It is always interesting to come across innovative projects in the legal education sphere, more specifically projects within the world international legal education. The website Law In the City, is one such venture that I shall be keeping a keen eye on. Founded by two LL.M. graduates of Brooklyn Law School, the website is meant to be an “inside guide” to an LL.M. in New York City.
I got the chance to interview one of the co-founders, Vincenzo D’Angelo, on the idea behind the website, how to make the most of the US LL.M. experience, and what drew him to New York City in the first place.
Before getting into Law in the City, could you tell me what drew you to an LL.M. in the US? What were some of the expectations you had from the course, and do you think these expectations have been met?
I decided to do an LL.M. because I always wanted to move in New York. To do so, the best way to build my career as a lawyer was doing an LL.M. After I graduated in Italy – my home country – I applied at Brooklyn Law School willing to start my new journey.
My expectations were to learn from prominent teachers, be exposed to a rousing environment, meet people coming from different backgrounds and cultures, and find the dream job in a law firm.
If the first three expectations have been met very easily, the goal to find the job of my dreams is still in process. The outbreak of the pandemic had a big impact in the job market, especially for recent graduates.
How did the idea behind LITC come up? How long did it take to set it up, and start publishing articles?
One of my colleagues from the LL.M. and I always had this idea to share our journey as LL.M. students in New York with other students. During the pandemic, we realized that networking – one of the most important things to do during the LL.M. – was very difficult.
For this reason, we thought it was the right moment to create a website for past, current, and prospective LL.M. students. Our mission was to create a community of LL.M. alumni, in which we can share our experiences, network, and help prospective students.
Last summer, my colleague and I did an internship for a sort of startup incubator for law students called Startup Law Academy offered by the Matten law firm, and one of the tasks was to create and present a project. The award was the collaboration with a designer to create the logo of the project.
We won, and once we had our logo, I designed the website. A couple of months later, we were online.
What do you think sets New York City apart when it comes to the US LL.M. experience?
New York City is still the center of the world. Here, you have the opportunity to meet the best lawyers in the world and to be exposed to an exciting environment.
Sometimes, it can be frustrating and alienating. But, if you are willing to push your limits further and never being comfortable, then it is the city for you.
Like your website mentions, an LL.M. can be quite an intensive experience – how do you think foreign trained lawyers can make the most out of their time in the US?
As I said on my website, the LL.M. is a very intensive experience. Especially if you would like to stay in US, it will be a big challenge.
In my opinion, being involved in student associations or lawyer associations is the best thing you can do during your LL.M. It gives you the opportunity to meet people with different backgrounds, learn from real experiences how to be a lawyer, and find new friends and mentors.
Lastly, if you could share one piece of advice for LL.M. candidates in the US, what would it be?
My best advice is networking. As I said before, being involved in associations, staying in touch with professors, and connecting with lawyers with your same area of interest will [help] you find a job.