Law curricula have a reputation for emphazising the theoretical over the useful, but times are changing. Ranked among the top 50 U.S. law schools, the historic University of Miami School of Law (Miami Law) has stayed ahead of the curve since its inception in 1928. Its general LLM is exemplary of this pioneering spirit.
Formally titled the LLM in US and Transnational Law for Foreign-Trained Lawyers, Miami Law’s general LLM welcomes attorneys from all over the world to further their education in a context that emphasises American common law and its impact on the global economy.
For lifelong learners who choose this route, a fulfilling journey awaits, packed with engaging lessons by an award-winning and accessible faculty.
Limits are few. The programme permits unusual flexibility, allowing eclectic backgrounds with diverse interests to tailor their academic expedition towards a more specialised career path. Students can select courses based on the roles they wish to assume (the 24-credit programme comprises only three required courses), structuring the programme in line with their long-term aspirations. The best part? They develop a global mindset amidst a multinational community that grows in size every year. In 2021, 72 international students, hailing from 36 foreign countries, chose Miami Law’s LLM programmes.
The general LLM programme is ideal for foreign-trained attorneys keen on practising in the US, earning a JD, or qualifying to take a US Bar Exam. Here, every goal is achievable. Before they start the programme, students meet with one of the university’s many advisors to design their curriculum.
“This allows us to offer a course of study for students with different backgrounds and interests,” says Carmen Perez-Llorca, Miami Law’s Assistant Dean for International and Graduate Programmes; Director, International Graduate Law Programmes; and Lecturer in Law. “Our goal is to provide our graduate students with the tools that they need in any stage of their career and in all the different areas of law in which Miami Law has expertise.”
Rochelle Hamman arrived from South Africa to build on the foundational knowledge she gained from her LLB. While serving as an administrative and human resources manager, she received practical law experience by managing a wide range of legal matters. The exposure helped her realise her calling. She wanted to become a criminal attorney in the US, specifically for female victims of violent crimes.
“I chose Miami Law as a step towards becoming a US criminal attorney, as it provides me with the unique opportunity to practise law in the US, as well as the opportunity to earn a joint JD/LLM degree,” she says.
“Miami Law also offers distinct networking opportunities with a number of conferences and workshops available to students as part of their legal studies. I believe that Miami Law will equip me with all the necessary tools to become one of the foremost criminal attorneys in the US.”
Once she graduates, Hamman will be capable of achieving far more — doctoral success is an option too and Miami Law is more than happy to accommodate.
Miami Law’s general LLM is a clear pathway to the school’s brand new Doctor of Juridical Science programme — a perfect fit for aspiring legal academics, members of the judiciary, and public policymakers. Its mission is to produce graduates confident enough to lead in international academic, judicial, and public service communities.
To graduate, they are expected to develop, research, and complete a scholarly dissertation that will constitute an outstanding contribution to legal scholarship. Guidance and support by a designated faculty advisor will always be available to ensure students succeed.
“Our school has one of the largest faculties of any US law school teaching and doing research in international law, and Miami Law has extensive experience with comparative research,” explains Perez-Llorca.
That’s not all. The respected Spanish attorney believes Miami Law’s location not only provides enough buzz to balance out the rigours of legal education, but fresh perspectives too. In 2020 Miami was named the second most entrepreneurial city in the United Sates and students have access to opportunities in this innovative community, and this is one of many reasons foreign-trained lawyers choose to do their LLM at Miami Law.
“Miami is at the pivot point between the Americas and Europe, located in a city fueled by an influx of international ideas,” she says. “Students not only benefit from the resources of Miami Law and the wider university but also from the distinctly international intellectual life of the surrounding city.”