The Admission Interviews, are meant to provide insights into LLM admissions right from the law school itself. The primary idea behind this series is to provide that little bit of extra information that may not be available on the law school’s website.
In this edition we feature Margaret Lloyd, the LL.M. Student Services Program Director at Notre Dame Law School. In an e-mail interview, Margaret discusses the kind of applicants that her law school looks for, how one should go about writing the statement of purpose, the US legal recruitment market, and a whole lot more.
Let us start from the start – why do you think Indian law graduates should opt for an international LLM in general, and why Notre Dame law school in particular?
Indian law graduates who recognize the need for an advanced degree in US law as essential to their personal and professional development should consider an LLM in US Legal Studies. Many international students desire to take a bar exam, and need an LLM degree to be eligible. Beyond that, we have many students who use the LLM degree to advance their career in their home country, whether that is a leap to a more prestigious firm or a university professorship, and more.
Why Notre Dame Law School?
Notre Dame Law School values the diversity that international LL.M. students bring to the law school community. International students are fully integrated into the Law School’s curriculum and culture as they attend classes and take part in student activities with their U.S. classmates. All students have access to the core curriculum of the Law School, and may choose to concentrate their studies in a variety of specializations by taking advanced courses offered in the J.D. program. We are unique in that we keep our LL.M. program intentionally small so that students are given personalized attention, support, and flexibility to create a plan that best meets their educational and career goals.
We are unique in that we keep our LL.M. program intentionally small so that students are given personalized attention, support, and flexibility to create a plan that best meets their educational and career goals.
Is there a particular profile of applicants that you are looking for? For instance, applicants who are fresh out of the undergraduate course, or those who have a few years of work experience?
We welcome applicants along the spectrum of their professional development. Both, recently graduated lawyers and those who have practiced in the legal field will find the support needed to succeed at Notre Dame Law School.
So, two obstacles that applicants often face are writing the personal statement and choosing referees – what advice would you have on approaching these two components?
When I read a personal statement I look for two main ideas: who are you? and how can we at Notre Dame Law School help you achieve your personal and professional goals? I look for a statement that will help me get to know you on a personal level. I then want to know why you are interested in our law school – is it the faculty, the mission, the courses offered – what will help you succeed?
I look for a statement that will help me get to know you on a personal level. I then want to know why you are interested in our law school – is it the faculty, the mission, the courses offered – what will help you succeed?
Similarly, when selecting someone to write a recommendation for you, the writer should know you well and be able to offer specific examples of your abilities and aptitude. We look for a recommendation from a professor, who will describe how you perform in an academic setting. If you have been out of school for a number of years and it is difficult to have a professor write a recommendation, a supervisor whom you have worked with for an extended period is a good choice.
Can Indian applicants seek a waiver on the English proficiency requirement?
Yes. If you have graduated from a university level program where English was the language of instruction, you can request a waiver.
A lot of applicants are looking to move jurisdictions after the LLM. How early should they start looking at the bar exams, and are there is any support/prep assistance offered by the law school?
You should begin to look at bar eligibility requirements prior to leaving India to study in the United States. You will be required to submit documentation such as transcripts, proof of fulfilment of the educational requirements, degree certificates, and more. It is best to gather these documents while you are home to ensure you have all the documents needed.
Each class you take will help you prepare for the bar exam, and while you are in the LLM program your course work is your top priority. Students will often use a commercial bar preparation service post graduation to prepare for the bar exam. It will take a lot of study, but each year, many LLM students take and pass a bar exam.
Is there any data that you can share on the amount of funding/aid that is provided to international LLM students?
I do not have specific data on scholarships as we are a small program. The admissions committee evaluates each application and considers each for admission and scholarship. In your decision letter, you will be notified if you are admitted, and the amount of scholarship awarded.
Given your experience, what is your reading of the US legal market when it comes to the recruitment of international LLM graduates?
Graduates who are committed to finding a position in the United States will find one. There are many opportunities within the legal community where the skills an international LLM brings are valued.
When it comes to the LLM in London, are there career development services offered specifically for externships/recruitments in the UK market?
Yes, Director of the London Law Program Michael Addo is committed to identifying internship opportunities for our LLM students in London.
Here on campus, we have a dedicated Career Development Officer who works with LLMs throughout the year addressing topics such as resumes and cover letters, networking, and interviewing skills.
The LLM course lasts barely nine months – any advice on how applicants can make the most of the course?
Each applicant should come prepared to take advantage of the resources offered at Notre Dame Law School. Our expert faculty is available beyond the classroom. You should establish relationships with professors who teach and research in your area of interest.
We regularly have speakers on numerous topics present to the law school community. We also have many, many student organizations that would benefit from an international student perspective.
Our Student Bar Association hosts many social events throughout the year so you can relax and have fun with your classmates. In addition, the entire campus is available to our law students. Our athletic facilities and competitions, world class theatre and musical productions, our art museum – and more- can be found on our beautiful campus.