Admissions Office

How Earning an LL.M. Can Help Internationally Trained Lawyers Gain Practical, Legal Work Experience in the U.S.

Ally Lamson, Esq. is Temple Law’s Assistant Director for Global Legal Studies. She supports international LL.M. students by providing career advice for both domestic and international opportunities, such as reviewing resumes and cover letters, searching for jobs and internships, and conducting mock interviews. Prior to this role, Ally worked as a family lawyer and assisted her firms in hiring legal talent. If you have any questions or would like to connect with Ally, you can email her here.

Q: How can earning an LL.M. help internationally trained lawyers gain practical, legal work experience in the U.S.?

A: It’s common for students to look for legal work experience in the United States while they are in law school or immediately following their LL.M. degree, even if they intend to return to their home countries to practice law. Here are five ways in which foreign-trained lawyers can best position themselves to acquire meaningful exposure to the U.S. legal profession.

  1. Select an LL.M. program with options: Many LL.M. programs develop practicums specifically for their LL.M. students, which involve externships and placements in legal jobs. When comparing LL.M. programs, ask the admissions officer what practical opportunities are available to their students.
  2. Consider the market: While New York, California, and Florida are popular destinations for foreign-trained lawyers, the job competition in these areas may be more competitive. Consider other markets and cities with large immigrant communities where American employers may seek employees with your legal background and foreign-language skills. Philadelphia, for example, offers robust legal opportunities in law firms, public service agencies, and local, state and federal courts.
  3. Take advantage of your school’s network: One of the best ways to find a job is to meet professionals in your chosen geographic location and practice area. At Temple Law, many students attend monthly events hosted by Citizens Diplomacy International and social events with professors and J.D. students. Our LL.M. students also have the ability to connect with the vast Temple Law alumni network through the Office of Graduate and International Programs. Karen McMichael, Temple Law’s Director of International Programs, has served our LL.M. students for nearly 30 years and often connects students to alumni from their home country or in their desired area of practice.
  4. Learn the rules about optional practical training: Work authorization visa restrictions that may allow you to remain in the US after completing your LL.M. program change frequently. Many universities have an Office of International Student and Scholar Services to help advise students on changes to the laws. Take advantage of these services to make sure you are knowledgeable about your visa status.
  5. Polish your presentation: Whether it be during an interview, networking meeting, or the submission of written application materials, pay close attention to how you present yourself. At Temple Law, LL.M. students share multiple versions of their resume, cover letter, and interview responses with our team so that we can provide feedback and guidance.

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