Columbia's Vanguard Executive LL.M. Program

The Columbia Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law is an accelerated hybrid program designed for high-achieving, experienced lawyers ready to advance their careers, build a global network, and take the lead in complex cross-border transactions.

Globalization has transformed the legal landscape. Success in today's interconnected economy requires a nuanced understanding of U.S. law and principles. Columbia's Executive LL.M. is tailored for lawyers in international practice with approximately five years of experience. Our program provides an expert foundation in U.S. business law and translates essential legal concepts within an international framework.

The Executive LL.M. Experience

In this intensive program, you will gain an expert foundation in U.S. business law and advance your understanding of how these critical legal concepts function within an international framework. You will take courses from Columbia’s renowned corporate law faculty and connect with a cohort of students from around the world.

Designed for lawyers who have a minimum of approximately five years of professional experience, the Executive LL.M. program allows you to complete your degree within one calendar year and with minimal time spent away from home. This accelerated program combines online courses with an intensive 12-week residency on Columbia Law School’s campus in New York.

International lawyers require a nuanced understanding of American law to navigate the most complex cross-border transactions. As a candidate for the Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law, you will learn directly from Columbia Law’s exceptional faculty, giving you an expert foundation in U.S. business law while also advancing your understanding of how U.S. legal concepts compare to and fit into an international framework.
As an Executive LL.M. student, you will be part of an intimate cohort of high-achieving colleagues practicing all over the world. You will have the opportunity to build relationships with fellow lawyers who not only provide you with different perspectives in courses and project work but will support you throughout your career.
More than a credential, the Columbia Executive LL.M. expands and deepens your already-established career, positioning you to advance even more quickly and make a greater impact as a trusted counselor and strategist to your clients and colleagues.
The expertise and skills you gain in the Executive LL.M. program will enhance your professional value and position you for leadership across cultures, organizations, and boundaries.

Is the Executive LL.M. right for me?

Columbia Law School offers both a full academic year LL.M. and an Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law. The table below provides key information on both programs to help you decide which is right for you.

Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law
Full Academic Year LL.M.
Program Calendar
Executive LL.M. students take two online courses in March and April, followed by a 12-week Summer Residency (May through August) on campus at Columbia Law School in New York City. Students complete their study with one additional online course in September. Full Academic Year LL.M. students are in residence on campus at Columbia Law School in New York City beginning in August through May of the following calendar year.
Weekly Schedule
Online courses: Blend of live lectures and self-directed work. Summer Residency: 4 three-week modules. In each module, students will attend classes Monday through Friday for the first two weeks, with the third week reserved for study and assessment. Monday through Friday
Professional Qualifications/ Admissions Criteria
Designed for mid-career lawyers with at least five years of professional experience. Candidates are expected to have a clear idea of their career trajectory and the role a deeper knowledge of U.S. business law may plan in their career advancement. Seeks students with at least one year of professional experience after earning their first law degree. Often, though, the program attracts those with significantly more experience.
Total Credits
24 credits 24 credits
Academic Focus
Specialized program of study in Global Business Law, which is reflected in the courses available, the programming offered, and in the training provided. Experiential and other exploratory options will not be available. Students are encouraged to explore and take a range of courses, including experiential offerings and public law courses. Students may, but are not required to, focus in a particular area of law.
Required Courses
Introduction to American Law (3 credits), American Contract Law (3 credits), Corporations (3 credits), Colloquium (4 credits), and Professional Responsibility (2 credits). There may be other requirements necessary to sit for a U.S. Bar Exam. Please contact the Executive LL.M. Office for more information. Introduction to American Law (2 credits) and Legal Research and Writing (2 credits). There may be other requirements necessary to sit for the NY Bar Exam.
3 courses only (9 credits) A limited number of electives such as Corporate Finance, Negotiations, Advanced Corporate Law: Mergers & Acquisitions, etc. will be available. The curriculum and structure do not allow for courses to be taken outside of the Law School. 20 credits Students are able to choose from hundreds of courses - from Administrative Law to Human Rights to Bankruptcy Law. Students may also take classes in Schools across the University.
TOEFL Score Requirement
Same as Full Academic Year LL.M. TOEFL iBT: 105 overall score, with 26 on Reading and Listening and 24 on the Speaking and Writing sections. Paper-based TOEFL: 620 overall scores, with 59/60 on the Structure/Writing and Reading sections, 60/61 on the Listening section, and 5.0 on the TWE.
Entering Class Size
Approximately 30-45 students Approximately 300 students
Student Life
Executive LL.M. students only take classes within the intimate cohort. Executive LL.M. students do not take classes with J.D. or Full Year Academic LL.M. students. Executive LL.M. students are invited to participate in social events, receptions, and career workshops tailored specifically for the Executive LL.M. cohort during the Summer Residency period. LL.M. students take classes with J.D. students. They are able to participate in journals and student organizations and can take part in clinics and other experiential learning opportunities. They also have the opportunity to take advantage of programs, speakers and other events throughout the academic year.
Living Costs*
* Individual budgets may vary based on your own personal preferences and spending habits.
$10,200 $23,119
* Tuition only, additional mandatory fees apply
$72,560 $67,532
Housing and Meals
Course materials are included in tuition and fees. Breakfast and lunch will be provided during the Summer Residency class weeks and the cost is included in your tuition and fees. Housing is not included in the tuition and fees. Housing, meals and most course materials are not included in the tuition and fees.
Career Services
Dedicated Executive LL.M. career counselor; access to Columbia Law School job database; several career-focused events throughout the Summer Residency. Ongoing access to career counselors and programs sponsored by the Office of Career Services and the SJI Career Office; participation in LL.M. Interview Program; access to Columbia Law School job database.
Bar Exam Eligibility
The Executive LL.M. does not by itself qualify graduates to sit for the NY State Bar Exam, but students may be eligible to take other state bar exams. Successful graduates of the LL.M. program may be eligible to take certain state bar exams, including the NY State Bar Exam.
Course Locations
Online: Home country or anywhere with a reliable internet connection. Summer Residency: On campus at Columbia Law School in New York. On campus at Columbia Law School in New York

Program Design

The Executive LL.M. is an accelerated program that has both online and in-residence components. Students must complete the 24 credit-curriculum, which is comprised of 5 required courses and 3 electives.

Program schedule

Two required courses are taken online during the Spring Semester prior to the residency period. A final required course is taken online during the Fall Semester.

Four courses (1 required and 3 electives), as well as the required colloquium, are taken during the 12-week on-campus residency program over the summer.

The Summer Residency consists of four three-week modules. In each of the modules, the first 2 weeks will be comprised of course instruction, with the third week reserved for study and assessment.

The online classes are hybrid courses, meaning the instruction and coursework will be comprised of both live online components and self-directed study. During each course, students will be engaged with recorded lectures, live online lectures, discussion boards, readings, and other assignments.

2019 Dates
  • March 11, 2019 – May 3, 2018: Two online courses taken
  • May 23-24, 2019: Summer Residency Orientation
  • May 28, 2019 - August 16, 2019: Summer Residency
  • August 2019 introduction session; September 3, 2019 – September 27, 2019: One online course taken

Application Components

All application elements must be submitted electronically through the online application and LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Please familiarize yourself with LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) requirements for the submission of official documents through the Credential Assembly Service, including the length of time they estimate for processing those documents.

We will not accept any application materials by mail should you miss a deadline with LSAC. No exceptions will be made. Any application materials or supporting documents we receive by mail (or email) will be discarded.

Application Fee

You must submit an application fee of $85 (USD) with your application. This fee is nonrefundable and will not be credited against your tuition. The fee must be paid by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover) before you can submit your application online through LSAC.

Components Submitted Online through LSAC:

Personal Statement

Your Personal Statement should describe your background, academic interests, and your reasons for pursuing an Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law. You should prepare this statement without assistance from others. The format of the statement should not exceed three double-spaced pages using a 12-point font with standard margins. We will not accept a résumé or curriculum vitae in place of the statement.

Résumé or Curriculum Vitae

You must submit a résumé or curriculum vitae for consideration as part of your application.

Components Submitted through LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS):

Transcripts and Diplomas

You must submit an official transcript and, where applicable, a diploma or proof of degree from all post-secondary (university level) institutions you have attended, whether or not you earned a degree. If you are unable to submit original documents to LSAC, you may submit certified copies. If the originals are not in English, you must submit an official, certified translation of each document in addition to the original document. We require the International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service in addition to the basic CAS service.

Statement of Rank

If your official transcripts for your first law degree do not include your class rank, you must include a separate statement of rank issued by your University. If your University does not provide official class rankings, you must include a statement from your University that students are not provided with an official class rank upon graduation. Either statement should be sent to LSAC and included in your official CAS report. If your school refuses to issue a statement that they do not rank candidates, please email with a copy of your CV/résumé prior to submitting your application.

Letters of Recommendation

We require two original letters of recommendation from your law school professors, employers, supervisors, or other persons qualified to appraise your academic potential for graduate legal studies. Ideally, one letter should come from a law school professor and one letter should come from a work supervisor. If you received your law degree more than 5 years ago, a letter from a law school professor is not necessary, but you must still submit two letters of recommendation. Letters from family friends and letters from prominent persons who have not taught you or supervised your work are not helpful. If your recommenders cannot write in English, please submit certified translations together with the original letters. We reserve the right to disqualify letters written or translated, in part or whole, by the applicant.

Your recommenders must submit their letters of recommendation directly to LSAC. They may do so either electronically via LSAC’s Electronic Recommendation system (also called E-LORs) or by mail to LSAC. If your recommender uses the E-LOR system, be sure they include a work e-mail address and contact information in their letter, so we can contact them if we have any questions about the letter or to verify the authenticity of the letter. If your recommender sends the letter by mail, it must be written on official letterhead and addressed to the Executive LL.M. Office. If your recommender is unable to print the letter on official letterhead, ask her to include an explanation as to why she is unable to do so.

In the “Recommenders” section of the Columbia Law School online Executive LL.M. Application, you must also include a work email address for each recommender so we can contact her/him should we have questions about the letter or your candidacy (please note that we cannot accept generic email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo!, or Hotmail addresses for recommenders). Not providing an official work email for your recommender will significantly delay the review of your application, as you will be required to provide one before we review your application. If your recommender does not have an official work email address, you must explain on the online application why s/he does not have one.

Please do not submit more than two letters. Part of compiling a strong application for admission is determining which two recommenders are best able to evaluate your ability to pursue and succeed in the Executive LL.M. program. In very rare circumstances, applicants may feel they have a compelling reason to submit an additional letter of recommendation. If you feel you fall into this category and would like to submit a third letter, your reasons should be obvious to the Admissions Committee and you should give a detailed explanation in the Additional Recommender section below. Nevertheless, your application will be considered complete once two letters have been submitted to the Credential Assembly Service. (Please note: Letters submitted directly to the Executive LL.M. Office, instead of through the Credential Assembly Service, will be automatically destroyed, and not added to your file. No exceptions will be made.)

TOEFL Scores

All applicants except those who earned their first law degree entirely in English in an English-speaking country must take the TOEFL iBT or the paper-based TOEFL and the Test of Written English (TWE) by our admission deadline (December 18, 2018). We do not accept the IELTS or any other exam in place of the TOEFL. The minimum scores required for admission are:

TOEFL iBT: 105 overall score, with 26 on the Reading and Listening sections and 24 on the Speaking and Writing sections;

Paper-based TOEFL: 620 overall scores, with 59/60 on the Structure/Writing and Reading sections, 60/61 on the Listening section, and 5.0 on the TWE.

If your scores fall below these levels, your chances of admission could be adversely impacted even if your application is otherwise strong. You must decide whether to repeat the test based on how far below these scores your results fall.

You should take the TOEFL no later than our regular application deadline, December 18, 2018. TOEFL scores are valid for a maximum of two years from our application deadline (so you must have taken the TOEFL exam on or after December 18, 2016, for the scores to be considered in this application cycle). If your scores are lower than our minimum requirements, and you decide to retake the TOEFL after December 18, 2018 we cannot guarantee that the Committee will consider your late scores (and any additional scores or scores submitted after the deadline must still be submitted through LSAC).

Waivers of the TOEFL requirement are rarely granted and are granted at the sole discretion of the Executive LL.M. Office. Therefore, if you are planning to request a waiver, you should assume the request will be denied and make arrangements to take the test by the application deadline. Requests for waivers on the grounds that you have run out of time to take the exam or work primarily in the English language will not be granted. Waiver requests should be sent via email to and should include a detailed description of why you think you qualify for a waiver and your CV/résumé. In your waiver request, if you have ever previously taken the TOEFL, you should also include your prior TOEFL score(s) and the date(s) taken. If you are granted a waiver, you must upload your waiver approval email to the “Attachments” section of the application. Waiver requests sent after December 18, 2018 will be automatically denied.

Once submitted, all application materials become the property of LSAC and/or the Executive LL.M. Office and as such will not be returned to you under any circumstances.

Program taught in:
Last updated January 18, 2019
This course is Online & Campus Combined
Start Date
Mar. 11, 2019
7 months
72,560 USD
By locations
By date
Start Date
Mar. 11, 2019
End Date
Sept. 27, 2019
Application deadline

Mar. 11, 2019

Application deadline
End Date
Sept. 27, 2019