Elite Law Schools that have perfected the practical focus

Innovation and global change are paving new inroads into international relations and agreements. Ongoing global upheavals, like the US’s renegotiation of NAFTA trade deals with Mexico and Canada, represent huge periods of change for International lawyers – those who draw up vital legislation concerning everything from migration and support funds to trade protection and business laws. This international disturbance creates high demand for graduates of global Law, already instilled with experience of international relations. Overseas students choosing to study law abroad gain unique insights into differing law legislation and practice, set apart are the students who may also be learning additional languages alongside international law.

An ever-changing world of legislation brings great challenges, as practitioners of law need to keep pace with unfolding events, and how laws should evolve those for which it is built.

Legal ethics expert Eric Cooperstein encourages international students to pursue studying law outside of their comfort zones: “In tough economic times like these, some new lawyers may want to open their minds to a different type of risk and go west — or north, or south, or east — to find a job beyond their urban dreams.”

Governments and businesses are eager to capitalise on the multi-faceted versatility of international law students. If you are considering pursuing a degree in international law abroad, here are some of the best law schools with an international focus:


Image courtesy of Emory University

Ranked in the Top 25 US Law Schools of 2017, Emory Law School (ELS) is a globally recognized law school continually producing graduates who go on to excel in business and courts worldwide. Emory Law, having just celebrated its centennial anniversary, has a long history of preparing its graduates for global practice.

Dean of the School of Law, Robert Schapiro says the secret to the success of Emory Law students lies in the institution’s “signature theory/practice programs”, applied in course material that “effectively integrates students into the profession, while our international initiatives foster partnerships around the world.”

The courses on offer at Emory Law are comprehensive and engaging to meet the global demand for graduates with a ‘rigorous legal education’. Law students can earn a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, Juris Master (JM) degree, Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD), as well as joint degrees for further specialisation of skills to appeal to future employers. In addition, Emory Law offers the Accelerated Juris Doctor (AJD), a two-year JD for internationally-trained lawyers.

In addition to the above programs, Emory’s LLM is a one-year program that can be customised, with students choosing from six concentrations within law or generalized study allowing students more flexibility in choosing their classes.

The LLM program is popular with international students and global partner institutions, preparing students for careers in global corporations and law firms where knowledge of the US legal system is hugely beneficial. These groundings in international procedures act as differentiators for international students looking to rise to the top of their study fields.

As a top-ranked US Law School, Emory Law utilises its broad alumni network in Atlanta, the U.S., and around the world to offer practical learning opportunities to apply legal theory and build expertise in the classroom and beyond.


WashULaw is a prominent Law School that specialises in teaching substantive law and applied learning, examining the language of law, legal reasoning and techniques. For international law students, WashULaw offers curricular pathways leading to a Juris Doctor qualification (JD), an Advanced Law Degree (LLM), or a non-lawyer professional master’s degree (MLS).

Image courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

The Academic programmes at WashULaw allow for subject-focused study into globally-relevant subjects like Bankruptcy, Commercial and Consumer Law, International and Comparative Law, Corporate and Business Law, and Intellectual Property and Technology Law.

WashULaw also offers additional advancement opportunities with the University’s Law Clinics, as well as valuable placements from the Externship program.

“Program experience, excellence, and guaranteed opportunities for all law students are the hallmarks of the Trial and Advocacy Program at Washington University School of Law,” the University website notes. “Experienced, full-time law faculty work with accomplished lawyers and judges to teach our courses. The consistent success of the Trial Team and numerous Appellate Moot Court Teams reflect excellence.”

“At Washington University School of Law, learning how to be a lawyer is valued as much as learning how to think like a lawyer,” the website explains. “Students take courses to think and solve problems as lawyers from the first day. Instruction in basic lawyering skills and professional values serve as the foundation for TAP’s courses and competitions.”


NDLS is a Law School that stands out for its values in promoting professional excellence in ethical and moral application of law.

The School aims to produce well-versed lawyers who have the drive for professional success, but also a willingness to serve others and the pursuit of ‘the truth’, built upon the School’s heart within a Catholic University.

Notre Dame offers a multitude of degrees, classes, and interdisciplinary courses in the globally-relevant subjects of Business Law, Criminal Law, Global Law, Land, Energy & Environmental Law, and Law, Ethics, and Public Policy.

Image courtesy of the University of Notre Dame

Offering students the unique chance to study abroad in places like Chile, China, Italy and London, NDLS students leave the institution readily-instilled with a dynamic, global perspective.

For those intent on improving the well-being and living conditions of people around the world, the Center for Civil and Human Rights at NDLS has been established on a belief in the worth and dignity of human life. Using international human rights law as your firm foundation, you’ll leave equipped with the knowledge and expertise needed to make a positive difference in the world.

Law students at NDLS flourish under the instructive, ethical-based academic focus of study, and will go on to become ‘a different kind of lawyer’, outshining competition from around the world.


BUSL believes in exploring the full scope of  law and legislature studies, and encourages its students to follow their passions in leading their own educational path, choosing a degree in ‘virtually any area of law’,  from  Civil Rights & Constitutional Law, to Immigration & Human Rights Law and Entertainment & Sports Law.

“As a BU Law student, the Office of Career Development & Public Service (CDO) will provide you with individualized career advice specifically focused on helping you to achieve your professional goals,” the School website notes.

“In the fall of your first year 1L, one of our Advisors will be designated to work one-on-one with you,” it explains. “All of our Advisors are experienced attorneys who practiced in the areas in which they advise our students, so they are experts in these fields and bring their knowledge to bear to assisting you with your personal career journey.”

The School’s diversity extends to its professional facilities in the form of the Law School complex and Law Tower, and has a welcoming approach to diverse student bodies and opportunities for international students, with Boston rated US #1 City for International Students. Boston University is the first choice for law students looking to become ‘firsts’ in their chosen fields.

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

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