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What is covered in a Master of Laws (LLM) degree?

Mike Dilnot

Careers Commentator
The Master of Laws (LLM) is an internationally recognised program that allows candidates to specialise in specific fields of law.

Lawyers in most countries are not required to hold a Master of Law degree. The course does, however, allow students to develop expertise in a particular field of law, which is found increasingly favourable by many leading legal organisations. Common specialisations include tax law and international law, while subjects as diverse as maritime law and gaming law are also available. This makes the program particularly attractive to those with previous professional experience who have identified the exact field of law in which they wish to practice. Thanks to the diverse appeal of the program, many candidates also find that this is an exceptional opportunity to develop an extensive and diverse professional network.

Being an internationally recognised postgraduate degree, the LLM is ideally suited for those looking to practice law in countries or territories away from home. While in some places, holding an LLM qualification automatically entitles the graduate to sit the bar exam, this is not always the case, making careful research essential.

Law graduates are in high demand throughout Australia, with junior legal positions suitable for those who have recently graduated an LLM program without prior professional experience. By choosing to study an LLM program, students are able to keep learning and building their resume whilst searching for the perfect paid position. Should the perfect job come along sooner than expected, it is possible to put the LLM program on temporary hold. Alternatively, candidates may even elect to exit the program early and still be awarded with a graduate diploma. This flexibility makes the LLM program a great option for those starting out in their legal careers, and avoids any awkward gaps on their resumes!

In recent years, Australian legal graduates have been in exceptionally high demand by overseas recruiters. London, the Middle East and China all host significant numbers of Australian lawyers, with the preference being for those with a background in commercial law.