As graduation approaches and the job search heats up for my fellow 3Ls, I’ve been sitting serenely on the sidelines knowing that my LL.M. will be extending into the next year. While this is nice for the moment and allows me some clarity while I study for the bar, it also means that people are continuously asking me what I plan on doing with my LL.M. For anyone else in the same situation, here’s a handy list:
- Extending the student loan deferment period. Pursuing an LL.M. means that I’m technically still a full time student until the end of December 2013. However, my J.D. will be complete in May, which means I still sit for the bar this summer and will have an extra long time to search for jobs before I’m finally forced to call my old consulting company and beg for a new assignment so I can pay off my student loans.
- Spending hours trying to explain just what, exactly, an LL.M. is to people outside of the legal profession. Let’s face it, the LL.M. is an oddball sort of degree. It’s sort of like a doctorate, except that it’s really not because you’re not doing new research and there’s no dissertation, plust describing it that way just makes people ask how that’s possible since “J.D.” means “Juris Doctor.” Calling it a focus or major isn’t right either and just begs for the follow up question of, “then why is it a separate degree?” Ultimately, I usually just stick with vaguely calling it a specialty degree and hoping they don’t ask too much more.
- Spending hours trying to explain what you can do with an LL.M. that you can’t with just a J.D. In the case of my tax LL.M. the answer is pretty much, “get taken seriously when interviewing at Accounting firms.” Usually I end up falling back on item #1 for this because that’s less embarrassing than admitting that I’m applying to Accounting firms. If you’ve got a better answer I’d love to hear it.
- Learn how to live without sleeping because your school’s LL.M. program has all its classes in the evenings and you end up in the law building until 10:00 pm most nights. This one really doesn’t need any more elaboration.
- Get connected with incredible programs where you have the opportunity to get a free trip into the Alaskan bush to prepare taxes for people in remote Alaska for 10 days in the middle of a semester resulting in everything on your schedule being ridiculously effed up for several weeks during training and preparation and making you forget that you have blog posts coming due. OK, maybe that last bit is just me.
Post image courtesy of Shutterstock.