Why International Corporate Legal Counsel Pursue the LL.M.

View all blog posts under Articles

Obtaining your online LL.M degree could help further your international corporate law career, especially if you intend to work with businesses in the United States. According to Kathryn Hazelett, JD, LLM, furthering your education with an LL.M allows you to develop “focused expertise” in your chosen practice area.

Lawyers who attend school in the United States often obtain their juris doctorate, or J.D., degrees, then take the American Bar Exam as well as a state bar exam. However, if you practice corporate law in another country, you might want to get your LL.M after you obtain your first degree in law from your home country.

Learn Now to Negotiate Contracts with Businesses Overseas

Why International Corporate Legal Counsel Pursue the LL.M

Writing for American Express’s OPEN Forum, international trade expert Greg Sandler lists several intricacies of negotiating international contracts that might demand focused expertise from an LL.M graduate, including the following:

  • Accountability: The language in the contract should be concise and thorough, explaining each party’s responsibilities and methods of accountability. This could prove particularly important in international law because the parties aren’t in close physical proximity, and therefore might not have the resources to monitor one another closely.
  • Dispute resolution: A contract between parties in different countries must designate how dispute resolution will take place and in what jurisdiction. Since this might represent a point of contention between the parties, businesses might want to work with experienced attorneys who have experience negotiating such points.
  • Termination: An international contract should spell out what happens if one or both parties decide to terminate the agreement. Like dispute resolution, termination can prove more complicated on an international scale.

An LL.M offers focused education in a particular practice area. You might, for instance, decide to further your understanding of corporate law by obtaining your online LL.M. The degree typically takes about one year of study to complete, which is far shorter than the typical duration of a first law degree program, and the organization suggests that business and trade law are among the most common reasons to pursue an LL.M.

Add More Credibility to Your Background

An LL.M is an efficient degree for adding “international credibility” to your background. Once you finish the degree program, you can use the skills you learned to advance as corporate legal counsel. In many large businesses, several lawyers operate under the same roof, and becoming chief counsel for a corporation might involve increased pay, benefits, and other rewards.

The organization particularly recommends the LL.M for early-stage attorneys who want to ascend the corporate ladder quickly. LL.M candidates at USC can complete their degrees in just three semesters, and they can finish their coursework 100 percent online. If you are already working as corporate legal counsel, you do not have to quit your job to extend your education.

LawyerEDU.org points out that many U.S. schools do not offer LL.Ms for international students. If you earned your first law degree in another country, choosing a school like USC could prove advantageous. The program comes with global recognition, excellent rankings in top-school lists, and an extensive network of alumni who might help you advance your career as international corporate legal counsel.

Practice Law in the United States

While companies exist all over the world, many of them do business with consumers or other businesses in the United States. According to USC, you can use your LL.M degree to practice law in the United States. After you receive your credentials, you can take the California Bar Exam, which might give you even more opportunities in corporate law.

In an article for The Guardian, Yasmin Ahmed asserts that the legal practice has become globalized. She states that you could benefit from an LL.M even if you plan to practice law in the UK or another country, especially because companies have tightened their legal budgets and have fewer opportunities for candidates. An LL.M might make you more attractive to potential employers as you seek higher positions as corporate legal counsel.

Gain a Business Law Certificate Simultaneously

Getting your LL.M online can make the program easier to complete while you are working in the field. If you decide to go with a program like the University of Southern California Online Master of Laws (LL.M.), you can also obtain your business law certificate simultaneously. The business law certificate shows your dedication to a corporate legal career and can help you generate more interest in your resume.

The business law certificate at USC takes as few as nine months to complete. U.S.-based lawyers who have earned domestic J.D. degrees can get their business law certificates independent of an LL.M. In this way, the program can benefit lawyers from all over the world.

However, obtaining your Master of Laws degree and your business law certificate simultaneously might prove more beneficial for international students. USC program graduates work all over the world, including countries like China, the Philippines, New Zealand, Mexico, Italy, and Uganda, among many others.

Familiarity with the U.S. legal system could allow you to negotiate contracts more effectively, advise your employers more accurately, and increase your chances of passing the California Bar Exam. You might decide that you want to practice law in the United States after you complete the program, but you can also continue to work overseas while facilitating business transactions with U.S. companies.

In her article for The Guardian, Yasmin Ahmed states that LL.M programs can also help attorneys develop valuable and potentially powerful connections in international trade. A business law certificate might introduce even more benefits.

If you want to advance your career as international corporate legal counsel, consider applying for the University of Southern California Online Master of Laws (LL.M.) Gould School of Law degree program. Visit the school’s official website to learn more about the online LL.M curriculum as well as the business law certificate opportunity.

Sources:
Should You Get an LL.M.? Benefits and Logistics of LL.M. Programs
Understanding the Difference Between LLM and Juris Doctorate Degrees
6 BEST PRACTICES FOR NEGOTIATING INTERNATIONAL CONTRACTS
What is an LL.M Degree?
Why every aspiring lawyer should study international law