Effective post-J.D. legal study provides the opportunity to explore areas of the law in more depth through a customized curriculum taught by leading experts in a stimulating academic environment. At Southwestern Law School, we offer an outstanding Master of Laws (LL.M.) program that fulfills that promise.
Southwestern’s flexible General LL.M. Program in Individualized Studies is designed for students who have already earned a law degree in the United States or abroad and would like to extend their legal studies in line with their own personal and professional goals.
As a student in Southwestern’s LL.M. program, you can create your own curriculum from a selection of over 150 courses focused in the area of law that will be of the most benefit to you. Over a quarter of our faculty have international experience. The LL.M. degree requires 24 credit hours of post-J.D. coursework and may be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis and may begin in fall or spring.
You will be able to take advantage of Southwestern’s dynamic metropolitan location in the center of Los Angeles and be part of a community that has produced trailblazers and leaders for more than 100 years. The law school’s 10,000 alumni throughout the United States and 25 other countries include prominent public officials—from members of Congress to mayors, and over 200 judges—as well as founders of major law firms from coast to coast and general counsels of multinational corporations.
LL.M. Degree Requirements
To qualify for the LL.M. degree, students must complete 24 credit hours of post-J.D. coursework, 12 of which must be earned at Southwestern. A maximum of 30 units may be applied to the LL.M. degree. Courses previously taken for credit for a J.D. or equivalent degree will not be counted toward the LL.M. degree.
Take 8 to 16 units per semester; typically complete degree within one academic year.
Take 2 to 7 units per semester; typically complete degree within two academic years.
NOTE: International students on F1 Visas are required to maintain full-time enrollment.
All students are required to complete all coursework for the LL.M. within four years. LL.M. students attend classes with Southwestern’s J.D. students and have the flexibility of choosing courses offered in the day or evening. Southwestern offers several foundational courses specifically for internationally educated LL.M. students.
LL.M. Foundational Courses
Southwestern’s offering of courses specifically for internationally educated LL.M. students include:
- Introduction to American law
- Legal writing for LL.M. students
- Contract Law, Skills, and Negotiation
- Practical Legal Research: LL.M.
To earn the LL.M. degree, students must successfully complete 24 credit hours of post-J.D. coursework, 12 of which must be taken at Southwestern. Courses previously taken for credit for a J.D. or equivalent degree will not be counted toward the LL.M. degree. The particular courses each candidate undertakes will depend on the individual’s chosen area of concentration.
Internationally educated students will be required to take Introduction to American Law, Legal Process, and Institutions. There is no written thesis required to qualify for the LL.M. degree.
Students may attend on either a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students will usually complete their coursework in one year and part-time students will usually complete the program in two years, but all are required to complete all coursework for the LL.M. within four years.
Admission to the LL.M. Program is highly selective. A Juris Doctor (J.D.) or equivalent degree is required. A candidate applying from the United States must have completed the J.D. degree at a law school that is both ABA-approved and a member of the Association of American Law Schools. A law degree earned outside the United States must be from a university accredited in the country in which it is located, or the candidate must be admitted to practice before the highest court in that country.
When reviewing candidates for the LL.M. Program, the Admissions Committee considers:
- academic record in law school and undergraduate school
- the potential for distinguished performance in and contribution to the program professional experience and accomplishments
- letters of recommendation
- quality of Personal Statement
The objective of the admissions policy is to fill each class with the best students from an applicant pool consistent with the high-quality standards of the program and the diversity of Southwestern. Successful candidates have generally graduated in the top halves of their law school classes.