Catalysing change: Universities at the forefront of leading law education

University College Cork
Source: University College Cork

A changing world calls for an enhanced understanding of the customs, practices, and rules of conduct that we are bound to. How can lawyers respond to how artificial intelligence is revolutionising the courts and every other industry out there? What are the implications of an increasing body of environmental, social, and governance-related (ESG) law? With impending mass urban migration, are immigration systems prepared?

Pursuing an LLM can steer you towards the answers to these questions — and more still to come. Much of this is due to how an LLM arms you with specialised knowledge and expertise. But the most impactful programmes are those that equip you with transferable skills — the kind that makes you critical, adaptable and ready for the big disruption and transformation to hit the world and your industry. If this is the preparation you seek, consider an LLM from the following universities:

University College Cork

UCC School of Law is a globally recognised law school, ranked in the top 100 in the QS Rankings. Source: University College Cork

University College Cork 

One of the Top 100 law schools in the world, ranked 59th in the world and #1 law school in Ireland (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023) — that’s the School of Law at University College Cork. It offers an LLB and LLM programmes in Business Law, Law, Children’s Rights and Family Law, Environmental and Natural Resources Law, International Human Rights Law and Public Policy, Intellectual Property and E-Law, and Marine and Maritime.

In 2024, the school will offer an LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution, which engages students in the practice and policy context of mediation and dispute resolution both nationally and internationally. You’ll gain a theoretical and practical grounding in mediation and dispute resolution, and develop the advanced skills and knowledge required to achieve favourable outcomes during dispute resolution.

What sets UCC’s programmes apart is how they span across various law areas, reflecting the school’s research strengths. They not only provide you with specialised knowledge, but also essential transferable skills such as research, advocacy, effective communication, critical analysis, accuracy and attention to detail — thanks to the many clinics that bring curricula to life.

These law clinics bridge academic teaching, research work and litigation, civil society, advocacy and law refor. Together with professors and staff, you’ll collaborate on submissions to law reform processes and on producing research briefs that support the work of civil society groups or lawyers engaged in litigation. Notable examples include the Child Law Clinic, Family Law, IT Law and Sports Law. To learn more about the School of Law, UCC, click here to hear what student Nura Hunt have to say about her LLM Intellectual Property and E-Law.

University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews consistently ranks highly for student experience with unique traditions, spectacular landscape and world-class teaching. Source: University of St Andrews

University of St Andrews 

The University of St Andrews, nestled on the east coast of Scotland, is a prestigious institution renowned for its academic excellence and rich history. Situated on the beautiful coast of the North Sea, it offers breathtaking views and a serene environment.

St Andrews offers many programmes across a range of fields. One of its standout programmes is the Master of Letters (MLitt) in Legal and Constitutional Studies. This programme delves deep into the world of law, governance and constitutions — equipping you with the skills and knowledge to understand and analyse legal systems and their impact on society.

“The highlights are having a flexible course, being able to tailor your degree around your specific interests and one-to-one tuition,” says student Freja. “The staff are leading academics in their field but also extremely supportive and approachable. St Andrews provides both an excellent academic and social experience in a pretty, historic town. You’re guaranteed to make some wonderful memories.”

Course offerings are impressive — you’ll be exploring topics such as human rights, international law and constitutional history. And you’ll do this alongside faculty members who are experts in the field. Diverse and broad, this is a curriculum that ensures you’ll be a well-rounded graduate and ready to pivot or advance your career.

Thanks to your St Andrews degree, you’ll send a clear signal to future employers of what you can bring to their firm or organisation. The university’s accolades and rankings speak volumes about its academic standing. St Andrews consistently ranks among the top universities globally. In the UK, it’s often placed in the top five. Its law programmes have received recognition, positioning it as one of the world’s best institutions for legal studies.

USI Lugano

The Law Institute of USI Lugano aims to promote and coordinate the teaching of law subjects at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Source: USI Lugano

Università della Svizzera italiana (USI Lugano) 

Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) in Switzerland is a hub of opportunity open to the world. Campus is home to over 2,800 students, 800 professors and researchers from over 100 countries — expect a vibrant confluence of ideas, opinions and perspectives that’ll enrich your LLM experience here.

The Law Institute here offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers various aspects of law, including international law, human rights and business law. The programme places a strong emphasis on research and practical application, ensuring that you are well-prepared for your future legal careers. From start to end, you’ll have the support and guidance of professors and staff.

The Law Institute works across faculty and is associated with the Continuing Education Commission for Law Practitioners and with the University of Applied Sciences. Together, they coordinate the postgraduate programme, organise interdisciplinary activities and various colloquia and conferences, as well as promote research into the study of law and justice system in Ticino.

Another unique feature of USI Lugano? Its strong connection to the business world. It’s located in the heart of Switzerland’s financial district, offering students unparalleled opportunities for internships and networking. This real-world exposure is invaluable for students pursuing a career in law, as it allows them to gain practical experience and make meaningful connections in the legal industry.

Ghent University

Ghent University Law School students benefit from their campus’s location in the de facto capital of the European Union. Source: Ghent University

Ghent University 

Located just half an hour from Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union and nestled among charming cobbled streets and cosy canals, is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets in legal education: Ghent University Law School. Leading lawyers from all over the globe know it as a law school with a high-quality curriculum, affordable fees and an unrivalled setting in the heart of the EU.

The law school was established in 1817 and classes and lectures today may take place in majestic buildings from the 17th and 19th centuries. But there’s nothing outdated about the teaching or facilities here, at one of Belgium’s most respected universities.

The LLM in International Business Law is the school’s flagship programme. Perfect for students aiming for a global, business-oriented career, this advanced degree combines the expertise of the renowned Financial Law Institute with experienced practitioners in areas like M&A, Intellectual Property and Arbitration. Whether you’re from the EU or beyond, this LLM will provide the in-depth knowledge and skills needed to take your career to the next level.

Presenting the broadest spectrum of options available for students is the LLM in International and European Law. Those in this programme can tailor their education to their personal and career goals by handpicking courses from a wealth of topics of European or international relevance.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International