Once you graduated in France, which means that you are the proud owner of a Master 2 in a legal field, the fatal question regarding your future arrives. You hear a lot of your colleagues complaining about their internships, teachers about how difficult the market is, prospective employers explaining that you need x years of working experiences/ x amount of degrees obtained in the most prestigious French and foreign universities. Listening to all of these opinions could be overwhelming.
I had to deal with the same issue and at this time I thought being graduated of a master 2 in a French university would be enough to find a job of my convenience, which is true for most of the law students.
However, if your dream job is to work in international law, arbitration, corporate, banking or finance law, human rights etc., you almost certainly need to have an experience outside of France: either with an internship or with an LL.M. Nowadays, the biggest law firms ask prospective candidates to have achieved either a Specialized Master in a Business School or an LL.M. The decision of applying for an LL.M. mainly depends on what type of jobs you are looking for.
For my part, my specialization was Banking, Corporate and Finance and my dream job was to work in this field inside of a big law firm where you will need to use your knowledge of the two majoritarian systems: Civil Law and Common Law. In my opinion, you need to know and understand those two systems in order to work in this specialization: an international corporation, a bank, a financial institution will have ramification all over the world in which those two systems are applied. This is why I chose to do a sixth year of study and I applied for an LL.M.
Therefore, the LL.M. needed to be specialized the same way as my Master 2 in order to complete my French education and allow me to work at a worldwide level. That was my first filter. So, I applied to all universities which had an LL.M. specialized in Banking, Corporate and Finance and not those with just general corporation. After I received their answer came the second filter: the location. I could choose between Los Angeles, Boston and New York. I chose New York because of my personal preferences: I needed a place where I could go to museums, concerts… but one of my friend chose the surf and sun which was apparently also a fantastic choice.
However do not apply to all universities: it would be extremely expensive and not all of them can interest you: you have to make a comprehensive choice first.
An American Law School is something very different from a French one on a lot of different levels. The one that struk me first is the relation between the Professor and the student: an American Professor considers you as an equal: he actually wants to share with you his knowledge but he also wants your opinion and to discuss it with you. The second thing is the method, which is completely different. In an American Law School you come to a class “prepared”: the teacher is giving you relevant chapter to read from the assigned book and you have to read it for the next class in order to participate in the following discussion. Thus, a class is mostly a discussion, which will lead to the explanation of the legal principle. Moreover, the law school provides numerous conferences given by eminent professionals and professors from all over the world on a variety of subjects. I had for example the privilege to listen to a conference in which the Nobel Peace Price Eli Wiesel shared with us some of his experiences.
To finish I would just say that doing an L.LM abroad is a unique experience and a great chance in a life for someone who takes the steps to apply and get one!
For further information on the LL.M. Banking, Corporate and Finance Law from the Fordham University School of Law, click here.