Did you think that you couldn’t pursue an LLM if you didn’t have an undergraduate law degree? Well you may have been misinformed if you thought so, as you do indeed have a chance of making it to on to an LLM degree course even if you don't hold an undergraduate degree in law. Although this could dispel the myth of a non-law student not being able to apply for an LLM, it doesn’t on the other hand secure you (a non-law student) a place to an LLM via the usual LLM application route. Most law schools require as a foremost prerequisite that the applicant hold an undergraduate law degree before applying for an LLM, but they may consider non-law applicants in exceptional cases. In some circumstances, the law school’s admissions committee can admit students to the LLM program that do not already hold a law degree. Let’s look at some examples.
DEGREE IN A RELATED FIELD
There may be some students who hold a graduate degree in a related field to law, and who will have already embarked on an academic or professional career, and/or are licensed to practice law in their home jurisdiction. Such applicants must demonstrate how an LLM course would be important to the advancement of their career or research.
You would need to show the following:
1 That your interest in pursuing the LLM is to enhance your work through legal application.
2 Strong academic track record and professional credentials showing deep interest in the legal process.
3 Hold basic legal inclination and training to be able to be succeed in an LLM program.
SPECIALISED LLM PROGRAM
If you are planning to study a specialised LLM program – such as an LLM in Business Law – you may well be accepted onto the program if you have proven experience in the area of the specialisation, in this case business. Therefore if your undergraduate degree was in a business-related field and if you have relevant work experience in the field of business the admissions committee are likely to consider your application within this context.
STRONG ACADEMIC & PROFESSIONAL RECORDS
Similar to law graduates, non-law graduate applicants must have excellent undergraduate records and strong academic and/or professional recommendations. Evidence of significant professional accomplishment may also be taken into consideration by the admissions panel. They may also view your co-curricular achievements in your area of interest as a relevant interest in a field related to law.
Your participation during school or college in societies or groups showing keen interest in the legal process could also strengthen your application. For instance you may have contributed to a project through research, sharing creative ideas or working with councils to address a local policy issue. Such examples could reinforce prospects through your application.
EXAMPLES OF UNIVERSITIES REQUIREMENTS
Aberystwyth University Institute for Management, Law and Information Science or Edinburgh School of Law require that ‘the majority of our applicants have studied law; applications from non-law students with relevant studies and experience will be considered, however, and further guidance on this as it applies to each of our programs may be sought from the School.’
In King's College London you may be considered for an LLM if you have achieved a ‘comparable academic level through other graduate studies (such as a Graduate Diploma in Law) and where work or experience (at least three years legal work experience) has made you a suitable candidate for the LLM.’ On the other hand, Cambridge LLM Admissions Committee will consider applications from those whose first degree is not in Law provided they have substantial relevant professional legal experience or have obtained a professional legal qualification with the equivalent of a First Class result. However, a first degree in Law is the preferred preparation for the Cambridge LLM.
Many American law schools have a prerequisite that to apply for an LLM, the applicant must have either a J.D. from an ABA-approved U.S. law school or a first law degree from a foreign law school.