Desperate Lawyers Are Wasting $70,000 On An Extra Useless Degree

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Paul Campos

Courtesy Paul Campos

Paul Campos is a lawyer who advises against getting an LLM.

Legal industry insiders are attacking the Master of Law degree — which some lawyers choose to get after earning their JDs — as a useless waste of money, The American Prospect reports.

More lawyers are pursuing the so-called LLM to "specialize" in a specific area of law (like tax law) and theoretically make themselves more marketable in a terrible legal jobs market.

The number of LLMs has spiked by 65% in the past decade, and schools like American University keep ramping up their LLM programs. But it's not clear that these degrees actually help lawyers find jobs, the American Prospect reports.

American University, for example, started a new LLM program last year in "trial advocacy" that so far has just one employed graduate. Legal recruiter Steven John has said big corporate law firms aren't impressed at all by LLM degrees.

"LLM stands for Lawyer Losing Money,” University of Colorado-Boulder professor Paul Campos told the American Prospect's Bryce Stucki.

LLM programs — which can cost as much as $70,000 — have been criticized as "cash cows" that boost university profits at the expense of unemployed lawyers looking for a resume boost. A National Law Journal interview with the legal recruiter Steven John last year would seem to bolster those attacks.

The NLJ's Karen Sloan wrote that John advised job seekers to leave LLMs off their resumes so it wouldn't like they got another degree to "avoid the reality of a difficult job search."



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