Among the plethora of study destinations available, pursuing an LL.M. degree in Germany is becoming increasingly popular to international students.
Germany’s high academic standards and its diverse legal system make it an enticing destination for those seeking to deepen their legal knowledge. From renowned law schools to a multicultural environment, there are several benefits that attract international LL.M. students to German law schools, several of which are consistently ranked among the world’s best.
Those include the University of Munich in Bavaria and HU Berlin in the capital. Many of these law schools have sought to internationalize their LL.M. programs, according to Christopher Bisping, a Professor at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. “Today, more universities offer bespoke LL.M. programs on specific topics. More programs are taught in English to attract a non-German speaking audience,” says Bisping.
Many LL.M. programs are international in outlook and focus, he adds.
German L.LM. programs emphasize a strong theoretical foundation while also providing practical knowledge and skills, ensuring a well-rounded legal education.
There has also been a trend towards diversification and specialization among German LL.M programs, says Professor Hanno Kube from Heidelberg University’s Faculty of Law, which runs an LL.M. program in German and European Law for international students.
German schools offer a wider range of specialized LL.M. programs in areas like intellectual property or human rights, providing opportunities to tailor the LL.M. to a student’s career goals.
In Hamburg, Bucerius Law runs a joint Master of Law and Business degree that combines the study of international commercial law with the management skills more typically found in MBA programs.
A strong legal framework
Among other advantages to pursuing an LL.M. in Germany are insights into the German legal system, parts of which have been adopted in other countries, Kube says. “German civil law has been taken as a model in East Asian countries, and German criminal law in other European countries. In international legal cases it is also helpful to know the German system of law,” he adds.
So, by studying in Germany, you gain exposure to a well-established legal framework.
Another attractive aspect of pursuing an LL.M. in Germany will be the opportunity to be immersed in a culturally diverse environment. Germany is known for its openness to international students, fostering a welcoming atmosphere.
“Germany is a very friendly and open-minded country. The vast majority of Germans are able, and indeed very happy, to speak in English to anybody who doesn’t speak German,” says Bisping at Bucerius. “The country is one of the safest to live in and is very diverse in geographical and cultural terms.”
Engaging with a diverse community of students and faculty from different backgrounds and legal systems develops cross-cultural competencies. Due to globalization, the acquisition of knowledge of different legal systems as well as in international law is becoming more important, law schools say.
Promising career opportunities
Moreover, Germany’s central location within Europe provides easy access to various European legal systems, institutions and organizations. This enables LL.M. students to participate in internships, networking events and conferences, opening doors to career opportunities.
LL.M. programs focused on finance can be found in Germany’s financial hub, Frankfurt, for instance. Marion Süß, at University Frankfurt Faculty of Law, says demand from certain populations is increasing. “This year I noticed a great interest from Chinese people,” she says, adding that it can be attractive to learn German as a foreign language.
Additionally, Germany’s strong economy and a well-developed legal market provide ample job opportunities for international graduates, further enhancing the appeal of pursuing an LL.M. in Germany.
The German legal system values highly qualified professionals. “A bonus is the openness of the German labor market for international applicants,” Bisping, at Bucerius Law says. “Over the past decade we have seen more businesses being open to non-German speaking staff. Graduating from a German law school allows students to remain in the country to seek a job.”
Lastly, compared to other popular study destinations, Germany offers relatively low tuition fees and a high standard of education. Many German law schools are publicly funded, allowing them to provide affordable education for domestic and international students. This accessibility makes pursuing an LL.M. in Germany a cost-effective option.