If you are reading this:
a. You are contemplating of doing an LLM in Maritime Law;
b. You have just finished your LLM and are frustrated that your job hunt is not bearing fruit;
c. You are simply an LLM in Maritime law graduate (and are a curious cat).
If you cannot see yourself in any category, then you have lots of free time and not good taste in spending it.
For those falling under (a), just to set things straight from the very outset: I am not saying you should not go for an LLM in Maritime Law. Not at all. I am just saying you will also need to do other things to increase your chances of finding employment sooner. Read the whole thing before jumping into hasty colnclusions.
For those falling under (b), do not be frustrated and keep your chins up. The times we are going through are hard but things can only go better. Keep your hopes up and never give up.
For all others, I can only say muchas gracias for popping in. Let us cut to the chase though now, shall we?
1. Experience, experience, experience
The most common source of frustration when searching for a job at entry level as a fresh LLM graduate is that most positions advertised require experience. I know, right? How are you supposed to get any experience if all openings already require experience!
As sound academically an LLM may be, what it does certainly NOT do for your is offer you work experience. So I would strongly recommend that you try and build up you work experience profile prior to or whilst studying your LLM.
Many City firms offer vacation schemes which is a nice way to pin a good name to your CV, but be aware that competition even for such positions is quite harsh so you would have to sit down and prepare a solid application. Do not spare the time and effort as this may be the key to your future career.
Although I personally hate unpaid internships, they may also be a good way to pile up some working experience which will make your CV stand out from the crowd.
2. Once upon a time, there were training contracts
And then 2008 came. The year when most City firms dramatically reduced the number of training contracts they offered. Adding the fact that less than half of those landing a taining contract are law graduates, you can see that your chances to make it are getting slimmer despite the best LLM in the world.
Just think that if only half of Oxford University graduates were to apply for a training contract, this would rank an average application of an LLB and LLM graduate lower than Obama’s health care plan popularity. It was about time for an Obama joke.
3. Yeah, yeah we all know the market is bad and stuff
More or less, everyone is affected by the market’s ups and downs but employment market tends to be even more vulnerable. The bad freight market reduces profit margins and this leads to many in house roles being axed, insurance premiums fall and this leads to less positions being offered in the insurance market, clients are much more “legal fees cautious” and this also drops law firms profits and the vicious circle carries on.
Good news is that the market will at some point pick up but no one knows when. This makes investing in an LLM a bit more problematic, but something that would definitely pay back in the long run.
4. The close-knit rule
Let us face it. Shipping is a small, very small, close-knit industry. Although it is an international industry, it is not unusual to bump into the same people over and over again in various unrelated cases.
This is not necessarily a bad thing when you are in, but when you try to break into it can make your life difficult. An LLM will give you some connections but you seriously need to step up your networking game if you want to make it into the industry soon enough.
5. You chose the wrong LLM in Maritime law *facepalm*
Yes, this can happen to anyone. With such a great demand, there is an abundancy of Masters in Maritime Law programs, but are they all worth the same? Sure they do not. Before committing yourself, you will need to do your homework and carry out as much research as possible. Picking the brain of someone who is in the industry never harmed anyone. Or so they claim.
That is all for now. Feel free to add / remove in the comments your own reasons.
Until the next time.