The LLM degree translates from the Latin fords of “Legum Magister” into Master of Laws in English. The degree is typically sought by those who have been awarded the degree of Juris Doctor who seek to specialize in specific legal areas like tax, environmental law, intellectual property or human rights law.
LLM programs are one year in length for full-time students. Some programs consist mostly of research, while others will focus on coursework. A thesis will be required in just about any program. Nearly all LLM candidates have already sat for and passed a bar exam somewhere in the United States.
Some law schools that are accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) simply don’t offer LLM programs. That shouldn’t be an issue though as more than 300 ABA accredited LLM programs in the United States. Note however, that some of those programs aren’t offered to foreign students. Some states allow lawyers who are licensed in other countries to sit for a state’s bar exam if they have successfully completed an ABA accredited LLM program.
An LLM Can be a Rainmaker
Rainmakers in the legal profession develop a clientele and bring in new clients. It’s that clientele that pays the law firm compensation for legal services. The credibility of an LLM attorney is highly valued to any law firm. That LLM is a positive signal of a high level of quality work to potential clients, including international corporations and law firms.
An LLM Can Teach Too
Most LLMs are earned through research rather than classroom study. That LLM will give a candidate for a teaching position great professional credibility if he or she wishes to teach law.
Most LLM students are attorneys with a few years of practice experience behind them. They come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds. Many of them are encouraged to design their own LLM program that are specifically suited to match their background and interests. Any applicants with a foreign law degree are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language by passing an appropriate exam. Waivers of this requirement are available at most law schools.