University of Illinois
Promoted by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois: An empowering LLM

María de la Paz Otálvares from Argentina had graduated as an attorney from the Catholic University in Argentina with top honours and practised in corporate law and mergers and acquisitions for a few years. During this time, she took part in an exchange semester at the University of Illinois College of Law. She loved the experience, and how much personal and professional growth she achieved whilst there.

For Otálvares, Illinois Law’s LLM programme felt like the best next step for her and her career. “Following my experience, it’s clear that Illinois Law offers a very thorough, complete, and comprehensive programme, especially in corporate, trade and commercial law,” she says. “My interest in pursuing an LLM was also enhanced by the potential possibilities the programme could give internationally.”

The university is ranked #13 among public universities in the US and #2 for its international student population. Here, aspiring lawyers gain a life-changing education regardless of their chosen career paths.

Just ask Mubarak Raji, a PhD student at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois. “My LLM programme at Illinois Law has prepared me for this PhD programme and allowed me to understand privacy from a US perspective,” Raji says. “Also, my summer classes at Stockholm University, courtesy of Illinois Law, introduced me to the European Union (EU) and its operations, which has been resourceful in researching the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.”

With only two required courses, students can customise their LLM by choosing from over 150 courses to meet their academic needs. The college’s areas of strength include Business and Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Health Law, and Torts, Government and Law, Environmental Law, Public Interest and Technology and Intellectual Property (IP) Law.

The Bar Fundamentals track is specially designed for internationally trained law students to gain fundamental knowledge of the key areas of US law that are emphasised on most bar exams. These include Evidence, Business Associations, Criminal Procedure and Torts. LLM students also get bar exam counselling and long-term preparation plan, registration guide, bar study support to complement a commercial bar prep programme, and more.

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign College of Law

Source: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign College of Law

Those who wish to deepen their knowledge in a particular legal field can apply for an optional subject-matter concentration with their LLM degree. The concentrations include Corporate Law, Commercial Law and Trade, Criminal Law, Intellectual Property and Technology Law, International and Comparative Law, Justice, Democracy, and Legal Rights, as well as Regulation, Sustainability, and Compliance. This is something Raji greatly benefitted from.

“One unique attribute of the LLM programme is that I could choose classes outside my concentration and the College of Law,” Raji says. “This made my PhD programme easier and served as a solid foundation to build upon. My Fourth Amendment Tech Privacy and CS 498: Law and Policy Issues in Computer Sciences classes have been the bedrock of my research areas, making me easily understand law and tech and information policy issues.”

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign College of Law

Source: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign College of Law

Otálvares, who chose Health, Law and the Environment subjects, finds the LLM highly comprehensive. “It was great to be able to choose a concentration considering the limited options that one has when aiming to take the Bar Exam,” she says. “There is room to fulfil the requirements for the Bar Exam and at the same time learn from great professors about truly innovative and enriching legal issues.”

The subjects are taught by the college’s distinguished faculty, including acclaimed instructors, industry leaders, and interdisciplinary experts. Many are national leaders in various legal domains, and their influential research is shaping the modern legal landscape.

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign College of Law

Source: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign College of Law

Oluwakemi Adeyemi, an LLM graduate pursuing a Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) at Illinois Law, enjoyed all his classes. “Many lecturers, particularly Professor Bob Lawless, Professor Paul Heald and Professor Peter Maggs, were willing to answer my questions and/or direct me to resources that helped me satisfy my intellectual curiosity,” he says.

Recognising that success extends beyond the classroom, Illinois Law prioritises career development with a robust support system. It offers one-on-one success counselling from experienced attorneys to provide personalised guidance in building a legal career. Resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, and individual career counselling serve as invaluable resources for any foreign-trained legal professional planning to enter another jurisdiction. Career and job fair alerts also connect students with exciting opportunities, ensuring a seamless transition from academia to the professional world.

“I had some conversations with Director of Graduate and International Programs Chris Renshaw, which were fundamental in approaching the US market for professional opportunities,” Otalvares says. “The career support services is a very well-developed resource, but at the end of the day, the candidate’s willingness is key for us to make the most out of it.” Otalvares is now a legal counsel for Cone Marshall, a global legal, accounting, and fiduciary service firm.

Set in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana in east-central Illinois, LLM students experience more than just academic enrichment. This micro-urban community combines big-city amenities with small-town affordability, accessibility, safety, and friendliness. Champaign-Urbana boasts a dynamic cultural scene and diverse dining options and is home to renowned events like Ebertfest, Roger Ebert’s annual film festival, and music festivals such as Pygmalion Festival and Folk and Roots Festival.

Click here to learn more about the University of Illinois College of Law.

Follow University of Illinois College of Law on Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube