Located just half an hour from Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, is one of Europe’s best kept secrets in legal education. Leading lawyers from all over the globe know it as a law school with a high-quality curriculum, affordable fees and an unrivalled setting in the heart of the EU.
Nestled among charming cobbled streets and cosy canals, Ghent University Law School, established in 1817, is well suited to its central location. Classes and lectures may take place in majestic buildings from the 17th and 19th centuries, but there’s nothing outdated about the teaching or facilities here, at one of Belgium’s most respected universities.
With Ghent University being one of the top 100 on the globe, it wasn’t hard for Viacheslav Semenko (LLM alumnus of 2018 from Ukraine) to turn down his offers from two other major law schools. In his time as an LLM-candidate in International Business Law, he found that Ghent Law School offered an “excellent opportunity in the heart of Europe for an affordable price”.
The LLM in International Business Law is the School’s flagship programme. Perfect for students aiming for a global, business-oriented career, this advanced degree combines the expertise of the renowned Financial Law Institute with experienced practitioners in areas like M&A, Intellectual Property and Arbitration. Whether you’re from the EU or beyond, this LLM will provide the in-depth knowledge and skills needed to take your career to the next level.
As Viacheslav can attest: “Gent University is a huge public educational centre, which means that everything starting from study programmes to housing are thought out to the last detail.
“Furthermore, its challenging courses on European Company Law and Corporate Governance, Contract Law and EU Mergers and Acquisitions are particularly beneficial to my career,” he explained.
A flexible, innovative LLM
Presenting the broadest spectrum of options available for students is the LLM in International and European Law. Students on this programme can tailor their education to their personal and career goals by handpicking courses from a wealth of topics of European or international relevance.
It was the obvious choice for ambitious Karen Garcia Rivera, an established lawyer in her home country of Colombia. She has experience in several public sector fields, having also served as a legal professional in commercial and tax law. She chose the profession to assist in creating a more equitable society, selecting Ghent University to push her out of her comfort zone. Ghent Law School let her achieve both goals.
Its wide array of courses on a range of European and international law issues let students focus on their area of interest, while gaining a general European and international law education. Opportunities to participate and earn credits in several moot court competitions and in the legal clinic on human rights ensures each student receives hands-on experience at an international level, in addition to boosting their CVs with these impressive experiences.
In this LLM, Garcia Rivera enjoyed a quality academic experience that helped her achieve her dreams, as well as the flexibility to tailor the curriculum to fit her future career plans back home in Colombia.
“Doing an LLM at Ghent University is an excellent opportunity to study at one of the best law schools in the world and be able to give back to my country,” she said.
For those seeking greater focus in the law and institutions of the European Union, another LLM offered by Ghent Law School is the LLM in European Union Law. The Law School, a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, is recognised for its expertise and available resources on European Union Law.
For this LLM, students complete compulsory core subjects and specialised electives to receive a high-level EU law education, while maintaining a freedom of focus on personal career or research needs. With its proximity to EU institutions, the Law School provides in-depth study of the law and practice of the European Union. Students also benefit from the excellent library, which doubles as a European Documentation Centre.
All three LLM programmes are taught by distinguished faculty, consisting of more than 80 professors and about 90 assistants, many of whom are internationally known specialists in their fields. On top of all this, while following Ghent LLM programmes (which also include training in negotiation and mediation as well as presentation skills and open guest lectures and workshops), students have the added benefit of living in vibrant Ghent.
Being a city with a large student population and thus a buzzing nightlife, Ghent promises a rich offering of high-end culture (such as an international film festival, classical and pop music events) and is an important economic center (with one tech firm set up by a Ghent Law School alumnus now valued at almost one billion) in Flanders – one of the wealthiest European regions.
But what truly makes Ghent Law School stand out is the way its LLM specialisations effectively prepare students for the significant transformation taking place in legal sectors worldwide. Over the next three years, both law firm and department lawyers anticipate “greater specialisation of legal services offered by firms” to be one of the top three areas of greatest change expected, according to a report by Wolters Kluwer. Lawyers also cited specialisation as one of the top criterion clients will use to evaluate law firms in the future.
An LLM from Ghent University Law School prepares legal professionals for all this and more, making it the greatest investments an aspiring lawyer could make for their career and self-development.
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