The LLM Network – Unused Potential

Every year, in New York State, about 1,000 new LLM students start their adventure while some 1,000 students graduate from their master programs. About 207 law schools across the country run LLM programs, and the LLM programs have been around, in one form or another, for many years. If we add these numbers up, we arrive at a significant figure. About 80%- 90% of LLM graduates return home, while the rest stay in the U.S. Can you guess where the unused potential is?

Any social network is driven by homophily. This is a fancy word for saying: "birds of a feather flock together." Homophily is the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with similar others, which is the fuel for any network. LLM students and graduates share the experience of having done an LLM in the United States. Whether they have done it in New York or Texas, their experiences share many commonalities. 

The power of a network lies in the information that is shared within it. Information is power. Can you imagine how much power one network with attorneys from all over the globe could have? Many LLM students focus on networking with Americans since they hope this may lead to a job, but to limit one’s network in such a way is to leave a tremendous opportunity untapped. Our globalized world demands that our network crosses borders. The LLM degree allows a student to become a connected member of the global legal market. How can we not capitalize on this? An LLM degree is in excess of $40,000; a global network, on the other hand, is priceless. If we can get a Mercedes and a Ferrari for $40,000, why only get the Mercedes? 

Employers hire legal expertise, but they also hire business acumen. One who understands the value and power of a global network exhibits an understanding of the markets’ inner workings.

If you are a current LLM student, you are presently surrounded by lawyers from all over the world, studying U.S. law. If you reach out to other LLM students, you reach across borders. The wise will understand. 

Desiree Jaeger-Fine is director of International Programs at Brooklyn Law School and author of "A Short & Happy Guide to Networking" (West Academic Publishing) and "A Short & Happy Guide to Being Hired" (West Academic Publishing).