An LL.M. degree can be a fast ticket to the top. For many law professionals, having a US law school on the top of a CV can be extremely valuable.
Indeed, LL.M. graduates are expected to enjoy a career and salary boost, but they have to pay for it at the top law schools and sometimes dearly.
With the US economy booming, the opportunity cost of leaving your job to return to full-time study is high. This is especially true for international students, who have to consider not only the tuition for an LL.M. program, but cost of living, which can be high in some American cities.
Luckily, at many law schools, there is an abundance of financial aid for LL.M. students. Choosing to study outside of big metropolitan areas can help minimize expenses as well.
Here are the top 10 budget LL.M.s in the USA:
BYU’s course is for foreign lawyers who want to make themselves more employable outside the US. The eight-month program is taught full-time between August and April every year. BYU emphasises law with purpose, offering significant discounts for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members. Another advantage is the lifestyle: the school’s campus is at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, offering limitless outdoor activities.View School Profile
Being just a year long, the opportunity cost of Iowa’s LL.M. is low. Tuition fees have been substantially reduced in recent years, too. Students can further cut their tuition fee bill by working for faculty as a research assistant. All applicants are automatically considered for a scholarship. The school keeps class sizes small, to encourage interaction and networking with peers and professors.View School Profile
The school runs renowned specialty LL.M. programs six subjects including health law and intellectual property law, and information law. The two aforementioned programs are ranked highly by US News. The school is one of the most innovative in the world, according to a Financial Times ranking. Studying in Houston may be beneficial. America’s fourth-largest city is a leader in healthcare, energy and international business, so prospects for employment locally are expected to be good.View School Profile
The school offers three LL.M.s: a general degree, and specialist programs in international trade and business law, and indigenous peoples law and policy (IPLP). All three are full-time programs taken over two semesters. Students can tackle real cases. In the IPLP course, they have represented several indigenous and tribal communities in global human rights cases and petitions, such as Rio Yaqui of Mexico and Maya of Belize, alongside faculty.View School Profile
Nebraska has a forward-thinking LL.M. that focuses on space, cybersecurity and telecommunications law and policy, which relates to every satellite, phone call and online transaction. Graduates’ career prospects appear to be good, as some have gone on to work for private companies like SpaceX, civilian agencies like the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, and military operations such as the US Cyber Command, as well as for think-tanks and law firms.View School Profile
Launched in 1974, Temple’s LL.M. for Foreign-Trained Lawyers caters to international students who are interested in learn about the US legal system. However, beyond that core offering, the school also offers a range of other programs, including an LL.M. in Taxation, one in Trial Advocacy, and even an LL.M. based in Beijing, China. The school is currently ranked as a top law school for trial advocacy, according to US News and World Report.View School Profile
The Carey School of Law’s affordable LL.M. program offers a good deal of flexibility: students can pursue one of eight legal specialities, including health law, environmental law, intellectual property law, and more. Studying in Baltimore has its perks: the city is based in the US’ second-largest legal market, offering easy access to government agencies, large legal firms, and NGOs. Being based in the country’s second-largest legal market is also beneficial in terms of cost of living, compared to the largest (New York). The school is currently ranked as a top law school for health care law, according to US News.View School Profile
Offering a budget-priced LL.M. in Fort Worth, Texas A&M is currently ranked by US News as one of the top 100 law schools in the country. The school offers a range of LL.M. options—both online and in-class—covering topics from business and commercial law to wealth management.View School Profile
Aimed primarily at students from outside the US, FIU’s LL.M. is a great choice for international students on a budget. Students in the LL.M. can opt to study a range of legal disciplines, including alternative dispute resolution, family law, labor & employment law, and more. Just don’t get too distracted by Miami’s many cultural attractions and nightlife.View School Profile
LSU is unique among US law schools in that it offers an integrated common law and civil law education (the legal system in Louisiana is derived from the civil code established by France in the early 19th century). This means that students in the LL.M. program are exposed to a unique range of law traditions. For those on a budget, the school offers many of its LL.M. students generous merit-based scholarships.View School Profile