Few law schools run entire LL.M. degree programs in mergers and acquisitions. Instead, prospective students hoping to break into this field should consider LL.M. degrees in related fields such as business or corporate law. Often, within these specialty programs, law schools will offer individual classes in mergers and acquisitions.
Law schools report that appetite for deals lawyers is on the upswing, fueled by the rising value of M&A as executives reshape corporations to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Many of the programs are taught by former or practicing deals lawyers who bring a wealth of industry expertise and practical application of the legal and economic theory underpinning deals. Many students complete an externship at leading financial institutions and law firms with robust deals practices.
The courses are multidisciplinary in nature, blending law and economics as well as business studies. Students will analyze corporate M&A transactions and often complete a mock corporate acquisition themselves. The objective is to help students understand the economic logic of deals as well as the legal framework underpinning transactions.
Frankfurt School of Finance and Management runs a full LL.M. in M&A, which provides students with a multi-disciplinary perspective. It blends law and economics, giving students a broad church of skills they need to successful lead or advise on corporate deals. The program is run by Professor Christoph Schalast, who runs a successful law firm focused on dealmaking, so students can count on real industry insights. There’s also a practical focus, with students required to find solutions to complex legal, economic and tax problems with M&A transactions.View School Profile
LL.M. students at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law can take additional courses related to mergers and acquisitions through the Business Law Emphasis Program. Students study M&A but also international business more broadly, including bankruptcy, taxation, accounting and startups. Students who successfully complete the program receive a certificate to show to employers alongside their LL.M. degree.View School Profile
Germany’s University of Applied Sciences for Economics and Management runs an entire LL.M. program in M&A that is taught by former deals lawyers from top firms such as Clifford Chance. Not only do these professors bring industry insights, but they have connections to practitioners who come in as guest lecturers, providing learning, networking and —potentially — job opportunities for the students.View School Profile
QMUL in London offers LL.M. candidates a module in mergers and acquisitions. It goes over corporate law and financial regulation and focuses on due diligence, purchase sale agreements and contractual governance, among other themes. The course seeks to provide a global and comparative perspective, underscoring modern principles and trends of corporate finance. The school’s London base gives it connections to leading financial centers in the City of London and Canary Wharf, the capital city’s two financial districts.View School Profile
Georgetown Law, one of America’s leading LL.M. degree providers, runs a specialist degree in International Business and Economic Law. It covers subjects that are important for deals lawyers, including corporate, securities, trade and commercial law in addition to dispute resolution. Many students incorporate an externship into the LL.M. at leading financial institutions and law firms with robust deals practices.View School Profile
Columbia Law School runs an M&A course for LL.M. students that takes a multi-dimensional approach to teaching. The course explains the various motives for acquisitions and the techniques that companies employ. The course also addresses accounting, securities and tax law. Students will study important capital markets actors such as private equity firms. The objective is to help students understand the economic logic of deals as well as the legal framework.View School Profile
Duke Law, another leading American institution, runs a course for LL.M. candidates about mergers and acquisitions. During the module, students will analyze corporate M&A transactions and complete a mock corporate acquisition themselves. They will learn about the structures used in transactions and strategies used by the acquiring and target firms in negotiating a deal. They also learn about financing and the roles and responsibilities of boards of directors as well as executive management.View School Profile
Fordham Law School’s LL.M. in Banking, Corporate and Finance Law addresses a number of topics relevant to deals lawyers, including courses covering banking law and financial institutions. More broadly, students develop a sophisticated understanding of corporate culture and insights into the goals and strategies of executives. Fordham is based in New York City, a global financial center with ample job opportunity at elite law firms or the in-house legal teams of major corporations.View School Profile
University of Reading in the UK puts on the LL.M. International Commercial Law with Competition Law and Regulation. Students on this program study the application of competition law to mergers and acquisitions among other transactions. Students also learn other subjects that are important for deals lawyers, such as competition law regimes around the globe that can be a major roadblock to corporate deals.View School Profile
At University of Toronto Faculty of Law in Canada, LL.M. students can do an externship in mergers and acquisitions litigation for 10 hours per week. It’s a chance for participants to examine issues that arise with M&A transactions that proceed to litigation. It’s modelled on a real case study, with students meeting instructors throughout the academic year to draft memoranda, factums and other submissions for the mock corporate case.View School Profile