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States Side Story: Career Paths of International LL.M. Students, or 'I Like to Be in America'

58 Pages Posted: 2 May 2012  

Date Written: May 1, 2012


This Article draws on an empirical study of the careers of international law graduates who earned an LL.M. in the United States, and considers the role of a U.S. LL.M. as a path for building a legal career in the United States. It identifies the institutional, political, and economic forces that present challenges to graduates who attempt to stay in the United States. While U.S. law schools prize the international diversity of their graduate students, this study reveals that the U.S. legal profession is most accessible to international students from English-speaking common law countries, whose language and background allow them to blend into the U.S. legal profession because their “foreignness” is less evident than students without these characteristics. International law students also are the topic of the companion article by Swethaa Ballakrishnen that follows, in which the experience of international law students who return to their home country of India is presented as a contrast. Together, these articles offer insight into the different barriers that shape entry and access into legal markets, and suggest implications for the way we understand international credentialism and the global legal profession.

Keywords: global legal education, graduate legal education, globalization and the legal profession

JEL Classification: N3, N30, I2, I21, I20, K10, K4, K40

Suggested Citation

Silver, Carole, States Side Story: Career Paths of International LL.M. Students, or 'I Like to Be in America' (May 1, 2012). Fordham Law Review, Vol. 80, No. 6, 2012; Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2049334. Available at SSRN:

Carole Silver (Contact Author)

Northwestern University School of Law ( email )

375 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
United States


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