutely wrong about this issue.)

      Delete
    13. And STB, I accused Paul of either racism, stupidity, or just being callous enough to blatantly rip off foreign students. It was not a casual accusation of racism. There were other options that you chose to ignore.

      I personally suspect it was just a dumb comment on an otherwise good post. But it's still there, still uncorrected, and still therefore open to interpretation.

      Delete
    14. Lawprof only talked about Saudi princelings not foreign LLM students in general. Do you really believe these Saudi princelings are being rip-offed as in they are getting these LLMs and intending to practice law in the US???

      I really don't think so.

      Delete
    15. @6:03,
      If the Muzzers are going to claim to be victims of racism, how about calling them on their racist admissions policy to Mecca? Glad you spent time in a country where they torture and rape Filipina maids. Probably a turn-on for you, which is why you moved there. Is the Pakistani prohibition on females going there to work also the product of racism, or is bc the Saudis are savages?

      Delete
    16. Wow. "Muzzers"? Really?

      I guess that makes two racists on this board. You're really showing your true colors, STB - or dislike of them. Small Town indeed.

      Delete
    17. Can't seem to post the link but check out migrantt-rights.org re: the overwhelming pattern of abuse of maids in Saudi Arabia

      Delete
    18. Yes, i should really respect people who pay less tort compensation when the victim is a Hindu. Fine, respectable folk, you dhimmi.

      Delete
    19. Wrongful death compensation in Saudi Arabia:
      Muslim male SR100K. Muslim female SR 50K
      Christian/Jewish male 50K. same female 25K
      Hindu/Buddhist/Jain male 6.67K. same female 3.33K

      and you call us the racists.

      Source: consulate general of India, Jeddah

      Delete
    20. I think STB has proved the point that there is a lot of racism in Saudi Arabia that we should not applaud. Time to declare the point established and move on?

      Delete
    21. "and you call us the racists"

      No, I call anyone with racist views a racist. It's not a sliding scale. You either are or you aren't.

      And calling someone else a bigger racist than you doesn't absolve you of your own racism.

      And women's rights are not the same as racism. Women aren't a "race".

      Game. Set. Match.

      Delete
    22. LOL on `Game. Set. Match.`October 19, 2012 at 6:58 AM

      Might as well write "FACT!!!".

      Idiot.

      Delete
    23. But Wait - There`s MORE!October 19, 2012 at 6:59 AM

      Or, "Check and MATE!"

      Idiot.

      Delete
    24. Operators are Standing -- `Bye!October 19, 2012 at 7:00 AM

      Or "Quod Erat Demonstratum!"

      Idiot.

      Delete
    25. Also, Muslims aren't a race either.

      Delete
  34. This is unrelated to the post at hand, but here is another great LawProf blog post.

    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2012/10/the-magic-of-the-market

    So spot on.

    ReplyDelete
  35. 20 years ago, when I was studying for the NY Bar, there were six or seven Japanese guys in my Bar-Bri class with limited proficiency in English. After class, they would always ask to see other people's notes because they couldn't keep up with the lecturer. For all I know, those guys were brilliant lawyers back in Japan, but its hard to believe that they passed the NY bar - not because of any lack of intelligence - their English skills just weren't good enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I worked/work with Japanese lawyers who had LLMs like that. It was a bit of a mix - some do have the English skills, some don't. A lot will struggle in a lecture setting to track what is being said - but then I would have the same problem in my other languages especially when out of practice.

      For most of them the key issue is being able to read the English language legal materials, pleadings, contracts, etc. and explain to the their clients in Japanese what it is all about. Also many write English quite a lot better than they speak it or follow a conversation.

      Delete
  36. If an LLM program is being offered, it probably should be in a broad field like say tax. There a JD course has only some fairly basic tax content - and the problem is that a tax lawyer needs more well rounded, thorough and comprehensive knowledge of tax law and policy - broader than they are actually likely to pick up in a firm. The nature of firms is that they tend to do-what-the-client demands and if current clients have limited interest in issue in the present, an associate may end up with lacunas in their knowledge.

    Similarly, a technology lawyer may need to know quite a bit about areas that an associate does not cover because they lack immediate client demand, for example venture capital, or regulatory issues - that they will ultimately need to know over a long career or as an in-house counsel.

    Thus to me the idea of an LLM makes sense if it is designed to give in depth education in what you might call "neighbouring" fields to a major area of practice - or say to prepare someone for a long-term role as a general counsel (where you need to have a good or at least ok knowledge of so much stuff - securities, corporations, IP, labor law and non-US labour law, tax, accounting (revenue recognition - eek!), basic export controls, M&A, hell some immigration law too, and in an international company a decent amount about various national legal systems (not just US) - at least enough to know when you are heading for trouble.)

    But the reality is that LLMs are not for the most part like that, most are in silly stuff, like as someone pointed out "space law." So apart from tax, if you need to learn stuff, you usually end up having to teach yourself (and most LLMs should be part-time evening programs.)

    ReplyDelete
  37. This apparently is what tuition gets you at my alma mater (from the alumni magazine's interview with the new Dean)

    "What is the most valuable lesson you want students to learn?

    It is critical for students to learn how to teach themselves. This is one of the best ways students can prepare themselves for areas of practice that have yet to be developed in the shifting legal market.[X School of] Law offers a curriculum that ensures students have both foundational and advanced skills, but all future lawyers will be well-served if they are able to teach themselves new areas of law."

    Whatever....just whatever...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually there is some truth to that. My school didn't teach much about commercial RE but my classes in contracts, sales, business entities, tax, etc. abe me the skills to pick it up on my own.

      Delete
    2. Probably not PosnerOctober 18, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      I think that is largely true as well--in law and elsewhere. The real question, I think, is how many and what kind of courses students need in law school before they can teach themselves. In other words, how long can we justify keeping students in school. I feel that contracts, property, torts, corporations, tax, and one course that dealt with administrative law of some sort were all I really needed to learn civil law. Everything else was just a variation of those topics.

      Delete
    3. Yup, 2 years if enough.

      Delete
  38. Unless it's a tax LLM or you're in academia and you need to keep up with the Jones, or you're a fuzzy little foreigner and you need an entry into the U.S. legal market at the expense of us 'mericans, I see no reason to get an LLM. As others have provided here, it's a detriment. It could compensate for a low rated law school, but the ability to cover up the stench only goes so far. If you have a serious interest in an area of law, the maybe it could be justified. By the way, I have a friend you graduated with a LLM in Food Law. Last I heard, he had not been able to find a job.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Probably not PosnerOctober 18, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    It's not surprising that the US lets foreign students work as lawyers in the US since firms benefit from their connections with their home countries. But given that a lot of other countries do not let foreigners work as lawyers, I do wonder why unemployed US lawyers have not lobbied for more restrictions or at least for making foreign lawyers do the full JD. Any thoughts? Is it a collective action problem? Something that seems un-American?

    Also, given that NY lets LLMs sit for the bar, do you tend to see more foreign lawyers in NY firms?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably not PosnerOctober 18, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      Another question: does an LLM who passes the bar in, say, CA or NY have many options to waive into other states that normally require a JD? Interesting that it's two of the biggest legal markets that allow LLMs.

      Delete
    2. Your comment contains the seed of the answer. My small-town practice is. ot being muscled in on by foreign LLM's. If you go to NYC (where I went to law school) the LLM's that are employed in BigLaw are working on international deals. So, they are not competing in the same market. It's not as if there is a generic market for "lawyers" like there is for wheat. It's more like restaurants. McDonalds (= Cooley grad) has nothing to do with Bouley (= T14 JD's and LLM's).

      Delete
    3. Probably not PosnerOctober 18, 2012 at 8:48 PM

      That's a good point about it being two different markets. That seems right to me. So, more reason to think that LLM programs for foreign students are probably helpful to foreign students, don't hurt US students, and are thus not so bad?

      Delete
    4. Probably not PosnerOctober 18, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      And that point perhaps explains why we see the LLM degree being allowed mostly in the jurisdictions where we see more international deals (NY, CA).

      I assume that being able to take the bar with only an LLM was a lobbied-for change (ie, the default was JD and then we expanded to allow the LLM in some jurisdictions)? Which would enable us to say that other states haven't so much resisted foreign LLM degrees as simply haven't had a lot of foreign students wanting to practice there?

      Delete
    5. Probably not PosnerOctober 18, 2012 at 9:00 PM

      One more question: Do we in fact see foreign LLM students generally focus on corporate/deals in their course selection? (Since that would be some evidence of the fact that they are working on international deals and not competing much with US JDs.)

      Delete
  40. Can't speak to all schools but at Columbia and NYU the LLM's are mostly in corporate classes, yes. While I am just, litterally, a small-town-boy my NYC classmates like to hire LLM's for a year or two who then go "home" in order to cultivate ties for cross-border deals. So it's win-win for the NY and Cali bars.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I actually know a few people who have had small successes with LLMs. But, like with tax, you have to find the right niche to justify that level of specification, and maybe 5% of the programs in the country are worth a damn. It's basically like a major for a degree that doesn't have them, which is why it pigeonholes you away from most jobs and is a general disadvantage.

    It's emblematic of one problem with law school: a classroom is no substitute for real experience. But people think the LLM is, and some programs have the gall to market them that way, but it makes you no more practice-ready than the JD.

    ReplyDelete
  42. To quote the great Scott.Bullock...LLM stands only for law schools looting money.

    ReplyDelete
  43. My law school was able to sucker a lot of people into getting an LLM in intellectual property. Essentially, after extracting three years of tuition out of you at about $110,000, the school figured that students would not mind chipping in extra $5,000 for another piece of paper and three extra initials after your name.

    Some of those with the LLM in IP are practicing in the field, but I don't think having an LLM gave them any advantage because they are mainly the top students who otherwise would have had a job anyway. Some with an LLM in IP are practicing, but not IP (one is a criminal prosecutor). And then there are some who are not even practicing law at all. Good thing they got that "joint degree."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know a few with LLMs in IP from John Marshall or Franklin Pierce (whatever it's called now), etc.

      Don't think it helped them any, but don't think it hurt them.

      By the way, does it really only cost $5K for the LLM at your school, or was that a typo?

      thanks.

      Delete
    2. I meant $5K in addition to JD tuition.

      Delete
  44. My law school started an IP LLM program about 10 years ago, and from what I understand, it has never enrolled more than 5 or 10 people in a given year. About a year ago, in an effort to prop up the failing LLM program, they launched a "joint degree" program that allows students to add 12 credits onto the JD program and get the JD and the LLM at the same time. While it's not as expensive as paying for 24 or 30 more credits (or whatever the LLM is on its own), it's still extracting 12 more credits' worth of tuition out of those students who are naive enough to believe it will help their careers. My understanding is that there are something like 30 students enrolled in the joint degree program now, so it looks like the LLM program won't be going away any time soon.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Specifically, I am interested in LLM programs for additional legal studies in the area of Real Estate with a focus in resort and recreational development. PHD programs in this area would also be of interest.
    New York accountants

    ReplyDelete

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