- Career Planning
- Foreign-trained LL.M Professional Development Manual
- American Bar Information
- New York International Student Interview Program
- Mock Interviews
- Career Counseling
- Resume Writing Workshop
- Resources & Job Listings
- ILSP Career Connection Newsletter
- Advice from LL.M. Alumni
- Glossary of Important Terms
Foreign-Trained LL.M. Services
Career planning is the process by which individuals determine the type of job or job responsibilities they would like to have within a certain time frame, and map out the steps necessary to achieve their goals. For an LL.M. candidate the process has a different twist because you have an area of concentration, and you will need to look for a place where you can apply your specific knowledge, skills and abilities.
As a foreign-trained LL.M., before you start looking for a legal job in the United States you must go through a detailed process which involves:
- Self Assessment
- Developing a job search strategy
- Drafting a resume
- Targeted mailing
There are not many positions available for foreign lawyers interested in practicing law in the United States for one year. However, if you start the process early enough you have a good opportunity of finding one of these positions. Foreign-Trained LL.M. students are encouraged to participate in different career oriented programs, such as resume and cover letter workshops, practical training lectures, mock interviews, and individual career counseling sessions. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of networking opportunities available at the law school and in the D.C. metropolitan area throughout the year. Start early. Come visit the Office of Career & Professional Development and schedule a meeting with your advisor.
The Office of Career & Professional Development provides comprehensive career search assistance for practical training positions. The Assistant Director for International Career Programs is available to help you identify your interests, introduce you to the vast array of career development and employment opportunity resources, and assist with career decision-making. She also specializes in career counseling, individualized review and critique of resumes and cover letters, and job search strategy development.
The Office of Career & Professional Development maintains up-to-date listings of specific employment opportunities, as well as an extensive library of employer information resource materials. The staff at the front desk can lead you in the right direction.
Foreign-trained LL.M Professional Development Manual
Foreign-trained LL.M. students from the Law & Government and International Legal Studies programs will receive the International LL.M. Professional Development Manual during orientation. This handbook will give LL.M. students detailed information on the services offered by the Office of Career & Professional Development.
American Bar Information
The LL.M. in International Legal Studies (ILSP) is a specialist degree and is designed to prepare lawyers to practice law in an international arena. Consequently, LL.M. students may take only those courses from the approved International Legal Studies Program curriculum, which contains approximately forty-five courses/seminars each semester. The LL.M. program is not intended to prepare students for admission to the American legal profession.
Students interested in sitting for a bar exam should note that the rules for the various state bar exams are subject to change. Students interested in taking a bar exam are advised to consult with the relevant bar organizations or authorities to determine their requirements. For more information about bar passage, please use the following link: www.abanet.org/legaledu.
Any prospective student whose career objective is to practice law in the U.S. should consider enrolling in American University Washington College of Law J.D. program, which is designed for this purpose.
New York International Student Interview Program
Legal employers worldwide will participate in the Annual International Student Interview Program held at the New York University School of Law at the beginning of the spring semester. The one-day program brings together more than a 1000 foreign-trained law students with more than 130 employers with positions in approximately 35 countries, including the U.S. The program is a cooperative association of 28 law schools that promotes and facilitates the efficient hiring of foreign-trained lawyers and targets graduate students with foreign law degrees who are enrolled as full-time students at one of the participating law schools.
Do not let your first interview actually be your first interview in the United States. One of the best ways to prepare for upcoming interviews is to participate in a mock interview. Melanija Radnovic, the Assistant Director for International Career Programs, will be conducting mock interviews by appointment only in OCPD. She requests that students provide a copy of their resume prior to the appointment and indicate what employer-type they would like her to assume in the mock interview. Please schedule via CareerLink or email Melanija Radnovic to schedule an appointment for a mock interview.
Melanija Radnovic, the Assistant Director for International Career Programs is available in the Office of Career & Professional Development to help foreign-trained LL.M. candidates develop an effective job search strategy for practical training. Students are introduced to an array of career development and employment opportunity resources, and assist with career decision-making. The Assistant Director for International Career Programs specializes in career counseling, individualized review and critique of resumes and cover letters, and search strategies to find an internship and a one-year position after law school.
After participating in a resume workshop, you will be able to schedule an individual appointment with the Assistant Director for International Career Programs via CareerLink. Individual appointments with the Assistant Director for International Career Programs are an hour long, and if you already have a resume or cover letter for review, please drop a hard copy in Suite 122 (OCPD) or e-mail the draft to Melanija Radnovic 24 hours prior to the meeting.
If you have just a quick job search question, you can either e-mail it to Melanija Radnovic, or stop by Suite 122 (Office of Career & Professional Development).
The Office of Career & Professional Development conducts seminars on various areas of specialization and sponsors panel discussions on career options and job search strategies. The office also offers opportunities throughout the academic year for LL.M. students to attend lectures, panels, and workshops especially designed for the needs of foreign-trained lawyers.
Resume Writing Workshop
The Assistant Director for International Career Programs is also scheduling mini resume sessions with small groups of students during the academic year. For more information, stop by our office (Suite 122) or e-mail Melanija Radnovic. All students enrolled in the LL.M. program should attend a resume workshop during the semester, if you are planning to find an internship or a practical training position during the academic year. The resume workshops are a little more than an hour long.
Resources and Job Listings
The Office of Career & Professional Development library contains a variety of printed, audio-visual and computerized search materials covering all aspects of career planning. The library has books, guides and directories of employers, including private firms, corporations, trade associations, government agencies and international organizations. The Office of Career & Professional Development subscribes to a variety of job bulletins including:
- The Legal Times
- The International Career Employment Weekly
- International Internships 2003
- Environment Career Opportunities
ILSP Career Connection Newsletter
The ILSP Career Connection is a newsletter containing jobs and internship opportunities in the USA and abroad. In every edition, a large variety of employers is represented, including law firms, government agencies, NGOs and international organizations. Since many jobs and internship opportunities can appear from personal connections and acquaintances, the ILSP Career Connection also contains a section listing events happening in Washington, DC where students and alumni will have the opportunity to network with local professionals and expand their network of contacts.
The ILSP Career Connection is a fabulous tool for job seekers. We encourage you to read through all the sections and explore all the opportunities you are interested in. The more you apply the more chances you have of getting hired! Please click here to access this publication, and click here for the previous version.
The ILSP Career Connection is available for WCL students and alumni only. You must have a Novell log in and password in order to access the ILSP Career Connection. If you are a member of our student or alumni body and is experiencing difficulties accessing this publication, please email Melanija Radnovic.
If you are an employer and would like to advertise a job or internship in the ILSP Career Connection, please contact Melanija Radnovic, Assistant Director for International Career Programs by email or by phone at (202) 274-4097.
Your feedback about our service is highly appreciated. If you have suggestions or would like to provide comments about this publication, please send an email to Melanija Radnovic.
Have you found a job or internship through the ILSP Career Connection? Please tell us about it! Send an email to Melanija Radnovic and share the good news!
Advice from LL.M. Alumni
Interview with René Arce-Lozano, an International Legal Studies Program alumni working for the International Trade Practice Group of White & Case, LLP. Learn first-hand what a foreign-trained LL.M. did to find a job in the United States as part of his optional practical training.
Glossary of Important Terms
Alumni: Refers to male and female graduates or former students of a specific school, college or university. (alumna=female graduate, alumnus=male graduate, alumnae=plural)
Dean's Fellow: American University Washington College of Law offices may apply for funds from the Office of the Dean to hire students to perform administrative duties, research, etc. During the fall and spring semesters, Dean's Fellows who work 20 hours per week for 10 weeks receive a credit on their student account equal to the cost of 3 academic credits. (Note: No academic credit is earned for being a Dean's Fellow.) During the summer semester, Dean's Fellows earn $10 per hour.
Domestic LL.M. Student: Refers to any LL.M. student who holds a U.S. law degree.
Externships: Students who wish to receive academic credit for an unpaid field work placement may do so by enrolling in an externship. Externship students must work in a not-for-profit organization, government agency, court or law firm engaged in pro bono activities, and must work under the supervision of an attorney. All externship students must enroll in an externship seminar. The credits received for field placements are pass/fail. For more information about receiving academic credit through an externship, please contact the Externship Program office at 274-4072, email@example.com.
Foreign Associate Program: Please see International Associate Program.
Foreign-Trained LL.M. Student: Refers to any LL.M. student who does not hold a U.S. law degree (including Humphrey Fellows). Also known as International LL.M. Student.
Grades: Academic performance in each course is evaluated by the professor using number or letter grades. At the end of the semester you will receive a number of credits corresponding to the courses you have successfully completed. Your credit hours are multiplied by your grades to determine your "grade-point average" (GPA). GPAs provide a general indication of your overall academic performance and are used by admissions offices and employers interested in your academic history. The grading system used by most U.S. colleges and universities (including AU/WCL) to evaluate students' academic performance is based on a four-point scale. A student's performance in each course is expressed normally in terms of the following letter grades, which have numerical equivalents for computation purposes:
- A 4.0 Excellent
- B 3.0 Good / Average
- C 2.0 Passing
- D 1.0 Barely passing
- F 0.0 Failing
Humphrey Fellowship: The Humphrey Program is a Fulbright Exchange activity funded by the Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The Humphrey Program at American University Washington College of Law is part of a nationwide Humphrey Program, which includes fourteen other universities. Founded in 1978, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program brings accomplished mid-level professionals from designated countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Eurasia to the United States for a year of study and professional experience. The Humphrey Program provides a basis for establishing long-term, productive partnerships between citizens of the United States and their professional counterparts abroad, fostering an exchange of knowledge and mutual understanding throughout the world.
ILSP: International Legal Studies Program
International Associate Program: Many law firms in the United States have established a special program that allows foreign-trained lawyers to practice law in their offices for up to twelve months.
International LL.M. Student: Refers to any LL.M. student who does not hold a U.S. law degree (including Humphrey Fellows). Also known as Foreign-Trained LL.M. Student.
International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS): AU's office committed to providing students and exchange visitors with accurate and timely advice on all immigration questions. To ensure this commitment, an international student advisor is always on duty to assist students and exchange visitors. ISS also publishes handouts on various F-1 and J-1 immigration issues, such as work authorization, travel, and change of status, which are available from the ISS office or their website.
Internships: Students who wish to volunteer in legal organizations as unpaid interns, without receiving academic credit, may contact the Office of Career & Professional Development for more information about available internship opportunities.
J.D.: From the Latin Juris Doctor ("Doctor of Law"). The degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.) is conferred upon students who satisfactorily complete 86 semester hours, including all required courses, with a quality point index of 2.0 ("C") or better; who are in residence for at least three full academic years or the equivalent; and who are recommended for the degree by the faculty.
LL.M.: An abbreviation for the Latin terms Legum Magister (male) or Legum Magistra (female), each of which means "Master of Laws." In Latin abbreviations, the plural form of a word is indicated by doubling the letter, thus "LL" is short for Laws. LL.M. programs are typically offered to attorneys who have already completed their Juris Doctor (J.D.) or equivalent program. At AU/WCL you are required to complete satisfactorily 24 credit hours with a grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better to earn the Master of Laws degree in International Legal Studies.
Lunch with Practitioners: ILSP and the OCPD organized once a month a luncheon where practicing lawyers from each sector of the ILSP program (human rights, business, international, environmental and gender organizations) are invited to the law school to meet a group of our LL.M. candidates. ILSP candidates are allowed to attend one luncheon per academic year and business attire is required to participate in this event. If you want more information, please do not hesitate to contact ILSP Internship Coordinator, Emily Chin or OCPD Assistant Director for International Career Programs, Adriana Vito.
Optional Practical Training (OPT): An employment authorization granted by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. It allows students holding F-1 visas to gain up to one year's work experience in their current field of study. For more information on Optional Practical Training, visit AU's Office of International Student & Scholar Services webpage on OPT (http://www.american.edu/ocl/iss/employment/employment_opt.html).
S.J.D.: From the Latin Scientiae Juridicae Doctor ("Doctor of Juridical Science"). Is equivalent to a Ph.D. The S.J.D. Program allows selected outstanding students to write a doctoral-level thesis in law. AU/WCL seeks students who will make original contributions to the legal literature, and thus have strong intellectual commitment to advanced legal study. Candidates are expected to hold an advanced law degree (LL.M. or equivalent) and should have at a minimum a B+ average (at AU/WCL, 3.3 on a 4-point scale) in prior legal courses such as LL.M. courses. Based on the recommendations of the thesis advisor, an S.J.D. candidate who already has an LL.M. from AU/WCL may be required to audit additional courses.
Transcript: The official and permanent record of your academic achievement in the law school.
Writing Sample: Many employers in the U.S. will request writing samples of candidates. Potential employers would rather see legal analysis, such as the one developed on a memo or brief. If you have a good quality legal research paper, without typographical mistakes you can also send it to the potential employer as your writing sample. If you have two or more samples from which to choose, select the one that reveals your writing and legal reasoning abilities. You should only include a writing sample if the potential employer specifically request one. Even if a writing sample is not specifically required, you should realize that your cover letter, resume, and every document you submit will be regarded as a writing sample. Foreign-Trained LL.M. students typically submit a writing sample from their Legal Research and Writing Class. It should be 7-10 pages long and you should include a cover page with your name and information (current address and telephone number) and the title of the writing sample.
Difference between an Internship and an Externship: There are a number of opportunities at AU/WCL for LL.M. students who want to take advantage of exciting and varied learning opportunities in the work world through law-related field work.
International Legal Studies Program
LL.M. students in the International Legal Studies Program may work in law firms or legal organizations as volunteers (for the experience) or for academic credit. If you are interested in finding out more information, please contact Emily Chin, the International Legal Studies Program Internship Coordinator.
Program on Law and Government
LL.M. students who are enrolled in the Program on Law and Government can volunteer as an intern with organizations, agencies, and law firms or may enroll in an externship and receive academic credit for field placements.