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Studying for an LLM (Master of Laws) in Florida


LLM in FloridaFlorida in the United States is popularly known as the sunshine state which aptly captures its tropical climate, sandy coastline and vast deep blue waters. Because of this topography and pleasant climate, combined with its fast-paced cosmopolitan city life, living and studying in Florida is an attractive option for many international students.

International students in Florida

According to a survey carried out by Open Doors, 2010 the University of Florida is one of the top 25 institutions holding international students in the USA and there are 5,588 international students in University of Florida alone. Following this are Florida, International University, University of Miami and University of Central Florida.

As a result of the large number of international students admitted to universities in Florida, the students admitted and members of teaching faculty represent cultural and ethnic diversity, and there is a mosaic of differing perspectives waiting to be shared. This cosmopolitan environment presents great opportunities for students to learn from one another and engage in a stimulating academic dialogue. This unique mix of the student body also mirrors the diversity of the state of Florida where people from all ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds and walks of life have settled. Therefore, whether it is within the confines of your academics or while experiencing life in Florida there is much to learn and take back with you.

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Florida – a destination of opportunity

Florida’s location in southeastern USA has made it a thriving financial hub as well as a center point for international trade. As a result many international law firms, banks and multinational corporations are located here. There are many opportunities available to gain work experience in Florida during or after your studies, although gaining a placement is pretty competitive and students will need to plan in advance.

Law students have gone on to take positions in the form of judicial clerkships, interns and associates in law firms, in house lawyers, governmental positions and public interest roles. Students may also sit for the Florida Bar exam however, the eligibility requirements differ in each state of the USA and the LLM does not automatically result in qualifying you to take the exam. It is advised that students who are specifically interested in sitting the Bar exam in Florida check the eligibility requirements for this state before enrolling on to the LLM course.

Where to study in Florida

The institutions in Florida that offer an LLM program include Florida State University, University of Florida, University of Miami, St Thomas University School of Law and Stetson University.

Here’s our rundown of some of the top law schools in Florida*.

University of Florida, Levin College of Law

This University of Florida, Levin College of Law is one of the best in Florida and they offer an excellent specialisation in Taxation Law for their LLM students. They highly value their student's charitable work at the University of Florida so you'll find yourself involved in giving and raising money, and the campus in Gainesville has just undergone a major re-investment in its buildings, infrastructure and facilities. 

Florida State University College of Law

Florida State University College of Law is a public university in Tallahassee – which is the capital of Florida – places its LLM students at the centre of law-making in Florida. The ample chances for networking with the those in the legal and political centre of Florida will give you a great base to start your career from. LLM students at Florida State University can specialise in subjects such as Law for Foreign-trained lawyers, Environment Law and Policy, and Business Law. 

University of Miami School of Law

Miami is famous worldwide for its nightlife and art deco architecture, and its University of Miami has a great reputation too! The LLM program has a range of specialities including Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law, Maritime Law and an LLM course offering intensive English training for foreign-trained lawyers. 

Stetson University College of Law

Stetson University College of Law was Florida's first Law School and was established in 1900. This heritage means that Stetson University has an amazing reputation for training in legal skills such as Trial Advocacy. Based in Tampa Bay, its location means you'll be able to access some of that Floridian beach lifestyle with actives like dolphin and manatee spotting easily available. 

Florida International University College of Law

As South Florida's only public law school, Florida International University College of Law, you'll be able to access a great legal education in the fun city of Miami. This relatively new university – it was established in 2001 – will allow you a fantastic amount of flexibility as the LLM course allows you to tailor your studies to your future career plans and interests. 

St. Thomas University

St. Thomas University is a Catholic university based in Miami offering an LLM program focusing on Human Rights Law. This focus on Human Rights Law has led St Thomas University to concentrate on the varied issues surrounding Human Rights Law including difficult subjects such as Human Trafficking. Because it's in Miami, students have access to the large student population of Miami and the Human Rights organisations there. 

*Source: US News

Applications and admissions

Admission into law schools in Florida can be extremely competitive as they receive a large number of admission applications from across the globe. Considerations for admission include academic records of the student; usually universities require students to have ranked within the top quarter of their class during their bachelor’s degree, professional experience, participation in extra-curricular activities and student’s ability to convince that they will contribute to the university. It is also advised that students place special emphasis on their personal statements as this is a distinguishing factor between applicants and is your chance to impress the admissions team.

Generally, all foreign candidates must hold a first degree in law from a university recognised by the American Bar Association or its foreign equivalent and must demonstrate proof of their English language proficiency by submitting TOEFL scores. In terms of the application procedure your admission application should include an application form, application fee, curriculum vitae, personal statement, letters of recommendation, official transcripts and TOEFL score report.

Tuition fees and living costs

In terms of budgeting for doing an LLM program in Florida, tuition fees range from $35,000 to $50,000 depending on your institution of choice. Living expenses in Florida are generally lower than you would expect to pay in some other parts of America for example New York or Washington DC. Your living costs will obviously vary according to your lifestyle, but as a rule a student should probably set aside an annual budget of $15,000 to $20,000 for accommodation, food, books and other personal expenses.

Students can also fund their studies by seeking loans from their country of residence or private organisations. Generally however, students are expected to have sufficient funds to finance their course and to satisfy the visa clearance officer regarding proof of funding. Seeking part time work may also be a potential option but you must comply with all terms and conditions of your entry visa which only permits students to work for 20 hours a week. You may also bear in mind that the rigours of a master’s course may not leave sufficient time for working

What to do when you aren’t studying

In terms of things to do outside your studies, Florida has a lot on offer. There are various beaches to stroll along for a relaxed afternoon such as South Beach, Palm Beach and Miami Beach while fishing is also very popular in Florida. Everglades a national park and UNESCO world heritage site is definitely worth touring.Miami in Florida is a happening destination for any kind of break with an exciting nightlife where pulsing rhythms blare throughout the night at various nightclubs. Further, attractions in Orlando include Universal Studios, Sea World, Busch Gardens and the famous Walt Disney World: The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon. While a person can run out of time, the list of things to do in Florida never runs short!

What other US states can you study in?

There are plenty of LLM opportunities for those interested in the living and studying in the United States and we have essential LLM study guides to over 20 US states, including:



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