The LLM program at Duke Law School is designed to introduce foreign law graduates to the legal system of the United States and to provide the opportunity to take advanced courses in specialized areas of the law. LLM students are welcome to make selections from the large number of courses represented in the curriculum. With the exception of two required courses, Distinctive Aspects of American Law and Legal Analysis, Research and Writing for International Students, all classes are taken with JD students. The number of credits required for the LLM degree is 21, but many students exceed the required number. Students will be able to fulfill the New York bar examination's LLM requirements. Students may also take courses in other parts of the university, like the Fuqua School of Business or the Sanford School of Public Policy. The program of study is normally completed in one academic year, which begins for all new students in late August.
Most LLM students at Duke are professionals with two or more years of experience at well-known law firms. They are also judges, prosecutors, academics, members of government ministries, corporations, or financial institutions. The LLM program usually includes a small number of talented, very recent law graduates as well. The 2013-14 LLM class has an enrollment of 86 students from 38 countries.
Applicants must hold a first degree in law from an accredited institution outside the United States. The law degree should be the equivalent of the JD or LLB degree. Correspondence course or distance learning degrees will not be considered for admission to the LLM program.
All applications will receive very careful scrutiny. Admissions will be based on the following criteria:
- the applicant's academic promise as revealed by previous academic performance;
- references (a minimum of 2) that demonstrate the applicant's scholarly ability and professional qualifications;
- the applicant's professional plans, goals and special interests as reflected on the Personal Statement and resume; and
- the applicant's English language proficiency.
Candidates for the LLM for International Law Graduates are expected in enroll in a minimum of 21 credit hours in law. Students may take more than 21 credits; those who wish to sit for the New York bar examination will be able to fulfill the bar examination's requirements at Duke Law. All students participate in the Distinctive Aspects of American Law course, and those with civil law training also will be asked to enroll in the U.S. Legal Analysis, Research and Writing for International Students course. Some international LLM students elect to take first-year courses, but the greater part of the curriculum consists of upper-class courses selected by the individual student.
Duke's LLM for International Law Graduates is not a research degree, but students can pursue their own areas of interest under faculty supervision, either by conducting an independent research project or by enrolling in a seminar. Students are required to produce two credits of written work for the degree in either a seminar or an independent research project. An un-graded elective course, the Legal Writing Workshop, is available to LLM students during the spring semester; it is designed to provide additional instruction in US legal correspondence and drafting, and to assist students in writing research papers and preparing for seminar presentations.
Candidates for the LLM degree for international law graduates must earn 21 law credits to graduate. (Students may take more than 21 credits.)
The program of study is normally completed in one academic year, which begins for all new students in late August. Additional requirements are as follows:
- Students are required to take Distinctive Aspects of U.S. Law.
- Students without extensive experience studying in English are required to take Legal Analysis, Research and Writing for International Students.
- Students are also required to produce a substantial piece of writing, which is usually satisfied by taking a seminar course or pursuing an independent research project supervised by a faculty member.
- Students who wish to sit for the New York bar examination will be able to fulfill the bar examination's LLM requirements.
Students are welcome to make selections from the large number of courses represented in the curriculum. With the exception of the required courses, all classes are taken with JD students. Students may also take courses in other parts of the university, such as the Fuqua School of Business or the Sanford Institute of Public Policy.