Today's Presenters

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Pursuing an LL.M. in the U.S.
Boston College Law School
Today’s Presenters
Karen Bysiewicz, Director,
Graduate and International Programs
Penn State Law
Jessica Richman Dworkin, Assistant Dean
International and Graduate Programs
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Gail J. Hupper, Director
LL.M. and International Programs
Boston College Law School
Jane E. Schukoske, Director
Master of Laws Program in the Law of the United States
University of Baltimore, School of Law
Where We Are
PARIS
COLUMBUS
BOSTON
STATE COLLEGE
BALTIMORE
Today’s Agenda
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What can a U.S. LL.M. do for me?
Overview of U.S. Legal Education
Where do I start?
How do I choose?
How do I apply?
Bar exam
Career opportunities
Your Questions
What do I do with an LL.M?
Work in Europe
Work in the U.S.
Law firms
Law firms
In House Counsel/business
In House Counsel/business
International organizations
International Organizations
Government/not for profit organizations
Not for profit organizations
Why do an LL.M.?
• Train in the Anglo-American legal system
• Study law at an advanced and specialized level
• Gain opportunity for work experience in the
US
• Sit for a US Bar examination
Training in the U.S. Legal System
• Civil law systems differ from the U.S. common law
system in these main ways:
– Centrality of codes in contrast to case precedent
– Roles in the legal profession – judges, lawyers, prosecutors,
notaries, juries
– Law practice – negotiation, ethics, evidence, burden of
proof, writing style
– National law – U.S. state and federal laws
– National judicial system with Constitutional court – U.S.
state/federal court systems
Legal Education in the U.S.
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Law School – usually sits within a university
200+ law schools
Approximately 141,000 law students
47% of law students are female
Study at an advanced, specialized level
• Graduate education, rather than undergraduate
• Professional orientation, rather than theoretical
• Common law reasoning – significance of facts, cases,
analogy
• Importance of attending, preparing for and
participating in classes
• Syllabus: course outline and learning contract
• Professors hold office hours, relatively informal
What to Expect in the Classroom
• Frequently, J.D. and LL.M.
students take courses together
• Mixed-gender classrooms;
wide age-range of students
• Socratic method:
heavy reading load,
participation is expected and required
• Professors are approachable, accessible
• Entire course grade often based on final exam
(written, not oral)
Degrees Offered
Master of Laws (LL.M.)
• Post-JD or foreign law degree
• One-year
Juris Doctor (J.D.)
• Post-bachelors degree
• Three-year
Doctor ate (S.J.D.; J.S.D. or Ph.D.)
• Degree for academic s
• Two to seven years
Typical Degree Progressions
Undergraduate
Degree
International
Law Degree
J.D.
LLM
Bar Exam
SJD
U.S. Academic Year
August through December January through May
Fall Semester
Spring Semester
Where do I Start:
Researching Schools
• www.llm-guide.com , llm.uniiks.com, and
www.petersons.com (LL.M. programs)
• www.lsac.org (J.D. programs)
• Rankings
• School Websites
• Check for ABA accreditation (over 200 ABAapproved schools)
• ABA Guide to Law Schools
What is important to me?
• Factors to consider:
• Academic
• Student Life
How do I choose?
Academic factors
• Specialization or general
knowledge of U.S. practice
• Program requirements
• Course offerings
• Faculty and their areas of
research
• Scholarships
• Class size
How do I choose?
• Make sure law schools have the
programs, classes, and support
that you want
• Non-School Online Information
– Be wary of forums and discussion boards
– Contact the school if you have any questions
• Rankings
– Example: U.S. News and
World Report
– Use with caution!
How do I choose?
• Consider other factors:
– Urban v. rural setting
– Large university v.
small college
– Public institution v.
private institution
– Cost of living
– Where will you
feel the most
comfortable?
How do I apply?
Application: online or paper
Transcripts/Credential Evaluation
Personal Statement
Letters of Recommendation
TOEFL or IELTS
Preparing to apply
• Take the TOEFL
• Choose recommenders and give them an
ample amount of time
• Create a resume
• Write personal statement
• Request and send transcripts
• Submit application prior to deadline of school
The Personal Statement
What should you
address?
• Motivation
• Career goals
• Interest in the legal
profession
• Experience in
leadership, service, or
diverse environments
Suggestions
• Identify and address
most critical issues
• Polish and proofread!
• Consider tailoring to fit
different schools
• Support with details
• Add addendums if
needed
Letters of Recommendation
General Rule:
Law schools prefer letters from
someone who is impressed with you;
not someone whom you believe will
impress the school.
How do I afford it?
Expenses:
• Tuition: $10,000 to $42,000+ per year
• Living expenses: $6,000 to $23,000+ per year
• Plus books, travel, personal expenses
Financial Aid Resources:
• Limited aid from schools
• Scholarship programs
• Loans and work study
Finances
A word about Financing the Degree:
• Merit-based scholarship awards
– How admissions committees make award decisions
• Need-based scholarship awards
– Demonstrating need as an international applicant
• Public v. private institutions
• Third-party scholarship opportunities
• Fulbright Scholarships
Orientation programs
• LL.M. Programs are short, so focus right away!
• English fluency is a must.
• Programs convey academic expectations, law school
systems, resources for students, course websites.
• Visits to courts and law offices provide context.
• Summer programs in Legal English are available.
• Resource: “Summer Programs Offered By American
Universities of interest to Foreign Lawyers and
Advanced Law Students”
Career Development Opportunities
• Optional practical training (OPT) allows LL.M.
graduates to work in the U.S. for an additional
year.
• On campus work during the academic year is
permitted.
• Internship and Employment Resources are
available
Penn State Law
LL.M. Program
The Bar Examination
• Each state has its own licensing requirements, its
own bar examination, and its own requirements for
permission to sit for the bar.
• Every state allows students from ABA-accredited law
schools (J.D. graduates) to sit for the bar.
• Several states allow LL.M. graduates from ABAaccredited law schools to sit for the bar; other
requirements may apply (i.e., NY, CA, DC, VA, OH, IL,
TN, etc.) www.ncbex.org
Character and Fitness
• Be wary of advice to omit any information that is
requested.
Failure to disclose is often more
detrimental to an applicant’s chance to
become a licensed attorney than was
the original offense.
Contact Information
Karen Bysiewicz
Penn State Law
+1-814-863-6861
[email protected]
Jessica Richman Dworkin
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
+1-614-688-5328
[email protected]
Gail J. Hupper
Boston College Law School
+1-617-552-4573
[email protected]
Jane E. Schukoske
University of Baltimore School of Law
+1-410-837-6761
[email protected]
• Thank You!
Penn State Law
LL.M. Program
Academic Program
• 24-credit program to be completed in one
academic year
• Can personalize curriculum or
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Business Law
Arbitration, Mediation, and Negotiation
International and Transnational Law
Antitrust, Competition Law
LL.M. Experience
• Practical skills
classes
• Optional bar
preparation classes
• Courtroom and legal
system field
observation
• JD/LLM mentors
Student Life
Penn State has a
large, vibrant
international
community of nearly
2,500 international
graduate students.
Financial Assistance
• All students are considered for Penn State Law
scholarship which range from $3,000 to $7,000
– No separate application necessary
• Information available on outside funding on
request.
Countries represented in recent
LL.M. classes
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Argentina
Austria
Azerbaijan
Brazil
China
Egypt
France
Germany
Italy
India
Japan
Kyrgyzstan
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Moldova
Netherlands
Nigeria
Russia
Taiwan
Thailand
Turkey
Pakistan
Philippines
Republic of Korea
South Africa
Ukraine
Career Opportunities
• Optional practical training is available to
graduates of the program
• On campus internship placements
• Active alumni network of Penn State
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