Towards a Professional Career

After finishing this Master’s programme in Legal Research, you can pursue a career in legal research, finding a research position at a university or in one of the major law firms, the research departments of Supreme Courts in various parts of the world, or, in the Netherlands, at the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, Council of State or the Research and Documentation Centre (Wetenschappelijk Onderzoeks- en Documentatiecentrum) of the Ministry of Justice. You also will be well prepared for legal practice at a national or international law firm, at a company or in a non-governmental organisation, in the judiciary, or in a government or non-governmental position. 

After finishing this programme, you can become:

A PhD researcher

As a PhD candidate, you must demonstrate your research competence. Through your dissertation, you will demonstrate:

  • The mastery of your subject;
  • Your research insights;
  • Your respect for the discipline;
  • Your capability for independent research;
  • Your ability to communicate results and relate them to the broader discourse in your field.

In the position of a PhD researcher, training leads to a professional research qualification. A PhD requires be a deep, specific education in a discipline, preceding a postdoctoral period of on-the-job training. It involves you doing a substantial chunk of research, writing it up and then discussing it with professional academics. You have a supervisor (or more than one) to help and advise you, but in theory, the PhD is something for which you take the initiative, and thus it is a demonstration of your ability to do proper research independently.

An assistant, associate or full professor

Despite the label, the assistant professor is not an assistant. In this position, as well as when you grow to become an associate or full professor, you have three sets of tasks that come with a career in academia: teaching, research and management. All assistant, associate and full professors do more than teach classes; they also conduct scholarly work, such as presenting and publishing their work at conferences and in peer-reviewed journals, and they manage research projects and research groups. The professor’s research is often most critical in earning tenure, although this varies by institution. The third set of tasks (management) also entails all of the administrative work that keeps a college or university running. Management includes sitting on committees, ranging from creating and evaluating curricula to overseeing workplace safety. After about six to eight years, and depending on the quality of the assistant professor’s work in the three fields mentioned, he or she may be eligible for tenure and/or promotion to the next rank: associate professor.

A lawyer

Although lawyers work in nearly every aspect of society in a range of positions and industries, their basic duties will be the same: to represent the needs of their clients in civil and/or criminal trials. Other job duties may vary dramatically. As a lawyer, you can specialise in fields such as bankruptcy, international, administrative, probate, or environmental law. The field of intellectual property is also seeing an increasing level of attention from lawyers, just like technology and innovation law. Some lawyers spend more time in the courtroom than others, working as trial lawyers. While some lawyers work in private practice, others find employment in government, legal aid societies or corporations. 

A lecturer

When you obtain an assignment as a higher education lecturer, you will teach academic and vocational subjects to undergraduate and postgraduate students. You work in a university or in a college of further education. Your teaching methods may include lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical laboratory demonstrations, field work and e-learning. As a higher education lecturer, you will also pursue your own research to contribute to the wider research activities of your department and/or institution. Many colleagues aim to have their research published, either in the form of a book or scholarly article, and this can help raise the profile of their employer.

Alumni stories

Curious about the jobs our alumni got? Browse the LinkedIn profiles of some of our graduates in Legal Research.

PhD ceremony

Towards an academic career

In research aspects, this programme can be excellent preparation for a subsequent PhD programme. You may become a PhD fellow with a university in the Netherlands or abroad.


Facts and Figures

The Job Market Monitor indicates that many alumni from Utrecht University School of Law programmes find jobs immediately after graduating. An average of four months post-graduation, all of them have found employment. A small percentage go on to follow a PhD programme or other study after their Master. Many students come into contact with their future employer during their Master, i.e. during their internship, at a career fair, or by carrying out (thesis) research on behalf of an organisation or business. The Utrecht University Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance has strong links with practice.

Career Preparation

Due to the unique nature of the Legal Research Master – a combination of acquiring research skills and completing internships at district courts or courts of appeals, etc. – many LRM students find a job well in advance of their graduation. As far as we know, no graduates are currently unemployed. LRM graduates pursue careers in academia as PhD students, work as (corporate) lawyers, or have enrolled in the Academy of Legislation. Utrecht LRM students are usually scouted for positions at an early stage, with various job offers as a result.

Please check the testimonials to get an impression of the jobs obtained by alumni of the LLM in Legal Research.