The best LL.M. programs of 2017

Big city or small town? United States law or a specialty like intellectual property or health law? There are a lot of options when it comes to deciding where to earn your American graduate law degree and which degree to pursue.

In fact, there are 153 law schools spread out across the United States that offer programs for foreign attorneys, and those schools offer more than 450 programs. And the number of offerings continues to grow. 

So where do you start?

We collected data on law schools to identify the most robust LL.M. programs for foreign attorneys in four areas: Academics, the Law School Experience, Career Opportunities and Best Value. 

Data came from law schools, the American Bar Association and other sources. We then weighted key points based on importance and identified the schools that excelled. We recognize them on our honor roll. 

Two schools made the honor roll for all four of our lists: Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. 

“We are really concentrating on quality over quantity,” said Laura Fernandez, Ohio State’s assistant dean for International and Graduate Affairs. 

Of course, each student will have different factors they value as more important than others. 

Desiree Jaeger-Fine, who co-authored “The U.S. LL.M.: From Whether to When, What, Where, and How,” recommends using a spreadsheet to organize and track your research.

“It helps you keep in mind which information you should look for; it organizes the information that is most important to you; and it makes comparisons between and among schools easier,” she writes. “Every law school website is structured differently and if you are simply clicking through the website without really knowing what to look for it can get overwhelming very fast.”

Start with an initial list and then examine the quality of the professors who are teaching; how the size of the program compares to what you desire; and if the location is where you may find good networking opportunities, Jaeger-Fine said. 

And keep in mind the LL.M. is just a stepping stone to the next point in a career.

“People pursuing LL.M.s in the United States are very forward-thinking and often come because they want to propel their career going forward, so it’s as much about what they’re doing when they’re here as it is what opportunities it will create when they graduate,” said Deborah Schlosberg, director of student advising for advanced degree programs at University of California Berkeley School of Law.

Click here to find out the 2017 Best LL.M. Programs for foreign attorneys in four areas: Academics, the Law School Experience, Career Opportunities and Best Value

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