Financial lawyers practice in perhaps the most competitive and high stakes field of law in the world today. While it is easy to confuse financial law with its closest counterparts – commercial law and business law – there are significant differences between them.
While financial law provides oversight and regulation to the financial services industry, including preparing loans, providing legal advice, and offering litigation services, commercial law tends to focus on the buying and selling of things, both tangible and intangible. Further, business law generally focuses on the building and maintenance of corporate structures.
Financial law is legislation applied on a national or international level to regulate and stabilise the economy and to prevent or minimise large-scale financial problems. LLMs in Financial Law consider different aspects of relevant legislation, especially compliance (with policies and regulations) and diligence (monitoring of procedures). The ability to make balanced political, economic and monetary risk assessments, to see the broad picture as well as homing in on small details and to untangle very complicated legal requirements lies at the heart of these subjects. Students who are interested in how the financial world operates and who are willing to probe into the frameworks that surround it will find a masters financial law fascinating. LLMs in Financial Law also cover fraud, corruption and financial irregularities. Students who want to take this subject need to become familiar with the language of international finance – securities, loans, bonds, derivatives and how they work.
There are a number of different universities offering LLMs in financial law – these include:
The University of Westminster - Westminster Law School provides an LLM program that is as demanding and dynamic as the field it feeds. Their enhanced approach ensures that legal professionals are properly equipped to deal with the challenges of fundraising, deal making, and the management of transactions.
SRH University Heidelberg in Germany offers its LLM under the banner of International Economic and Company Law. The school promotes a technically oriented approach to finance law, allowing students to specialise within the field of financial law.
Stanford University in the US offers a full time LLM in Finance Law, but the program is only available to students who have earned their LLB (Bachelor of Laws) outside of the United States.
The University of Melbourne in Australia – Melbourne Law School presents an interactive, seminar based LLM in financial banking that imparts a deep understanding of the international financial sector.
Other notable schools offering an LLM in financial law include: New York Law; Queen Mary University of London; Oxford Brookes School of Law.
Most financial LLMs will require that their applicants carry an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) with honors, and possess a certain amount of professional legal experience. As with other types of LLMs, there are exceptions to these rules. In some cases, applicants lacking professional experience or those possessing a non-law bachelors degree will be considered. In these cases, admissions of non-LLB applicants are normally predicated upon their outstanding academic performance and/or prior studies in a closely related academic field. Universities in countries that practice common law will demand that their LLM applicants be fluent in English.
"My Masters in Law and Finance has...already...proven invaluable...in my first year as a trainee solicitor in the City. It has given me really practical, knowledge based insight that is extremely useful in my daily work."
Antonia Balsom, Trainee Solicitor, SJ Berwin LLP, MLF 2010-2011
"The MLF has truly enabled me to achieve my career prospects."
Alexander Stevens, MLF Student 2013-2014
"Legal and financial professionals have never been more sought after. Graduates of the MLF, with their first class understanding of legal and financial principles, will be very well equipped to play their part in the global economy."
Ben Higson, Hogan Lovells International LLP
Our global financial system has its roots in ancient history. It is now commonly understood that the rudiments of commodity markets began as early as 4500 BCE!
Alistair Hudson, an award winning English barrister and academic, is widely considered one of the foremost legal minds in the world today. He was previously a leading professor at Southampton University, teaching Equity and Finance Law. He now teaches at Queen Mary University of London.
John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, graduated with a law degree from Cambridge University. While Cleese never worked as a barrister, one can't help but wonder how this brilliant absurdist comedian would have approached the practice of law rather than...silly walks.
Modern Banking Law by E Ellinger (ed)
Introduction to Global Financial Markets by S Valdez
Corporate Finance Law by Jennifer Payne
European Banking and Finance Law by Matthias Haentjens
The Deal Maker's Ten Commandments by Jeff B Cohen
Principles of Corporate Finance Law by Eilis Ferran
Mergers and Acquisitions by Edwin L Miller