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2015年2月 2日 (月)

LL.M. Career Guide: Things to Remember During Job Interviews (Part 1/2)

Gavel

Before the interview:

  • Decide on your law practice
    One of the first things to think about, even prior to doing your LL.M., is the kind of law practice that you want to engage in.

For those who would like to have the U.S. experience, they can market their LL.M. degree and their U.S. law school background as credentials. In addition, having the bar admission qualification and excellent English language skills are a great advantage.

For those who are interested in doing home country practice, look for law firms which have offices or has business related to your home country. The LL.M. degree can give those who would like to return and work in their home countries an advantage in credentials.

  • Grades
    Keep in mind that employers look if you have strong grades during your LL.M. study. One way to ensure that you will have an excellent transcript prior to your LL.M. program is to prepare for it in advance especially if you come from a civil law tradition.

    Remember that preparation is half the battle, and learning about the U.S. common law and the legal system in advance can help you make the most out of your international student experience.
  • Ask one of your LL.M. Professors to be your reference
    In selecting your references, asking one of your LL.M. professors can be of great help. Just remember to ask one of your professors who can attest to your abilities and be sure to talk to them about their willingness to be your reference beforehand.

    Also, if you are caught in the middle of multiple options for a reference make sure that you go for someone who is an expert in the field you want to enter or known to your potential employers.

 

*For more information, you can check out our public guidance videos on U.S. law study, law career and the bar exam among others on our LL.M. Video Streaming page. This guideline also made use of the 2010 Yale Law Career Plan Guide as additional reference.

For additional information, please check out the 2012-2013 Yale Law School International LL.M. Career Planning Guide.

2015年1月26日 (月)

The U.S. Bar: A General Picture

National_conference_of_bar_examiner

 

Basic Information

The U.S. Bar examinations is offered twice a year in February and July. U.S. jurisdictions usually make use of the 2- or 3-day exam format.

It is important to note that the bar examination offered by each of the U.S states have its own uniqueness. Different jurisdictions adopt a combination of the following components for their examination: the state-specific portion, the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) and/or the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE)

Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) Components

Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)

Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)

Multistate Performance Test (MPT)

New York and California Exams

 



 

The National Conference of Bar Examiners

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The MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination), MBE (Multistate Bar Exam), MEE (Multistate Essay Examination) and MPT (Multistate Performance Test) are examinations created by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

The parts that are actually tested in the bar exam are under the Uniform Bar Examination that involves the MBE, MEE and MPT. It is upon each jurisdiction whether they will or will not make use of the UBE components.

One of the merits of implementing the UBE is its uniformity. The rationale behind such system is to allow the transfer of scores from one jurisdiction to another without re-taking the same exam.

※The New York State Board of Law Examiners has recommended to the New York Court of Appeals that the current bar examination be replaced with the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). On October 6, 2014, the Court of Appeals issued a Request for Public Comment on the proposal eliciting comments by November 7, 2014. On November 12, 2014, the Court announced that it is extending the comment period on the UBE to March 1, 2015.

http://www.nybarexam.org/

 

Professional Responsibility Examination

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Prior to taking the U.S. bar examinations, law students must take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). This examination, taken before graduating from law school, is compulsory for all students who would like to gain eligibility to sit for the bar.

Though, it is important to note that Maryland, Puerto Rico, Washington and Wisconsin don’t require the MPRE in their jurisdictions. This exam is offered on March, August and November by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

The MPRE gauges the student’s knowledge on the professional conduct of the lawyers as articulated by the American Bar Association (Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the Model Code of Judicial Conduct) as well as “controlling constitutional decisions and generally accepted principles established in leading federal and state cases and in procedural and evidentiary rules.”

The examination includes 60 multiple-choice items followed by 10 items that involves the student’s opinion of the examination conditions. The examination takes 2 hours.

UBE Components

MBE. The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) is a nationally administered and standardized examination, usually given during the last Wednesday of February or July. This is a 6-hour examination consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions.

This examination covers the following subjects: Contracts, Torts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence and Real Property. The examination is divided in two periods (in the morning and the afternoon) with 3 hours each.

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MEE.  The Multistate Essay Examination is given each year on a Tuesday before the last Wednesday of February and July. Its purpose is to identify legal issues raised by a hypothetical factual situation; separate material which is relevant from that which is not; present a reasoned analysis of the relevant issues in a clear, concise, and well-organized composition; and demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental legal principles relevant to the probable solution of the issues raised by the factual situation. This examination requires the applicant to communicate effectively in writing.

The MEE is composed of 9 essay questions where each jurisdiction may choose from. Usually, jurisdictions choose to administer 6 of the 9 questions. Jurisdictions administering this exam give it a 30% weight. Each of the examination questions is designed to be answered in 30 minutes.

The following are covered by the MEE:

Business Associations (Agency and Partnership; Corporations and Limited Liability Companies)

Conflict of Laws

Constitutional Law

Contracts

Criminal Law and Procedure

Evidence

Family Law

Federal Civil Procedure

Real Property

Torts

Trusts and Estates (Decedents’ Estates; Trusts and Future Interests)

Uniform Commercial Code (Negotiable Instruments (Commercial Paper) and (Secured Transactions)).

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MPT.  This examination is given each year on a Tuesday before the last Wednesday of February and July. Part of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), jurisdictions administering the Multistate Performance Test gives it a 20% weight. This portion involves two 90-minute questions.

The MPT includes a file and a library. The file contains all the facts of the case while the library contains the cases, statutes, regulations and rules, some of which may not be relevant to the lawyering task.

The purpose of this exam is to sort detailed factual materials and separate relevant from irrelevant facts; analyze statutory, case, and administrative materials for relevant principles of law; apply the relevant law to the relevant facts in a manner likely to resolve a client’s problem; identify and resolve ethical dilemmas, when present; communicate effectively in writing; and complete a lawyering task within time constraints.

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Jurisdictions where LL.M. students are eligible to take the U.S. bar exam

The table below shows the states where foreign students with LL.M. degrees can be eligible to take the bar and the examination components required by each state.

Jurisdiction/State                       MPRE      MBE         MEE       MPT

California                                 ☑            ☑           ☒           ☒

New York                                 ☑            ☑           ?           ☑

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*Information on the U.S. bar examination found in this entry are referenced from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

2015年1月12日 (月)

Learn which LL.M. Program Suits You

US Law School Programs

Depending on your purpose, you can choose an LL.M. program that could be best applicable to your academic or professional goals. Below is a short discussion on the different LL.M. Programs.


Full-time General LL.M.

The General LL.M. usually occurs for 1 year and is taken by students who would like to have a general study of the U.S. law or tailor their study according to their academic or professional interests.

Usually, students who want to sit for the U.S. bar opts for this program as they are free to choose courses required in the bar.

Check our article on the U.S. Bar to find out which States allow LL.M. graduates to sit for their bar exam. 》》》



Short Program LL.M.
(Accelerated LL.M.)


This program best suits students who would like to build-up on their credentials in a short period of time. Usually, this is taken by international students with personal or professional obligations that limit their capacity to spend much time abroad for a full-time degree.

Short programs are not designed for foreign-educated students who would like to sit for the bar.

Example:



Part-time LL.M. Program
(Executive LL.M.・Part-time Summer LL.M.・Correspondence LL.M.)


This type of program is primarily designed for students with professional obligations that can limit their capacity to spend much time abroad. Differing from the Short Program, Part-time LL.M. programs take 3-5 years to accomplish and are usually held during the summer term. Most programs under this category do not qualify students to be eligible to sit for the U.S. bar.

Other Executive programs employ distance education or online courses to correspond to the situation of working professionals. Currently, only the State of California considers those who graduated through correspondence learning to sit for their bar exam.

Example:



Specialization and Certificate LL.M.

Students can choose to either acquire a specialized degree on a certain field of law or acquire a certification for his or her chosen field. This program is apt for individuals who would like to earn a specialization or move careers in a certain field of law.

An LL.M. degree specialization is a degree program designed to provide students with the needed background for a specialized practice of law such as the LL.M. in Tax Law.

Example:

A certificate or concentration on the other hand is a program that requires a student to take defined courses in a certain field of law. Differing from a specialized degree program, a concentration will grant a student a certification and not a degree in the said field.

Example:



Joint-degree or Dual-degree

A joint-degree or dual-degree program allows a student to receive two different degrees for almost the same duration of the program. Usually this includes partnership between two colleges in the same university or a partnership with another university within the same country or abroad.

This is apt for individuals who would like to gain two degrees within the duration of the LL.M. program or to those who would like to maximize their LL.M. experience in different countries.

Example:

2015年1月 8日 (木)

Debunking Law School Myths 《For Foreign LL.M.s》 (Part 2/2)

Debunking Law School Myths 《For Foreign LL.M.s》 Part 1》》》

School_grounds

3. Exams will just be a part of my final grade.

On the contrary, in law school your final grade will usually be coming from your final exam. And in order to ace your exam it is important to know exactly the type of legal writing needed in law schools.

4. I had already undergone the study of law and pretty much know what to expect.

It may be true that as a lawyer, you already overcame law school and is an expert on your county’s law. Though, it can be a different story when you study a different law system that is taught not in your native language.

If you are interested in pursuing an LL.M. in the U.S. and you are from a country with a civil law tradition you may find the course study overwhelming. To help you with this, you can start preparing for the course work in advance.

When it comes to the law school atmosphere, it helps to get a picture of what to expect. And the best way to learn about this is to get in touch with the school itself. Most law schools could even connect you to alumni from your own country so that you can inquire about their experiences. Also, law schools usually offer online videos and virtual open houses to introduce the university to prospective students.

Another method that you can try is to get insights from law student blogs and compare and contrast their experiences. Below are some blogs that you can check out.

  • Wish I Would Have Known
    URL: http://wishiwouldhaveknown.blogspot.com/
    This blog is maintained by several law students and provides guidance and how-to information on surviving law school based from their experiences.

Wiwhk

  • U.S. Law School Information
    URL: http://www.nisiprius.com/
    This blog which is a full online version of the e-book Law School: Everything you Need to Know Before you Get There, provides students with valuable information on law school life. This site could be very helpful to those who are yet to decide if they want to pursue a career in law. The site also offers podcast versions of the content.
  • Law Student
    URL: http://www.lawstudent.tv/
    This blog collects different information surrounding law school life from application, how-tos, law careers and taking the bar exam among others. This site also links students to valuable information such as outline and law school exam samples.

Ls

  • Life of a Law Student
    URL: http://www.lifeofalawstudent.com/
    This website collects reading materials and podcasts on different law subjects such as the U.S. Constitution and even some on specialized law topics. Those who are interested in having preliminary knowledge on the different subjects of the law can download their podcasts.

Loals

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2015年1月 5日 (月)

Debunking Law School Myths 《For Foreign LL.M.s》 (Part 1/2)

Debunking Law School Myths 《For Foreign LL.M.s》 Part 2》》

From seeing movies like Paper Chase, you might have ideas about what law school life is like but, at the same time, you may also feel some uncertainty on what this new experience could bring to you. 

Experiencing a different culture and language can be both exciting and frustrating to international students. And at times it might be difficult to escape from forming some law school stereotypes. So it is always better to do research and find out what lies ahead to help you have a better picture of what to expect. 

Here are some common pitfalls that law students could fall into:

1. I can get by classes by reading my class textbooks alone.

It is easy to fall into thinking that your class-provided materials will be enough to help you get around the discussions in class. After all, if it is good enough for your professor why wouldn’t it be for you? Though, most of the time, reading such materials will not be enough to help you understand concepts different from your country’s legal system. Even your J.D. counterparts experience difficulty with the subject of law.

To help you with these, it could be advantageous to use other commercial publications such as law summaries or law-in-a-nutshell book series.

Also, remember that the class lectures are just as, if not more, important as reading your textbooks as it is from your professor’s coverage that the exam will be based upon. So make sure that you attend all your classes.

2. I should only focus with my class work.

Law school life is not merely confined within the four walls of your classroom but, a venue to a wealth of other opportunities as well. The study of law abroad could be a great way for you to experience new things and expand your professional network.

You may also opt to join international student associations and specialized organizations or enroll in clinical courses offered in your university. Getting an on-campus job could also be helpful specially to those who want to build up on their resume.

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2015年1月 1日 (木)

US Law Schools with Bar Support for LL.M. Students

In most U.S. Jurisdictions an LL.M. degree, in addition to a basic law degree, allows a student to gain eligibility to sit for their bar examination.

Law schools, usually, do not prepare students for the bar. For this, some students go to bar review schools to help them prepare for the exam.

There are however, law schools in the U.S. that offers bar exam support particularly to their LL.M. students. Here is a list of some U.S. schools that offer such a program.

1. University of Chicago

Uc_3

2. University of Southern California

Usc_3

3. Fordham University

Fu_4

4. Golden Gate University

Ggu_3

5. Pennsylvania State University

Ps_3

6. Chapman University

Cu_4

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2014年12月18日 (木)

【Guidance】Preparing for Your Exams (Part 2/2)

2

Reviewing Past Exam Questions

Joining Study Groups

Attending the Review Sessions

3. Reviewing past exam questions

Some professors provide sample exam questions for students to review though, if this is not the case in your class there are other avenues for you to get hold of past exam questions.

One way is by asking your school librarian for a copy of the previous exam questions of your professor. Another way is by asking former students who took your class about the examination and the coverage.   

Once you get hold of the past exam questions, you can try and practice answering them. You may want to refer to your textbook and notes in the beginning and later try to answer the examination under timed conditions.

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4. Joining study groups

Upon completion of your outline, you can join a study group with your classmates in preparation for your exams. Ideally, study groups are composed of around 5-6 people. With study groups you are able to cover the whole subject within a shorter period of time. You can also compare notes with others in the group and go over the parts that were unclear to you during the lecture. 

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5. Attending the review sessions

Most professors organize a special exam review session for the students in preparation for the exams. Attending the review sessions can be advantageous for you as you can get clues on the possible coverage of the examination.

During review sessions, some professors provide sample analysis exams and entertain questions as well as clarify portions that are unclear to students. Review sessions are usually organized by professors during the reading period a week before the exams. 

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2014年12月15日 (月)

【Guidance】Preparing for Your Exams (Part 1/2)

A

Making Outlines

Taking Down Notes

1. Making outlines
An outline is a road map that will guide you through the whole semester coverage of your course subject. Considering that you may have around 5 classes in one semester, making a bulky outline would make it difficult for you to go over each subject.

Remember that in creating outlines, brevity is very important. Ideally, you should aim to create a concise 10-15 page outline for each of your subjects.

With outlines, you may choose to either create one on your own or to access ones that are already made available and then improve on the content to reflect your current course coverage. An example of a website where you can access outlines is Outline Depot which hosts outlines made by law students and with categories arranged according to the professor, the law school or the textbook used. On this website you can either buy an outline or swap an outline you made in exchange of another one.

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2. Taking down notes
In law school, your class lectures are just as important as your textbooks. As it will be your professors who will be drafting your exams, it would be to your advantage to take down notes of the lecture. It is best if you could write in verbatim how your professor covered the different topics discussed in class.

For most LL.M. students however, English is not their first language and so difficulty may occur in trying to keep up with note-taking during lectures.

If keeping pace with the English used in classes is a little difficult, you may try to get permission from your professor to record the lecture and then try to listen to the recorded discussion after your class. Also, you can compare notes with other LL.M. and J.D. students to see and check the parts that you found unclear.

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2014年12月11日 (木)

Guidance: Study Time & Exams (Part 2/2)

《Guidance: Study Time & Exams Part 1》

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Final Exams

Law school exams usually last for about 3-4 hours and will cover the content discussed during the whole semester. Normally, the exam will be in essay format with 3 questions in which you will be given 1 hour to answer each.

The questions are most of the time vaguely written and so you must be prepared to give a comprehensive yet cohesive, easy-to-understand and adequate essay. Scores will be evaluated according to how strong your essay answers will be.

As an LL.M. student, you may be required to take some courses or have the freedom to take courses of your choice. Each semester could mean 5-6 classes with predetermined exam dates. With this, managing your time wisely and learning the type of examinations in each of your class can help you reap great results.

One piece of advice that can help you is to get to know your class and professor well. The more you understand your professor the more likely you can have an idea of the kind of questions that will be given in the course.

Usually, professors provide samples of past examinations to students. Though, if this is not the case in your class, there are other ways to gain access to them. One way is by asking your law school librarians if they have the exam samples you need or you can try asking former students on how the professor conducts exams and what the class atmosphere was like.

2014年12月 8日 (月)

Guidance: Study Time & Exams (Part 1/2)

《Guidance: Study Time & Exams Part 2》

01

Engaging in the practice of law can be an advantageous career path. Specially in the current age where transnational dealings between countries have made having knowledge on different legal systems more important. To be a lawyer means engaging in a very diverse practice both domestically and internationally.

Law firms are always interested in lawyers with different backgrounds in order to have a competitive edge. And if you want to have a competitive business or legal angle, one of the the best ways to do is by adding up to your credential a law degree from the U.S.

In choosing a law school, it is important to remember that the better the law school, the higher chance there is of getting into a law firm. There are a lot of good law schools in the U.S. and to get into them you should do your best to have a good application form, good test results and great university grades.

Study Time

Upon getting admitted to your LL.M. program you should focus on one aim which is “how to get your degree.” Getting a grade of A can help you get into good law firms who are interested in getting the smartest and most successful students they can.

To help you with this goal, there are two things that you must remember: ①study time and ②final exams.

Study time means the combined class time and the time you use to review for your lessons. As a law student, you are expected to invest much time in studying. Usually, law students spend 12-14 hours a day for this. Remember that the more time you invest in studying, the higher the chance that you will succeed.

Investing in your study time can also bring great advantage during the exams. For most law schools, your course grade will come from your final examinations alone therefore, there is a lot of pressure included in preparing for it.