Today’s dynamic law landscape calls for a new generation of T-shaped graduates. These aspiring lawyers have cultivated deep legal expertise across a breadth of disciplines, allowing them to bring fresh perspectives and impactful action to each case. The T-shaped graduate is therefore insightful but adaptable; grounded yet innovative.
Naturally, this is a direct response to real-world demand. Clients need more than a legal expert — they are looking for digital-savvy advocates who operate based on current best practices. So if you are charting your pathway after your Bachelor of Laws, this factor should remain top of mind to increase employability.
If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, a well-designed LL.M. degree should be the next item on your agenda. Several US law schools offer reputable programmes that shape aspiring lawyers into impactful attorneys and advocates. Here are four worth considering.
Stetson University College of Law
Ranked second in trial advocacy and fifth in legal writing by US News & World Report (2022), Stetson University College of Law is Florida’s first law school and has a track record of educating outstanding lawyers, judges and community leaders for more than a century. It is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and Association of American Law Schools. Its professors are among the finest legal educators in the country; Supreme Court advocates, acclaimed authors and public servants. These are the key features that define Stetson University College of Law.
The Stetson LL.M. in International Law is an intensive one-year course that thoroughly prepares graduates from the U.S. and abroad for positions in business, government, teaching and international law practice or related professions. Whether you’re an experienced practicing attorney or recent law school graduate, you will be guaranteed a legal experience through a required practical program.
This is what sets Stetson’s LL.M. in International Law apart. Students, domestic- or foreign-trained, will have the opportunity to gain valuable, real-world experience; observe and participate in the application of substantive law; and find solutions to problems that confront attorneys on a daily basis. Stetson is one of the few law schools across the country that guarantees every student can participate in a clinic or externship during law school.
Current programs that satisfy the International Practicum requirement include: Veterans Advocacy Clinic, Immigration Clinic, In-House Counsel Externship, American/Caribbean Law Externship, Environmental Law Externship, Family Law Externship, Florida Circuit Court/District Court Externships, Homeless Advocacy Externship, and Intellectual Property Externship.
This complements the two-week U.S. Legal Systems course and orientation — mandatory for foreign-trained attorneys — that begins at the start of the fall semester. You will understand the U.S. law school classroom and legal system — thus, providing a solid foundation for coursework in the year ahead.
The campus is a vibrant, interconnected ecosystem that will make the most of your American collegiate experience. The dorms are located on campus grounds, surrounding the beautiful main courtyard and the classroom buildings are only a few short steps away. There is a state-of-the-art library where you can enhance your legal research and scholarship. The Dolly & Homer Hand Law Library, the academic heart of Stetson Law, was dedicated in 1998 by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and houses a collection of nearly 420,000 volumes. Here, there are 27 study rooms, 135 study carrels, two lounges, and four classrooms where seminar and skills-based courses are held. To learn more about this nationally recognized and award-winning law school, click here.
Boston University School of Law
The key to your future may lie at Boston University School of Law (BU Law). Here, teaching excellence meets extensive student support in well-ranked LL.M. programmes. LL.M. students from 46 countries come to receive the guidance of the nation’s top law professors, rated #1 five times in the last 10 years by Princeton Review. Life after BU Law is full of career potential, as evidenced by a distinguished alumni network of 24,000 graduates.
You will choose from four LL.M. degrees: American Law (for non-US lawyers), Banking & Financial Law, Intellectual Property Law, or Taxation. The Graduate Tax Programme (Taxation), for example, allows you to explore a selection of nearly 50 elective courses in a flexible, practical programme. There are also two-year and online options for students to design their preferred pathway.
On top of that, candidates have access to internship opportunities that help them develop well-rounded professional skills. Take the Financial Services Law Internship, a spring semester course for Banking & Financial Law LL.M. students. It is an opportunity to work in a law firm, financial services organization, or regulatory agency for at least 10 hours every week, supervised by a lawyer and a faculty advisor who help ensure a meaningful, relevant, and rigorous experience. May graduates can also apply to clerk for a federal judge in the US, one of the most prestigious and sought-after opportunities available to recent law graduates.
All this takes place in Boston, which is described as a ready-made laboratory for legal training. Upon graduation, you will join an esteemed group of law professionals making their mark across the world. Visit the official website for more information and enrolment details.
Boasting an inclusive community and elite faculty, UCLA Law offers a well-reputed LL.M. in Southern California. The dynamic city of Los Angeles provides a fast-paced backdrop for this US law school. Whether you specialise in Business Law, International and Comparative Law, Media, Entertainment, and Technology Law and Policy Specialisation, or Public Interest Law, you will receive guidance from top scholars in a supportive learning environment. UCLA Law also offers the J.D. and Master of Legal Studies.
Here, future global changemakers dive deep into issues weaved into the fabric of society. From human rights and sexuality to technology and economics, each focus area is supported by a dedicated Centre of Excellence, where you may join clinics, organisations, and journals with fellow advocates. This includes the Ziffren Institute for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law; The Promise Institute for Human Rights; and the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
Students hone their oral and written courtroom skills at the A. Barry Cappello Programme in Trial Advocacy, touching on every aspect of the trial process including jury selection, statements, and examinations. In just three years, this centre has come to host the top trial advocacy team among US law schools. It ranks No. 1 in the prestigious Trial Competition Performance Rankings — a testament to the career-readiness of UCLA graduates.
Ready to join the next cohort? Applications for the 2022/23 intake open in September 2021. Check it out here.
Suffolk University Law School
Here’s another institution making waves in Boston: Suffolk University Law School (Suffolk Law). Described as an “innovative force,” Suffolk Law was recently voted #1 in legal technology in the US by preLaw Magazine. It is the only school in the country that has had four top-35 ranked legal skills specialties–clinics, dispute resolution, legal writing, and trial advocacy–in U.S. News & World Report for six years in a row (2017-22 editions).
These rankings underscore the distinctive qualities of a Suffolk Law education: practical, hands-on and innovative. For more than 100 years, Suffolk Law has produced over 23,000 graduates who have gone on to achieve professional success in firms and organizations of all sizes and the judiciary. More than a quarter of the judges in Massachusetts are graduates of Suffolk Law. Beyond this, Suffolk Law has worked with the EU and US Department of Justice to create practical mediation and negotiation classroom tools used in faculties across the country.
LL.M. in Global Law and Technology students may choose to specialize in one of these areas: International Law and Business; US Law and Legal Methods; Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law; or Biotechnology and Health Law. Steeped in a future-focused environment, it comes as little surprise that Suffolk Law is named among the “Top Schools for IP Law” in the Spring 2021 preLaw/National Jurist Magazine. Besides the above, students may opt for the Master of Science in Law: Life Sciences to break into the lucrative healthcare and biotechnology scene or customize their degree with a general LL.M.
Whether your interests lie in criminal law, immigration law, environmental law, international human rights, or other critical legal areas, Suffolk Law is where you will transform from a student to a successful lawyer. Learn more here.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International