Law is undoubtedly one of the most difficult fields of study to undertake at any level, but it can also be the most gratifying. The legal jargon, the endless case studies and the ever-changing governing bodies creating new policies, laws and bills further complicate an already convoluted discipline.
As we have recently seen with President Trump, governments can propose laws at the click of a button, pulling entire nations out of international agreements quicker than you can say: “where are all the polar bears?” But this should not be a deterrent to studying law – a subject that is fundamental to keeping society fair and just.
Although the legal profession is demanding, it is also viewed as one of the most renowned academic accolades. There is also plenty you can do to ensure you are the leading expert of your field; the lawyer that everyone wants to call, and the working professional that brings around progressive change to a hyper-connected world.
One way to ensure you achieve acclaim in this competitive occupation is to pursue a Master’s degree in law. Following on from their Bachelor qualification, many students go straight into real-world practice in law, despite a wealth of unique and exciting career prospects to be gained from a graduate degree in law.
A Master’s in Law provides you a competitive edge in the job market. It will boost your earnings, extend your professional network, allow you to contribute to a specific region of law that has always been of interest to you, and better still, a Master’s in law (LLM) will allow you to become an expert in that chosen field. Whether it is Islamic finance, maritime law, resources or climate change that captivates your ambition, you will surely be the top pick for employers when training contracts are up for grabs or Gilbert + Tobin – Australian Law Firm of the Year, 2016 – are seeking partners.
Understanding the law doesn’t just mean getting people sentenced or getting them ‘off’. Having a fundamental understanding of law affords you the skills and capabilities needed to help masses of people. A route that many Law Master graduates take is to work within the foreign aid sector, through humanitarian work, for example.
“Postgraduate training in law can provide students with plenty of opportunities: a legal career is just one of them,” Russ Throne writes for The Independent.
If you think working as a Humanitarian Relief Policy Advisor for Oxfam could be right for you, or perhaps becoming a Liaison Officer for the International Whaling Commission, then embarking on a Master’s in law should be your next step.
Here are our top picks for Law Master’s programmes in New Zealand and Australia:
Ranked in the world’s top 150 Law Schools, the University of Canterbury School of Law stands as one of Australasia’s oldest and finest specialised law institutions, set on a friendly and inclusive campus in Christchurch, New Zealand. With outstanding facilities and academic credibility, Canterbury’s Law School will lead you into a fulfilling long-term career.
The LLM in International Law and Politics (IntLaw&Pols) is a taught Masters for students who wish to specialise in international law, politics and diplomacy. The Master of Laws (LLM) may be completed by thesis or research papers, and students are given training in legal research through a dedicated postgraduate legal research methods course.
The LLM programmes are renowned among international student applicants and prepare students for careers in legal practice, government, NGOs and international organisations.
If the career-enhancing programmes on offer haven’t won you over yet, perhaps knowing that New Zealand is 4th in the World Prosperity Index for overall quality of life might just sway your decision.
Griffith University may be relatively new on the block, but it shed its stabilisers the moment it opened its doors to curious students across three sunny regions of Australia: Gold Coast, Queensland and Brisbane.
The Global Law Master’s programme at the law school exists online and runs over a two-year period, with a total of 12 courses ranging from trade dispute laws to human rights law. The advantage of the online course is that there are six intakes a year, so you can start whenever best suits you.
The School emphasises that students must have a finely-tuned international perspective to succeed in an increasingly connected world. The online programme allows peer-to-peer and student-to-staff interaction to ensure research ideas are understood, as well as to prepare you for global law and its practice.
The global Law Master’s will not only allow you to become an expert in your chosen field of research but to also develop a vital association with matters beyond judiciary, such as how to aid society’s progression onwards from a period of failed law enforcement, and how to remedy human rights abuses.
Establishing a network of industry professionals is essential for a law career. The vastness and depth of each strand of law can often seem overwhelming and difficult to navigate. But with UWA’s 90-year history, they certainly aren’t short of a few exceptionally talented alumni – a group that you could soon be a part of. Their alumni include world-renowned judges, QCs, SCs, senior government officials and even a winner of the Australian of the year award.
UWA works tirelessly to ensure that students receive the most thorough and helpful support while embarking on their Master’s programme. Through a combination of expert teaching, field research and staying current with changing judiciary environments, the School has earned a place in the top 100 Law Schools worldwide.
UWA fosters excellence and provides intellectually-curious individuals with the facilities and support to become an expert in their chosen field through advanced legal research.
The UTS Faculty of Law is a dynamic school that has become renowned for the quality of its legal education and research in its relatively short history as an institution.
QS world rankings positioned the faculty 43rd in the world and 6th in Australia based on its informed curriculum and practice-based teaching that caters to the changing demands of the legal profession.
The vocationally-relevant and intellectually-rewarding Master of Law programme provides graduates with specialised areas of research that will further enhance their future career prospects in the globalised world of human rights, commercial laws and criminal justice.
The programme offers a rare opportunity for in-classroom learning, taught by practising professionals, full-time academic staff and international visiting academics, with an emphasis on pedagogical techniques, such as role-play to get you feeling comfortable in a professional environment.
Students at UTS are also encouraged to embark on global opportunities to ensure their education is fully utilised within their chosen area to improve their career prospects.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International.