LLM Program University of Illinois - College of Law
The Illinois LLM program is designed to prepare students with or without any prior legal training to excel in their professional careers.
Foreign-educated students in the LLM program are introduced to the U.S. legal system and provided the opportunity to specialize in their own area of academic or professional interest.
U.S.-trained lawyers can also enhance their legal expertise to meet their professional and career goals in the LLM program.
Students complete a total of 32 credit hours (typically eight courses) for the LLM degree. A minimum grade point average of 2.75 based on a 4.00 scale is required to graduate.
With only two required courses (waived or waivable for students with a JD from an ABA-accredited law school), students can customize their LLM program to meet their academic or professional needs while choosing from over 100 courses offered at the College of Law each year. Students interested in learning across disciplines may seek approval to take a select number of University of Illinois courses outside the College of Law.
LLM Legal Writing and Research: Illinois LLM students are required to take a specially designed 2-credit legal writing and research course. This course provides LLM students initial training in legal reasoning, writing, and analysis and introduces the student to the unique learning environment of the U.S. law school. Taught by College of Law faculty, students meet their faculty in a classroom setting and learn study and time management skills in small group sections. Generally, this course meets for three weeks prior to the start of the fall semester.
Professional Responsibility: This course provides students with the history, goals, instruction, values, rules, and responsibilities of the U.S. legal profession and its members. For students planning to take the New York Bar Examination, this course fulfills the professional responsibility requirement of the bar examination. This requirement is waived for students with a JD from an ABA-accredited law school.
Students in the LLM program can deepen their knowledge in a particular legal field and apply to earn an optional subject-matter concentration with their LLM degree in the following areas:
- Corporate Law, Commercial Law, and Trade
- Criminal Law
- Intellectual Property & Technology Law
- International and Comparative Law
- Justice, Democracy, and Legal Rights
- Regulation, Sustainability, and Compliance
- U.S. Legal Practice Skills (only available for third-semester LLM students)
Whether students select one of our concentrations or decide to create a customized LLM program, members of the Graduate and International Programs Office at the College of Law will offer counseling on how to design the optimal program for each individual.
Bar Examination Eligibility
The Office of Graduate and International Programs offers support to students interested in taking U.S. bar exams and works with individuals to determine their eligibility and the requirements they need to meet. Although a bachelor’s degree in law is not required for admission to the Illinois LLM program, applicants without a bachelor’s in law should be aware that they may not qualify to take a bar examination in the United States, even after completing the Illinois LLM.
Flexibility Study Options
Two or three-semester option: Students may choose to complete the LLM degree in two or three semesters. The optional third semester can allow a student time to engage in a more intensive program of study, enjoy greater internship opportunities, and have additional time to study for the bar exam.
Fall or Spring start option: To offer students additional flexibility, the LLM program may be started in either the fall semester (August) or the spring semester (January).
Practical Skills Training
- Competitions: Illinois LLM students have ample opportunity to build legal skills through participation in both the LLM Negotiation Competition and LLM Client Counseling Competition.
- Experiential Opportunities: Students can compete for opportunities to intern in the University of Illinois Office of Student Legal Services, participate in the Chicago Service Project, earn pro bono notations for completion of 60 hours of community service, and participate in programs and projects organized by the College of Law and student organizations, such as Student Legal Relief.
- Practical skills courses: With classes like Dispute Resolution, Mediation Training, Negotiation Skills and Strategies, Trial Advocacy, and more, students can learn through seeing and doing from faculty and seasoned practitioners and develop skills vital to many practice settings.