LL.M. in International Legal Studies

By LLM Board - WCL in LL.M. experience at American University Washington College of Law (WCL) on Feb 25, 2009

Dear readers,

Let me first start with introducing myself. My name is Onur Arslan and I am a Fulbright-scholar from the Netherlands who is currently enrolled in the LL.M. in International Legal Studies program at the American University Washington  College of Law (“WCL”).

I know how hard it is to choose an LL.M. program since there are so many opportunities. Since I personally enjoyed getting information first hand from alumni, I started this blog to give you guys more information about my experience at WCL. I am the president of the LL.M. Executive Board (“LL.M. Board”) and together with my fellow board members we will maintain this blog.

I started with the program during the fall semester. We started with approximately 100 students from all around the world and with different backgrounds. Some have been experienced lawyers or prosecutors while others just recently graduated.

During orientation we got informed about the law school and had the opportunity to get to know each other during a barbecue that was organized by the dean. The LL.M. Board organized a welcome diner and party later that week to make us feel at home. During those events we also got to know the LL.M. students who started during the spring semester.

During the add/drop period we had the opportunity to audit the courses we are interested in and to make sure we elect the courses we like most. Since I am interested in international business law I chose International Business Transactions, U.S. Business Law and International Financial Law & Development Finance. I also chose American Legal Institutions because that course is mandatory for students with a civil law background. The courses were very interesting and interactive. For example, for U.S. Business Law we had to draft a business plan and for Financial Law & Development Finance we practiced our negotiation skills during a negotiation simulation exercise.

The Office of Career & Professional Development organized a conference for us at the Washington DC office of Arnold & Porter LLP to prepare us for life as an LL.M. student. Also, we went to the Washington DC office of White & Case LLP where we got information about their Latin American practice group.

The first semester we had too many activities to mention in this blog. Amongst other things we had a soccer tournament, an embassy reception, a graduation party for graduating students, a potluck diner and a trip to the United Nations in New York. Another event that I think is worth mentioning is the LL.M. Board election. Every semester the LL.M. students elect a new LL.M. Board. This semester there were two teams competing to be the next LL.M. Board which was quite fun because it was at the same time as the U.S. presidential elections. Both teams were campaigning and we even had an official “presidential” debate. In November it was time to vote and after weeks of intense lobbying and campaigning we were delighted when we got the news that we got elected!

Spring semester:

When I came back from the winter break I attended the inauguration of President Obama. When you study in Washington D.C. you really realize what an amazing city it is. It often reminds me of stories about Rome during the higlights of the Roman Empire. Anyway, before I could recover from the cold and my jetlag I rushed myself to New York to attend the International Student Interview Program (“ISIP”). I had 11 interviews and was quite nervous. Luckily many WCL students were there so we had the opportunity to socialize and relax a bit before the interviews started. 

After returning from New York it was our duty as the new LL.M. Board to organize a welcome event for the incoming LL.M. students (It is possible to start the LL.M. program during the fall and spring semester). We decided to organize a welcome dinner at a Mexican restaurant and went to a club afterwards. This way the old students had the chance to meet the new students and the new students had the chance to get to know each other as well. The week thereafter we rented a bus and organized a ski-trip to Whitetails ski-resort in Pennsylvania. For many students this was the first time they saw snow or that they skied. We even had a mini après-ski at a restaurant to talk about our ski-experience. All in all it was a great day and I enjoyed every minute of it.

During this semester I am attending the following courses; International Banking Law, International Project Finance and International Regulation of Securities Markets. I know that this might sound boring to many of you but I think it is great! There are many courses to choose from and as an LL.M. student you can choose to specialize in for example human rights law, international trade law, environmental law or intellectual property law. I don’t have any experience with those courses so I leave the comments for those courses to my fellow students.

Anyway, I think I have given you a bit of an idea how life as an LL.M. student is at WCL. I know that I forgot to mention many things but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me.

Kind regards,

Onur Arslan


lawllabies, Aug 05, 2011 08:47

Hi Onur! This post is great!

Anyway, I am looking into what I can expect in an LL.M. class and I just want to ask, what is the typical work load in WCL? Was the class real tough? Any advice on what helped you out in overcoming them? Like, note-taking strategies that worked. Thank you!

tulsi.az, Jul 26, 2010 14:46

Hello Onur,
I am a practicing advocate at Bombay High Court and l have got 2 years of work exp. in Civil litigation and in indirect taxes. I would be interested in either taking up LLM in taxation or in Business law. Can it happen that i can club both, is it possible? , more so, if i apply to a university which provides LLM in both Business law and Taxation law.
Apart from the quaries relating to courses which i will choose, I would like to know about the ranking of WCL and a very obvious question about the prospects open for an LLM in USA, if they pursue LLM from WCL. In one of your blogs, u have mentioned about the 11 interviews that u attended, if u can provide more information about it, i shall be obliged.

Cristina, Jun 14, 2009 07:15

Dear Onur
I am planning to apply for LLM-2010 and have few questions. Would be great if you could comment on that.
1. I have bachelor degree in law but have been working in banking for almost 10 years. Disadvantage in applying for LLM course due to non-legal practice? (FYI, documentation of finance docs would be one part of my current job....)

2. want to pursue career in world bank/ifc etc. Could you recommend me the best LLM schools for this?

tks in advance,

LLM Board ..., Mar 29, 2009 17:44

Hey Simone,

I didn't attend the foundations course because I had studied at the American University - Washington College of Law as an exchange student in 2007 and therefore already had a background in US law. Perhaps we will meet at the Fulbright Enrichment seminar, mine is in New York during the first weekend of April.

Also, thank you for informing us about Georgetown University.



simonesuch, Mar 29, 2009 08:19

anyways, so that everyone here benefits from freedom of choice here it goes same town but University of Georgetown:

Almost 200 FOREIGN LLM students at the program every year (77 countries) - plus exchange students
Almost 300 Courses for LLMs
Largest staff (international office) for Foreign LLMs in town
As for the ranking - well, i dont even need to mention it

simonesuch, Mar 29, 2009 08:15

Hey Onur, how is that you are fulbrighter in DC and we didnt meet at Foundations ? - anyways, have a good time in DC - fortunately weather getting better

LLM Board ..., Mar 05, 2009 17:26

@ Carolina,
I know that the Human Rights Law program at WCL is one of the best programs in the United States with world wide respected professors. However, since I am specializing in International Business Law I can not inform you about the courses. However, I have asked a fellow board member (Faten Saleh) who is specialzing in Human Rights Law to post her experiences on the blog. She is very active in the Human Rights Law program so I think she can share valuable information about the program.

@ nnk
In the LL.M. program we have students who have worked for a few years but also students who just graduated from law school. So, I don't think that you should worry about your experience. Just make sure that your cover letter and other application documents are good and that you show that you are ambitious and motivated. Lack of working experience should not be an obstacle for applying.

Also, the International Legal Studies Program offers 5 full scholarships but also Tuition Remission Scholarships varying between 2 and 8 credits. Please go to the previously posted link for more information.

Kind regards,


llminfo, Mar 05, 2009 16:55

The ILSP offers five full scholarships for the fall 2009: http://www.wcl.american.edu/ilsp/llm_scholarships.cfm

nnk, Mar 05, 2009 10:42

I\'m fresh-graduated thai law student and I\'m really interested in WCL but I\'d like to know that without experience, would it be hard to study ILSP? I\'m kind of worried.
And I really want to find a scholarship or fund or grants, is there any you can give a suggestion?


Carolina, Mar 04, 2009 15:17

Hi everyone!I am a Spanish student interested in the LLM in International Human Rights Law!
Could anybody give me a hand telling me how this is at WCL?Has it got a good reputation?Is it interesting?

Thanks a lot!


llminfo, Mar 02, 2009 18:25

here is the link for admission information:


You could also email llminfo@wcl.american.edu for more information.

sagar_8802..., Mar 02, 2009 14:23

Hii.. I would like to know the procedure and the way to get admission in WLC for L.L.M. in Inetrnational Buisness law .....
It would be very kind of you if you can guide me.....

Thanking you
Sagar Chaudhary

LLM Board ..., Mar 02, 2009 13:54

Dear Destiny09,

First of all, what makes you think I applied to Georgetown?

I didn't apply to any other university and I will explain to you why I didn't. I was an exchange student at the American University during the fall 2007 semester. During that semester I had a fantastic experience at the WCL. Both the staff of the law school and my fellow students were friendly and the courses were interesting. So when I went back to the Netherlands I applied to some scholarships to fund an LL.M. program in the United States. I received a Fulbright scholarship, Clifford Chance scholarship and VSBfonds scholarship. Even though, I think I could easily get into many other universities I just applied to the American University because I knew that I would get more value for my money.

Hope that this answers your questions!

Destiny09, Mar 02, 2009 05:59

2 questions:
1. Did you regret not getting into Georgetown?
2. If you had your chance again would you try Georgetown?
Just checking...thx in advance.

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