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Studying for an LLM (Master of Laws) in Florida
Florida 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.Search our database of LLM programs in the USA
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.
Robert H Jerry, the Dean & Levin Mabie and Levin Professor of Law at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law explains, “We offer a number of career programs each year focused on the judicial clerkship process, ranging from bringing in a panel of judges to discuss the differences between state court cases and federal magistrate, district court and appellate court case loads, to a program with a panels of judicial law clerks who share their perspectives, to nuts and bolts application process programs.”
Where & what to study in Florida
The institutions in Florida that offer an LLM program include Florida Coastal School of Law, Florida State University, University of Florida, University of Miami, St Thomas University School of Law and Stetson University. The specializations available at these institutions suit a wide range of student interests. These include American Law for foreign lawyers, environmental law and policy, environmental and land use law, comparative law, international taxation, international law, estate planning, real property development, ocean and coastal law and intercultural human rights.
Applications & 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 & 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- $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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