Landing a job in Big Law after a Tax LL.M.

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Assistant Dean Toni Jaeger-Fine shares tips for LL.M. students and graduates with LL.M. Guide.

There are diverse job opportunities on offer, but students need to be proactive and engaged from the start of their job search

International taxation has grown in importance in recent years, with politicians across the globe seeking to clamp down on tax avoidance and companies coming up with ever more clever means of limiting their tax liability. More recently, tax has swung into focus as economies look to rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic.

But it is the plethora of career paths that tends to attract students to Tax Law LL.M.s. Gradates of these programs can work as tax advisors to global corporations or wealthy individuals, as tax inspectors or in the tax practices of Big Law firms.

“LL.M. students need to learn how to network,” says Toni Jaeger-Fine, assistant dean at Fordham Law School in New York. “A big mistake that students make when networking is to view networking as a job search strategy; it is not. Networking is a mechanism by which we develop a network through which information can flow.”

Be proactive

At Fordham Law School, LL.M. graduates are often hired at the New York City offices of firms including Clifford Chance, Curtis Mallet, Dentons, Dorsey, Mattos Filho, Morgan Lewis Bockius, Shearman & Stearling. Good grades and work experience always help in landing a job at these firms, but because the recruitment process is less linear than for JD students, LL.M. students need to be proactive and engaged from the start of their job search.

Jaeger-Fine recommends that LL.M. students try to get an externship (akin to a short internship) in the US. “Employers like to see that international LL.M. students have some familiarity with prevailing norms of professionalism in the US, which may be different across cultures,” she says.

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