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LLM (Master of Laws) in Comparative Law

An LLM in Comparative Law studies the similarities and differences between the legal systems of different countries as well as their analysis and descriptions. This is a field that is increasingly gaining significance owing to the growing role of internationalisation and economic globalisation.

Comparative Law also studies civil law, common law, and the socialist law. It offers a good platform for intellectual exchange when it comes to law while cultivating a global culture of understanding in a world that is very diverse. It also can help in forming the basis of foreign and international policies.

Comparative law is a very important discipline in communication between legal systems.  It can aid mutual understanding and the dispelling of prejudice and misinterpretation. Comparative Law provides a platform for intellectual exchange in terms of law and it cultivates a culture of understanding in a diverse world.  

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LLM in Comparative Law – who’s it for?

Comparative LawRegardless of your workplace as a lawyer, you are going to discover that increasingly, legal matters involve events, entities, rules and persons coming from more than a single jurisdiction. In such a complex environment, it’s not enough for a lawyer to only be an expert in their own law. To be a successful transnational lawyer you must also have sharp intercultural and good language skills, and this is where and LLM in Comparative Law comes in. In the United States, for example, the LLM in Comparative Legal Studies is meant for students who earned their first law degree outside the US.

Where can you study an LLM in Comparative Law?

Courses in LLM Comparative Law generally lean to being 'taught' and not research based. LLM programs specialising in this field are available at prestigious law schools around the world. At Trinity College Cambridge in the UK the Module on European Legal Systems explores the points of contact and boundaries between the common law and civil law families of legal system across Europe. The School of Law, at Dublin’s Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest and one of the most internationally renowned Law Schools. The focus on European and International law provides these Trinity graduates with a very competitive edge internationally.

Due to the very nature of the subject, LLMs in Comparative Law often feature International Law in the same programme, eg Chapman University’s LLM in International and Comparative Law or the University of Dundee’s LLM in Comparative and European Private International Law. 

In the United Kingdom, the University of London is recognised as one of the most respected and largest institutions internationally. Their distance learning postgraduate law program provides a huge amount of flexibility and choice for both non-lawyers and lawyers alike. University of London’s Queen Mary School of Law is renowned by practitioners and academics internationally as offering a top-notch LLM course with 20 different specialisms.

Meanwhile, Georgetown Law, located in Washington, DC, boasts of having one of the most entrenched graduate programs across the United States, offering an unrivalled opportunity where lawyers can deepen and broaden their grasp of law through advanced study. For nearly 40 years, the University of San Diego’s LLM in Comparative Law has been providing international law school graduates the chance to design a program that particularly suits their professional goals and academic interests. The US program offers maximum flexibility to candidates in courses selection and is ideal for professors, judges, attorneys, and other international law schools graduates.

What qualifications do you need to study an LLM in Comparative Law?

Typically, students who want to take an LLM in Comparative Law are required to be in possession of a law degree at the undergraduate level or a degree that has substantial law content. Applicants for the LLM in Comparative Law whose English is not a first language, usually require having an IELTS: 7 score and above or a TOEFL score of 107 and above. Due to continuous changes, international students are advised to keep on regularly checking for new updates on the UKBA website to ensure they meet the necessary course requirements. In addition, the majority of individual institutions have handy information on their requirements for global students, and they could provide help when it comes to student queries regarding particular language requirements.

Famous face with an LLM in Comparative Law

Did you also know that twice the Italian Prime Minister, Giuliana Amato has an LLM in Comparative Law? His research areas of interest include antitrust law, comparative law as well as European policies and institutions.

An LLM in Comparative Law advances careers In…

  • International business lawyer
  • Immigration attorney
  • Law teacher
  • Foreign exchange consultant
  • Business tax lawyer

Whether the focus is practical or academic, Comparative Law graduates can open up a new worldview and a whole world of opportunity for many lawyers. The graduates can utilise their knowledge of global legal systems in their private firms to practice international law. Comparative law students are also well suited for any job that requires knowledge of domestic and international legal systems.

Graduates can easily get employment with organisations working in international aid, human rights initiatives, and refugee outreach. Other opportunities can be found in government agencies like the USAID or the U.S. Department of Defense, DFID, British Aid or other international aid organisations like UN bodies.

Recommended reading

A New Introduction to Comparative Law by Jaakko Husa

Comparative law: A Handbook by Esin Orucu and David Nelken

Comparative Law in a Changing World by Peter De Cruz


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