The availability and affordability of pursuing an LLM are two enticing reasons to further your education when the opportunity arises. However, pursuing an LLM on the basis of furthering your education alone will bring no immediate and possibly no long term joy to you.
One must consider a series of factors prior to embarking on such a course of study. These factors include but are not limited to:
- What area of the law do I like? Pursuing intense studies in a course you do not like or are simply unfamiliar with can be a daunting task. Do not punish yourself.
- What area would prove most beneficial to my current job and/or future aspirations?
- What area of the law is most prevalent in my country or what area is budding? Can I find a niche in either of these? (Provided you are a practising lawyer)
- Are the courses in this particular LLM in line with my likes and aspirations?
- Are the courses I wish to pursue available from the University generally and in the current year? This is important because although a course may be offered by the University, in the particular year you wish to pursue said course, it may not be available for examination.
- Am I doing this as a potential practise area or do I wish to get into academics (lecturing)? Do I need a Dissertation/Research aspect for any further studies?
- Is the LLM flexible enough for my schedule?
- Am I mentally prepared and have the necessary time to juggle work, family, social activities and an LLM?
- Do I have the necessary finances to complete the LLM? If I have sufficient finances for initial registration, am I certain that I will come into the remainder for the duration of the LLM?
- Lastly, if you have any doubts about the above, ask yourself one last question- should I wait a bit longer and truly consider my options?
My best advice is not to pursue an LLM simply because you satisfy one or two of the above factors or because it is convenient for you at this particular time. There are numerous factors which should determine your choice of whether to pursue an LLM or not. These include the above 10, others and those that are unique to your circumstances.
Also, as lawyers, many believe it is necessary to do an LLM. However, this is not so. Maybe you are a Corporate Secretary or work in the legal department of a bank, in such a case, consider other options. Ask yourself and for the advice of your seniors and colleagues as to whether pursuing an MBA or an MSc Organisational Psychology may be better suited to your aspirations.
Higher education is an opportunity to all those who can pursue it, so do not waste an opportunity by not furthering your education when you can, but also do not waste an opportunity (and time and money) by attempting to further your education when it is not convenient to you.
Hope this helps! All the best!