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Posted April 16, 2023

Top 10 LLM Programs in American Law in the USA

LLM American Law in USThe top LLM programs in the United States offer international students the chance to learn about the US legal system in an intensive eight months to a year, depending on what Master of Laws program and US law school you choose.

LLM in American Law Course Search

However, an LLM in American Law is not just for international students, it is also a great study option for US students – both in-state and out-of-state – interested in learning more about this field and pursuing a relevant career.

Reason to study an LLM in American Law

Here are some erasons why you should consider studying an LLM in American Law.

1. Study in the US – the ideal place to study American Law is in the US and there are plenty of LLM programs aimed at international students who wish to gain an understanding of US law. Many of the best US law schools, such as Harvard Law School, offer LLM programs to students from outside of the US.

2. Improve English language skills – an LLM in American Law will be taught in English or will have a significant element of English legal language. If English is not your first language undertaking this postgraduate program will prove to yourself and others that you have the necessary skills to work in American English, especially in a legal context.

3. Gain internationally recognised qualification – an LLM in American Law is recognised around the world and will provide you with the skills to work in organisations with legal links with the US. Many legal systems are based on the American legal system, so some countries will draw from the laws and judicial rulings in the US. All governments around the world will have dealings with the US, so if you want to work as a governmental advisor, an LLM in American Law might help.

4. Sit the Bar Exam – as the US is a federal system each state in the US manages the lawyers practising in that state independently. There are a few states that allow international students to sit the Bar Exam after they have completed an LLM in-state. If you wish to practise in the US, then you should check carefully with the law school and the local Bar Association. In the US, law schools have significant links with the local legal community, so it is advisable to pick a law school that is close to where you would like to live.

5. Make global contacts – by studying an LLM program with an international base, like American Law, you will meet those working all over the world. Your fellow students will become your colleagues and contacts for the rest of your career, and the alumni network will help you when you are starting your career. When you are researching your course remember to reach out to recent alumni to see what they thought of the course.

6. Great for legal career in the US – the legal world in the US is growing and has been growing for some time, which has resulted in a growing number of lawyers to work with. This means that an understanding of American Law is helpful for any lawyer working on an international basis as you're bound to work American lawyers in their career at some point.

This table illustrates the steady growth of lawyers in the United States


Number of Lawyers
























Top LLMs in American Law

Now we’ve had a look at some of the reasons to study an LLM in American Law, here are the details of some of the best LLMs in American Law taught out of law schools in the United States*.

Yale University Law School

Duration: 1 year full time.
Cost: $71,540 in tuition fees for all students, including international students.
What you will study: The aim of this course at Yale University Law School is to prepare students who are planning on a future teaching law. There are no compulsory modules as students plan their own study.

Stanford University Law School

Duration: 1 year full time.
Cost: $66,924 in tuition fees for all students, including international students.
What you will study: This LLM program at Stanford University is specifically for students who have gained their first law degree outside of the United States, there are four specialist tracks with this course; International Economic Law, Business and Policy, Environmental Law and Policy, Law, Science and Technology, and Corporate Governance and Practice.

Harvard University Law School

Duration: 1 year full time.
Cost: $73,600 in tuition fees for all students, including international students.
What you will study: Students at Harvard Law School are drawn from all sorts of backgrounds and around 70 different countries and they can tailor their own study. This means that there is a huge breadth of subjects studied on this program.

Columbia University Law School

Duration: 1 year full time.
Cost: $75,572 in tuition fees for all students, including international students.
What you will study: The aim of this LLM at Columbia University Law School is to prepare students for a variety of careers including further academic study, corporate law work, the public sector and the judiciary. The large range of modules available allows students to specialise their studies or keep their education as wide open as possible. The Columbia LLM allows students to delve into their current specialisation, transition to a new practice area, or explore additional areas of study.

University of Chicago Law School

Duration: 1 year full time.
Cost: $73,185 in tuition fees for all students, including international students.
What you will study: The course at the University of Chicago Law School allows students to create their own LLM programs of study concentrating on what interests them the most. Many students focus on areas such as corporate/securities, intellectual property, antitrust/regulation of business or commercial transactions.

New York University School of Law

Duration: 1 year full time or at least 2 years part time.
Cost: $73,216 in tuition fees for all full-time students and $3,051 per credit for all part-time students, including international students.
What you will study: Students at NYU Law are free to study as many topics as they wish from a selection of specialised LLM courses, including Constitutional Law, Corporation Law, International Business Transactions, International Human Rights Law, Economic Analysis of Law, Environmental and Energy Law, Criminal Law, Legal Philosophy, Intellectual Property Law and International Criminal Law.

University of Pennsylvania Penn Carey Law

Duration: 1 year full time.
Cost: $75,758 in required tuition fees for all students, including international students.
What you will study: Students at Penn Carey Law can participate in a range of clinic-based programs on subjects such as Intellectual Property and Technology, Entrepreneurship, International Human Rights and Immigration, and Mediation to gain real experience of the US legal system. It is a full-time LLM program that is primarily aimed at lawyers trained outside of the United States

University of Virginia School of Law

Duration: 1 year full time.
Cost: $71,210 in tuition fees for in-state students / $74,200 in tuition fees for out-of-state and international students.
What you will study: This is a small and selective course that is aimed at students and lawyers who have gained their law degree outside of the United States. Students are able to take all of the courses offered by the University of Virginia School of Law.

University of California Berkeley Law

Duration: 9 months +
Cost: $69,857 in tuition fees for all students, including international students.
What you will study: Berkeley Law offers three different program track options— all of which lead to the same Berkeley Law LLM degree. These are the Executive Track – which is a flexible online and on-campus study option; the Traditional Track – which is a nine-month on-campus LLM; and a Thesis Track – which is a nine-month on-campus plus research LLM.

Duke University School of Law

Duration: 1 year full time.
Cost: $82,950 in tuition fees for all students, including international students.
What you will study: This course at Duke Law aims to prepare internationally trained lawyers in the legal systems of the United States.

Career paths after an LLM in American Law

Here are some potential career paths following the successful completion of an LLM in American Law.

Become an international trade law specialist

The US is involved in all sorts of international trade and in turn most businesses involved in international trade will have something to do with the US. This means that many companies and corporations require specialists to advise on the Trade Law of the USA. Most LLM courses on International Trade Law will have an element of American Trade Law. 

International organisations with US representation

Any government or international NGO will probably have dealings with either the US government itself or with US-based companies and will require specialist knowledge of American Law. As the UN has a base in New York, many NGOs and charities are centred around it, so there are plenty of opportunities for those with an excellent understanding of American Law. Washington DC also has a concentration of NGOs and international organisations trying to lobby and influence politicians there. If you want to work in an area like this, then while you are studying your LLM you should make the most of your time at your law school with networking events and law societies

International financial & tax specialisms

Many LLM programs around the world and in the US offer LLMs in International Finance Law or Tax Law. These programs will offer the opportunity to focus on American Law, especially in Finance Law due to the importance of the US markets.

Work in the USA

Many LLMs in the USA are in part or completely designed for foreign-trained lawyers to train in American Law and begin the process to pass the Bar Exam. The US is a federal system and this means that law students who wish to practice in a particular state in the US must study and pass the Bar Exam in that particular state. Students who wish to practice the law in the US have to undertake an LLM in American Law in the US rather than one of the other international law schools that offer an LLM in American Law. Most US states require students to study other aspects of American Law that apply in their state in addition to their LLM program. 

Law graduates’ salaries in the US

The expected salaries of law graduates in the United States is high and increases greatly over time – as illustrated in this table:

Years Since Graduation

Expected Salary

0–5 years


5–10 years


10–20 years


20+ years




Editor’s note: this blog post was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated to reflect the latest rankings figures and current LLM information.

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LLM in American Law

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Mohamed Ibrahim Sept. 6, 2018, 8:49 p.m.

How do I get into Columbia law school

Charlotte King Sept. 9, 2018, 4:29 p.m.

Hi Mohammed,

The deadline for LLM applicants at Columbia Law School 18th December 2018 - there is more information on this URL:

Good luck - Charlotte

varsha k s Sept. 20, 2018, 11:28 a.m.

what are the requirements to enrol for LLM degree in one of the top universities in the USA for a person from India with an integrated B.Com.L.L.B(Hons)?

Charlotte King Sept. 23, 2018, 6:35 p.m.

Hi Varsha - over 100 law schools in the US offer LLM degrees - and whilst some course
are open only to experienced lawyers, there are other designed for specifically American students and yet more for international students. If you can prove a good proficiency in the English language and you have a good grade in your LLB - this is usually a 2:1 minimum although in some cases a 2:2 is acceptable. I suggest you find an LLM course that interests you and contact the admissions team directly to see if you have what is required. Our section on studying law in America also contains some useful information:
Good luck!

SIJAONA April 2, 2019, 2:32 p.m.

Hi every from Tanzania,i wish to study llm in human rights in the USA but the problem with me is that i dont have money to fund my studies .So how will u help me on that aspect?

Charlotte King April 3, 2019, 12:39 p.m.

You can contact the individual US law schools and see what funding options they provide. Once you have been offered a place on an LLM course you will be eligible to apply for one of our Global LLM Study Bursaries >
Good luck finding funding!

Akanksha April 8, 2020, 12:56 p.m.

Hi I am interested in doing my LLM from US but I m having alot of trouble finding the right university n even the course I shld opt for. I am from india with a BBA LLB (Hons.)

Charlotte King April 9, 2020, 4:40 p.m.

Hi Akanska – it all depends what LLM course you are interested in. The USA has plenty of great law schools for you to choose from so I think you need to do some research. Our US section should help you narrow down your options >
Good luck!

Sania May 22, 2020, 3:31 p.m.

I m interested in studying llm in u.s but i am not really sure with what university can i opt for as currently im studying B.A llb from india. So what could be my options!? And will LSAC be necessary for it?

Charlotte King May 27, 2020, 9:57 p.m.

Hi Sania,
If you get a good grade in your BA and have the necessary English language skills you should be eligible to apply to study an LLM at a US law school. This section on our website has useful information about applying for an LLM in the USA >
Good luck!

Md Apurbo Mridha July 19, 2022, 10:21 a.m.

Hi, I'm Apurbo Mridha from Bangladesh. I am a student of law. I am willing to have my Masters course in the USA. I want to do my masters course on international criminal law. But I'm confused in selecting the University that will offer me this higher education in a reasonable amount of money. Could you please help me in this matter?

Charlotte King July 27, 2022, 9:13 a.m.

As you are probably aware, the LLM tuition fees in American universities can differ vastly – so it is worth contacting the US law schools that you're interested in and seeing what their fees are for international students and if they offer any funding support. This URL has details of the US law schools currently offering Criminal Law LLMs >
And don't forget that if you get accepted onto an LLM program you are eligible to apply for one of our bursaries worth £500 >
Good luck!

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