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Career Strategies for LLM Students

Career Planning

LLM students who are considering new employment opportunities, as well as those planning to return to their current employer, are encouraged to utilize the Office of Career Strategy (OCS).

The University of Pennsylvania Law School has a dedicated LLM and International Career Counselor, who organizes programs designed specifically for LLM students, including resume and cover letter drafting, networking, interview skills programs, training in various electronic sources to give you information about employers, and an attorney mentor program. OCS also invites recent graduates back to speak about their job search experiences.

OCS counselors also work with LLMs individually to design a personalized job search strategy. They will review your resume and cover letters, conduct mock interviews, and answer career-related questions.

Additionally, OCS markets our LLM students to the legal community. We send out brochures that highlight the advantages of hiring LLMs to firms, corporations, banks, and other businesses. In past years, members of our staff have written articles and lectured in legal arenas with the sole purpose of publicizing our LLMs, in the hope of generating more employment opportunities.

Law School students are also invited to participate in the International Student Interview Program (“ISIP”), held in New York City each January. Learn more about ISIP.

However, be advised that OCS does not obtain employment opportunities for students. It is incumbent upon all students, JDs and LLMs alike, to work very hard on their own job searches, making contacts with employers, pursuing opportunities, and following up on all possibilities.

We also want to take a minute to talk to you, frankly, about the great difficulty LLMs have in finding permanent legal employment here in the United States. There are significant structural barriers that contrast with the excellent opportunities many of our LLM graduates secure in their home countries or sometimes in a third country. Each year, some of our LLM students seek employment in the United States, either on a temporary basis (for example, a six-month period or two-year stint, prior to returning to their home country) or on a more permanent basis. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for LLM graduates from any LLM program in the United States to find a law-related job in the United States today.

Those candidates who are successful at securing employment in the U.S. generally do so by networking extensively with contacts from their own country before arriving in Philadelphia in order to set up interviews in the U.S. The successful LLM candidate is typically one who can demonstrate to a U.S. firm that they will be a source of client expansion and income to the firm.

We pass on this information not to disappoint you, but rather to give you a realistic picture of the job market prior to your decision to attend the University of Pennsylvania Law School or any other LLM program in the U.S. Many of our LLM graduates leverage their degree into better positions either in their home country or somewhere else outside the U.S.

Our LLM alumni have become leaders around the world in law firms, business, government, and other areas. Regardless of their paths after graduation, LLM students at the University of Pennsylvania find their experience here both personally and professionally rewarding. Many find that their experience here enables them to return to their practice with valuable new contacts in the U.S. and thorough knowledge of U.S. law and practice.

We hope you will set exciting and realistic goals for yourself and we hope the information we have provided for you here is valuable in setting those goals. We look forward to meeting you in July and to assisting those of you who will be working on the job search process.

Steps to Take Now

Should you decide both to enroll at the Law School and to seek an opportunity for work experience here in the United States, there are some steps you must take now to make your job search a success.

Caroline Ruhle

Caroline Ruhle

Assoc. Director

Provides a wide variety of LLM specific career programming as well as one on one counseling. Prior to joining Penn Law in 2011, Caroline worked at Temple University-Beasley School of Law as a Director of Career Planning.

LLM Career Planning Checklist

LLM graduates who have met success in the job market have helped us develop this checklist of things LLM candidates should do BEFORE beginning their studies at Penn Carey Law. Use this chart to prepare NOW. You can access information about resumes, reference lists, writing samples, and more at the Admitted Students’ Website.

To Do

Steps to Take

Check here when you accomplish

Develop a network

· Learn as much as possible about which employers in your country do business with U.S. employers. Try to develop contacts with these employers in your country to learn as much as you can about their business interests in the U.S.

· Develop a relationship with a firm or employer in your country that has contacts in the U.S.

· Build a list of contacts in the United States — obtain names, titles, addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of lawyers and business people working in the U.S. whom you can contact when you get here.


Prepare materials to bring with you to the U.S.

· Copies of your diplomas and transcripts (including an official final transcript/proof of graduation from your law program, which may be required by Bar Examiners if you intend to sit for a bar in one of the US jurisdictions that permits you to do so). If you have copies that are translated to English, this will be helpful as well.

· A list of references (people who can speak to prospective employers about your particular skills and talents) with titles, phone and fax numbers, and addresses.


Draft a U.S. style resume

Prepare a draft of your resume using the U.S. style as described in the accompanying materials.
You will have the opportunity to revise this draft with our LLM counselor after you arrive.


Develop a business writing sample in English

Consider your writing. Select, prepare, or effectively translate a strong piece of business writing so that you have a writing sample, in English, to present to employers.


Develop your English skills

Continue your study of English, emphasizing business speaking and writing skills.


Read U.S. business and legal newspapers

Begin to read as much as possible about the U.S. business and legal environments. Read:

· The Wall Street Journal

· The American Lawyer

· The National Law Journal

· The New York Times business section