Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Advocacy


Program Description

The Master of Laws in Advocacy (Advocacy LL.M. Program) at American University Washington College of Law, administered by the law school's Stephen S. Weinstein Trial Advocacy Program, combines a rigorous academic component and a breadth of practical litigation training. The Program offers an array of courses, externships, and opportunities to pursue legal scholarship and gain teaching experience. Important focuses of the Advocacy LL.M. Program are the use of modern technology in litigation and the training of ethical trial lawyers. The Program's innovative curriculum will aid graduates in preparation for all aspects of litigation.

The Advocacy LL.M. is designed to provide students maximum flexibility. It was developed to take into account the differing needs and interests of students and practitioners. Program participants may select an individualized curriculum from a list of 17 core trial advocacy courses and 40 litigation-based courses. Every student must complete the Advanced Trial Advocacy and Ethics for Trial Lawyers courses before receiving their LL.M. degree. To be awarded the LL.M. degree, a student is required to earn at least 24 credits while pursuing study on a full or part-time basis.

Program Highlights

  • Experienced Faculty
  • Wide Selection of Courses
  • Flexible Study and Rolling Admissions
  • Unique Opportunities
  • State of the Art Courtroom Technology
  • Washington D.C. Location


  • Criminal Trial Advocacy LAW-694
  • Ethics for Trial Lawyers LAW-915
  • Pre-Trial Civil Litigation LAW-649
  • Scientific Evidence and Expert Testimony LAW-878
  • Evidentiary Foundations and Objections LAW-968
  • Homicide Prosecution LAW-984

Unique Opportunities

There are no specified concentrations or tracks in the Advocacy LL.M.; however, there are three non-classroom options. All non-classroom options are subject to the approval of the student's LL.M. advisor.

Externship Placements

The Advocacy LL.M. Program offers an opportunity for interested students to obtain litigation experience through an optional externship of up to 6 credits. The goal of the externship is to help LL.M. students gain experience in the intricacies of the pretrial and/or trial process with support and guidance from experienced practitioners. The externship component pairs LL.M. student attorneys with experienced practitioners in varying substantive areas of law in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, courts, and law firms engaged in pro bono activities. Students will receive a letter grade for these independent study credits.

Students can find an externship in a number of different ways, including applying for positions listed in the law school's regularly updated Externship Database, applying directly to offices of interest, attending WCL's annual externship fair and working with the Program's staff and adjunct faculty who are practitioners themselves.


Students may co-teach one course for up to three credits of independent study. Students will be supervised by a co-teacher with a minimum of five years of teaching experience. If approved, most students would serve as a third classroom instructor, performing such tasks as assisting in classroom student critiques, reviewing video recordings of student attorney simulations one-on-one with the J.D. student outside of class, assisting with out-of-class trial team preparation, helping students make better use of courtroom technology, and performing certain witness roles, such as expert witnesses, during classroom simulations. The LL.M. student will be required to attend each of the course classes and to meet regularly outside of class with the supervising co-teacher to receive critique and feedback. The supervising co-teacher may require that the LL.M. student create specified course materials, perform in-class demonstrations of certain trial skills, or assist in reviewing required student writing assignments. All credits earned by teaching are subject to course and supervising co-teacher availability and approval by the LL.M. advisor and the WCL Administration. Students will receive a letter grade for these independent study credits.

Professional Writing

Students may complete a research paper of publishable quality in the field of trial advocacy or litigation or draft a new course proposal with supporting materials, for up to three credits of independent study. The LL.M. optional writing projects must be pre-approved by the student's LL.M. advisor. Students will receive a letter grade for these independent study credits.

As with all independent studies, it is the responsibility of the LL.M. student to secure a faculty advisor to supervise these writing credits before registering for the course. The LL.M. advisor will consult with the faculty advisor on a recommended set of drafting criteria that the LL.M. student must follow. Students must provide the faculty advisor with a statement describing the student's prior training and participation in legal research and writing projects and/or related courses to assist the faculty advisor in tailoring the supervision of the student.

Experience Cutting-Edge Trial Technology in Our Courtrooms

The new Tenley Campus offers five courtrooms, the Stephen S. Weinstein Courtroom, a magnificent stand-alone courthouse with two smaller practice courtrooms as well as a 60 seat Appellate Courtroom and a 35 seat floor to ceiling glass teaching courtroom. Each of the five new courtrooms is designed to enhance experiential learning by providing opportunities for students to develop the multiple and varied litigation skills and values they need to succeed in the practice of law.

Living in D.C.

Washington, D.C. is one of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities in the world. With world-renowned institutions, such as the Smithsonian, and world-class events, like the annual Cherry Blossom Parade, living in D.C. means there is never a dull moment. Being a member of the AUWCL family puts you front and center to access one of the greatest cities in the world.

Last updated Feb 2018

About the School

Designed for international and domestic law graduates, our LL.M. programs feature flexible curricula that incorporate a rich array of specialized law courses and seminars and experiential learning opp ... Read More

Designed for international and domestic law graduates, our LL.M. programs feature flexible curricula that incorporate a rich array of specialized law courses and seminars and experiential learning opportunities. As a student, you will be supported by a law school community that is uniquely collaborative, including faculty who are passionate about education and a global network of LL.M. alumni. The LL.M. programs at AUWCL incorporate a rich array of courses, experiential learning opportunities, and special events that offer valuable opportunities for students to interact with leading lawyers, policymakers, business leaders, and diplomats. Read less