INTERNATIONAL LL.M. PROGRAMS: NEW ENGLAND LAW, BOSTON, MA, USA
Lisa Neary, Assistant Director of Admissions and Marketing, thank you very much for taking your time to speak with us. GHK
GHK: Assistant Director Neary, for many international law applicants, doing an LL.M. is the ultimate goal. What do you think the value of an LL.M. from the United States is from the point of view of a civil-law trained lawyer from Turkey or elsewhere?
LN: Foreign-educated, civil-trained lawyers can gain value from obtaining an LL.M. from the United States by gaining a deeper understanding of the common law U.S. legal system as well as how traditional U.S. law is practiced. This can allow foreign-educated lawyers to strengthen their career prospects and allow them the opportunity to sit for the Bar Exam and gain employment in the United States.
GHK: I understand that New England Law offers a variety of certificate programs and concentrations. Are these academic offerings available to LL.M. students, too?
LN: Yes, these academic offerings are available to LL.M. students as well. New England Law | Boston has over 100 courses to choose from. In addition to these course offerings, LL.M. students can choose to specialize in many legal areas including:
Intellectual Property/High Technology Law
Public Interest Law
Real Estate/Land Use Law
Trusts and Estates Law
GHK: Practical experience seems to be an essential component of a New England Law education, given that the school provides many clinics and externships options. Could you provide us with more information about how New England Law assists students in developing their real-world practical legal skills?
LN: Practical experience is a cornerstone of a New England Law education, and we offer many clinics and externships to help students develop their legal skills. We also guarantee at least one clinical or externship experience, and many students take more, given the myriad of choices available, from international externships to judicial internships. Specifically, New England Law offers opportunities to gain real-world experience by offering clinics and externships, the Summer Fellowship Program, the New England Law Review, pro bono and public service opportunities including the CORI Initiative and the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, and the opportunity to participate in one of our three Academic Centers—Business Law, International Law and Policy, and Law and Social Responsibility—which are all focused on addressing emerging legal issues and promoting collaboration among students and faculty. Through the work of the centers, students can contribute to the latest policy research, advocate for others, and make a real impact.
GHK: New England Law is ideally situated in downtown Boston. How do you think New England’s central location also attracts students?
LN: With our ideal location in downtown Boston, New England Law is close to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Financial District, State House, Government Center, and numerous state and federal courts, government agencies, and law firms—all frequent employers of our students and alumni.
Our central location also attracts legal influencers. Many local and national thought leaders, including eight U.S. Supreme Court justices, have lectured, taught, and met with New England Law students and professors.
Some of the institutions hiring law students within walking distance of New England Law include:
We are also blocks from Boston’s Financial District, home to many of the law firms and companies that hire our students—and drive local, national, and even international economies. Nearby public transportation connects students to countless other employment opportunities as well.
GHK: What are your thoughts on the cost of living in Boston for a student and how to manage it?
LN: In order to manage the cost of living in Boston, I would highly suggest that students come prepared with their own budgets prior to the start of the academic year, including expenses such as tuition, books, commuting, and housing. This will be vital for students when searching for housing options in Boston. In the Boston area, there are numerous neighborhoods that are within reasonable commuting distance to the law school.
While New England Law doesn’t offer student housing (most graduate schools in Boston don’t), our law students have many choices within the city and its suburbs. When students are ready to start their student life in Boston, our staff is here to help students in any way they can. We also offer apartment listings and roommate-matching services exclusively for admitted New England Law students.
GHK: Does New England Law have an approximate hierarchy on what is most valuable for admissions: GPA, language score, personal statement, and letters of recommendation?
LN: When considering applications for admission, New England Law takes a holistic approach to reviewing applications. Our admissions committee thoroughly reads through each component of every applicant’s file, including their academic records, work experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and English proficiency scores when applicable.
GHK: What advice would you give to the prospective applicants from Turkey when writing the personal statement? What should they have (or not have) in their statement of purpose?
LN: In advising applicants on writing their personal statement, I would encourage them to be sincere about the topic they are writing on. New England Law has an open-ended prompt, which allows applicants the opportunity to write on any topic they choose. The personal statement allows applicants the opportunity to paint a picture of who they are; this may be the only opportunity that an applicant has to let the admissions committee know exactly who they are and why they want to attend New England Law. My only other piece of advice regarding the personal statement is that applicants have someone else proofread their personal statement prior to submitting it.
GHK: Is financial aid available? How does an applicant make sure if he/she gets considered for a scholarship for the LL.M. program?
LN: Yes, tuition scholarships are available for all incoming LL.M. students. Students may be awarded scholarships ranging from partial tuition scholarship up to 75% tuition. Students are automatically considered for scholarships when submitting their application to New England Law. There is no separate application for scholarship consideration. In addition, in order to make a legal education more affordable and accessible, we no longer have an application fee, so students do not have the added expense of an application fee.
GHK: Is there career placement assistance for LL.M. students who wish to practice law in the States or their home countries?
LN: All LL.M. students have full access to the school’s Career Services Office, including personalized counseling, résumé and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, and more. Students can also benefit from our mentor program and a searchable database of internships and job opportunities.
GHK: Thank you for taking to time to respond to our questions, Assistant Director Neary. Is there any final advice you could give to readers of this interview?
LN: For applicants who are considering applying to an LL.M. program, I would suggest that they consider exactly what their goals are in obtaining this degree and how it could be beneficial to their career. Pursuing an LL.M. is a significant investment, both personally and financially, and we want to make sure that this is the right fit for our applicants’ goals, so we can ultimately help them succeed.