Posted Nov. 8, 2021
The LLM, or the Master of Laws degree in the USA, is a graduate law degree typically pursued by students who are looking for ways to specialise in their legal education.
Studying for an LLM in the USA is an excellent opportunity to increase your knowledge and skillset. If you're interested in studying an LLM in the USA, read on as we've compiled a list of seven things that you should know before starting your course.
1. Cost of an LLM Degree in the USA
The cost of an LLM program in the USA can vary greatly depending on the type of law school you attend and whether you choose to live on campus or off campus while studying. According to ABA Required Disclosures, the average cost of an LLM program at a public school in the United States was $35,018 in 2016-2017, while the average cost of an LLM at a private school was $51,562 for the same year.
2. Different states have different Bar Exams
The Bar Exam you need to pass to practice law in the USA differs depending on which state you want to practice. For example, the California Bar Exam requires applicants to complete both days of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), including topics such as Contract Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Real Property, and Torts. New York State candidates are required to pass the "NY Bar Exam," which is composed of six Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) questions in addition to the MPT, 40 multiple-choice questions in NY Civil Practice Law and Rules. This is worth taking into consideration when choosing your LLM program as some of the LLMs at US law schools can lead on to the Bar Exam, although completion of an LLM doesn’t automatically mean eligibility to sit a Bar Exam.
3. It will be hard work… but worth it
Studying for an LLM in the USA will require a lot of hard work and dedication. Make sure you're prepared for this! You will have to read a lot of text, digest large amounts of information and spend long hours in the library. Your ability to improve your legal knowledge will be extremely valuable in the future when you're working as an attorney. However, after you've finished your LLM program in the USA, employers will consider you a valuable asset. Graduating from a top-tier LLM program in the USA gives candidates an insight into legal expertise that they cannot get from anywhere else. When applying for jobs, having this expertise on your CV can be very beneficial.
4. There are a scholarships and funding options
There is a wide range of financial aid opportunities, from government-funded LLM programs to individual scholarships. More information on these can be found at US Law Scholarships which is a database by the US Law Scholarship Repository that anyone can use to find the latest scholarship opportunities from universities and organisations across the United States. You can access this by visiting this website here – it’s a federal student aid and an official website of the United States government. What's more, many universities offer payment plans and full or partial tuition fee waivers as an incentive for outstanding students to enrol in LLM programs. This is a great way to finance your studies! And don’t forget that once you have been accepted onto an LLM program at a US law school you are eligible to apply for one of our Global LLM Study Bursaries worth £500 towards your tuition fees.
5. Moving to the USA for an LLM can be costly
It's not always easy moving from one country to another, even if you've got a scholarship. Before applying for such a program, make sure you're able to do it financially – as well as mentally up to the challenge of living away from your home country. There are a lot of documents you will have to get together before applying for the visa, so it's best to start early on.
6. Written US English is often spelt differently to UK English
As an LLM student studying in the USA, you will need to accept that written US English is often spelt differently to UK English but sounds the same! These spelling differences are quite common between UK and US English. For example, the word "favour," which is spelled "favor" in US English, but it's still pronounced the same way. Other examples include: centre /center, honour / honor and practise / practise. That being said,the spoken language is not that much different from UK English at all, so you probably won't have any problems with communication if you get an LLM in the USA.
7. Great range of unusual LLM specialisms
When applying for an LLM in the USA, you will have a lot of flexibility and choice in what you want to study. You can choose to study pretty much any subject that interests you, from LLM specializstions such as International Business Law to Criminal Justice Administration, Gaming Law, Intellectual Property and Space Law. There are over 100 US law schools with some great programs available!
As you can see, there are many benefits of getting an LLM in the USA. Getting such a degree will add value to your career, and open up opportunities that you cannot gain from anywhere else. Studying for an LLM in the USA gives students valuable insight into American legal education and knowledge, which is crucial when furthering their careers. The US has some of the best LLM programs globally and studying one can be a good option for law students who want to expand their career options after finishing a Master of Laws.
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