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LLM for International Lawyers

Law is increasingly practiced on a global scale, with attorneys that understand how the laws of their home country and that of the U.S. intersect.

Outstanding lawyers from over 45 countries have chosen Loyola to boost their career with a master's degree. One-on-one academic and career counseling, supportive faculty, and access to worldwide legal networks are just a few benefits of our LLM Program for International Lawyers. And your educational experience will be enhanced by your immersion with U.S. students.

As a Loyola student, you will study with leading practitioners in the same classes as your U.S. peers. You may choose to complete one of two tracks:

Track 1: Immersion in U.S. Law for Foreign Lawyers

Designed for foreign lawyers who seek to develop an expertise in American law, the rigorous curriculum immerses you in the foundations of U.S. law and legal thought and provides a thorough training in legal skills critical to advising clients in the U.S. or globally. The students in this track plan to sit for a bar exam and/or stay in the US to practice. 

Track 2: International Law with a Certificate Focus

Designed for students interested in private and public international law, you may earn a focus certificate in any of Loyola’s specialty areas, all of which include strong international and comparative components: arbitration, mediation, negotiation; business and corporate; child and family; competition; health; human rights; intellectual property; tax; or trade law. Under the guidance of our engaged international faculty, you also may develop your own focus to match your academic interests and professional goals.

Our commitment to you

Upon graduation with an LLM from Loyola, you will possess the following knowledge, skills, and professional values:

Knowledge

In the Immersion in U.S. Law for Foreign Lawyers program, you will demonstrate:

  • A foundational understanding of the U.S. legal system and the U.S. substantive and procedural law relevant to your specialty focus
  • Familiarity with the rules of professional ethics
  • An understanding of U.S. legal discourse, case analysis, and legal reasoning

In the International Law with a focus program, you will demonstrate:

  • A foundational understanding of international law from a U.S. perspective and the U.S. substantive and procedural law relevant to your specialty focus
  • A familiarity of cultural issues raised in international and U.S. law
  • An understanding of U.S. legal discourse, case analysis, and legal reasoning

Skills

You will be able to:

  • Use U.S. legal authority and perform legal analysis and problem-solving methods employed by U.S. lawyers
  • Demonstrate proficiency in Legal English, in both written and oral communications
  • Communicate effectively on sophisticated legal topics, both orally and in writing
  • Market your professional skills
  • Demonstrate professionalism consistent with the U.S. legal profession's values and standards

Professional Values

You will be prepared to exercise the professional and practical skills that are essential for effective and responsbile participation in the legal profession.  

By the numbers

45

COUNTRIES REPRESENTED IN THE LAST 6 YEARS

88%

BAR PASSAGE RATE

2

NUMBER OF TIMES LISTED IN THE INTERNATIONAL JURIST FOR BEST LAW SCHOOL EXPERIENCE FOR AN INTERNATIONAL LLM PROGRAM

Curriculum

You can choose to start the program in the fall term (late August) or spring term (mid-January). The program is designed to be completed within one year, but you may choose to complete the program part-time over two years.

You will enroll in two mandatory classes that are designed exclusively for all international LLM students to introduce core concepts of the U.S. legal system and legal research and writing methods. We work with you to choose which courses suit your academic intersts and professional goals best. 

Track 1: Immersion in U.S. Law for Foreign Lawyers

The curriculum for Track I is designed to include the core courses currently required by the New York State Board of Law Examiners for foreign lawyers obtaining an LLM degree. While we provide you with the required courses to satisfy the eligibility and admissions requirements to sit for New York's bar exam, we make no representation or guarantee that any student or graduate of our LLM Program for International Lawyers will be qualified or eligible to sit for the New York or any other state bar examination. 

Required Courses

  • Introduction to U.S. Law and the Legal System
  • Legal Research and Writing for Foreign Lawyers I
  • Legal Research and Writing for Foreign Lawyers II
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Six credits of subjects tested on the New York bar examinations:
    • Administrative Law
    • Advanced Business Organizations, Including a Comparative Perspective
    • Advanced Civil Procedure
    • Agency and Partnerships
    • Business and the Law
    • Business Organizations
    • Child, Parent and State
    • Civil Procedure
    • Conflict of Laws
    • Constitutional Law
    • Contracts
    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure: Adjudication
    • Criminal Procedure: Investigation
    • Estates
    • Evidence
    • Family Law
    • Federal Courts
    • Property
    • Real Estate Transactions
    • Remedies
    • Sales
    • Secured Transactions
    • Torts
    • Unincorporated Business Organizations

Elective Coursework

You may complete nine credits of course work. You may select from over 250 courses and seminars offered each year. We recommend that you focus on additional subjects tested on the bar exam.

Track 2: International Law with a Certficate Focus Option

In Track 2, you will enjoy flexibility in designing your own curriculum to match your academic interests and professional goals. You must complete the required courses and at least 7 credits in international law and 7 credits in any specialty area.

Required Courses

  • Introduction to U.S. Law and the Legal System
  • Legal Research and Writing for Foreign Lawyers I
  • Legal Research and Writing for Foreign Lawyers II

Elective Coursework

You may complete 18 credits of elective coursework, tailored to match your interests and career goals:

  • International law, 7 credits 
  • area of focus courses, 7 credits
  • additional courses, 4 credits
Degree Requirements

To earn your degree, you must complete 24 credit hours of coursework, while maintaining the GPA requirement. Visit our Registrar for a complete list of degree requirements, academic calendars, and registration process. You may access full course descriptions through our student information system through guest access.

Admission

To apply to the program, you must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or the international equivalent. You must also hold a JD degree or an equivalent law degree from a foreign country. Depending on the legal education system, this would include graduates who, in their country, have the first professional law degree and/or are admitted to practicing law.

Fall Term Application Deadlines

  • March 1: Priority Deadline for Scholarship Consideration
  • July 1: Final Application Deadline

Spring Term Application Deadlines

  • August 1: Priority Deadline for Scholarship Consideration
  • December 1: Final Application Deadline

Community

Margaret Moses

Faculty

“Our international LLM students add insight and perspective from their own cultures that greatly enrich our international classes.”

Mayday Karugarama

Alumni

“I was attracted to the small size of the program, the broad international law course offerings, and the opportunity to tailor the LLM curriculum to fit my academic goals.”

James Gathii

Faculty

“As a faculty we are committed to being very accessible and approachable to our students. Students, therefore, maximize their learning experience both inside and outside the classroom.”

Tuition and Fees

The School of Law and Loyola's Office of Student Financial Assistance are committed to helping students secure the necessary financial resources to make their legal education at Loyola affordable.

As part of our commitment, Loyola offers two scholarship programs for qualified students. The Admissions Committee considers you automatically for merit awards when reviewing your file for admission. The merit award amounts vary.  We also award three specialized awards for students interested in studying: consumer antitrust; child and family law; and dispute resolution international.  If chosen for a specialized award, in exchange for a scholarship that equals 40% of tuition, you will work closely with a faculty member to develop your curriculum and partake in events and activities within that institute. 

While our foreign students may not have access to the federal or state loan programs, you may be eligble for a private loan if a citizen or green card holder co-signs the loan for you.  

FAQs

What makes the Loyola experience different?

Ranked by the International Jurist among the top ten LLM programs for foreign attorneys for career opportunities and best overall law school experience, we keep the program small to provide you with individualized academic and career counseling through your program and beyond. Our school is a student-focused law center and provides a strong support structure that includes an on-campus legal English tutor, study skills workshops, extracurricular and practical learning options, networking opportunities, and integration into a close-knit community.

What can I expect from my classes?

The LLM Program includes two mandatory classes specifically designed for international LLM students. In all other classes, you join JD students, which will enhance your immersion in the U.S. academic and legal culture. You may choose from all core classes in U.S. Law--such as torts, business organizations, or constitutional law--and more advanced upper-level classes. You may also choose from a variety of skills classes, including arbitration, contract negotiations and drafting, mediation or negotiation seminars, strategic counseling for international clients, and more. Skills classes offer substantial instruction in the professional and practical skills that are essential for effective and responsible participation in the legal profession.

How do I apply and is there an application fee?

You start the application by submitting the online form to create an account in Slate. You can upload the application documents to your account, and we will keep you updated on the process. We’ve outlined the application requirements and the process for you. There is no application fee.

May I apply through LSAC?

Yes. We ask applicants to submit Loyola’s free online application and email their LSAC account number to us. Loyola requests the LSAC documents directly. You must select Loyola University Chicago as one of your schools and to pay the LSAC transmission fee.

Do I need to submit language test scores?

Most international applicants are required to submit a current official score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Exam (TOEFL, minimum score: 100 IBT) or International English Testing System (IELTS, minimum score: 7).

If your university education was conducted primarily in English, you may be exempt and may request a waiver. If you believe you may qualify, you must submit a statement detailing your language background. Individual language assessments conducted in person or by telephone may be required at the Law School's discretion. Waivers are granted in exceptional circumstances. Generally, your application will be stronger if it is supported by a good language test score.

Does the school provide financial support?

We consider all applicants for merit-based scholarships when we review their files for admission. If awarded, the scholarship will cover a percentage of your tuition, but not living or other expenses. We also offer the 40% tuition-reduction awards in three areas: Consumer Antitrust Scholarship, the Civitas Child & Family Law Scholarship, and the Dispute Resolution International Scholarship. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please indicate so in your personal statement.

How much should I expect to pay for living expenses?

If you need a visa, you must complete a financial statement showing that you or your sponsor have sufficient funding for the degree program. For visa purposes, you must demonstrate funding of about $20,000 to cover living expenses in addition to the tuition. This amount is based on the on-campus housing option and includes health insurance and living expenses. The actual amount you will need depends on your personal circumstances and expectations. You could lower the sum by finding a less expensive place to stay, keeping your own health insurance, and, obviously, maintaining a frugal life style. Some of our students stay with extended family in Chicago or the suburbs to reduce living expenses.

Will I be eligible to sit for a bar exam?

The LL.M. degree alone does not qualify foreign lawyers to practice law in the United States. Each of the 50 states has its own criteria and procedures for admitting lawyers to practice, and requirements vary. Lawyers from abroad seeking information on these requirements should contact the bar examiners in the state in which they wish to practice. It is your responsibility to write to the Board of Law Examiners to determine your eligibility to sit for the bar exam. We recommend that you contact the Board before you begin your LLM to make sure that your first law degree meets the requirements. Only the Board can make that determination, and it is best to send your request early. It is also your responsibility to make sure you meet all deadlines for applying to take the bar exam and to make sure you have all of the required materials to submit to the Board. For further information, please consult the following websites:

The curriculum of Track I is based on the current New York Bar Exam eligibility requirements. However, those requirements might change in the near future.

I have a law degree from a common law country. Could I request a waiver of the mandatory classes?

In very limited circumstances the mandatory classes could be replaced with other classes as approved by the Associate Dean, based on your prior education. The decision is made on a case-by-case basis.

Will I be able to practice law with this LLM degree?

Track 1 (Immersion in U.S. law for foreign lawyers) includes required courses intended to aid the students in satisfying the eligibility and admissions requirements to sit for New York's bar exam. However, we make no representation or guarantee that any applicant, student, or graduate of our LLM Program for International Lawyers will be qualified to sit for the New York or any other state bar examination. The rules have recently changed and are subject to additional changes. We strongly encourage you to check the admission requirements for any state bar for which are interested in seeking admission prior to enrolling in our LLM Program. For more information, please visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Does the law school offer housing options?

Directly across the law school building is Baumhart Hall, an apartment-style student housing facility. Most of our students live in private residences in one of Chicago’s many neighborhoods. Please review the law school’s housing guide to get a better idea of the variety of all housing options in Chicago.