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To choose the ideal LLM, you must first identify what you want to gain from it. For Gino Ibanez and Sofia Larrea Buendia, what started as an upskilling quest turned into an exploration of fulfilling careers abroad.

Ibanez was seeking professional training in promising areas of the law. Buendia, on the other hand, was inspired to delve deeper into US tax law following her experience at Ecuador’s leading law firm. Both found what they needed at the Boston University School of Law (BU Law). Here, they share their journeys to help more law professionals find the right LLM.

Research the LLM thoroughly

With hundreds of programs on offer, both Ibanez and Buendia started with what they knew. They perused modules, practical opportunities, and teaching methods to find the program that best matched their career interests. That’s how Ibanez ended up doing the LLM in Banking & Financial Law, while Buendia pursued the Graduate Tax Program (GTP).

LLM

Sofia Larrea Buendia

The main draws of a BU Law LLM include accessibility, flexibility, and expert guidance in a buzzing education hub ripe with possibilities. As Ibanez summarises, “Boston University has an LLM program with a long trajectory of training banking and financial service lawyers. I was also captivated by the many networking opportunities and internship opportunities available in a large metropolitan city like Boston.”

Pursue your niche

As an LLM takes you to the next phase of your career, it should match not just your capabilities but potential. Take Buendia, for example. Though she wanted to understand US tax law, she was also considering an estate planning career.

“The GTP at Boston University offers a wide variety of courses to dive into tax law with different approaches,” she relates. “From tax, technology, and international tax courses to estate planning and research-focused courses, you can do whatever you want and take the path that motivates you the most. Honestly, my problem was that I wanted to take all the classes!”

Ibanez, on the other hand, zeroed in on the right program through his research of the labor market. That’s when he discovered that banking and financial services is a growing area of the law, especially in the US. Coincidentally, he had interned at an asset management firm; the LLM in Banking & Financial Law was the perfect platform to build upon this experience.

Look for inspiring faculty

Whether they are creating change inside or outside the classroom, your law professors should be industry experts with the knowledge and connections to guide your career. BU Law professors inspire LLM candidates to reach beyond their own expectations. Buendia recalls being thrilled by Professor Richard Ainsworth’s research projects, saying, “I wish I had more time to do research with him.”

Most classes involve a mix of lectures and activities, encouraging guided participation and sharing in an interactive teaching approach. “While the bulk of my grades depended on a final exam, professors also provided students with opportunities to deliver presentations, submit research papers on numerous banking and financial law topics, and work on simulated lawyering exercises with classmates,” Ibanez shares.

Prioritise flexibility

Both graduates found the flexibility they needed in their LLM programs. Each is accessible on campus or online, in full-time or part-time mode. Built on tried-and-tested teaching methods, online candidates are immersed in the same supportive learning environment and receive the same prestigious qualification as residential candidates.

Gino Ibañez

“I thought it was useful to take courses that both expanded my knowledge on banking and financial transactions and assisted me with my Bar Exam preparation,” Ibanez explains. “Group exercises, albeit virtually, assisted the collaborative learning process throughout the academic year. After class, I would connect with some of those same classmates and create our own Zoom meetings to continue exchanging ideas and study tips.”

Trust the alumni

Buendia’s networking and preparation landed her a job at Ernst & Young Boston, where she has spent a year. She will soon transfer to the London office. “Boston University has a great spirit and that is particularly true for the GTP,” she attests. “I was fortunate to meet great friends in class but I was also supported by alumni that I came across during my practice and job search. Had I not met the BU family I wouldn’t have been able to keep my head!”

As for Ibanez, the wealth of experience gained through his LLM is revolutionising his practice. He researched and wrote industry articles, even getting the opportunity to intern for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Attorney’s Office. “I was certain that the topics covered in securities regulation and pooled funds classes would be relevant to my job in the future,” he adds.

Today, Ibanez works for an American hedge fund, where he advises clients on the compliance and monitoring of laws, regulations, and directives that impact them. He credits his BU Law LLM for not only growing his career in the US, but allowing him to develop global perspectives that better inform his multinational clients today.

Now, does their experience instill confidence to embark on your own LLM? Start on BU Law’s official website. You could follow in the footsteps of these inspirational lawyers — and thousands before them. 

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