For those who don’t know me, I am Loriane, from the 2011- 2015 GED’s promotion. Two years have passed since I graduated from la Grande Ecole du Droit and I am still glad to provide new generations with my past experience and I particularly thank Hakima for giving me the opportunity to do so. As this year is based on the “intergenerational” theme, I will try to share my advice year per year, so that each generation of GED can find an interest reading this article.
© Christophe Rabinovici
First year: I cannot really give advices on the first year in GED, as I personally joined the GED in second year. But I will take this opportunity to remind you (for the 15 768th times I know) that you must have good grades in GED. Thus, these are a few advices for GED1:
- Take good notes during the class: Learn how to use all the functionalities of Word (especially the table of content) and make sure to fully understand what the Professor says during the lecture.
- Learn your notes cleverly: You don’t need to learn by heart, but you must cover entirely the table of content (use the functionality of your computer), the main definitions (use a legal dictionary), the main articles (use the appropriate Code, ex: Civil code for family law), the main case law (use the legal database offered by the University). The best way to revise, according to me, is to revise in small groups.
- Provide the right answer during the exam: Don’t try to say everything you learn, just answer the question with legal arguments presented under a clear and structured manner. If you understood the table of content, the definitions, articles and case law, you can answer all of the questions.
Second year: This is where my story with the GED starts. From my personal experience, I remember having a terrible choice to make when I was in GED2: decide in which field I should specialise in. Maybe some of you will think that GED2 is too early to think about a specialisation, but the earliest you will know what you want, the more coherent will be your resume (thanks to your options / dissertations’ subjects…).
As some of you may know, I have decided (in GED2) to devote my life to Intellectual Property (“IP”) and I have never regretted my choice. IP is the field of law which protects artists’ works of art, engineers’ inventions, companies’ trademarks etc. IP is focusing mainly on infringement (contrefaçon), but it also deals with unfair competition (concurrence déloyale), personality rights etc. One typical IP case would be: Can I record my own interpretations of Beyoncé’s songs and broadcast them in a GED party without giving royalties to Beyoncé? : IP is fascinating!
But when you choose your specialisation, always enquire on whether or not the job market is blocked in this field. It is really hard to find a job in IP today. Even after being a qualified lawyer with a wonderful resume, you can spend months and months trying to find a job and get 0 interview. So be careful with IP. Sectors which are “less” crowded are: labour law, tax law, Information Technology (IT) law. Sectors which are completely crowded are: competition law, IP law. So be aware of that…
Third year: As I told you, one thing I am quite proud of is that my resume is perfectly coherent from my first to my last year of studies. In third year, I took “IP” and “IT” as options for the Master 1, which is strategically the best choice for studying IP.
Otherwise, GED3 is also the year where you prepare yourself for the LLM. My main advice would be to choose your M2 prior than your LLM. For example, I wanted the M2 “Industrial Property” – Paris II, which is specialised in trademarks, patents, trade secret, indications of origins… So, I refused to apply in LLMs bearing the same name “Industrial Property” and teaching the same subjects… I applied to LLMs with original names, such the LLM I did in Trinity College (“International and European Intellectual Property law”), so no one will ever blame me for having studied the same thing twice. The LLM is a strategical step to reach your M2, so pick it cleverly!
Here is another advice for those who are asking themselves: Should I opt for a general or a specialised LLM? According to me:
- If you don’t know at all where you want to specialise in later: opt for a general LLM and choose options which are the most compatible with the M2 you want.
If you are hesitating between 2 or more specialisations: I would personally opt for the most “business law” oriented LLM, as it is, at least, coherent with GED. And business law is wide enough to cover a lot of interesting options.
- If you are determined (as I was), choose a specialised LLM and take some options that will be strategic for your M2. I personally took: IP for practitioners, copyright, unfair competition etc. But I was curious and I also took weird subjects like bioethics. But I liked it!
LLM: Finally!!!! All you waited for all these years happens now (social life, good grades, happiness and parties!). The LLM is AMAZING and it was by far the best year of my academic studies. Just to give you an example: last week-end (so 2 years after the end of my LLM), it was my birthday in Paris, and 10 persons from the LLM were there (including my friends from Milan, Scotland and… Azerbaijan!). The LLM is really worth it!
And I hope you have noticed through this article my ability to speak Shakespeare’s language… which is also one of the major LLM’s benefit.
But, at the same time, you can still have some work to do during the LLM. In Trinity for example, there is a “dissertation” to write. But what they call “dissertation” means 120 pages to write in English on a precise legal topic… So I would rather call it a PhD’s thesis.
Regarding the price of the LLM, which is for all of us a relevant issue, you must not forget that almost all law firms pay you 500euros more per month in internship if you did an LLM! So I earned 3000 euros more than my normal wedge for 6 months in CMS just because I did an LLM.
And when you borrow money at the bank, always borrow a bit more than what you think you will need (I would say 2000 euros over your realistic expectations). If you don’t spend them, you can put this extra money into the refund of your LLM. But if you spend more than expected, it can be a real mess…
And it can be strategic at some point to take the CRFPA at the end of your LLM (be careful, you have to apply in October to take it on September because the deadline is 11 months in advance). But be careful with the “dissertation”, which takes a lot of time to draft and don’t even think to do both the CRFPA and the dissertation… It will not be possible.
Master 2: Unfortunately, this is the end of my wonderful GED’s experience. My M2 was still a very good experience, but there were 2 worlds between my LLM “International and European IP law” at Trinity College Dublin and my M2 “Propriété Industrielle” at Paris II…
Oh, and I have a few more advices if you apply in Assas: handwrite your letter of motivation, with black ink, and over a stationery (papier à lettre): Assas’ Professors are really… classical! And choose your LLM dissertation according to your future dream M2’s director. For example: I knew (since GED2) that my M2 director was specialised in patent law, so I wrote my 120 pages about patents (brevets), which I am sure he quite appreciated among the 300 applications he received!
Oh, and last advice! If I have one thing I really deeply regret, it is that I did not anticipate that my M2 (which is a professional M2) could forbid me to take the CRFPA straight after my M2… It is REALLY hard to find an internship during a professional M2, and most of the time, you will find an internship that is not compatible with the bar exam preparation. I did my best but I couldn’t find a 3-month internship during my M2, so I had to postpone the CRFPA to 2017 instead of 2016, which is a huge regret I have now (especially with the reform).
Thus, I postponed my bar exam to do a first 6-month internship from July – December 2016 at CMS Francis Lefebvre and a second (that I am currently doing) from January – June 2017 at BCTG avocats. Both internships were supposed to be IP only, but I did more IT than IP in both internships, which is quite a good news, because I now have enough experience to reconvert into an IT lawyer if I can’t find a job in IP !
I hope you found this article useful and I wish to all of you the best of luck and happiness in GED,