INTERNATIONAL LL.M. PROGRAMS: IE LAW SCHOOL, MADRID, SPAIN
I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Vice-Dean Marie-José Garot for taking the time to answer my questions. GHK
GHK: Vice-Dean Garot, in an increasingly interdependent world that is reshaping our profession, what do you think is the value of an international LL.M. from IE Law School for a graduating law student or lawyer from Turkey?
MJG: Our Master of Laws (LL.M.) is unique in training lawyers to be prepared for the “increasingly interdependent world” that you mention. Thanks to our comparative law methodology and international orientation, students are fully prepared to face the legal challenges posed by this complex international environment. Students are equipped with the legal skills needed to deal with any international legal issue thanks to courses such as Private International Law, EU Law, International Contracts, International Tax Law, International Trade Law, and Privacy Law, among others. In addition, they gain proficiency in understanding the basic differences between two different legal traditions (e.g., Common Law v. Civil Law), which allows them to acquire solid legal knowledge from a renowned faculty composed of experts and academics coming from prestigious universities and law firms.
I would like to highlight that our LL.M. takes an applied approach as students participate in hands-on experiences, such as Moots, Legal Clinics and challenges in law firms. These experiences allow them to apply their knowledge from a highly practical point of view.
In addition, students also develop other skills (such as negotiation, business ethics and communication) that directly elevate their potential, as recruiters are increasingly looking out for well-rounded, “T-shaped,” lawyers.
Lastly, students will be prepared to truly understand international business issues through the MBA Module (Strategy, Economics, Accounting), taught by professors from our top-ranked IE Business School.
Knowing the role Turkey plays in the international scene, it makes sense for graduating law students, young professionals and lawyers to benefit from this holistic legal training in order to become future leaders in the legal profession in their country.
GHK: IE Law School offers a number of regular and specialized LL.M. programs. What do you feel are some of the strongest LL.M. programs within IE Law School?
MJG: Our LL.M. offers students the possibility to specialize in one of three major legal fields: International Business Law, International Dispute Resolution, and Intellectual Property and Technology Law. Being able to specialize gives students the definitive training to guarantee success in the area of law they are passionate about.
These three areas of practice are constantly expanding as technology becomes more and more advanced, and corporations and society alike are on the hunt for versatile and forward-thinking legal professionals in these areas of practice. There is no doubt that in the COVID-19 or post COVID-19 world technology plays a major role, legal disputes are increasing and business transactions will be at the heart of the economic recovery.
GHK: Distance learning is on the rise with the COVID-19 pandemic. Could you inform us how the pandemic has affected the LL.M. programs offered by IE Law School? Have you seen more interest in your online or hybrid LL.M. programs in this admission season?
MJG: Fortunately, IE University is renowned for its online teaching. Currently, our Global Online MBA has been ranked number 1 by QS in 2021 and number 2 by the Financial Times. We have a long tradition of online teaching which has helped us adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic. In addition, IE University has developed a Liquid Learning model that offers students the possibility to attend classes synchronously or asynchronously, no matter where they are. Our hybrid class model gives students the freedom to flow between environments and situations. This model makes the IE Experience accessible to everyone by bringing together curricular and extracurricular activities while also being flexible and adapting to the student’s situation.
IE University has been fully open since July 2020. Therefore, our students can choose to attend our LL.M. on campus or online. Our strict health protocols guarantee the safety of our students, professors and staff. We have seen a real interest in our Liquid Learning model as it offers a huge amount of flexibility to our students.
GHK: Could you please explain the weight or emphasis given to each part of a student’s application, such as GPA, language score, letter of motivation, and letters of recommendation? How should an applicant from Turkey address a low GPA or lack of work experience on an LL.M. application to IE Law School?
MJG: We have a holistic admissions process conducted by a Global Admissions Department that guides candidates through the process and answers any questions related to the LL.M. The main objective of this process is to identify the best talent—those with the most potential, who can make a significant contribution to the learning experience.
We seek dynamic, motivated, and creative applicants. We want students who not only possess impressive academic and professional credentials, but also demonstrate the interpersonal skills that will allow them to excel in the LL.M. and beyond.
For non-native English speakers, we accept the TOEFL (minimum score of 100), the IELTS (minimum score of 7), Duolingo English Test (minimum score 120) or a Cambridge C1 (Advanced) or C2 (Proficient) qualification. A certificate is not required if candidates have completed an undergraduate degree in English. The English exam is valid for two years.
Even though we do take the candidate’s GPA into account, we do not require a minimum GPA. We follow a rigorous selection process and our holistic approach allows us to evaluate candidates based on their performance throughout the entire admissions process. This means that other criteria, such as the formal interview, the essay or the entrance exam, will be key in the final decision.
GHK: Applicants often have difficulty choosing and approaching potential recommenders. Could you offer any general advice regarding letters of recommendation? Who would be the best person to write an LL.M. applicant’s recommendation letters?
MJG: Candidates are required to submit two letters of recommendation from people they have interacted with in a professional or academic capacity and who have been a superior or supervisor. If possible, we recommend submitting one academic and one professional referral. The objective of these letters is to learn more about the candidates and to discover their true academic and professional potential.
GHK: Could you offer any advice on the best way for an LL.M. applicant to write a resonant personal statement? Do you have any comments on pitfalls or clichés an applicant should avoid?
MJG: This statement is essential for us to understand who the applicants are, where they come from, what they have accomplished, what interests they have and why they want to be part of our community. There are three possible formats in which they can submit their personal statement:
We ask candidates to tell us something about themselves that is not on their CV, such as hobbies or experiences that make them unique and suitable for our institution. We want to truly understand the main motivations that have led to them applying to IE University and why they are the perfect candidate. We obviously value the candidate’s creativity in this personal statement.
We highly recommend that candidates avoid a description that does not give an authentic representation of themselves, as in the interview we will always refer to this statement. This is why we encourage them to be honest, transparent and inspiring.
GHK: It sounds promising and exciting that IE Law School has created the IE Resilience Scholarship Fund (Covid-19) for students facing unexpected financial difficulties and significant changes in their financial plans to attend IE University. Given that the fund will prioritize students and candidates from sectors that are vulnerable, could you offer specific examples from your experience or observations of situations in which area or sectors would have been considered particularly vulnerable to the resulting adverse effects of COVID-19?
MJG: The IE Resilience Scholarship Fund supports students who have faced unforeseen problems or extraordinary circumstances due the pandemic. Students of programs starting in fall 2021 who can demonstrate a clear impact on their financial situation will be eligible for a scholarship. This will depend on individual/household circumstances.
So far, the fund has granted scholarships in cases of income loss or reduction due to employment circumstances, or in cases of extraordinary and non-reimbursed significant medical expenses, or even in unanticipated cases of exceptional currency fluctuation that has caused a significant negative impact on the student’s or household’s financial plan. In addition to this specific fund, our Financial Aid office offers a wide variety of scholarship programs and loan options.
GHK: What are the job opportunities for a non-European in Spain or Europe who has earned an international LL.M. degree from IE Law School? What should international LL.M. graduates do to increase their chances of recruitment after graduation?
MJG: The market presents some challenges for law students looking to build an international career due essentially to regulatory restrictions. In this sense, job opportunities for these kinds of profiles are mostly to be found in jurisdictions which are open to international students, even non-Europeans. Another alternative is to focus on new roles in companies, consulting firms, and alternative legal service providers. IE University can offer its students a huge community of different stakeholders to assist them in their career projects.
Apart from the Talent & Careers department, which is in charge of the partnerships with the legal industry, the enormous alumni network is always happy to talk to IE University students to give them some tips, hints and sometimes referrals for their application. Besides this, we count on the career advising sessions to guide the students during this journey, preparing them for interviews, group sessions, psychometric tests, and other tasks they will face throughout the application process.
We also grant students access to a vast array of software, tools and resources for the best training practices. In order to increase their chances, we do recommend they start their career project from when they arrive and establish their objectives and goals from day one—for example, making a list of potential targets and contacts who could help them in this process. For those who would prefer to stay in Spain, it would be wise to learn Spanish and take this opportunity to understand the local culture.
GHK: What steps would a non-European foreign lawyer need to complete to be admitted to practice as a lawyer in Spain? If one had an LL.M. from IE Law School, can one become a practicing lawyer in Spain?
MJG: As you may know, access to the Bar in Spain is highly regulated. It means that graduate law students need first to take a “Master de Abogacía” (Master in Lawyering). Then, they have to complete an internship and take the bar exam in order to become a lawyer.
The LL.M. degree from IE Law School does not give access to the Spanish Bar. Therefore, in order to become a practicing lawyer in Spain, non-Spanish students who have graduated from our LL.M. would have to validate their bachelor’s in law in Spain. This may take time.
However, as explained previously, our LL.M. offers other job opportunities in dynamic sectors that do not require you to be a Spanish lawyer.
GHK: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Vice-Dean Garot. Any parting thoughts for applicants from Turkey considering IE Law School?
MJG: We would be thrilled to welcome more students from Turkey. Each year, we take very talented Turkish students, and we would be delighted to have more in our classrooms, both remotely and on our Madrid campus. Madrid is a dynamic and exciting city loved by our students. The Madrid way of life, coupled with the excellence of our LL.M., makes the student experience truly unique and enriching.