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.
Professor Douglas Brodie is the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde. In this interview, the labour law expert talks about the LLM admissions at Strathclyde, the benefits of an international LLM, how one can maximise the benefits of the course, and a lot more.
As someone who has been teaching for quite a while now, what do you think are the benefits of a non-professional degree like an LLM from the point of view of the international student?
LLM (Master of Laws) are internationally recognised qualifications. This allows graduates to experience studying in another country whilst gaining a qualification which will be recognised throughout the world. The life experience of studying in a different country can add more interest to someone’s CV as well as a qualification.
“The life experience of studying in a different country can add more interest to someone’s CV as well as a qualification.”
They also offer students to specialise in particular areas of law. The pursuit of an LLM will help demonstrate expertise and in depth knowledge that perhaps an undergraduate qualification will not have covered. It may also lead to a career in academia!
What are your views on rankings such as THE and QS World Rankings? I suppose what I am asking is how do you think prospective applicants should go about choosing just where to apply?
I think that rankings can give an indication but prospective applicants should take far more into account. I would advise people to get in touch with the institutions that offer the topics they are interested in. Find out more about the academics, current students, normal class sizes etc. You are committing a lot of time and money so it’s important to get the right fit for your area of interest and expectations of how you’ll be taught.
For example, our Law School is not “ancient” nor would we want to be. We’ve been educating lawyers for 50 years and our teaching is informed by current research. We have innovative teaching methods and we are researching topical issues that resonate with today’s society.
Our academics, graduates and current students regularly speak with applicants to tell them more about what it would be like to study here.
“For example, our Law School is not “ancient” nor would we want to be. We’ve been educating lawyers for 50 years and our teaching is informed by current research.”
One of the more questions we get at Amicus Partners is what happens after the LLM – what is your reading of the recruitment possibilities for the international LLM candidate who is looking to work in, for instance, Scotland?
The UK Home Office has announced proposals to allow international students to stay in the UK for two years after graduation to find a job. This is fantastic news as it will open up more opportunities for our international graduates what want to stay in the UK. We offer a number of LLM specialisms so the possibilities will vary for each.
Coming to Strathclyde, is there a particular profile of applicants that you are looking for? And as a law department, what are the characteristics/aspects that you look for in applicants?
We generally look for applicant to have a 2:1 honours equivalent. We attract a variety of students and it’s important to note that we do not necessarily need applicants to have studied Law at undergraduate level. (Ideally, applicants will have studied a subject that would require essay based assessments.)
We have a range of different types of students on our programmes, including professionals studying alongside work or taking time out, to people who have progressed directly from their undergraduate qualification. This provides an interesting mix of backgrounds and adds to discussion within our classes.
Generally speaking, we want individuals who have a passion for their subject and a willingness to embrace different opinions and ideas.
“Generally speaking, we want individuals who have a passion for their subject and a willingness to embrace different opinions and ideas.”
Any advice on how the international LLM graduate make the most of the LLM experience?
I would advise any student to immerse themselves in student life, attending the free seminars and getting involved in the societies through the Student Union.
For Law in particular, we have an active Law Society and opportunities to get involved in work with our research centres.
I know that you have been a consultant to the dispute resolution firm Simpson & Marwick – how has that experience been and how do you think Indian law firms could be encouraged to work more closely with Indian academia?
I think it is hugely beneficial to law academics to have a connection with professional practice. One important benefit is that you gain a better awareness of the practical skills required by new practitioners.
I would urge Indian academics to reach out to firms and explain their undoubted relevance.
“I would urge Indian academics to reach out to firms and explain their undoubted relevance.”
Lastly, I am quite curious to know what you think are the fallouts of Brexit (if it ever happens) in the context of international students? Do you think it will lead to an increase in students who choose to study in Scotland?
Whatever the outcome of Brexit I think that the UK will still be a very popular destination for international students.
Strathclyde is attracting record numbers of students and I think that will continue as long as we keep refreshing our portfolio of programmes.