“There can be no liberty without the law.” – Cecil B. DeMille
The realm of global law and policy might seem rife with detail and bureaucracy, but it also represents one of the most respected and rewarding career disciplines. And there’s really never been a better time to take on the legal field, with far-reaching waves of change presenting equal challenge and opportunity for legislators worldwide.
In a constantly fluctuating, uncertain graduate job market, students must enter the world fully-prepared to face professional realities. As such, if you hope to reign over the lucrative legal sphere, it’s important to seek an elite education that blends real-world knowledge with a comprehensive understanding of the law.
Generally, a law degree of any level exposes students to a diverse and wide-ranging curriculum, breaking through disciplinary boundaries as they explore exciting fields like medicine through the study of tort law, to sociology through family law, EU economics through contract law, and the list goes on. A curriculum such as this that defies set conventions not only grants students a universally-relevant foundation in law, but also instils them with a versatile skillset that can be employed in virtually any professional setting.
Most employers today want a ‘well-rounded’ candidate, a hire who not only excels in practice, but who also clearly demonstrates academic prowess, critical capabilities, creativity and problem-solving skills in every aspect of their work. What better way to ensure you really are the best person for the job than to pursue a global law degree – which undoubtedly imbues these expertise (and a whole heap more!).
Luckily for you, an increasing number of law-facing schools are doing everything they can to promise internships, legal clinic placements and pro-bono work to dedicated students, getting them out of the classroom and into the community to help those in need and gain unparalleled industry experience. Many offer placements that focus on contemporary global problems, including environmental justice and sustainability, feminist legal advocacy, investor protection, and international and transnational law.
This can only be a good thing, because governments and corporations alike are incredibly keen to capitalise on the accomplished and adaptable versatility of international law students. And trust us when we say that evidence of practical application goes a long way in terms of pipping competition to the post of the most sought-after jobs.
Here are 6 leading law schools that will help you put your knowledge into practice…
The University of Miami’s (UM) stunning 260-acre campus is nestled in the heart of Miami, Southern Florida, placing it at the crossroads of the Americas and the perfect location to instil students with a much-needed international outlook.
Intensive Legal English + LL.M.: Kicking-off in January and running the course of three-semesters, this course is delivered at the Law School’s state-of-the-art campus, giving students access to cutting-edge opportunities and facilities. The program specifically targets foreign-trained lawyers looking to hone their English proficiency before immersing themselves in UM’s world-class LL.M. program. Here, students are welcomed into the UM law community with warm and open arms, urged and inspired to dive in and participate in the school’s social, academic and networking events where they can meet face-to-face with influential partners and employers.
Online LL.M. in Taxation of Cross-Border Investment: This program is tailored to the foreign-trained attorney looking to practice, or intend to practice, in or around the Latin America, striving to develop the niche market of structuring investments in and coming out of the region. Delivered almost entirely online, this program is also ideal for students looking to explore more sophisticated tax practice, or who are looking to understand enough US tax law to thrive in the US tax industry.
“I knew I wanted to get a J.D., but I also needed to continue to work while making the transition to understanding US tax matters,” says Leopoldo Escobar, Venezuelan lawyer and student of the program.
“By entering through the LL.M. program, there was more flexibility and ability to transfer into the J.D. requirements and jointly work on the tax courses. It was efficient, and I could start right away.”
Online LL.M. in Real Property Development: This distance-learning program instils students with a firm understanding of all areas of law that intersect with real estate development, from land acquisition, finance, regulation, tax and construction law to residential and commercial development, landlord-tenant, closings, negotiation, planning strategies and drafting.
As a recognised center of excellence, BU Law whole-heartedly believes in exploring the full scope of law and legislature studies, urging students to follow their passion and forge their own academic path, selecting a program from ‘virtually any area of law’, covering Intellectual Property Law, Business Law, Civil Rights & Constitutional Law, as well as Immigration & Human Rights Law, Entertainment & Sports Law, just to name a few.
Here, LLM in American Law students can choose from more than 200-courses and seminars, encompassing one of the widest course selections of any US law school, while students also have the option to enroll in one of several specialized LLMs in banking, tax and IP.
Known for being both rigorous and rewarding, the School greatly emphasizes experiential, transformative education, offering a wealth of education opportunities that get students prepared for the professional field.
All BU Law students, including international students, can participate in the Pro Bono program, where students provide voluntary law-related service to individuals and organizations. All JD and LLM students who successfully complete the pro bono pledge by conducting at least 50-hours of pro bono work are rewarded with a special designation on their final transcript.
“One advantage of going to law school that is part of a large university is the amount of opportunities it involves,” writes a former student for the law school’s blog. “Having so many options available allows you to get practical experience and go beyond what people traditionally think of as law school.”
The Beasley School of Law at Temple, Pennsylvania, is well-known for being one of the nation’s most prominent law schools. Presenting a diverse catalog of industry-relevant study fields – including Trial Advocacy, International Law, Business and Tax Law, Public Interest Law, Intellectual Property and Technology Law; the Beasley School of Law understands that experience counts, inspiring students to make a difference in the world directly from the classroom, conference room, or even courtroom setting.
Through the rich array of Experiential Learning courses, students learn vital legal skills regarding negotiations, client interviews, questioning and cross-examinations within mere weeks of starting at the School.
Furthermore, Temple’s highly acclaimed practical course offerings serve the next logical step in hands-on transformative study. Here, students who have completed a prerequisite Evidence class often enroll in an Introduction to Trial Advocacy (ITA) course in which students refine their trial-based skills on a weekly basis, administering opening and closing arguments and examining mock witness cases. At the end of the course, students prepare an entire simulated trial to demonstrate litigation techniques acquired throughout the semester.
“My Temple Law professors and classmates helped me perceive education as a life-long process. My LL.M. studies gave me proficiency in common law case analysis and strategies,” says Maki Kubota-Sekiji, graduate of the LL.M. pogramme for foreign law school students.
“I can approach legal problems in a logical and profound manner, which has been useful in my professional life. I passed the New York bar exam after completing my Temple LL.M. degree, thus I believe that I am fully prepared to deal with my business partners.”
WashULaw is a respected law school that delivers expert teaching in substantive law and applied learning, examining the language of law, legal reasoning and techniques. For international law students, WashULaw offers curricular pathways leading to a Juris Doctor qualification (JD), an Advanced Law Degree (LLM), or a non-lawyer professional master’s degree (MLS).
Recognizing the importance of a multi-dimensional perspective of law, the school equips all students with an outstanding foundation in global law practice. As such, WashULaw students gain an elite education in US law whilst also gaining the expertise needed in a dynamic and connected professional environment.
“Not only will a student here experience great instruction in the classroom by world-class faculty who are extremely knowledgeable,” says Mike Koby, Associate Dean for International and Graduate programs at WashULaw, “but outside the classroom they will have experiences that will help them develop as lawyers here,” he adds.
The Academic programmes at WashULaw allow for subject-focused study into globally-relevant subjects like Bankruptcy, Commercial and Consumer Law, International and Comparative Law, Corporate and Business Law, and Intellectual Property and Technology Law.
WashULaw also offers additional advancement opportunities with the University’s Law Clinics, as well as valuable placements from the Externship program.
Standing among the Top 25 US Law Schools of 2017, Emory Law School (ELS) is a globally-recognized, specialized institution that continually produces graduates who succeed in both businesses and courtrooms worldwide. Emory Law, having just celebrated its centennial anniversary, has a long history of preparing its graduates for global practice.
Known to foster excellence and innovation, the school lets students tailor their programs to suit their respective needs, either via a more general study route, one of six predesigned areas of concentration, or as part of a study abroad experience.
Robert Schapiro, Dean of Emory Law, says the secret to the success lies in the institution’s “signature theory/practice programs”, applied in course material that “effectively integrates students into the profession, while our international initiatives foster partnerships around the world.”
In addition to the above programs, Emory’s LL.M. is a one-year program that can be customised, with students choosing from six concentrations within law or generalized study allowing students more flexibility in choosing their classes.
Here, students here have access to a first-rate faculty and vibrant student body, not to mention a host of practical options that allow the application of legal theory and skill, and an extensive global network of experienced law alumni.
The School of Law at the University at Buffalo is the only law school in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The School is situated on the flagship campus of a research-intensive public university, the largest in the northeastern United States.
One of only a few U.S. law schools located on an international border, UB School of Law offers cross-border learning opportunities focused on preparing students for the rapidly changing, global nature of legal practice. A strong alumni base of over 11,000 graduates world-wide provide guidance and mentorship to enrolled students.
“We are committed to helping you forge relationships not only with the professors, but also with private practitioners, public officials at the local, county, state and federal levels, and advocates working in numerous non-governmental organizations in the Buffalo Niagara region and across the globe,” the institution notes.
And while Buffalo-Niagara offers rich cultural diversity and a cosmopolitan vibe, legally-minded students gain a depth of understanding from the US District Court, the US Immigration Court, Buffalo City Court, Erie County Family Court and Domestic Violence Court and more, all located in the heart of downtown Buffalo.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International