Last Updated on November 10, 2021
LLM Degree Programs
The LLM: The Next Step in Legal Education
An LLM, or Master of Laws, is a graduate qualification in the field of law. The LLM was created for lawyers to expand their knowledge, study a specialized area of law, and gain international qualifications if they have earned a law degree outside the U.S. or Canada. If you’re looking to advance your legal career or take the next step in your academic journey, an LLM could be for you.
What You Should Know
- If you’re an American or Canadian student, to pursue an LLM, you’ll need to already have a JD degree.
- International students who want to pursue an LLM are required to have earned a first professional degree in law, such as a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or an equivalent credential that permits entry into legal practice. Subject to the rules in each jurisdiction, in some U.S. states, internationally educated students who earn an LLM degree may become eligible to take the bar exam.
- An LLM can help you specialize and extend your credentials in a specific area or field of practice. For international students, the LLM also typically offers exposure to U.S. or Canadian law systems, common law legal reasoning, and comparative law studies.
- Some international lawyers use the LLM as preparation for later entering a JD program in the U.S.
- Not every school that offers a JD program also offers an LLM program. Visit LSAC’s Guide to LLM & Other Law Programs to find schools offering LLM programs.
- There are a number of steps in the application process. For a guide on what to do and what you’ll need, check out this application checklist and this list of application requirements. TOEFL, IELTS, or other English language tests may be required for internationally educated applicants.
Planning Your Next Steps
It’s important to understand your academic and career goals when considering an LLM. For international students, a strong knowledge of the U.S. or Canadian legal system can be useful for global credibility, engaging in international law and legal practice, or dealing with clients from North America in areas such as business law. For U.S. and Canadian JD graduates, an LLM can deepen their knowledge in a particular area of law, making them more valuable to their organization.
If you’re planning to apply to multiple LLM programs, signing up for LSAC’s LLM Credential Assembly Service (LLM CAS) can save you time and work in doing so. When you use this service, you send your transcripts and letters of recommendation to LSAC one time, and we package everything for the schools to which you apply. We will also send updates to your schools when you add items to your file at LSAC.