var googletag = googletag || {}; googletag.cmd = googletag.cmd || []; googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.pubads().disableInitialLoad(); });
device = device.default;
//this function refreshes [adhesion] ad slot every 60 second and makes prebid bid on it every 60 seconds // Set timer to refresh slot every 60 seconds function setIntervalMobile() { if (! return if (adhesion) setInterval(function(){ googletag.pubads().refresh([adhesion]); }, 60000); } if(device.desktop()) { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [728, 90], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } else if(device.tablet()) { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [320, 50], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } else if( { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [320, 50], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } googletag.cmd.push(function() { // Enable lazy loading with... googletag.pubads().enableLazyLoad({ // Fetch slots within 5 viewports. // fetchMarginPercent: 500, fetchMarginPercent: 100, // Render slots within 2 viewports. // renderMarginPercent: 200, renderMarginPercent: 100, // Double the above values on mobile, where viewports are smaller // and users tend to scroll faster. mobileScaling: 2.0 }); });
 Upload Your Resume   Employers / Post Jobs 

Post-J.D. Programs Allow Students to Further Their Education and Get a Leg up on the Competition.

published February 12, 2007

Published By
( 237 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
According to the American Bar Association (ABA) website, there were 9,638 J.D. degrees awarded in 1963. By 1984, the number had skyrocketed to more than 36,000, and in 2006, the number of J.D. degrees awarded reached an all-time high of 42,673. With that many competitors vying for the same jobs, new attorneys and practicing attorneys alike are looking for ways to set themselves apart from the pack. Many people are looking at going back to school, yet again, to earn a higher degree in law, usually an LL.M. or other post-J.D. degree.
Post-J.D. Programs Allow Students to Further Their Education and Get a Leg up on the Competition.

Since ABA approval does not include anything beyond the J.D. degree, law schools are free to construct post-J.D. programs on their own terms and use their own standards of admission. The ABA will review the programs only to ensure that accreditation of the J.D. programs will not be compromised.

A majority of law schools now include post-J.D. degrees and students can choose from a variety of programs ranging from Intellectual Property Law to International and Comparative Law to Negotiation and Dispute Resolution.

California Western School of Law: Health Law

Working in conjunction with the University of California San Diego (UCSD), the California Western School of Law offers a "joint master's degree" in health law. The schools have a history of working together, including a dual J.D./Ph.D. in history and political science.

"Our new joint Master's in Health Law is a natural progression of our relationship with UCSD, we are combining the resources of both schools to create an integrated master's program focused on bringing lawyers and doctors together to evaluate, and help resolve, some of the most important questions in healthcare delivery, bioethics, and health law," Steven Smith, Dean of California Western School of Law, said.

According to the school's website, the program was created "in response to the increasing need to equip professionals from the healthcare and legal disciplines with a more complete understanding of the best scientific, ethical, regulatory, and management practices. As medical decisions grow more complicated and far-reaching, the intersection of legal and medical/healthcare practices will be one of the most critical focal points of society for decades to come. Managed care, advances in medical treatment and biotechnology, issues of access, and bioethics all absorb the attention of our regulatory, legislative, and judicial systems. Healthcare and legal professionals will need to have the specialized skills and training to be effective and influential in this complex environment."

The program, which is scheduled to accept its first class of students this fall, requires students to take classes such as Introduction to Law, Introduction to Medical/Healthcare Practice, and Health and Law Policy.

Smith emphasizes the value of getting a higher education in law, particularly through this program:

"The benefits of obtaining this degree after the J.D. are to be able to study health law in detail at a very high level. This will also permit lawyers to work closely with physicians and other medical professions and become more comfortable in that collaborative role. Following the program, lawyers will be in a position to provide better service to their clients in the heath area."

University of Iowa College of Law: International and Comparative Law

According to the College of Law's website, the University of Iowa offers an LL.M. degree in International and Comparative Law, which is designed for "(1) graduates of J.D. programs here in the United States who wish to deepen their understanding of international and comparative law, including the law pertaining to international business transactions, and (2) foreign-trained jurists who wish to receive advanced training in the same areas or a comparative introduction to and specific training in United States law and legal institutions."

In order to obtain the LL.M. degree, students must complete 24 hours of academic credits (approximately eight classes), which are approved by their faculty advisor.

"The University of Iowa College of Law established a Masters of Comparative Law (MCL) degree in 1966," Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Jonathan Carlson said. "The purpose of that degree was to provide foreign-trained lawyers an opportunity to engage in in-depth study of U.S. law, leading to an advanced degree. In 1991, the MCL degree was replaced with the LL.M. degree in international and comparative law. There were two primary reasons for shifting to an LL.M. degree. First, in the years from 1966-1990, international law grew rapidly. The UI College of Law faculty felt that its existing MCL degree would be enhanced by enlarging its focus from comparative law to "international and comparative law." In addition, the College had a particularly strong cohort of faculty with international-law expertise. Second, it was believed that an LL.M. degree might attract a broader range of students than the MCL degree, including students from the United States."

Carlson feels that pursuing a degree beyond the J.D. allows students to gain higher levels of experience in a specialized field "by taking additional and more specialized courses in that area. It also provides students an opportunity to pursue an in-depth research project and to work toward publication of a work of scholarship."

American University Washington College of Law: Law and Government

American University offers an LL.M. in Law and Government, which was created in 1998 by late professor Tom Sargentich for students interested in U.S. government and law. According to the program's website, "It is the law of government, emphasizing the legal regulation of both the private and public realms of U.S. society. The regulation of the public world begins with U.S. constitutional law. The regulation of the private sphere implicates general administrative law as well as sub-fields of regulatory law. The curriculum is especially deep in federal law. It also includes offerings dealing with states and localities and with international and global issues, reflecting the increasing interdependence of world society."

Maryam Ahranjani, Associate Director of the Program on Law Government, said that students can choose to either be "generalists" or pick a particular concentration in one of three areas: administrative law and regulatory practice, business and financial regulation, and civil and constitutional rights. Each of these general concentrations contain specializations in areas such as communications law, criminal law, gender and the law, and health law. The only class that all students are required to take is the Washington Lawyer Seminar, a course created exclusively for the program."

The school also offers two other post-J.D. degrees: an LL.M. in International Legal Studies and an SJD program.

Ahranjani says that "lawyers from diverse backgrounds have benefited from the degree becuase it allows them to seek new areas of legal practice by gaining substantive knowledge in a new field, network with the alumni and other contacts affiliated with the Program, and really break into the Washington legal community, whether a student wants to work in the federal government, a law firm, academia, or the non-profit world."

Creighton University: Negotiation and Dispute Resolution

Seeing the growing demand for alternative dispute resolution, Creighton University School of Law established the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution and now offers an M.S. in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. It is an interdisciplinary program offering courses from several other schools at Creighton, such as the graduate school of arts and sciences, the business school, and international relations.

"We believe the program offers many advantages over other programs in the field, Arthur Pearlstein, Director of the Institute, said. "One of the biggest of such advantages is the focus on substantive areas of concentration. We offer specialization in organizational dispute resolution, health care collaboration and conflict resolution, and international conflict resolution, areas with increasing need for conflict resolution professionals. We also emphasize career and professional development in niche areas. Consistent with Creighton University's approach to education, there is great importance placed on individual attention to the needs of students, focusing on personal relationships and professional contacts that will last a lifetime."

Pearlstein feels that traditional J.D. programs "prepare students to 'think like a lawyer,'" but do not equip them with "the process skills, creative thinking, and range of approaches to effectively engage conflict in its many forms. In both law practice and in a variety of other career settings, a thorough grounding in conflict resolution is increasingly important."

Pace Law School: Comparative Legal Studies and Environmental Law

Pace Law School offers two LL.M. programs in Comparative Legal Studies (for foreign trained lawyers) and Environmental Law. The school is currently preparing to offer an LL.M. in Real Estate Law.

Mark Shulman, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs and International Affairs, said the Environmental Law Program, which is more than ten years old, was initially established to help "mid-career attorneys retrain to work effectively with new legislation, particularly the Super Fund Law." It offers an advanced education "in the substance of this critical field as well as skills development."

The Comparative Legal Studies Program, a recent addition to the school, is "intended to bring international perspectives into our community," Shulman said. It allows foreign-trained lawyers to sit for the New York Bar Exam, and it offers advanced and comparative educational opportunities.

"In the current LLM degree programs, students take classes with the JD candidates," Shulman said. "We offer two dozen different environmental law courses, so the LLM candidates in environmental law have a great deal of choice with a few somewhat flexible core requirements. The comparative students start with my course on the Introduction to US Law and Legal Research and then take whatever other courses suit their career objectives. They may take courses that help prepare them to sit the NY bar or they can take a variety of advanced courses in such fields as international, IP or immigration law. The LLM in real estate would offer LLM-only advanced courses."

Cardozo School of Law: General Studies, Intellectual Property, and Comparative Legal Thought

Amy Sugin, Director of Graduate and International Programs at Cardozo School of Law, says that the three LL.M. programs offered by the school are "a way for students to be able to get some more legal knowledge after their first degree in law, so that's either their first degree here for domestic students as J.D. students or for international students who have studied their first degree in law elsewhere and want to come here to learn about American law."

While the general studies and intellectual property programs are self-explanatory, the Comparative Legal Thought Program, is one-of-a-kind. While there are only three students currently enrolled, Sugin says they are trying to build the program.

"The comparative legal thought really builds upon a Cardozo tradition of really engaging with theoretical concepts of the law and we have a very strong tradition here of studying philosophy in the law, film in the law, and really looking at the ways that law intersects with other academic fields," Sugin said.

The curriculum integrates political science, literature, and philosophy (among other things) to give students a broader understanding of legal thought. Students take classes in theory, modern legal philosophy, juris prudence, law in economics, and law in literature.

Sugin feels that an LL.M. allows students to find their niche. Since a J.D. is a general degree, classes are chosen to fit the broad necessity of law. She says that "it really allows them to solidify their knowledge in one particular area in a way that, I think, a J.D. doesn't."

Franklin Pierce Law Center: Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property program at the Franklin Pierce Law Center is designed for people who are already lawyers.

"We have probably the most comprehensive curriculum of any law school in the country when it comes to Intellectual Property law," Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Susan Richey said. "At last count we were between 40 and 50 courses in the area. IP covers the disciplines of patent law, trademark law, copyright law, and also trade-secret law. So we have numerous courses under each of those areas, those general subject matter areas."

Most students come with a background in science or engineering. The program focuses on patent law and high-technology areas. Specific courses are designed for specific disciplines such as biotechnology and electrical engineering.

"They take courses in trying to understand what patent law is" Richey said. "They will take courses in how to prosecute a patent, in other words, when you get a patent, you have to go before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and write an application. The application includes a description of your invention and what you're claiming about the invention. Then you get a patent issued."

Other students who are not trained in the sciences come to the school because of their interest in music, the arts, or sports. They learn to understand copy and trademark law and how to license assets.

There is also a Master's in Intellectual Property, intended for non-lawyers, usually those in science or entertainment, who want to get a better understanding of intellectual property laws that affect them.

Like Sugin, Richey feels that specializations are beneficial to lawyers, since law itself is growing more and more specialized.

"So when students graduate with just a J.D., and I mean this from any law school in the country, I think that is something of a disadvantage especially if they have gone to law school right after college and have no work experience or real-life experience. I think it is more of a challenge for those individuals to get a job, so if you graduate with that LL.M. in addition to your J.D. degree you just have a leg up," she said.

Boston University School of Law: Banking and Financial Law and American Law

The Boston University School of Law offers a year-long graduate program in banking and financial law. Established in 1984, the program was the first of its kind to devote itself to banking and financial services law.

"We tackle all the major areas of financial services law, so that's banking, securities, and insurance," Martin Lacdao, Visiting Scholar of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law, said. "You can call those the three legs of financial services law. Of course, below those classifications you can have a myriad amount of subjects."

There is one required course for all students in banking structure and regulation. The nine other courses students take are electives, chosen from more than 25 options. Students in the program can choose two concentrations from the list of six: American banking and financial law, international banking and financial law, compliance programs, securities transactions, lending and credit transactions, and financial services transactions.

The American Law program is designed specifically for lawyers from other countries, and students must study full-time.

"Unlike the tax and banking programs which have their own discrete curricula and faculties, the American law students are fully integrated into J.D. classes, so they take their courses side-by-side to U.S. law school [students]," Ernest Haddad, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, said. "It has a separate counseling system and a separate counseling/advising system. The students have different degree requirements than the J.D. students but they are an extremely talented group, it is a very selective program, a very talented group of people who come from, I believe this year, something in the range of 35 different countries around the world."

Most of the students in the program are practicing lawyers from other countries who specialize in general business practices. Most spend an extra year in the U.S. after graduating from the school on their student visas, but virtually all of them return home after their visas expire.

Haddad says that the people who pursue a degree beyond the J.D. "are not doing them for the sheer intellectual joy or because they want to continue to be students. They do them because they see a particular value in the education that's going to enhance their careers."

The school also offers LL.M. degrees in Intellectual Property Law and Tax Law.

Golden Gate University School of Law: Environmental Law

Students concerned with growing environmental problems can earn their LL.M. at Golden Gate University. Classes offered include Water Law, Superfund, Land Use Regulation, International Trade and Environmental Protection, Federal Wildlife and Endangered Species Law, and Environmental Justice. In his message on the school's website, Program Director Alan Ramo says the "program provides a unique opportunity to combine advanced study of US and international environmental law with the practical experience of handling complex environmental cases through our innovative Environmental Law and Justice Clinic."

The program is designed for recent law school graduates, international students, and already practicing attorneys who wish to specialize in matters of the environment.

Golden Gate University also offers four other LL.M. degrees in Intellectual Property, International Legal Studies, Taxation, and U.S. Legal Studies. It also offers an S.J.D. in International Legal Studies.

This is just a small taste of some of the advanced degree programs available. For more information on these programs, check out the schools' websites. For a more comprehensive list of LL.M. programs, check out an LL.M. guide.

published February 12, 2007

( 237 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.