Asked & Answered
In this section we post answers to questions regularly asked by applicants. If you have additional questions after reading the answers below, please send an email to Insa Blanke or call 312-915-7091.
The free application form is available online. Required application materials include the following:
- current curriculum vitae or resume,
- personal statement,
- two letters of recommendation,
- academic transcripts and diploma, translated and evaluated, and
- language test scores (if applicable).
No, we accept applications on a rolling basis, which means that there is no strict application deadline. Loyola’s International LLM program is designed to be small (under 30 students) to allow our international staff to provide you with individualized academic and career counseling throughout the course of your study and beyond. We will stop admitting students when the program if full. Therefore, students who apply early increase their admissions chances.
Students may begin the LLM Program for International Lawyers in August (fall semester) or January (spring semester). We recommend completing the application at least 5 months before the start of the program, particularly if you need a student visa. The priority deadline for tuition-assistance consideration is February 1 for the fall semester, and July 1 for the spring semester.
Most international applicants are required to submit a current official score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Exam (TOEFL) or International English Testing System (IELTS). Only native speakers of English are exempt. Applicants whose university education primarily was conducted in English may be exempt and may request a waiver. You will find more detailed explanations here.
If you find that you would qualify for an exemption, please 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.
The decision about the waiver request is made by the admissions committee.
Waivers are granted in exceptional circumstances. Generally, your application will be stronger if it is supported by a good language test score.
Students may begin the LLM Program for International Lawyers in late August (fall semester) or late January (spring semester). The Office of International LLM Programs holds a mandatory orientation program before the law school classes begin. Therefore new students must plan to arrive in Chicago in the second week of January or the second week of August.
Law classes take place in the heart of Chicago at the Philip H. Corboy Loyola Law Center, 25 E. Pearson St., on Loyola's Water Tower Campus. The Water Tower Campus is just steps away from North Michigan Avenue, Chicago's Magnificent Mile. The Law Center features classrooms and lecture halls equipped with the latest technology, facilities for legal clinics and a courtroom for trial advocacy practice.
Legal education in the United States focuses on teaching theoretical concepts and principles in combination with training legal skills. Most U.S. professors, and particularly law school professors, use the so-called Socratic Method in their classrooms. Instead of primarily lecturing, professors will engage their students in discussions of cases to work out underlying legal principles and challenge the students to develop critical thinking abilities. Every professor has his or her own style, but while many may also include some lectures and other instructional tools, all professors expect their students to be prepared for questions and contribute to discussions. Classroom discussions are an opportunity to practice skills essential to lawyering: critical thinking and analysis, drawing analogies, responding to challenges, public speaking, and persuasiveness.
For foreign students who are not used to the discussion-based teaching style - but also for many incoming JD students - this concept might seem frightening. The best way to overcome apprehensions is preparation and practice. Professors assign readings for each class. Students are expected and well advised to complete their assignments before class. During our orientation program for international students we teach skills to prepare for and participate in classes. The Socratic Method is a very effective and engaging teaching method.
The curriculum for the LLM Program includes two mandatory classes specifically designed for the international LLM students. In all other classes, the foreign LLM students join the regular JD classes to enhance immersion in the U.S. academic and legal culture. Students may choose from core classes in US Law - such as torts, business organization, or constitutional law - and the upper-level classes that are more advanced and specific. Our international students particularly enjoy the large variety of skills classes, such as arbitration workshop, art law, contract negotiations and drafting, mediation or negotiation seminars, or strategic counseling for international clients, to name only a few. A skills class offers substantial instruction in the professional and practical skills that are essential for effective and responsible participation in the legal profession.
Introduction to the Law of the United States, a 2-credit hour class, is a foundational course that introduces core concepts of the US common law legal system and provides students with the background they need to understand U.S. Law. Students read and analyze cases and develop oral presentation skills.
In Legal Writing for Foreign Lawyers, a 4-credit hour class taught over two semesters, students are introduced to legal research and the fundamentals of legal writing. Through a series of legal memoranda and exam writing assignments, students develop their analytical and writing skills. Students are taught legal research methods through written exercises, research memos, and lectures. Students are also introduced to persuasive writing and learn how to present an oral argument to the court.
Our program offers two tracks: US Law for Foreign Lawyers (Track I), and International Law with Focus Option (Track II).We are working closely with all students to make sure that they choose the courses that most further their professional development. Many students initially are overwhelmed by the variety of course choice offered at Loyola – we will make sense of the course selection and help you to put together the best curriculum. To get an idea of possible curriculum choices, take a look at our model curricula.
As long as the mandatory requirements for each track are met, you could switch your track as late as the beginning of your second semester. For example, if you are interested in business law, you could enroll in International Business Transactions, Business Organizations, Introduction to the Laws of the United States, and Legal Writing for Foreign Lawyers in the first semester. In the second semester, you would have the choice to pursue Track I (and still meet the requirements for the NY Bar Exam), or to pursue Track II and study international law with a focus on business law.
In very limited circumstances, the mandatory classes could be replaced with other classes. The Associate Dean makes this decision based on your prior education on a case-by-case basis.
One benefit of the small size of our program for international students is that you will make friends quickly. Our international group of students is quite diverse: in five years, we had students from over 40 different countries! In each year, we typically have only one, sometimes two students from the same country – and everybody is open to making connections with students from very different cultural, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds. Our international students build a tight network beyond law school. During the orientation program, all incoming foreign students have the opportunity to get to know each other before law school classes begin. We host extracurricular events throughout the year to bring together the international and JD students. You will also meet international students from prior years who will share their experience and give advice about adjusting to law school. Additionally, Loyola’s student services staff has a lot of experience with transition issues of international students. During the pre-semester orientation, you will meet the law school’s staff members who are very accessible and are always there to assist you. Finally, the university’s International Office, which supports more than 800 international scholars, students, staff, and faculty campus-wide, regularly hosts informational and social events and provides integration support.
Loyola offers academic excellence and supports intellectual curiosity, with emphasis on service to others. Our international students are an integrated part of the JD student body. You will meet and join the American students in the regular JD classes. Networking is an important part of your education at Loyola. Our students describe their learning environment as friendly, cooperative, and supportive. The school has almost 50 active student associations which organize events throughout the academic year for their members as well as the law school. Our faculty members are engaged professors who take teaching and communication with students seriously. To get a better impression of life at Loyola, we invite you to review our viewbook.
Directly across the law school building is the Baumhart graduate students residence, an apartment-style modern high-rise building.
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 options for all.
Tuition for the 2018-19 academic year is $37,200 (for 24 credit hours). Tuition is based on the number of credit hours a student takes. Students are required to take 24 credit hours to graduate. The current cost per credit hour is $1,550. The tuition does not include living expenses and fees. For an estimate of the total expense, please go to our bursar’s website.
We strongly recommend planning for this considerable financial expense a long time ahead. The earlier you begin to secure funding through outside grants, scholarships, sponsors, or family members, the more likely you are to gather the necessary funds.
Loyola Chicago offers a general merit-based scholarship program for its LLM Program for International Lawyers. The program offers a generous tuition-reduction scholarship program for exceptionally qualified students. The scholarship will cover a percentage of the tuition, but not living or other expenses. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please indicate so in your personal statement.
Loyola Chicago also offers three specialized scholarships in Consumer Antitrust, Child and Family Law, and Dispute Resolution. These scholarships are available for students in Track II (International Law with Certificate Focus Option).
Review more details here.
All admitted students who need a visa must complete a financial statement showing that they or their sponsor have sufficient funding for the degree program. For visa purposes, students must demonstrate funding of approximately $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 significantly 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.
Visa restrictions may limit your eligibility to work. If you have a student visa, you may work only on the campus for no more than 20 hours per week during your first year. In our experience international students would be well advised to fully focus on their legal studies. Law school is an intensive experience, particularly if you are new to the country and not fully fluent in English.
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:
Please review the information provided under Program Information. 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.
We are hopeful that as soon foreign lawyers who pass the New York bar exam will be able to practice as licensed attorneys in Illinois. Within the last several years, 29 States and D.C. have adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), which is uniformly administered, graded, and scored by user jurisdictions and results in a portable score that can be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions. Instead of having to take the bar exam again when seeking a license in one of the UBE states, lawyers now may seek admission with their UBE score. Most foreign lawyers take the bar exam in New York, which has administered the UBE for the first time in 2016. Illinois likely is going to follow suit and is expected to adopt the UBE in the near future. If the UBE will be adopted in IL, foreign students who passed the NY Bar Exam would be eligible to ask for admission to the Illinois bar to practice as fully licensed lawyers in Chicago, the third-largest legal market in the US. We are excited about this new trend because it would allow our students to study and build networks in Chicago, take the bar exam in New York, and then return to practice in Chicago.
We recommend that students take a bar preparation course. Taking a bar preparation course is a critical step in passing the bar. Commercial bar preparation courses specialize in helping you review subjects you have already taken in law school and to learn bar subjects you may not have taken. Since bar preparation occurs after graduation, this is not an expense included in the tuition.