Worthiness of Studying LLM or JD in America


Is JD or LLM in the US worth learning?

Before going to the United States to study law, you need to make full preparations and research to make the final decision, which includes understanding the current and future job market, industry trends and other aspects. This article will help you make the final decision from six sections. Regardless of whether you are school students or social elites, your preliminary research is the same as to whether to go to the United States.


1. Choice of undergraduate major

In the United States, lawyers and doctors are jobs that are respected and admired by everyone. To become a lawyer, you must be prepared to pave the way for your future. For example, I decided to become an American lawyer since my second year of high school (note: American high school is a four-year system).

Therefore, in order to become a lawyer, I have made full preparations in professional selection and practical experience. For example, I chose history as a major in university.

This professional choice has improved my listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. At the same time, when I was a junior in my junior year, I was admitted to the Tribunal of the Civil Litigation Court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as an assistant judge. During this period, I accumulated a wealth of legal experience and laid a solid foundation for my future education and career


Legal Education Systems of USA and Third World Countries

The education systems of Asia and the United States are quite different. If you want to study law in the United States, you must maintain a good GPA after finishing college, take the LSAT exam and obtain excellent results before entering law school.

There is no law major in the U.S. undergraduate program, it only has the Pre-Law major. The course of this major is completely different from the course of the real law school.

Many students will learn some legal courses in universities, but these courses are just for you to experience the law industry. Therefore, no matter what major you study in university, as long as you have a good GPA and LSAT scores, your chances of entering a prestigious law school will be greatly improved.


2. Language

Any language is divided into two types: general terminology and professional terminology. English is originally a very complicated language, and its use of words, sentence formation, and grammar are very difficult to master. Legal English is more difficult than general English, and legal English has strict requirements on details. For example, the following two examples:


1) We usually see And/Or in the contract

There are two explanations for this usage:

First, the writer is relatively lazy and does not seriously modify the documents he wrote. Second, deliberately use this word to confuse the opponent and test the English level of the opponent. If this word is not revised in time, the meaning of the clause or sentence will be unclear. For example, Would

you like coffee and/or tea? Through this sentence, can you choose coffee or tea, or can you choose coffee and tea?


2) Example: I will charge

$100 dollars for each class: Dance, history, science and English. This way of writing according to English grammar is acceptable.

But in the eyes of legal grammar, if there is no comma before and, the meaning of the sentence will be blurred. If I enroll all classes, do I spend $300 or $400?

Science and English can be regarded as one word. In other words, Science and English classes are only $100.


Therefore, through the above simple examples, you can see the complexity of legal English. As an Asian student, learning English is inherently difficult, and it is even more difficult to learn legal English well.

In law school, students can choose a course called Research and Writing. This course specializes in training and improving students’ research and writing skills.

However, the standard of the LLM course is lower than that of the JD course. Because most LLM students come from all over the world, it is difficult for teachers to require foreign students to reach the English level of local students.


In addition, legal English has strict requirements in terms of writing. It is very particular about Clear, concise, and

on point. You don’t need to ponder or spend time thinking about how to use tall words or how to write beautiful sentences. In the legal profession, what you write is not an article, but a legal document. Whether it is a judge or a partner, they do not want to read useless or redundant sentences.

You can tell the reader your thoughts straightforwardly and directly. The language and style of legal documents are simple and concise.

This standard can be described like this, whether it is a document or a contract, if a high school student picks it up, he must be able to read it. So this standard is difficult for Chinese students to achieve. The main problem is the difference in style, and the other is how to express it in English.

As a scholar whose mother tongue is not English, in order to prevent textual errors, the best way is to shorten the sentence. When reading, you will find very long English sentences, which you can disassemble and simplify to understand and modify.


3. What is the difference between JD and LLM?

There is a world of difference between JD and LLM. First of all, JD is a doctoral degree usually takes 3 years to complete, and LLM is a master degree usually takes 1 year to complete.

This also means that JD students are better than LLM students in various techniques and skills. After all, JD students have studied for three years. In addition, I mentioned just now that the teacher has stricter standards for JD students than LLM students when judging papers.

The Bar exam in the United States is organized by a specialized organization under the Supreme Court of each state. If you pass the Bar in New York State, you will get a lawyer’s certificate from New York State. The New York lawyer’s card is only valid in New York. The U.S. Attorney Certificate has strict requirements for legal education background.


LLM degrees can only be taken for Bar in California and New York State. Because the US legal system is Common

When you come from a non-Common Law system country, LLM degrees are not eligible to take the Bar exam in the eyes of many states.

The main reason is that the legal education provided by LLM is not deep enough. As a non-Common Law student, your academic content is not enough to meet the requirements for taking the Bar exam.

However, each state has regulations for each state. If you are a foreign lawyer with an LLM degree, you need to complete some other courses and then apply to the state Supreme Court.



Rule 205. Admission of foreign attorneys and graduates of foreign institutions

(b) Law study required. Unless otherwise provided by the Board, applicants who meet the provisions of subparagraph (a) of this rule may apply to sit for the Pennsylvania Bar Examination provided they have successfully completed 24 credit hours in an accredited American law school in the following subjects:

  • Conflict of Laws
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Corporations
  • Criminal Law
  • Decedents’ Estates
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Federal and/or Pennsylvania Civil Procedure
  • Federal Income Taxes (personal only)
  • Professional Responsibility; Real Property
  • Torts
  • Uniform Commercial Code, Art. II—Sales
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Employment Discrimination


The LLM degree has another drawback in the attorney certificate. As a JD graduate, I have a lawyer qualification certificate from Pennsylvania, USA. If I want to get a New York State certificate, I can take the Bar exam immediately or Waive five years later

in and obtained the New York lawyer qualification certificate directly. Lawyers who graduated from JD in New York can also obtain a Pennsylvania lawyer’s license in the same way. But as an LLM student, assuming you have a California lawyer’s card, you will become the president of the California Supreme Court in one step.

After you retire, you decide to move to Pennsylvania and you want to obtain a Pennsylvania lawyer’s card. Because you are not a JD graduate, even if you were the Dean of the Supreme Court, you cannot take the Pennsylvania Bar exam or apply directly.


4. Educational Planning

According to the educational plan of the United States, students can make reasonable arrangements in the following ways: 

1) Graduated from JD, took Bar and MPRE exams, passed Character and Fitness, and obtained the American lawyer qualification certificate. Both are three and a half years.


a. After graduating from JD, scholars can study in a legal field through LLM. For example, if you want to do taxation, a JD degree is not enough. Many law schools have dedicated LLM in Tax education courses. You need to have both JD and LLM in Tax degrees.


b. If the student feels that his law school is not well-known when he is studying in JD, he can accumulate experience and apply for a well-known law school. The application is much easier at this time. After graduation, you can claim to be a graduate of Harvard Law School.

2) Many schools have double degree courses, usually for four years. The most common dual degree option is JD/MBA. This choice will save scholars time and money. If you want to enter the commercial field, this is a very good choice.

3) You have graduated from law school or obtained a lawyer qualification certificate in your own country. You can learn about the US legal system through the LLM course, and it is also the fastest way to obtain a US lawyer certificate.


5. Why study law in the United States?

Law is spiritual, and legal education in the United States teaches you how to find such inspiration. Legal education in the United States is very different from that in the third world countries like India and China. First of all, you need to have a certain educational foundation to apply for law school.

The law school is a professional school, which teaches students how to become a professional. In addition, legal education in the United States is changeable. Many students finish

Improper lawyer after JD. They will enter other industries and do non-legal business. JD is a kind of advanced education or training for them. What many people, especially the Chinese, cannot understand is that you are not a lawyer. Why did you go to law school?


Two sentences can describe American legal education

First, the law school teaches not law but a new way of thinking. 2. After studying law, you will never be afraid of any lawyer anymore in your life.

On the first day of law school, the teacher will tell you clearly that you will not be studying law for the next three years.

Law is different from other industries. The knowledge you have learned in three years is likely to change when you become a lawyer. So what you learn and what your teacher teaches is not knowledge but the skills and skills of how to be a lawyer.

In addition, after graduating, the students all went their separate ways to take the Bar in their own state. Therefore, the law school cannot teach every state’s law. The teaching of law school revolves around how to change the way of thinking of students, so that students learn to find problems, analyze problems, and solve problems while making oral or written statements.

Every lawyer in the United States must possess two skills

Identifying problems and analyzing problems. This is also the skill tested in law school and Bar exam. So the thinking of American lawyers is very active. In addition, they are very sensitive to legal English professionalism and language.


6. Employment

Being a lawyer in the United States is not an easy task. Employment is a very big problem for both local and foreign students. As an international student, what you are facing is the issue of identity and work visa. But the most important thing is the current market demand.

According to statistics from the “U.S. News and World Report”, the top fourteen schools in the United States saw a 20.6% decrease in admissions applications from 2008 to 2016. At the same time, between 2008 and 2016, the average number of applicants to lower-ranked law schools fell by 52.3%. 

So studying law is an investment. You need money and time. You need to ask yourself if you have these two items, are you willing to spend them, and whether they are worth it. Salary for fresh graduates mainly depends on your grades and foreign activities. Salaries in the United States are definitely much higher than domestic wages. But how do you stay in the United States legally is a problem.

Many LLM or JD students return to China for employment after graduation or are sent to Hong Kong by law firms. According to the current domestic market trend, the competitiveness is very high, the salary is also very low, and the position is not very high.

Even if you have a Chinese and American lawyer’s certificate, the salary in the big office is very average. I won’t write the specific figures here, and readers can do their own research.

Whether or not to go to the United States to study law is your decision, but you need to be prepared and researched. When you finish reading the law, you will enjoy this process. This process is also a very beautiful memory. Whether it is a teacher or a classmate, you will find a friend, respect and recognition.


Is studying law in the US east for foreign students?

As a foreign student studying abroad, studying law in the United States is not easy. If you choose to study JD, your burden is heavier than that of LLM students.

The disadvantages of Indian and Chinese students in the US law school have several major aspects:

First, oral English. There are very few or almost no Chinese students in law school debate classes.

Second, writing. Whether it is a essay or an exam, a lot of writing is unavoidable.

In a limited time, you need to write fast and write well. Again, legal documents don’t pay attention to the beauty of sentences.

Third, the way of thinking. Whether it is for people or for studying, the American way of thinking is very different from that of Western culture led by China and Europe. The American way of thinking is active and open-ended.

Even reading law is a chore. But this process will change your life. I think the thing that makes me unforgettable when studying in the United States is not what I learned, but what I learned how to be a human being.

On the first day of school, the teacher will tell the students: “I teach you, and you teach me. There are no teachers here, only a group of students who love to learn. We have to discuss, and we have to bring our background and experience to the classroom. As a teacher, I am here to serve the students, and I open the door for the students.”



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