Thank you for opening this blogpost.
I am a US LLM degree of the topper from your batch who has sadly returned to India although his original plan was to find a job abroad after LLM and settle in the USA. My specialization is in International Human Rights Law.
I was told that my degree owner was not able to find a job after his post-study visa was over and since he had amassed a huge education loan on him, he had to come home and find a job that would help him pay back his education loan.
Unfortunately, it will take him 37 years at least to pay back that education loan and he will pay 7x more in interest than the original amount he borrowed. He seems financially screwed unless he manages to find another job in a developed country that pays a developed country salary.
Recently, my owner attended a foreign career fair in order to explore a job in a developed country where he may finally be able to migrate. Honestly, I felt a little insecure but I didn’t want to be a complete waste so I tagged along.
I was proudly introduced at every employer’s booth at the fair. However, right after I was showcased, there came my downsizes and how I was not good enough for my owner to make a career in a developed country.
Just then I saw “Lisa”, another LLM degree from my university in International Trade Law.
Her degree owner was the star student of my university who was answering questions of the prospective students. From what I heard; he was working for one of the top 10 law firms in the country although he had migrated from India just like my owner did.
I couldn’t stop staring at her and admired silently how graceful she looked.
So, when my owner got busy talking to a prospective employer in Australia, I slid out of the conversation to speak to Lisa.
I asked her how her owner managed to grab a job that would help him get a permanent residency within 6 years of moving to the US.
Lisa told me a few things that paved the way to her owner’s success.
First, her owner never assumed that just doing an LLM in the USA will magically lead to finding job opportunities in the USA. He was aware that most LLM graduates return to their home country without managing to find any paid work.
He knew that finding someone willing to sponsor him for a US visa for a legal job would be an uphill battle and he had to start preparing for this even before he set foot in the USA on a student visa to do his LLM.
He learned US legal work in advance, undertook freelance paralegal work related to US law, and helped clients from all over the world. So by the time he reached the US, he was not only learning what was being taught in the US LLM, but he already knew a lot of practical legal work specific to the US which meant it was easy for him to get internships and weekend jobs and impress potential employers with his skills.
He also knew that networking was critical for clinching a job at the end of LLM, and started networking even before he arrived in the USA for his LLM. He hunted down hundreds of Indian origin lawyers in the US who migrated in the last 20 years and added them on LinkedIn and tried to spark conversations.
Next, his focus was on the specialization more than the college. He researched a lot and compared the syllabus of one university to another and chose the one which offered real-life practical skills which could help him get a job immediately. He knew that there are lots of academic LLMs out there, and industry/job-focused LLMs are rather rare. If he focuses entirely on the brand value of the university, his dream to settle abroad was unlikely to be fulfilled. He focused on his final goal of settling abroad rather than a top brand name university.
He also built a good track record of publications in leading journals and blogs in India and the US. He worked on these things even before he applied for an LLM.
He spent one entire year building up a profile that would be attractive in the USA when he starts looking for jobs, which was basically as soon as he arrived in the USA.
Yes, he understood that the job hunt starts when you begin your LLM, not at the end. By the time you finish the degree, you are already running out of time.
Once he arrived in the US, not only did he have an existing professional network there to bank upon, but took full advantage of the college’s many networking events and participated in all of them.
During one such event, he offered to provide marketing assistance to a law firm’s partner and increase his followers. He started ghostwriting for various lawyers in the city and got good traction with his posts. One of these partners he helped to develop a good Linkedin profile, being impressed by his skills and sheer drive, hired him full-time after his LLM was over.
In the first year of the job, he became so indispensable for that law firm due to his cross-border experience and knowledge of multiple jurisdictions that they offered to sponsor his employment visa after his post-study visa got over. He could grow so fast and prove himself in that job because he had prepared ahead.
But she further added,
Knowledge is NOT enough
There is something called the psychology of success.
Lisa was trying to act smart but was actually reproducing the excerpts from the book “The Mindset” by Carol S. Dweck which stated that there are two kinds of mindset which determine whether one will succeed or not.
One is someone with a fixed mindset and another with a growth mindset.
Since I had read the book, I asked her how could my owner use this formula if he could do another LLM that he seems to be planning to do from Australia this time?
That is when the education fair organizer shouted at us, “Hey! You should be social distancing!”
My owner rushed towards me and pulled me away from the conversation, saving us from getting thrown out of the fair. Even Lisa started walking away after her owner threw a deadly stare at her.
Just when we were drifting apart, Lisa wrote something on a piece of paper and threw it at me while shouting “This has all the answers you are looking for”.
I opened it and it read “LawSikho’s 3-day LLM bootcamp”
I quickly looked up on the internet and found this:
On a further inspection I also found the list of skills the hosts have planned to teach during this 9-hour session and one of them was how to apply for scholarships to universities.
I thought this would help my owner to reduce the cost of studying another LLM from a foreign university.
And you, please be there so you never make the mistakes that my owner made. I do not want to see another sad, hopeless LLM degree roaming this earth aimlessly, feeling useless. You can prevent it from happening!
I also found the list of other skills and day-wise bifurcation you could learn if you attended the 3-day Bootcamp on international LLM:
On 28 August 2021, you will learn:
- How to write your SOP?
- How to apply for a scholarship?
- How to shortlist the best universities for your LLM?
On 29 August 2021, they will show you:
- How to get part-time work while you are on-campus/ How to find well-paid work during your LLM?
- How to choose the right specialization?
- How to decide which Bar Exam to give?
On 30 August 2021, you will get help to do your LLM differently:
- What kind of references will work well for your application and how to get them?
- How to convince a bank to secure an education loan?
- How to crack foreign bar exams to qualify for practice abroad?
This sounded promising. So when my owner was mad at me for leaving his side I showed him the poster of this Bootcamp on his laptop and he was blown away.
He wasn’t able to believe that the list of things that the hosts planned to cover in the Bootcamp matched the list of questions he had brought with him to this career fair.
When he scrolled down he found the Bootcamp was FREE and ONLINE!
He stopped and hugged me. This may have been the first time he showed me affection since we returned to India.
I had a crazy day, I’ll say.
I just have one thing to say to you,
Do yourself a favor and Register for this upcoming bootcamp and get all the answers and correct guidance on doing an LLM from a foreign university!
An LLM degree, waiting for my eventual victory