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Studying for an LLM (Master of Laws) in New York
In the memorable words of Ralph Waldo Emerson; “America is another name for opportunity…”
The state of New York is understood as the gateway to this land of opportunity. The Statue of Liberty as a symbol of light and freedom sets alive dreams of a new life in America for students the world over. Similarly, the pursuit of the American dream with its ethos on success, prosperity and freedom draws young, bright minds from across the globe to the USA.
So how does studying in New York culminate this notion of American dream into a reality for international students? New York City is a global financial and commercial hub. It is a leader in manufacturing, foreign trade, commerce and banking, book and magazine publishing, and theatrical production. Its John F. Kennedy International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. It is for this reason that it is also a top-rated destination for foreign travellers as well as a central entry point for immigrants from Latin America, Asia, Jamaica, Haiti, the Soviet Union and Russia, and Africa. This gives the city and state of New York its multicultural nature as well as its cultural diversity. The perfect mix of culture, ethnicity and diversity found from the mountain ranges of the Adirondack, Catskill and Taconic to the towns and cities of New York, Albany, Buffalo, and Rochester makes studying in New York State a memorable and enriching experience.
The state of New York is surrounded by several US states including Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.Find LLM programs in the USA
Where & what to study in New York
New York is home to some of the top-rated educational institutions in the world. Columbia University and Cornell University are both Ivy League colleges while New York University is also regarded as a highly reputable law school globally. Other institutions in the state offering the LLM course include Albany Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Brooklyn Law School, Fordham University, Hofstra University, New York Law School, Pace Law School, St John's University and Syracuse University.
These institutions offer various specialisations such as comparative legal studies, environmental law, corporate law, taxation, legal theory, business regulation, arbitration, litigation, competition law, sports law and bankruptcy.
A law student’s perspective
As Chian Lo Yun, a student from China explains,
“New York is happening, diverse and cultural; in simple terms it is the place to be! Now I understand what they mean when they say the city never sleeps. There is so much to do that one can never get bored here. I have had the best experiences of my life and have even improved my English!”
New York law school alumni
Many a great person has studied law in New York, and the alumni from these universities include some famous and notable personalities, including former US Senator Edmund Muskie and Xerox Chairman Sol Linowitz who graduated from Cornell University, former New York City mayors Fiorello La Guardia, Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani from New York University and Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt from Columbia University.
Applications & admissions
The Ivy League colleges as well as top law schools such as New York University are extremely competitive and receive a large number of admission applications from across the globe. Most of the applicants will have high academic standing therefore, students will be required to demonstrate additional skills and achievements such as extra-curricular activities, previous work experience or membership of professional bodies to secure a place. 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 (for top schools this should have an honor status or should be with a first class division) 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, sample of written work (for some universities), letters of recommendation, official transcripts and TOEFL score report.
Tuition fees & living costs
Studying for an LLM in New York is generally considered to be an expensive degree, and tuition fees for the LLM ranges from $40,000 to $55,000 depending on the institution of your choice. However, this is an estimated average range and the cost may be less or more for some institutions. Living expenses also vary according to the lifestyle but a student may wish to set aside an annual budget of $40,000 for accommodation, food, books and other personal expenses. There is some possibility of obtaining financial aid or scholarships which are offered by individual institutions but these are highly competitive. 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
After your studies
It is worth noting that if you intend to pursue New York State’s bar exam after your Master of Laws the course does not automatically guarantee eligibility to sit the exam. You should obtain information regarding whether your foreign degree provides eligibility to sit the exam by means of filing an advance evaluation of eligibility with the Board of Law Examiners of the State of New York. It is advisable to do this prior to applying for the LLM if you are really keen to sit the exams! Students can consult the website of Board of Law Examiners of the State of New York for detailed information.
What to do when you aren’t studying
Whether you are interested in the hustle and bustle of a busy and energetic city, sightseeing of historical monuments and landmarks or enjoying quite time exploring landscapes outside the cities, New York has it all. Famous American landmarks can be found such as Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Carnegie Hall, Times Square, Central Park, and the Radio City Music Hall. Students have access to a stunning list of museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History as well as a variety of smaller urban galleries. As one of the bustling cities, New York City is also high on energy at night countless nightclubs, bars and lounges that cater to every type of student. The city plays host to some of the world’s most famous festivities, such as the huge New Year’s party in Times Square, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Centre. It is also a food lover’s paradise including cuisines like Japanese, Mexican and Indian among many others and culinary enclaves like Chinatown, Little Korea and Little Italy can also be found. Some landscapes worth visiting include the Great Appalachian Valley in eastern New York, Adirondack Mountains in the west, the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River, Niagara Falls nearby and Central Park in Manhattan which provides a relaxing break from city life in the city itself!
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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