The following questions are commonly asked by foreign law graduates who apply to our International Law LL.M. programs. Please use the answers listed below as a guide to help you decide whether the LL.M. program is right for you.
If you have further questions about the application process or about the LL.M. programs in general, please do not hesitate to contact the office of International Graduate Law Programs to discuss your options or to set up an appointment to meet with us in person.
1. Why should I get an LL.M. degree?
This is a decision that only you can make. Law School is an intellectual, financial and emotional commitment, and should be entered into with 100% effort. Many of our alumni tell us that the LL.M. degree opened doors for them, either in their countries of origin or in the United States. In our increasingly global world, understanding legal systems that are different from your own is more essential than ever. The International Law LL.M. programs are designed to provide you with just this type of understanding.
2. Why should I study at the University of Miami?
3. Will I take classes with American J.D. students?
The University of Miami integrates International Law LL.M. students into the Law School and permits them to take courses offered to J.D. students. Although a few introductory courses are offered exclusively to foreign law students, in general you will have wonderful opportunities to learn alongside American law students in your classes adding another dimension to your legal education in the United States.
4. Are any courses offered in Spanish?
The University of Miami is unique in its commitment to bilingual and bicultural education, and offers law courses in Spanish. These courses are intended for law students who are trying to improve their knowledge of technical Spanish.
5. Which International Law LL.M. specialization should I choose?
Most of our foreign students choose the LL.M. in U.S. and Transnational Law for Foreign Lawyers. This program is specifically designed for the foreign law graduate. Only two courses are required: An Introduction to U.S. Law and Legal Communication and Research. These courses are intended to give you a foundation in American common law doctrine as well as the approach to written analysis in such a system. All of your other courses are electives. We often recommend Comparative Trial Litigation, in which the foreign students prepare, try and critique four complete American-style cases before real trial judges and live juries. This class provides you with a unique understanding of the American legal system, and is also lots of fun. Your other courses are taken with J.D. students and can focus on any area of law depending on your interests.
The University of Miami also offers an LL.M. degree open to foreign law graduates in Ocean and Coastal Law and the International Law LL.M. with specialization in International Arbitration. American law school graduates are also encouraged to apply to the International Law LL.M. with specialization in International Arbitration and our Ocean & Coastal Law LL.M.
Additional LL.M. programs that are designed for students who attended law school in the U.S. include the International Law LL.M. with specialization in International Law or Inter-American Law, the LL.M. in Estate Planning, Taxation, and Real Property and Development. From time to time a foreign student will choose to apply directly to one of these programs. Please note that the course requirements for these LL.M. programs may include a written thesis and will presume basic knowledge of American law. Foreign students should demonstrate prior experience with the common law and strong English ability before applying directly to these programs.
6. What are the differences between the LL.M. program specializations?
U.S. and Transnational Law: This program is strictly for foreign attorneys. It provides an exceptional opportunity for graduates of foreign law schools to continue their study of the law in a context that emphasizes U.S. law and U.S. perspectives on law. Students also engage in a comparative study of the U.S. legal system with that of the country where they earned their law degree.
Inter-American Law: This program is designed to prepare students for a career in the inter-American legal field, and to expose them to basic aspects of Latin American law and legal culture so that they can more effectively service clients from that region as well as advise clients doing business in Latin America.
International Law: The objective of this program is to provide students with the background necessary to recognize, understand, and manage problems arising in the international legal order, including those relating to international trade, investment, business, environmental problems, and the protection of human rights.
International Arbitration Specialization: This specialization provides a unique educational opportunity for those wishing to acquire a profound grounding in the field of international arbitration. Students in this program are offered specialized theoretical and practical courses in international arbitration taught by an internationally renowned faculty. In addition, there is a broad selection of related subjects including course offerings with a focus on Latin America for future practitioners wishing to pursue a career involving interests in that region.
Ocean and Coastal Law: This program prepares the attorney to be a specialist in the domestic and international legal problems associated with the use and protection of the marine environment.
7. Can I receive credit for my previous law studies?
Depending on what program you wish to do, you may get credit for your previous law studies. You will not receive credit for your previous studies if you pursue a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree. You may receive some credit for your previous studies if you pursue a J.D. degree.
8. Can I get admitted to the Bar after completing the LL.M. program?
In the United States, law graduates are required to take a bar exam in order to practice law. For specifics on international lawyers sitting for a U.S. bar exam, please visit the Bar Admission area of our website.
9. What if I want to get my J.D. degree?
You may already know that obtaining a J.D. degree is your professional goal, particularly if you want to get admitted to practice in Florida. You can choose to apply directly to the J.D. program, or you may wish to start with the LL.M. program and then apply to transfer to the J.D. in the following year. One benefit of starting in the LL.M. program is that it gives you a chance to decide if you are really interested in returning to law school for the entire J.D. program. To learn more about which path is best for you, visit our Transfer to the J.D. Program webpage.
10. Can I just take a course without applying to the program?
Students may only enroll in classes for credit once they have been admitted to the School of Law. Subject to space ability, the instructor's permission, the permission of the LL.M. program director and the payment of the appropriate fee (which is one-half the otherwise applicable tuition), attorneys may audit classes. Auditors do not take examinations, and no grades or academic credit are recorded for their work. In general, the LL.M. program director will not grant permission unless the attorney satisfies the admission criteria for the program including the required TOEFL score. In addition, attorneys must have an appropriate visa status to register as non-degree auditors.
11. Can I apply to the program while still studying for my law degree?
You may apply while waiting to receive your degree. If admitted, you will be granted a conditional admittance, contingent upon proof that you have received your law degree. You must have your law degree before the date that you enroll in classes at UM.
12. What financial resources exist to help me afford law school?
Attending a private law school is a big financial commitment. The Law School is committed to helping qualified graduate students obtain the necessary financial aid to complete their legal education. For specifics on paying for law school and scholarships, please visit our funding your studies page.
13. What if I want to continue working during law school?
Some students in the LL.M. program do work during law school. Some students are working as part-time clerks in local firms or companies. Others are working full-time and taking a reduced course load. Students must complete 24 credits to get their degree; some students take their classes in two, three or four semesters depending on their personal circumstances. Of course, a student's ability to work will be contingent upon their visa status.
14. What about moving to Miami and getting settled? Will the law school help me?
A hallmark of the International Graduate Law Programs at UM is the one-on-one attention we provide to all of our students. Once you have decided to attend UM, we will provide you with an extensive apartment guide and assist you with all other facets of your relocation to South Florida – including identifying schools for your children or a car for your commute. We will also provide you with the I-20 Form required to get your visa and help orient you to the University and Law School communities.
The University's Department of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) exists specifically to meet the special needs of international students, including cultural familiarization, academic and personal matters or compliance with immigration regulations. ISSS assists all UM students with making applications to the INS for Employment Authorization should you wish to work following graduation. For more information, please contact the ISSS Office.
15. What items will I need to apply to the University of Miami School of Law LL.M. program?
Please visit our admissions area for a full checklist of items required for your application.
16. What is the Law School Admission Counsel (LSAC) LL.M. Credential Assembly Service?
We recommend that international applicants to the University of Miami School of Law's LL.M. program register with LSAC's LL.M. Credential Assembly Service to save you time and money, especially if you intend to apply to a number of U.S. or Canadian graduate law degree programs. You will only need to obtain your transcripts and other required credentials one time in order to make them available for all of your law school applications. For a registration fee of $185 (US), LSAC will collect, authenticate, and distribute your university records and TOEFL score(s). Five reports to law schools are included in the registration fee. For additional information about this service, go to https://llm.lsac.org. (Please note that the LSAC Credential Assembly Service serves only to authenticate non-U.S. or Canadian credentials that are needed in addition to a completed admission application. To apply to Miami Law, you must still complete the University of Miami School of Law application and submit all required application fees to the Office of International Graduate Programs.)
17. When is the application deadline?
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year and are reviewed by the Admissions Committee as soon as they are received. Please note that we also offer a Priority Deadline of May 1st.
18. Can I apply to the program without having achieved the required TOEFL score? Do you offer conditional acceptances, conditioned on achieving the required TOEFL score or attending an intensive English course?
Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which is administered by the Educational Testing Service. If you have taken the TOEFL exam already, you will need to have an official score report sent directly to our Office of International Graduate Law Programs. The University of Miami's school code is 5815 and the department code is 03.
You may apply to the LL.M. program even if you have not yet achieved the required minimum score, but you will not be granted admission until you can document that you have received this score. Depending upon your score, we may require or recommend that you enroll in an Intensive English or Legal English course offered at the University of Miami. For TOEFL requirement and waiver specifics, please visit our admissions webpage.
19. What is the cost of attending the University of Miami School of Law?
The estimated cost for an academic year (nine months) for a single LL.M. student at the University of Miami School of Law is $62,000. Estimated Costs for married law students accompanied by their families will be higher. For your first dependant (spouse or child), budget an additional $8113; for each additional dependent, budget an additional $2000. Click here for more information on the cost of attendance.
20. Can I send my application without the Statement of Financial Responsibility and the bank letter?
The Statement of Financial Responsibility and bank letter are only required for international students who need a visa. It is not necessary to include the Statement of Financial Responsibility or bank letter with your initial application. We will make a decision on your application without having the Statement of Financial Responsibility or bank letter. We will not need the Statement of Financial Responsibility or bank letter until after you have been admitted in order to process your visa.
21. What types of jobs can I get after graduation?
Our LL.M. program includes students who wish to return directly to their countries of origin following graduation, seek a one year period of practical training – an "internship" – prior to returning, and some who seek permanent employment in the United States.
The option that is available to you may depend on a number of factors, including your personal immigration status. We urge you to carefully examine current immigration regulations and consult with a United States consulate.
The Office of International Graduate Law Programs works closely with the Career Development Office to counsel foreign students on their job options. The Career Development Office even has an International LL.M. advisor who has expertise in counseling foreign law graduates. In addition, career advisors will review resumes and cover letters so that they comply with American customs, and provide practice interviews. We also sponsor numerous events with alumni and local law firms in Miami. Our office maintains directories of our nearly 1,300 alumni and their current employment, as well as directories of multinational corporations and binational chambers of commerce that may be particularly interested in foreign lawyers.
The Office of International Graduate Law Programs will host a one week intensive non-credit course for lawyers and law students in 2014 entitled "The Fundamentals of International Arbitration."
Jessica Carvalho Morris, director of the International Graduate Law Programs, has appeared numerous times recently on Spanish-language television newscasts discussing the legal ramifications of high-profile issues.