UCL News


UCL in the News: Demand for specialists makes mastering the law a bigger challenge

28 November 2007

The UK is home to some of the world's largest and most successful law firms but many English legal firms have an ambivalent attitude to postgraduate qualifications.

They tend to be more concerned with getting results for clients than debating the issues and have been immune to the charms of the master of laws degree. …

Defenders of the more traditional LLM, say, however, that their programmes are beneficial to students in more than just academic ways.

Sandy Shandro, who had a successful career in practice before joining UCL as dean of the faculty of laws in the summer, says: "The conversion course and legal practice course are highly functional but some students do not find them intellectually stretching. Intelligent lawyers will enjoy the stimulation of being able to reflect deeply and enjoy the challenge of legal debate that you gain as part of an LLM programme."

Shandro contends that the personal development opportunities offered by advanced study are often overlooked. He suggests that firms offer suitable individuals the chance to do a masters as part of a balanced lifestyle, especially if they want to keep young lawyers. …

Thomas Ricard, 26, is typical of the diverse and multitalented overseas students drawn to do a master of laws degree in London. …

"I undertook the LLM at UCL as a first step towards joining one of the big international firms," he says.

"The course was excellent. The staff emphasised that it was an opportunity for us to make as much of our time in London as we wanted. What impressed me was how accessible the staff were - far more than in France. By doing a dissertation one had the chance to see a tutor regularly to discuss the topic one to one." …

Edward Fennell, 'The Times'