In today’s competitive legal landscape, a Master of Laws (LLM) degree can be a powerful asset for legal professionals looking to advance their careers or transition into new markets. However, simply obtaining an LLM is not enough; effectively marketing yourself and your qualifications is essential to stand out in a crowded field.


Why do law firms and other organisations value LLM graduates?


Whilst an LLM will not be the silver bullet that makes or breaks an application, there are many reasons a firm or business might look kindly on lawyers with an LLM, one being specialisation. LLM degrees offer opportunities for focused study, so graduates bring specialised knowledge and expertise in areas of law that are highly technical or niche, such as tax law or anti-trust law. These specific skills can be invaluable for firms operating in complex regulatory environments or serving clients with specific legal needs.


Additionally, hiring partners may prioritise candidates with above-average academic credentials, so an LLM can demonstrate a candidate’s commitment to academic excellence and intellectual rigor, and may help underline strong analytical skills and critical thinking abilities.


An LLM can also be an opportunity to transition into new markets or practice areas.


What are employers looking for?


  • Relevant academics: Recruiters and employers pursue LLM graduates with coursework and research experience relevant to their business’ key practice areas or industries of interest. A strong academic background in specialised subjects can demonstrate expertise and suitability for specific roles.
  • Practical experience: In addition to academic qualifications, employers value practical experience gained through internships, clerkships, or legal work placements. LLM graduates with hands-on experience in legal practice can offer valuable insights and contribute to organisational goals from day one.
  • Qualified vs. Non-Qualified: Depending on the jurisdiction and practice area, employers may prioritise LLM graduates who are already qualified to practice law in their desired location. However, non-qualified LLM graduates can still market their expertise and transferable skills effectively, particularly in advisory or consulting roles.
  • Language skills: In an increasingly globalised legal market, proficiency in multiple languages can be a valuable asset. LLM graduates who are bilingual or multilingual may have a competitive edge when applying for international positions or working with diverse clients and stakeholders.
  • Commitment to jurisdiction: Employers value candidates who demonstrate a genuine interest in and commitment to the jurisdiction or practice area in which they seek employment.
  • Cultural and personality fit: Beyond qualifications and experience, recruiters and employers assess candidates for personality fit within their teams and organisational culture, so showcasing interpersonal skills, adaptability and a collaborative mindset is crucial. Graduates should tailor their applications to highlight their alignment with a firm’s values, mission and goals.

Strategies for marketing yourself


Effective self-marketing in the legal industry requires a considered approach and proactive engagement with recruiters, employers and professional networks. Before embarking on a job search, conduct a thorough self-evaluation to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and reflect on your academic achievements, professional experiences, and career aspirations to craft a compelling narrative that aligns with your goals.


Consider partnering with a specialist legal recruiter who can offer personalised guidance, industry insights and access to exclusive job opportunities. At SSQ we have helped more than 10,000 legal professionals find their ideal role over the last 21 years, using our strong relationships with the top law firms and businesses across the globe. Our consultative approach and market insights can help you optimise your application process and navigate the job market from one of our 12 worldwide offices.


Tailoring your CV is essential to a strong application: highlight your LLM qualifications, academic achievements, relevant coursework, research projects and practical experience. Use clear and concise language, and quantify your accomplishments wherever possible to demonstrate your impact and contributions.


A fundamental element of self-marketing is using and growing your industry network. Engage with peers, mentors, and potential employers to expand your network, and nurture professional relationships within the legal community through networking events, industry conferences, alumni associations, and online platforms.


Focusing on and enhancing your online presence on these platforms, such as LinkedIn, can really pay dividends – 85% of employers use LinkedIn to find new talent. So keep your profile complete, up to date, and showcase your skills, experiences, achievements, and professional interests. Engage with industry thought leaders and online discussions to demonstrate your expertise and differentiate yourself.


Marketing your LLM effectively requires a strategic approach, self-awareness, and proactive engagement with recruiters, employers and professional networks. Do it successfully, though, and you can position yourself for success in a competitive legal landscape.


For more information on the market or a confidential discussion about our latest opportunities, contact Ben Quarry via the details below or reach out to the SSQ team in your region.

Article contacts

Ben Quarry


Hong Kong
+44 7956 627 569