Law School Glossary

Law School Glossary

From ABA to TOEFL, a short list of frequently used acronyms and terms relevant to LL.M.s.

A short list of frequently used acronyms and terms relevant to LL.M.s.

ABA – The American Bar Association, a bar association of lawyers based in Washington D.C., which sets widely adopted standards for legal education and professional legal practice in the United States. This organization also provides perhaps the most influential accreditation for law schools nationwide.

ETS – Educational Testing Service, a US-based non-profit organization widely known for producing standardized exams such as the TOEFL, which is a common requirement for non-native English-speaking applicants to law schools in the United States and abroad.

FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form submitted by students of US universities who are seeking financial aid from the US government. The FAFSA form is designed to ascertain a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), a figure that determines which need-based government grants and subsidized loans a student can apply for.

GPA – Stands for Grade Point Average, the most common quantitative measure of overall undergraduate academic achievement.

IELTS – International English Language Testing System, a common, English-language proficiency exam. Many English-speaking universities and law schools in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa request that non-native English speakers submit satisfactory IELTS results when applying.

JD – Abbreviation for the Latin term Juris Doctor, used in the United States to refer to professional law degree that the vast majority of LL.M students acquire before embarking on their LL.M. degree. Although it is mostly considered to be a postgraduate degree -- completed after undergraduate studies -- it is not actually a doctorate degree as the name might suggest.

Joint Degree / Dual Degree Program - Refers to programs offered by some universities in which students can pursue two degrees simultaneously. Common dual degree programmes include those leading to a combined J.D. / LL.M., or a joint Master’s degree program, such as a combined LL.M. / MBA.

LLB – Refers to Bachelor of Laws, the term used throughout much of the English-speaking world (though not the United States, where the term Juris Doctor is broadly used) to refer to the academic degree leading to professional practice in law. The LL.B is most often a three-year degree pursued after the completion of an undergraduate / bachelor’s degree. Possession of an LL.B. or J.D. degree is a requirement for candidacy for the bar association or law society, and often for participation in an LL.M. program.

LL.M. – Refers for the Latin phrase Legum Magister, which is also referred to as "Master of Laws." Usually a one-year degree that is pursued after a bachelor's degree in law.

LSAC – The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) is a US-based non-profit organization whose membership includes over 200 US and Canadian law schools. The LSAC administers the LSAT exam. It also operates the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS).

LSDAS – The Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) is operated by the LSAC. The LSDAS collects application material (including test scores, undergraduate transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation) from law school applicants. The LSAC then compiles this information into reports, which it sends directly to law schools on behalf of the applicant. Some law schools in the United States require that applicants use this paid service. The LSAC also provides an LL.M. Credential Assembly Service for international students intending to apply for LL.M. programs in the United States.

LSAT – Otherwise known as the Law School Admissions Test, the LSAT is a standardized exam the results of which are required for admission into most law schools in North America. LSAT results are currently only required from applicants to J.D. programs, and generally not from applicants to LL.M. programs who have already completed their first law degree.

TOEFL – Stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language. The TOEFL is a standardized examination of English-language proficiency that non-native English-speaking applicants must often take before acceptance to English-speaking universities. The test is administered by the Educational Testing Service.


Image: Horia Varlan /  CC BY 2.0 (cropped and rotated)

LLM FAQs

What is an LL.M.?
What is an LL.M.?

Basic information about the Legum Magister or LL.M., degree

Funding Your LL.M.
Funding Your LL.M.

An LL.M. can be an expensive investment. But from grants to scholarships and loans, funding resources are available

How Do I Prepare For An LL.M.?
How Do I Prepare For An LL.M.?

Accepted to an LL.M.? Make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running

Is an LL.M. Right for Me?
Is an LL.M. Right for Me?

Thinking about applying for an LL.M.? Read on to see if an LL.M. might be the right step for your career

LL.M. Basics: Types of Law Degrees
LL.M. Basics: Types of Law Degrees

J.D. or LL.B.? How about an LL.M. or J.M.? A breakdown of the different law degrees on offer in the US and abroad.

LL.M. Essential Facts
LL.M. Essential Facts

The Master of Laws Degree—LL.M.—can be a great résumé builder for many legal professionals. Here are some quick facts about the degree

Short FAQs
Short FAQs

A series of short Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about LL.M. programs and LLM GUIDE

What are the TOEFL and IELTS?
What are the TOEFL and IELTS?

If you’re an international student applying from an LL.M. in an English-speaking country, chances are you’ll have to take one of these English-language tests. Here’s some essential information on the TOEFL and IELTS

What Do I Need to Apply for an LL.M. Program?
What Do I Need to Apply for an LL.M. Program?

A list of the typical requirements you’ll need to meet and materials you’ll need to submit when applying for an LL.M.

What is an LL.M. Concentration?
What is an LL.M. Concentration?

Should you get an LL.M. with a concentration? And if so, what should you choose?

What Kind of LL.M. Program is Right for Me?
What Kind of LL.M. Program is Right for Me?

From a full-time LL.M. to online and blended programs, you can choose the right LL.M. for your needs

Where Should I Do My LL.M.?
Where Should I Do My LL.M.?

Should you stay close to home or go abroad?

Which Law School?
Which Law School?

With so many law schools around the world, how do you find the right LL.M. program for you?

Why Should I do an LL.M.?
Why Should I do an LL.M.?

Outside of the legal world, the LL.M. is not a well-known degree. But there are plenty of reasons why lawyers or legal students might decide to do an LL.M.