Legal Career Paths – LLM/Master Degree Students – Frequently Asked Questions
How do LLM and Master Degree students obtain employment?
There are numerous ways for graduate students to find employment, and each person's path is unique to his or her own situation. However, many students find employment through individual mailings, networking, job postings on the UNH Law website or elsewhere, and personal contacts and referrals. The most successful students do not rely on one job search strategy but use a variety of job searching strategies. In addition, students frequently obtain employment through networking opportunities, personal contacts, and referrals.
What are my chances, as an international graduate student, of obtaining employment in the US?
Unfortunately, it is very difficult for international LLM and Master's Degree students to obtain employment in the United States. While a small number of students are able to obtain such employment each year, only a small percentage of LLM and Master's Degree students nationwide find work in the United States. Those students who are successful in obtaining US employment often have significant work experience in their home country and are willing to be both persistent and flexible in their job search.
How do I obtain networking contacts, and is it okay for me to contact someone I do not know?
There are a number of ways to obtain networking contacts, such as making a list of everyone you know, including friends, family, past employers and colleagues, current classmates, and current and past professors. Students can also speak with a career counselor or professors in their area of interest to develop a list of contacts. In addition, students are encouraged to attend conferences, programs and association events in their area(s) of interest and speak to other attendees or speakers.
Yes, it is okay for you to contact someone you do not know. Just make sure that you do so in a professional manner and be respectful of the person's time. Also, always remember to introduce yourself at the outset and explain why you are contacting the person. The Career Services Office can provide you with sample informational interview contact letters or emails as well as suggested questions.
Can LLM and Master's Degree students participate in an externship?
Yes. Graduate students may apply to participate in an externship once they have completed at least a semesters worth of coursework. Graduate students are eligible to attend an externship once they have completed all of their coursework. Students will receive 4 credits for working in a six-week externship. Students may work in a variety of legal settings. All students must meet with the director of the Graduate Externship Program early in the planning of their externship. Check the events calendar at the beginning of the semester for details regarding a question and answer session. Read more about externships.
May a foreign trained lawyer sit for a bar exam after completing the LLM program?
Bar admission requirements vary from state to state, and so students should check each state’s requirements as early as possible and carefully select the courses needed to qualify to sit for the bar. A number of foreign-trained lawyers sit for a bar exam in the United States upon completion of their LLM studies at UNH Law. However, keep in mind that receiving your LLM degree and passing a bar exam does not guarantee employment in the United States. Many US legal employers seek to hire students who have also completed a JD program in the US. For comprehensive information on each state’s bar exam admission requirements, see the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements.
While several states generally allow foreign trained lawyers to sit for the bar exam, most students sit for the New York bar exam. Section 520.6 of the New York Rules of the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law governs the eligibility requirements for applicants who wish to take the NY Bar Exam based on the study of law in a foreign country. In order to sit for the New York Bar Exam, a student must meet certain durational and substantive requirements. Under section 520.6(b)(1)(ii), an applicant may cure a durational or substantive deficiency, but not both, by having “successfully completed a full-time or part-time program consisting of a minimum of 20 semester hours of credit, or the equivalent, in professional law subjects, which includes basic courses in American law, in an approved law school in the United States.”
Please note: The New York Board of Law Examiners also requires that all transcripts be received directly from the issuing law school. Thus, neither you nor UNH Law can send transcripts or copies of transcript to the Board of Law Examiners. Further, English translation must be provided if the transcripts are not in English. Obtaining a transcript from your issuing law school can sometimes be a lengthy process and thus, it is strongly recommended that you begin the application process to sit for the NY Bar Exam as early as possible. As of July 1, 2010, the bar exam application fee for foreign trained lawyers was $750. For more information on the NY Bar Exam, including bar exam requirements for foreign trained lawyers, online applications and deadlines for application see the New York State Board of Law Examiners website.
What is the MPRE?
The MPRE is the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, which is required for admission to almost all US bars. Some states require you to take the MPRE prior to taking the bar exam (New York does not), and each state establishes its own passing score. Thus, students are advised to contact each state for current information on passing scores, rules and policies on the MPRE. Click here for links to each state’s bar exam office.
May a non-US citizen LLM or Master Degree student sit for the US Patent Bar Exam?
Non-US citizens who reside in the United States may apply to take the Patent Bar Exam. However, in order to be admitted to the examination, applicants "must establish that recognition is consistent with the capacity of employment authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)," formerly the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)). See General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, p. 8. "The evidence must include a copy of both sides of any work or training authorization and copies of all documents submitted to and received from the USCIS regarding admission to the United States and a copy of any documentation submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor." Id. If you qualify as a non-immigrant alien within the scope of 8 CFR § 274a.12(b) or (c), you are not registered upon passing the examination. See id. "Such applicants will be given limited recognition under 37 CFR § 11.9(b) if recognition is consistent with the capacity of employment or training authorized by the USCIS. Documentation establishing an applicant's qualification to receive limited recognition must be submitted with the applicant's application." Id.
"Qualifying documentation would show that the USCIS has authorized the applicant to be employed or trained in the capacity of representing patent applications before the USPTO by preparing and prosecuting their patent applications. Any USCIS approval pending at that time will result in the applicant's application being denied admission to the examination." Id. at p. 9.
More information on the examination and how to apply can be found here.