The practice of commercial law is increasingly a global affair. Lawyers require the knowledge and skills to operate across national boundaries and need to have a high level of understanding about other legal systems in order to operate with lawyers from other jurisdictions.
The skill set required for a career in the globalised legal market has increased over the past decade; the black letter law element has been pushed to the background with specialist skills now setting lawyers apart.
THE LL.M IN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL PRACTICE In 2007 The College of Law, Europe’s largest provider of legal professional education, and the International Bar Association (IBA), the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies, launched a Masters of Law (LL.M) in International Legal Practice.
This world-class degree reflects cutting- edge approaches to international legal practice with a choice of corporate practice areas, designed with contributions from leading global law firms, including Allen & Overy LLP, DLA Piper LLP and Baker & McKenzie.
The LL.M provides an internationally recognised, practice-focused professional qualification designed to build corporate and cross-border legal knowledge and enhance the careers of law graduates and practitioners worldwide.
In order to fulfil the demand for transactional skills training, the IBA and The College of Law has delivered international legal skills training to 2,000 lawyers from 100 jurisdictions since 2002. The launch of the LL.M in International Legal Practice was the next step in this partnership.
PRACTICAL QUALIFICATIONS, FLEXIBLE DELIVERY
The LL.M needed to adopt a flexible format, unique in post-graduate training, which allows practitioners to tailor their learning and study anywhere in the world at their own pace with no requirement to attend face-to-face training in the UK.Students use innovative online study materials with one to one tutor supervision and feedback. All tutors are qualified practitioners from global firms. A wide range of specialist modules are available, allowing the student to tailor the programme to his/her area of interest. The LL.M is taught in English and focuses on international commercial contracts and transactions. To further increase the LL.M’s flexibility, a new study option will be available from September 2011. Students can undertake the qualification full time over a 10-month period at the College’s prestigious London Moorgate centre.
As well as flexibility, students benefit from practice-led learning modelled on real cases and transactions and emphasising professional skills development. The College’s expertise is in training lawyers in the professional and practical aspects of legal practice and believes such skills are essential in today’s competitive world.
The LL.M enjoys international recognition and respect across the profession with students benefitting from the excellent reputations of the College and the IBA. The College works closely with leading global law firms and barristers chambers on their training needs. This includes exclusive LPC provision for Magic Circle firms Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters. In 2006 it became the first independent UK institution to be granted degree awarding powers.
The IBA has a membership of over 40,000 lawyers and 200 bar associations and law societies worldwide. It influences international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession globally.
EVIDENCE OF IMPACT ON CLIENTS OR OTHERS
Almost 1,000 modules have now been sold representing students from over 50 jurisdictions, making it one of the most popular and successful international LL.Ms on the market.
A recent survey in of LL.M students studying via the supervised online mode, showed:
• Overall rating of enjoyment of course – 4.5 (out of 5)
Percentage rating the following aspects as good or very good: • Tutor feedback system – 85% • Online demonstrations – 84%
• Exemplar documentation – 87% • Responsive of tutor – 90% • Quality of tutor’s personal
feedback – 88%
Percentage agreeing or strongly agreeing with the following statements about the online learning resources: • Aided their learning – 88%
• Helped them achieve a good understanding of how law is applied in professional practice – 90%
• Online units guided them well through learning stages – 86%
• Able to test their understanding through different resources – 81%
Carolyn Grenade, aged 25, graduated in law from Bristol University and enrolled on the IBA/COL LL.M because of its firm grounding in practice issues and learning as well as its international focus.
She has also just completed the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) at The College of Law’s Birmingham centre and is about to return to the private legal practice in Mauritius where she previously worked as a paralegal, to undertake a pupillage.
She says she chose the College’s BVC because she was pleased with the LL.M and its style of teaching. She explains: “This masters seemed different from others available in the sense that it took a practical approach to the practice of law. It was also an opportunity to widen my knowledge, which was so far restricted to the academic aspect of law. I was interested in acquiring knowledge in the international aspects, particularly since the legal profession in Mauritius is opening itself more and more to
She describes the LL.M as being ‘more interesting and challenging’ than she had anticipated and was especially interested in the business course. “It requires a thorough understanding of strategy, and outside factors, such as economics – something in which I had absolutely no experience. It’s a reconciliation between understanding the law and applying it in the context of an enterprise. I have acquired skills that will prove useful whichever path I choose to tread professionally”.
But Ms Grenade also found balancing learning with a daily work routine to be a challenge. “It’s difficult to do homework when you work 50 hour weeks and have tight deadlines at work,” she explains. But ultimately she anticipates the struggle will be worth the effort: “With these skills, I have acquired the ability to see beyond being a mere individual in a firm. I see myself as a real team player, and juggling with notions such as strategy, human resource management, understanding profitability, I’m not only a valuable asset in any firm, but some day I may even elect to have my own firm.”
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