LLM Career Development Introduction
Given that Yale’s LL.M. Program is intended for students who are committed to careers in law teaching, the vast majority of Yale’s LL.M. students engage in academic pursuits immediately after completing their degrees. These pursuits include additional academic degree programs; academic research; postdocs; academic fellowships; and law school teaching. The Graduate Programs Office supports LL.M. students in pursuing these opportunities.
On occasion, LL.M. students explore post-graduate opportunities in legal practice, rather than in academia. These legal practice opportunities tend to be time-bound, often relate to LL.M. students’ areas of academic interest, and are located both in the U.S. and abroad. They can be particularly attractive to LL.M. students in whose home countries law professors frequently practice law.
Legal practice opportunities for LL.M. students fall both in the private sector (most commonly at private-sector law firm offices in the U.S. and abroad) and in the public sector (most commonly through post-graduate public interest fellowships at international organizations, tribunals, and courts, as well as on occasion at domestic U.S. non-profit organizations).
U.S.-based private and public sector legal practice positions are particularly difficult for LL.M. students at any U.S. law school to secure, due to numerous structural barriers in the U.S. legal job market. In recent years, only a small percentage of Yale’s LL.M. students interested in legal practice positions have successfully obtained them within the U.S.; a somewhat larger percentage have obtained legal practice positions in their home countries or in third countries outside of the U.S.
CDO offers career counseling, programs, and resources to LL.M. students who are interested in exploring legal practice opportunities. In addition, CDO posts job openings which have been submitted by public-sector and private-sector employers on our Career Management System (CMS); you can access CMS using your NetID. Finally, CDO's attorney-counselors provide LL.M. students with information and advice about practice-oriented career choices and trajectories, and assist with the creation of U.S.-style application materials, preparations for U.S.-style interviews, and other aspects of the candidacy process.
CDO also organizes a variety of law school programs during the academic year on topics including interview training; specialized panels on particular areas of legal practice; and post-graduate Public Interest Fellowships. While some CDO events are specifically for LL.M. students, many are for all YLS students. LL.M. students also receive CDO’s weekly term-time email newsletters, which announce career-related programs and other events and opportunities that may be of interest to students. In addition, CDO cosponsors an annual LL.M. Interview Program with six other top U.S. law schools that is a main vehicle for private-sector law firm hiring of LL.M. candidates.
LL.M.s who wish to pursue legal practice opportunities in both the private and public sectors are encouraged to speak with a CDO counselor in the fall semester.