The one-year LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree is for foreign lawyers who have already earned primary law degrees from universities in their home countries. The program offers international lawyers the opportunity to develop mastery of key areas of American law at one of the nation’s top law schools, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). LL.M. students receive legal training in American law through UNC School of Law’s nationally recognized centers and areas of academic strength in legal fields that are in high demand throughout the world (e.g., banking and finance law, energy/natural resources law, and IP law). LL.M. students take most of their classes together with J.D. students, enabling them to share their international perspectives while learning American law. LL.M. students may focus on a specified track of expertise offered within a few select areas of law; or LL.M. students can pursue a more general United States law system coverage. Due to the smaller size of the program, LL.M. students receive strong individual attention and assistance by the LL.M. program administration, LL.M. faculty director, and the law school faculty. LL.M. students are provided the additional resources of two Dean’s Fellows and a Honors Writing Scholar serving as peer mentors and student advisers to the LL.M. students.
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Students enter in the fall semester and are required to take 24 credit hours of course work during the academic year, maintaining a minimum overall 2.25 GPA by graduation, to receive the LL.M. degree. Students who have not received their legal training in common law countries receive grounding in the American law tradition through the Foundations in United States Common Law course. In the United States Legal Research and Writing course, all students receive training in a variety of written and oral professional communication styles as well as essential skills for American legal settings. Students pursue an academic plan that fits their individual professional needs, choosing from a selection of first-year and upper-level courses available through the J.D. program for the remaining balance of courses and credit hours. With the approval of the LL.M. faculty director, students may complete a master’s thesis and/or take one law-related, graduate level course in another UNC department. UNC Law is offering new tracks of expertise that an LL.M. student can choose to focus upon with the selection of courses.
Applicants’ performance in securing their initial law degree should demonstrate academic excellence with an average grade of B/3.0 or its equivalent. Fluency in English — with a goal TOEFL score of 100 on the internet-based test format (iBT), 250 on the computer-based test (CBT) or a goal IELTS score of 7.0 — is also a requirement. Preference is given to foreign lawyers who have already practiced law for at least two years. All applicants participate in a Skype interview. Applicants may submit application materials through LSAC or send directly to UNC School of Law. The application cycle is open October 15 - April 30. LL.M. students enter in the fall semester. Over the course of one academic year, students are required to take 24 hours of course work to receive the LL.M. degree.
Chapel Hill and North Carolina are wonderful environments (academically, environmentally, and socially) conducive to the student's successful completion of the LL.M. degree and to the student's personal enjoyment of this "Southern Part of Heaven," the phrase by which UNC-CH and Chapel Hill are known.
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