American law schools have offices, generally called career services or placement, which help students and graduates find summer and permanent positions with law firms, government agencies, corporations and public interest organizations. We realize that foreign LLM students face some unique issues relating to the job search process in the United States. Throughout the year, the Law School's Office of Career Services will assist LLM students by offering informational and skill development programs relating to the job search process in the United States. The Office of Career Services will also provide counseling services to LLM students on an individual basis. During these confidential one-on-one sessions, LLM students typically discuss career plans, develop job search strategies, review resumes and cover letters and prepare for job interviews. In addition, the Office of Career Services acts as a liaison between LLM students and prospective employers, forwarding student resumes and facilitating contacts between students, alumni and employers. The Office of Career Services also maintains a career resource center which houses a combination of hard-copy materials including books, newspapers, periodicals, clippings, proprietary survey information, recruiting materials from more than 1000 employers and electronic, on-line materials including a proprietary database of more than 2500 employers.
Many LLM students choose to round out their educational experience by looking for short-term "practical training" positions with legal employers in the United States. Although the market for foreign-trained attorneys in the United States is difficult, many LLM students from the University of Chicago are successful in finding such positions. This result is due in large part to the fact that Chicago students are highly sought after by employers. Each year our LLM students are invited to attend an interview program in New York City in which foreign-trained LLM students are selected for initial interviews by prospective employers from around the world. In January 2011, approximately 150 law offices from the United States and abroad participated in the interview program. Thirty-six LLM students from the University of Chicago attended the 2011 interview program and each of them averaged five interviews. In addition to LLM students at the University of Chicago, foreign-trained LLM students from the following law schools participate in the interview program: Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, and Yale.
Longer term positions (more than one year) for foreign-trained lawyers in the United States are extremely difficult to obtain because LLM. graduates are competing with U.S. trained JD graduates who have spent three years studying law in this country. Foreign-trained lawyers who hope to obtain such positions practicing law in the United States are well advised to apply to JD programs rather than LLM programs.
Each year 25-30 Chicago LL.M. graduates sit for the New York Bar Examination. A bar preparation course is conducted at the Law School by one of the organizations which offers the same course in New York. That course begins right after the last Spring Quarter examination and lasts for about six weeks. Over the last two years, 63% of the Chicago LL.M. graduates who took the exam for the first time passed it. The pass rate for all foreign graduates (with U.S. LL.M. degrees) taking the test for the first time during the same period was approximately 46%.
Over the summer, new LLM students will receive a career services guide specifically prepared for foreign-trained attorneys. This guide will provide an overview of all aspects of the job search in the United States, and will help students to prepare for this process while they are still in their native countries. During the orientation program at the beginning of the school year, the Office of Career Services will discuss a comprehensive action plan designed to help LLM Students navigate the job search process throughout the year.