Having secured a traineeship with Morton Fraser, I had a year to fill between the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice and the start of the traineeship. Being a fluent speaker of German, I decided to study an LLM at the University of Tübingen in Southern Germany.
Although I specialised in Private International and Comparative Law, I spent a significant amount of time learning the basics of the German legal system, which is a complex mix of civil code, academic writings and case law, all structured very differently to here in Scotland. At times the course was mind numbingly difficult, with the Germans taking their legal system and studies very seriously. Writing the dissertation was particularly challenging and there were also numerous lectures, seminars, presentations and examinations to be tackled, all of them in German.
Do I think I am the better off for it? Yes. While I learned a lot about my area of study, I think the most lasting impact is in terms of my general academic and personal confidence. Indeed, having successfully completed the course, I don't think there are a lot of academic tasks that I can't deal with, even if it takes a serious degree of perseverance to get through some of them. As part of a group of eleven students from all across the world, I had the opportunity to learn a great deal about different cultures, especially because every student was required to give a presentation on their home legal system.
There is no doubt that many of my colleagues here at Morton Fraser have had similar experiences abroad. For people who are thinking of how to set themselves apart, I think there's little doubt that studying abroad develops the sort of skills that will stand you in good stead in the employment market. If that doesn't convince you, then I'd say it's pretty good fun too.