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JD or LLM?

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realitybites
Joined: 10 Feb 2006
Posts: 2
JD or LLM?
Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:07 AM
Hello. I recently took up residence in San francisco. Prior to SF, I was able to get my LLB degree in the Philippines. Which leads me to my question: Is it better if I go back or take the full JD program and just take the 1 year LLM for purposes of employment opportunities?

Also if I take the LLM, which school is better? Golden Gate University (which I prefer because of their flexible programs), University of Santa Clara or UC Hastings?

Kindly advise. Thanks!!!

[Edited by Admin on 11 Feb 2006]

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pra608
Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 157
JD or LLM?
Sat Feb 11, 2006 03:28 AM
I think if you want to work in U.S., you'd better go for JD.
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ipforme
Joined: 06 Apr 2005
Posts: 48
JD or LLM?
Sat Feb 25, 2006 05:46 PM
If you can get accepted into a JD program, and you can pay for it (or take out loans) DEFINITELY do the JD program if you want to work as a lawyer in the United States.

Those 3 law schools are not that highly regarded for LLM programs. If you really want to do an LLM, you should try to get into places like NYU, Harvard, U Penn, etc. if you want the best shot at getting a job.

As far as those 3 schools for JD programs....UC Hastings would be the best, although it is a regional school and only places pretty well in the Bay Area (which is OK if that's where you want to live). Santa Clara is decent, but again, a regional school. Golden Gate is a terrible law school. Don't choose a school based on flexible or part time options, unless it is absolutely necessary. Golden Gate has a bar pass rate in CA of something like 29%. It doesn't have a good reputation as a law school, and an extremely high amount of their JD grads are unemployed at graduation and stay that way. As an LLM degree isn't as good as a JD in terms of you wanting to work in the United States, I wouldn't waste your money going there.

**Note: I'm not trying to be mean, just give you some realistic advice.
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richardvf
Joined: 25 Feb 2006
Posts: 190
JD or LLM?
Sun Feb 26, 2006 04:22 AM
I believe that with your LL.B degree you would be eligible to take the California Bar Examination and become a licensed attorney without spending the time or money earning another law degree. The question then becomes: What type of work do you want to do as an attorney in California? Do you want to work for a mega firm, small firm, government or open your own practice. If you want to work for a mega firm, you will need to get a J.D. from a top law school such as U.C. Berkely or Stanford with good grades. This would take three years of full-time study. If you want to work for a small law firm or the goverment, a general LL.M from a solid law school such as U.C. Hastings, Univ of Santa Clara or maybe even the Univ of San Francisco would be helpful in passing the bar exam and getting a job. This option would only take only one year of full-time study. If you want to start your own practice, get licensed and get going. Avoid Golden Gate like the plague. Also, in order to prepare for the bar exam, you will need to take a bar review course such as Bar/Bri. Good luck.
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richardvf
Joined: 25 Feb 2006
Posts: 190
JD or LLM?
Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:29 PM
Claudine,

If you should decide to get the J.D. and want to stay in the SF area you will want to get into the best law school possible. The best schools would be Stanford and UC Berkely, followed by UC Hastings, UC Davis, Univ of Santa Clara and Univ of San Francisco. Golden Gate would be at the bottom. If you are willing to attend summer school, you could finish in 2 1/2 years. However, if you did this, you would not be able to clerk in the summers. With regard to cost, the UC schools as public universities would be less expensive than the private schools. If you are a US citizen or permanent resident, you can gain California residency after living in California for 1 year without attending school. California residents pay less for tuition and have admission preference at public universities. Have you submitted your credentials to the California Bar to see if you are eleigible to sit for the bar exam? Even if you gain licensure as an attorney in California, I don't see why you could not later on apply for a LL.M or J.D. program to enhance your credentials. Good luck.
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PearlZ
Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 7
JD or LLM?
Sat May 06, 2006 05:22 PM
Hello, I have this rather important question to you.

I need to choose between tow schools for LLm degree - USF and UCLA. For USF I have more preferable financial situation that for UCLA, which one is better to choose and do you know if USF Program is good and it can be possible to pass the BAR after it?



If you can get accepted into a JD program, and you can pay for it (or take out loans) DEFINITELY do the JD program if you want to work as a lawyer in the United States.

Those 3 law schools are not that highly regarded for LLM programs. If you really want to do an LLM, you should try to get into places like NYU, Harvard, U Penn, etc. if you want the best shot at getting a job.

As far as those 3 schools for JD programs....UC Hastings would be the best, although it is a regional school and only places pretty well in the Bay Area (which is OK if that's where you want to live). Santa Clara is decent, but again, a regional school. Golden Gate is a terrible law school. Don't choose a school based on flexible or part time options, unless it is absolutely necessary. Golden Gate has a bar pass rate in CA of something like 29%. It doesn't have a good reputation as a law school, and an extremely high amount of their JD grads are unemployed at graduation and stay that way. As an LLM degree isn't as good as a JD in terms of you wanting to work in the United States, I wouldn't waste your money going there.

**Note: I'm not trying to be mean, just give you some realistic advice.
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richardvf
Joined: 25 Feb 2006
Posts: 190
JD or LLM?
Sat May 06, 2006 09:37 PM
Pearl,

Where are you from? What are your goals with the LL.M? Do you plan to stay in the US after you graduate? If so, what type of law are you going to practice? UCLA is much more highly ranked than USF, but USF is not a bad school. UCLA is also much more well known nationally and internationally than USF. If you ask someone in China if he or she has heard of UCLA, the answer would most likely be yes. For USF, the answer would most likely be no. If you are planning on taking the California bar after you graduate, taking classes on subjects tested on the bar exam would be helpful. If you can afford it, I would attend UCLA.

[Edited by Admin on 06 May 2006]

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PearlZ
Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 7
JD or LLM?
Sun May 07, 2006 05:13 AM
I am from Russia, I worked as a lawyer in Moscow for three years so far. USF is more affordable for me. I know tat UCLA is ranked better, but it is less affordable, though I can take a loan and make it, but I can't decided what is more reasonable in this case to take a loan just because it is UCLA or to go to USF without loan which is more affordable. Given this, I wonder if USF is good school, what is its reputation, I mean is it worth it for studying.
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flattop55
Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 3
JD or LLM?
Mon Oct 09, 2006 07:04 AM
It's quite disturbing to see the negative comments about Golden Gate given by people who likely know nothing about the university except what they've heard, yet this doesn't stop them from imparting their wisdom. Fortunately, for me, a graduate of both Stanford Law and Golden Gate with an LL.M. in Environmental Law, I can tell you that my experience there was excellent. The teachers uniformally were great, and gave one-on-one attention to each student. The LL.M. in Tax is highly ranked, and only one of a handfull of such degrees in California. The LL.M. in Environmental Law has been ranked highly by U.S. News, and is the ONLY LL.M in environmental law in California. The other SF schools also are very good, and one should not be mislead by bar exam stats. The CA Bar is one of the most difficult in the country to pass, and all the schools have relatively low pass rates. The state-wide pass rate for CA historically is under 60%. GGU is striving to become an excellent school, and I highly recommend you disregard the hearsay negativity I have seen posted here. Call the school, go for a tour, speak with present students, and make up your own mind. Also, the statement that GGU grads do not find jobs is absurd. I work for a large firm here in SF and we have several GGU partners, associates, and a large number of student interns every year. The number comparatively to the other SF schools is nearly equal. Only Stanford and UC Berkeley outnumber the rest of the SF-pack.
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richardvf
Joined: 25 Feb 2006
Posts: 190
JD or LLM?
Tue Oct 10, 2006 03:49 AM
Your comments are appreciated, and Golden Gate may have excellent LL.M programs. However, to be frank, at least for the JD degree, Golden Gate is not the school a prospective law student should attend unless he or she has no choice. Golden Gate has a horrible pass rate for the California bar (39% overall pass rate in the February 2006 California bar compared to an 87% overall pass rate for your alma mater, Stanford), and is only one of two ABA accredited law schools in the entire United States on probation with the ABA.
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flattop55
Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 3
JD or LLM?
Tue Oct 10, 2006 05:25 PM
Law schools are placed on probation for many reasons when the ABA wants to "push" a school to improve its programs or its facilities (e.g., law libraries). GGU was placed on probation for low bar passage rate, but since that time, the administration has invested heavily to improve the situation and also has become more selective in admissions. A new library and new student office complex will be constructed soon, and GGU's facilities will be vastly improved as well. Although GGU competes with several quality Bay Area schools, it is poised to become a distinct contender that will surprise you and others. Give the school a chance and some credit for its considerable efforts. It isn't necessarily helpful to prospective students to respond in such negative absolutes. GGU has many qualities that appeal to students, including the most diverse student body of any law school in the Bay Area. The LL.M. and J.S.D. programs graduate a large number of foreign lawyers from all over the world, and there regularly are special programs and conferences held of great academic and practical interest to international and U.S. law students.

[Edited by flattop55 on 10 Oct 2006]

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hamish2000
Joined: 01 Mar 2006
Posts: 22
JD or LLM?
Thu Oct 12, 2006 06:56 PM
Flattop,

Your contribution I must say is one of the few Ive found worth reading. Im glad you took the oppurtunity to clarify a few myths and put those US News idiots in their place.

Can I ask some further advice? Im interested in environmental law also. How would you compare the environmental programs at Stanford and GGU? How would employers, such as the large firm you work for in California, look at such graduates? Is Stanford recognised for environmental law? what was your experience with David Victor, Tom Heller and company?

Id be interested to hear your thoughts?

regards,

Hamish.
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Tom Cod
Joined: 01 Jan 2007
Posts: 2
JD or LLM?
Tue Jan 02, 2007 05:11 AM
The LLM tax program is highly rated being connected with GGU's School of Taxation as well as its School of Law. The LLM tax program is one of of GGU's real strengths. Golden Gate is not a traditional school but rather more of a commuter school with more of a focus on the mature and "returning" student. Consider it seriously. The faculty is excellent. Sadly, any problems GGU may have had recently with their JD graduate bar passage rate has to have more to do with a drop in applications from highly qualified students as a result of market conditions as when I attended the first time bar passage rate was near 70% based on an academic program that was ruthlessly demanding, resulting in a one third flunk out rate of First Years at that time, but which also provided an excellent education from a faculty drawn from Ivy League and other top schools. This alleged problem, however, is really not that pertinent for the prospective LLM-Tax student who should have already cleared that hurdle. I am acquainted with Golden Gate LLM Tax graduates, some of whom are also Enrolled Agents and CPAs and all are doing very well. Ditto for GGU's MBA/JD grads as well,not to mention the LLM environmental program which, as stated above, simply does not exist elsewhere. Sure, it would be great to go to Stanford or Harvard but not everyone is in a position to do that. Nonetheless, the posters who disparage GGU are sadly misinformed.
Tom (JD '99)

[Edited by Tom Cod on 02 Jan 2007]

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Eliza
Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 1
JD or LLM?
Wed Jan 10, 2007 05:06 PM
I also wanted to add a comment to balance out the negative reviews of GGU. I have a J.D. from a first tier school and an LL.M. from GGU. Quite honestly, my experience at GGU was far superior to my JD experience. And, at the end of the day, I learned more about the practice of law in my brief time at GGU than I did in my JD program.

First, a note about bar passage. The only thing you need to pass the CA bar is motivation and a good bar review course (ONE bar review course. I will never understand why anyone feels the need to take BarBri and PMBR together!) In fact, when I finally got around to taking the bar exam, 4 years post JD (well after I had forgotten everything I learned in law school), I remember sitting in my bar review course thinking, "Why the heck did I shell out $120,000+ for law school when all I ever needed was BarBri!" Seriously, ANYONE can pass the CA bar exam - even someone who hasn't gone to law school. It really isn't that difficult as exams go (despite what everyone says) if you cram like mad and manage your time. It's more of an endurance exercise than a knowledge exercise. There is nothing I learned in law school that didn't get covered more effectively in bar review. There may be a motivation problem with GGU JD students in general (I don't know), but it isn't GGU's problem that their students can't pass the bar exam.

Secondly, the reason I really liked GGU was for the practical education I received and the great Profs. Most of my professors had actually practiced, or were practicing law, and actually knew something about how things worked in the real world, as opposed to the theoretical world. And, instead of spending class after class reading cases and trying to "discover" what the law said, we actually got to do hands-on, practical exercises every class. The Profs could actually answer real world questions, and the classes were small enough (at least in the elective classes I took) that the Profs were completely available. It was a refreshing experience compared to the "Socratic" method of my JD program, which just left me wondering why I was paying so much money to have the law hidden from me by pretentious Prof. who didn't really seem to care if I learned anything.

That being said, the world of law is pretentious, and where one goes to school seems to make a huge deal! So, unfortunately, you have to take that into account. GGU's Tax LL.M is very highly regarded, I'm not really sure where their other LL.M.s place - it doesn't really matter to me. I chose GGU because of the Profs (Roger Bernhardt in real estate for one) and because of the flexibility in building my own LL.M and taking the classes I wanted to take on my own schedule.

[Edited by Eliza on 10 Jan 2007]

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dreamingstream
Joined: 26 Jan 2007
Posts: 4
JD or LLM?
Sat Jan 27, 2007 06:41 PM
I am currently studying in GGU LLM Taxation. I like the classes I am taking now. GGU LLM taxation is the only course provided in Northern California, if you want to get LLM taxation in Northern California, GGU is your only choice. I am actually taking greyhound bus every day travelling to San Francisco for this course.
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jenhorn
Joined: 24 Jun 2007
Posts: 2
JD or LLM?
Mon Jun 25, 2007 04:54 AM
GGU's first-time bar passage rate for February 2007 was 68.3%. Only 36.8% of all test takers passed and the average for CA ABA Accredited schools was 61%. GGU students collectively passed at a rate 7% above the state average achieved by ABA schools.

calbar.ca.gov/state/calbar/calbar_generic.jsp?cid=10144&n=85…

www.ggu.edu/school_of_law/law_alumni_services/attachment/her…
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MuSo-esq
Joined: 14 Aug 2007
Posts: 1
JD or LLM?
Wed Aug 15, 2007 01:43 AM
I had the worst experience ever with Golden Gate a few years ago and the faculty and administration do very little to correct their flaws, that is why the school has ended up on probation. Avoid particularly the cyber courses. You can get a better degree elsewhere for the same cost, online or brick and mortar.
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sylviaTT82
Joined: 01 Aug 2007
Posts: 3
JD or LLM?
Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:46 AM
Hi Richarddvf,

I refer to your post as follows:-

"I believe that with your LL.B degree you would be eligible to take the California Bar Examination and become a licensed attorney without spending the time or money earning another law degree. The question then becomes: What type of work do you want to do as an attorney in California? Do you want to work for a mega firm, small firm, government or open your own practice. If you want to work for a mega firm, you will need to get a J.D. from a top law school such as U.C. Berkely or Stanford with good grades. This would take three years of full-time study. If you want to work for a small law firm or the goverment, a general LL.M from a solid law school such as U.C. Hastings, Univ of Santa Clara or maybe even the Univ of San Francisco would be helpful in passing the bar exam and getting a job. This option would only take only one year of full-time study. If you want to start your own practice, get licensed and get going."

Having obtained my LLB in the UK and admitted to the Malaysian bar, I am currently working as a corporate lawyer with PQE of 4 years. I understand from the ABA's guidelines that, so long I have been admitted in a common law jurisdiction, I should be qualified to sit for the state bar exam. You mentioned that it may not be necessary to obtain another law degree. My questions are as follows:-

1. Is BARBRI sufficient to train me in American law or do I still need LLM?

2. Assuming that I have passed the bar exam and been qualified as an attorney, do I still need to do an LLM in order to get a job in any decent legal firm in Calirfornia? Or is sole proprietorship the only option?

Thanks for your advice in advance.

I also welcome feedback from all parties for this post. Thanks

[Edited by sylviaTT82 on 15 Aug 2007]

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