Lawyers Should Delete LL.M.s from Resume, Legal Recruiters Say

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on January 12, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We all have at least one friend who stuck around for an LL.M. degree. Some of them really wanted that extra knowledge, but most of them were just trying to delay the inevitable:

A demoralizing job search in a disastrous economy.

And paying off student loans.

Turns out such avoidance may not have been a good thing. In fact, legal recruiters are now advising some attorneys to remove LL.M. degrees from their resumes.

Steven John, the managing director of recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, often offers such advice, reports the ABA Journal. In a speech he recently gave at a meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, he explained that advanced degrees may hurt more than they help

Why? Well, for one, an LL.M. on your resume is a sign that that you were trying to put off the job hunt. That's right -- law firms are onto that little trick.

An LL.M. degree may also signal that the applicant has a bit of "career uncertainty." No one wants an unmotivated, dispassionate attorney.

Still, John believes that some LL.M.s are worthwhile.

He thinks they can be useful for foreign-trained lawyers seeking entry into a J.D. program or employment in the U.S. Tax LL.M.s are also valuable, as they provide specialized skills. Law firms have also been known to look for attorneys with such degrees.

Other LL.M. degrees? John thinks they're a bit worthless, explains the ABA Journal. But other recruiters think they may have value for those looking to work outside of BigLaw -- or the law in general.

So if you don't want legal work, go ahead and keep that LL.M. on your resume. Otherwise, you should probably ditch the degree and replace it with actual experience.

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