U.S. Legal Studies for Foreign Attorneys LL.M. Program
The U.S. Legal Studies for Foreign Attorneys LL.M. program is intended for well-qualified lawyers and law graduates from countries outside the United States who desire to immerse themselves in the study of the common law and then plan to return to their country to practice law. Students in the U.S. Legal Studies LL.M. are in residence for one year studying full-time, for three consecutive semesters, at the Lansing, Michigan campus of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.
Students begin in September. January or May admissions are considered on a case-by-case basis. The cost of living is reasonable and the Financial Aid Office estimates academic expenses each year. This estimate includes living expenses such as room and board, books, personal and miscellaneous, and transportation.
Individual Course of Study
Once admitted to the USLS LL.M. program, incoming students will meet with the program director to discuss a schedule and design a course of study. The individual course of study will consist of common law subjects blended with elective courses representing the student's particular area of interest. The course of study must be approved by the program director before beginning classes in the program.
The 24-credit degree blends common law subjects with elective courses chosen by the student. LL.M. students choose 12 credits from common law courses typically studied during the first year of law school – contracts, property and torts. In addition, they study U.S. constitutional law and legal research in classes specifically designed for foreign attorneys. The remaining eight credits consist of elective courses from WMU-Cooley's curriculum chosen by the student and approved by the director.
Taking a Bar Examination in the United States
The U.S. Legal Studies for Foreign Attorneys LL.M. Program is intended for well-qualified lawyers and law graduates from countries outside the United States who desire to immerse themselves in the study of the common law and then plan to return to their country to practice law. However, graduates from this program may decide to take a bar examination in the United States. Completion of the LL.M. degree does not qualify a graduate student to apply for permission to take the bar examination in every state. Each state applies its own criteria for allowing applicants to take the bar examination and for admitting attorneys to practice law.
Lawyers from other countries seeking to practice law in the United States should obtain information regarding the requirements for admission to the bar in the state in which they wish to practice. Information regarding certification for bar examinations is in the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Student Policy Manual.