Loyola Los Angeles launches bar track LL.M. program


When Loyola Law School, Los Angeles graduate Fernanda Molina passed the bar exam, she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I'm so glad to tell you that I passed the bar!” she wrote to LL.M. Faculty Director Aaron Ghirardelli. “You know the feeling, right? One of the best ever! Now, I can apply to companies with more confidence!”

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles wants more LL.M. graduates to have that same potential and excitement.

The school has created the Bar Track LL.M. program with resources dedicated to helping students pass the California and New York Bar Exams. The program has three main prongs: an intensive weekend fall workshop, a for-credit Essentials of Bar Writing course, and exclusive bar resources in the summer leading up to the exam dates in July.

Ghirardelli knows what it takes for foreign students to pass the bar. An Italian lawyer with strong connections in Europe, he has passed both the California and New York exams.

Equipped with that experience, he worked with other administrators to develop Loyola’s Bar Track LL.M. That plan included hiring Professor Elizabeth Belser, a longtime academic staff attorney for one of the most successful bar exam-preparation companies in the U.S.

A former practicing California attorney, Belser served as a legal editor for many of California BARBRI’s materials and lectured on a range of bar exam subjects. So far, students say they are impressed with what she brings to her role at Loyola.

During the fall workshop, Belser provided international LL.M. students with a comprehensive overview of the California bar exam, including an introduction to essay writing. The second day of the workshop focused on the performance test, a portion of the exam that measures an applicant’s ability to quickly assess a set of facts and draft an analysis for a hypothetical client.

In the Essentials of Bar Writing for LL.M. class set for spring 2018, students will learn strategies and tactics needed to pass the essay portions of the two state exams. There will be one-on-one meetings and conference sessions, and students will learn skills that improve their law school writing, outlining and issue-spotting. 

In final preparation for the exam, Loyola will offer one-on-one private tutoring for a select number of students. The program, which will complement a traditional bar review program, will include feedback on writing samples, as well as guidance on individualized study plans. 


Related articles:

Fordham Law launches professional track LL.M.

Berkeley Law launches hybrid option for LL.M.

5 easiest states for foreign-trained attorneys to take the bar exam


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