LL.M. Program Soars Due to Service Approach

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Due to the popularity and reputation of the school and program, many countries are represented. Program Director Kyong Won states that in the past three years there have been a total of 22 countries represented within the student body: Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Romania, Switzerland, Armenia, Panama, Mexico, Kenya, France, India, and many others.

USC Law School's rigorous academic program affords its students a strong foundation in all substantive areas of law. All LL.M. students are required to take two foundational courses—Introduction to the U.S. Legal System and Legal Research—in their first semester. Students will satisfy their remaining course requirements over the two semesters by enrolling in courses and seminars from among those offered in the J.D. Program.

First-year courses examine the foundations of the legal system and introduce students to lawyering skills. Most of the upper-division courses listed are taught every year. Some are taught periodically, depending on student interest and faculty availability.

Because LL.M. students can attend law school classes offered to J.D. candidates, they feel as though they are part of the community. Chikako Morimoto, class of 2003 stated, "I would say that the good thing about the USC program is that it allows LL.M. students to sit in the same class with J.D. students no matter how difficult the class is, and most professors are very understanding and cooperative."

What really makes this particular LL.M. Program distinct from others is its service-oriented approach. Ms. Won emphasizes that it is this aspect that makes the program above and beyond others. By providing academic support, language support, networking opportunities, and cultural immersion events, the program allows its students to thrive in the U.S. law school environment, rather than feeling marginalized or isolated, which can happen at other programs.

"The USC LL.M. Program is developing its reputation as a program known for strong client services, as well as responsiveness to the needs and concerns of its students," observes Ms. Won. "The USC LL.M. Program takes a three-pronged approach to addressing the academic, social, and professional needs of its students," she continues.

Rubab Razvi, class of 2003, notes, "The LL.M. staff was the best part of the LL.M. Program. As apprehensive as I was when I joined the program, I feel that your helpful and accommodating attitude make things so much easier for all the LL.M. students." The staff ensures that each LL.M. student has a support system in place to make the transition and experience a positive one. Kenji Hirooka, from the class of 2004, said he really appreciated the support at USC. "I believe last year was the best year of my life," he continued.

In terms of academic support, an adjunct professor oversees the immersion to the U.S. approach to law school, serving as a mentor and support system for the students as they undertake the study of law in a new environment. In addition, there are many professional networking opportunities for students once they graduate, which is a real draw for applicants and one of the strengths that USC School of Law is known for. USC also has affiliate locations internationally in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Taiwan. Yan Zeng, from the class of 2004, stated that the program fulfilled her educational purpose as well as her networking purpose. "I would say this is one thing USC law school does better than other law schools."

Another draw is the opportunity for students to feel comfortable socially. There are many social events, from attending USC football games to mixers to Lakers' games, to make the students form relationships and feel a part of the school as a whole.

With such a well-rounded approach, it is clear why USC's LL.M. Program continues to thrive, proving popular with applicants. With a distinct, service-oriented approach, it will certainly continue be a leader as it continues to grow.

Ms. Won noted that the LL.M. office also runs a Southern California American Law and English Program (SCALE) during the summer. The SCALE program is a summer program geared towards those who will be entering an LL.M. degree program or those who would like to learn more about the U.S. legal system while improving their legal English. Ms Won said, "SCALE helps to introduce lawyers and business people to the American legal system while giving them the opportunity to improve their English language ability. Classes are taught by professional ESL teachers from the USC Rossier School of Education Language Academy."

Do you know why an LL.M. is important? Find out.

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