Juris Masters / Master of Laws: A good alternative to a JD? Is it useful?

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  • #200795
    HoosierDaddy
    Participant

    I would really like to take an LLM in technology law but from my research you need a JD for almost all LLM programs except those in tax. Does anyone have any knowledge of the usefulness of a Masters in Law/Juris Masters?

    #762543
    Sir Ivalis
    Participant

    Hoosier, I'm a JD/MST. LLMs are to be in addition to a JD, not an alternative. This should be the case 100% of the time. If you find an LLM program that will admit you without a JD, I'd say that's a major red flag. Also, I'm not sure where you found information that you don't need a JD to get your LLM in tax, but I definitely did for any of the LLMs in Tax that I researched.

    The only possible alternative is if you are the foreign equivalent of a JD, which for many countries is an undergraduate degree. Then US law schools provide LLM programs for international students who wish to join a State Bar.

    Also, the simple question I'd as you is why would you want such a degree? Looks like you have plenty of education and work experience, so assuming it's not for employment reasons, I'd have to imagine there are better/much cheaper ways to gain the distinction you seek.

    Hope that doesn't come off like I'm just crapping on your ideas, but one of the reasons I chose the MST is because of how dead end the law market is and how relatively worthless law degrees (especially LLMs) are.

    #762544
    Son
    Participant

    Second Sir Ivalis, LLM degree will always require a JD degree or its foreign equivalent to be admitted. An LLM in tax from a top school is exceptionally useful if you're working in the field of taxation, but I'm not sure why you'd be interested in one considering your focus is on audit/fraud examination? JD requirement aside, a one-year LLM costs north of 50-60K, so it's a pretty hefty investment.

    #762545
    taxgeek83
    Participant

    From my research, some schools offer an MST alongside an LLM in tax – students in both programs basically end up taking the same classes aside from maybe one or two program-specific courses. JDs are awarded an LLM, and grad students an MST. Maybe that's where the confusion is?

    #762546
    HoosierDaddy
    Participant

    After some research it seems that European universities award LLMs to students with undergraduate degrees in subjects other than law. I found an LLM in International Commercial Law that is offered online by the University of Edinburgh that I could apply to. What do you think?

    #762547
    August
    Participant

    Villanova's MT is taught in their law school and follows the same curriculum as its LLM in Taxation. Accountants and law students are in class together. JD's receive an LLM and accountants get an MT. They now offer an online program as well as an on-campus option. It's pricy though and costs over $30k to complete the program.

    #762548
    Son
    Participant

    HoosierDaddy, you might very well be eligible to for an LLM degree in Europe. Legal education in Europe is drastically different from the legal education in the US. It's a 4-year undergraduate degree (so, you get a bachelor's degree in laws), and you can get your masters (LLM) afterwards. So they might view you as having a somewhat equivalent education to that of a law graduate in Europe.

    But getting back to my original question, what is the value of getting an LLM degree for someone with your background? Not going to lie – I would find it a bit confusing to see someone with an accounting education and an LLM. And it's a very expensive undertaking if you're doing this just to get another certification.

    #762549
    ecg19
    Participant

    For what it's worth, I have an LLB from my home country (a commonwealth country) and it's virtually useless to me in the USA. No one cares about it, it's as if I don't have any legal training, despite sharing the common law system.

    According to Americans, it's not relevant. I worked for EY in Australia and according to EY USA I didn't have enough education to work in tax in the USA, only audit.

    I also have a BSc in Accounting, thank goodness, so at least once I have my CPA I'll finally be ‘relevant' again.

    I would stick with getting your LLM in the USA, if that's what you decide to do, rather than the UK.

    #762550
    HoosierDaddy
    Participant

    I'm excited to say I was conditionally accepted to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland for the LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice online program starting in January 2017.

    I know a previous poster said any LLM program that doesn't require a JD is a red flag. Initially I was hesitant about an online LLM, but I think this is a good program.

    The University of Edinburgh was ranked as the 6th best university in Europe by US News & World Report in 2015. The QS World University Rankings® 2015/16 show the university as the 21st in the world, ranking it above Ivy League institutions like Brown and Columbia.

    I seriously considered the traditional route including a MAcc program or an MBA, but this seems like a great option to hopefully boost my resume for a competitive PhD program. Some of the course modules are pretty interesting including

    – Forensic Computing and Electronic Evidence
    – International Commercial Arbitration
    – Law of Robotics
    – Corporate Compliance: Case Studies in Law and Ethics
    – International Law, Human Rights and Corporate Accountability

    I have wanted to pursue a JD (traditional three year law degree) in the past. I enjoyed my law courses in undergrad including business law and real estate law. These LLM courses will be much more rigorous, but I am looking forward to the potential challenge.

    I am still waiting to hear back about my application to West Virginia University about their Masters in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination. If I get accepted hopefully they will let me complete their masters program over the Summer and Fall before the LLM starts. It would be great to do both.

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