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

What does LL.M. stand for?

LL.M. stands for the Latin term “Legum Magister,” which translates roughly to “Master of Laws.”

How long is an LL.M. program?

The typical length to complete an LL.M. degree in many countries is one year. However,  two-year LL.M. programs and degrees of other lengths also exist.

What’s the difference between an LL.M. and a JD?

LL.M. degrees and JD degrees are generally aimed at two different kinds of applicants.

The JD—or “Juris Doctor”—is a graduate, professional-level law degree, mainly offered in the United States, Canada, Australia, and some other countries. In some jurisdictions, such as the United States, a JD—plus passing a bar exam—is an essential requirement to practice law. JD programs are generally aimed at those who recently completed their undergraduate degrees and want to practice law in the future.

The LL.M. is also a graduate-level law degree, but is generally aimed at those whose goals include getting international experience or developing a specialization. Read more about  the reasons why people pursue LL.M.s.

Where are LL.M. degrees offered?

All over the world: in the  United StatesCanada, the UK and many other parts of EuropeAsia, the Middle East / AfricaAustralia / New Zealand, and Latin America.

Can I get an LL.M. without a JD or an LL.B.? 

Maybe. Although many LL.M. programs will require an undergraduate degree to apply, there are a number of law schools offering either LL.M. programs aimed at non-law graduates, or LL.M. programs that are open to those without a background in law. These programs are primarily designed for non-lawyers whose work requires an understanding of law or a particular legal field.

Can LL.M. degree-holders take a bar exam?

In some cases, yes. However, the rules vary from region-to-region (as well as from state-to-state, in the case of the  US bar exam.) Make sure you understand the laws and rules of the jurisdiction where you’d like to take the bar exam.

How much does an LL.M cost?

It varies widely. In the United States, for international students studying for a full-time LL.M., tuition can range between around $20,000 to over $60,000. Depending on the school, this will sometimes be reduced for in-state residents.

Likewise, in Europe and the UK, tuition rates are often less for residents of the Eurozone than they are for those living outside it.

Part-time degrees may allow students to spread the cost of the program over several years (or more).

Where can I find LL.M. scholarships?

LL.M. scholarships are an integral part of the LL.M. funding toolbox. Scholarships are sometimes offered by law schools, and sometimes by external organizations. See a listing of available scholarships on  LLM GUIDE’s scholarship page.

How can I find the best LL.M. for my chosen career path?

LL.M.s can prepare students for an array of legal careers, based on your goals and your course of study. To choose an LL.M. that's strong in a particular field of law, please see  LLM GUIDE's Top 10 Lists, which can help you quickly choose the right program for you.

What do I need to apply for an LL.M.?

To apply for an LL.M., applicants often need a undergraduate degree, and most likely, you’ll also have to have a first law degree. You’ll also need to demonstrate language proficiency, often by taking either the  TOEFL or IELTS test. Depending on the degree to which you’re applying, you may also need to submit letters of recommendation, essays, and other application components.

Read more about  what you need to apply for an LL.M.

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

Law School Glossary
Law School Glossary

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

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.

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.