If you hold a law degree from a non-U.S. jurisdiction (a J.D. or its equivalent), you may qualify for our Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. for Internationally-Trained Lawyers program.
The Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. for Internationally Trained Lawyers is intended for students who:
- already hold a law degree from a jurisdiction outside the United States;
- would like to earn a Juris Doctor degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law;
- and wants to take the New York State Bar.
In this new and innovative program, they can receive advanced standing, and therefore can finish the J.D. degree in just two years.
About the Program
These students are just like the traditional three-year J.D.s – they join the entering class, take all the classes required of J.D. students, and form all the bonds that constitute the U.S. legal profession. Through the Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. program, appropriately qualified students may be granted advanced standing for up to 30 credits in recognition of their prior studies. As a result, students may complete their J.D. in approximately two years of full-time study.
Although the program takes only two years, Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. program participants are true J.D.s. Participants in the program are fully integrated into the entering J.D. class, where they learn "how to think like a (New York) lawyer." Perhaps as importantly, participants have the chance to foster the social skills and personal and professional networks so critical to the successful practice of law.
Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. students are generally expected to take the New York bar exam and to become licensed to practice New York law. Courses are recommended accordingly.
The program is competitive; applicants are encouraged but not required to take the LSAT.
Course of Study
First-Year Curriculum (required)
Students in the Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. program are completely integrated into the first-year curriculum. The first year begins in August, and students will take Legal Profession, Torts, Contracts, Constitutional Law, Legal Analysis, Writing and Research I & II, Property, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Law.
In the fall OR spring semester of their second year, students in the program must take the following: a 3-credit course in ethics, a 3-credit course in Advanced Legal Analysis, Writing & Research, a 3-credit seminar, and one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least 6-credit hours.
Students in the Advanced Standing Two-Year program are expected to pass the New York State bar exam, and therefore certain courses are strongly recommended, such as Corporations. At the same time, prior studies, intellectual interests, and future professional goals must also be considered in course selection. Students will receive individual counseling on course selection and scheduling.
Completion of the J.D. degree from the School of Law satisfies the degree requirement for eligibility to sit for the bar examination not only in New York but in any state in the United States.
Students will complete the Advanced Standing Two-Year program in May of their second year and then sit for the July bar exam (most likely in New York). Students in the United States on an F-1 student visa are eligible to work in the United States for up to 12 months under a program called Optional Practical Training. The School of Law’s Office of Career Services helps all students connect with potential employers, and the University at Buffalo Office of International Student and Scholar Services advises all students on visa procedures and assists students in obtaining the appropriate government authorization for work.
Bar admission in New York, and in all U.S. jurisdictions, involves consideration of each applicant’s character and moral fitness for the practice of law. In addition, New York now requires all applicants for bar admission to complete 50 hours of pro bono legal service. Applicants should acquaint themselves with the requirements for admission in the jurisdiction in which they intend to be licensed.
Scholarships for LL.M. and Two-Year J.D. Students
Dean’s Tuition Scholarships
All admitted LL.M. and Two-Year J.D. students are considered for a Dean’s Tuition Scholarship from the School of Law, which consists of awards between 10% and 40% of tuition, or up to $18,000 per year.
In addition, the most competitive applicants are given the chance to be Faculty Research Scholars. This allows students to earn up to $2500 over the course of the year as research assistants for members of the School of Law faculty.
Admission to the Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. Program
Applicants to our Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. Program are from countries all over the world, but those we accept have several things in common: they demonstrate superior achievement in law school and/or the legal profession, they possess excellent communication skills, and most importantly, they have a very clear sense of how a J.D. degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law is going to help them achieve their professional goals.
Our admission process is selective and based on both quantitative and qualitative criteria. In addition to your law school grade point average (GPA) and the results of language proficiency test (if necessary) such as the TOEFL, the Admissions Committee considers other non-numerical factors in reaching decisions. These factors include:
- Achievement or activities that indicate a high level of probability of scholastic excellence and intellectual contributions while in law school
- Achievements or activities emanating from work, life experience or community service
- That indicates a potential for contributing to the enrichment of the law school
The School of Law is committed to a nondiscriminatory admission policy and philosophy. We welcome applications from all people without regard to race, age, gender, disability, religion, national origin, family status or sexual orientation.
The Admissions Committee uses a rolling admission process. Applications are reviewed after they become complete over the course of the year, and decisions are usually made within four weeks of application submission and receipt of all required supporting documentation. It is essential to make sure you have submitted all necessary documentation and completed all steps in the application process so we can review your completed application.
You are eligible to apply to our Advanced Standing Two-Year J.D. Program if you have a first degree in law from a regionally accredited college or university by the date of intended enrollment in the University at Buffalo School of Law. Note: Students must have completed their law study primarily in the classroom with professors, not online.
Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL scores must be dated within two years of enrollment at School of Law.
How to Apply
You must create an account as a PROSPECTIVE LL.M. STUDENT on the Law School Admission Council. All supporting documents, including transcripts, letters of recommendation and language proficiency test scores, are mailed or transmitted to LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Detailed instructions are available on its website.
- Letters of Recommendation
- Your Personal Statement
Cost of Attendance
The cost of attendance is very competitive, both nationally and especially for law schools in New York State. The living expenses are well below the national average, and a fraction of the cost in cities like Washington DC, Boston, San Francisco, and New York City.
As a public law school, our tuition is extremely competitive, and we offer merit scholarships ranging from 10% to 40% of non-resident tuition.
We attract high-quality students from all over the world. About one-fourth of our LL.M. students over the past two years have had prestigious Fulbright scholarships.
Cost & Fees
Law School Tuition for 2017-2018*
- In-State: $25,410
- Non-NY Residents: $29,500**
*Does not include fees and additional expenses.
**Pending administrative action to finalize.
This school offers programs in:
Last updated January 19, 2018