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2015年3月 9日 (月)

Let’s Compare! American LL.M vs. British LL.M.

Like the US, the UK also has LL.M. Programs. What are the similarities and differences between the two?

 

One similarity is the application procedure. In principle, in both American LL.M. programs and British LL.M. programs, successful applicants are determined based on a document review rather than a written entrance examination.

 

Documents required when applying for an LL.M. in the UK include (1) an online application, (2) certificate of graduation and transcript of records from your university (must be from the law department) and law graduate school, (3) TOEFL or IELTS scores, (4) letters of recommendation, and (5) a resume or CV. Requirements for applying to an LL.M. program in the US are about the same, except they generally accept TOEFL rather than IELTS scores.

 

Another difference is that in order to be admitted to an LL.M. in the US, in principle, one must have a law degree. In contrast, it is possible for those who do not have a law degree to apply to an LL.M. program in the UK. However, in place of a law degree, you will be required to have work experience.

 

Moreover, the path to becoming a lawyer is very different between the US and the UK. In the US, after completing your LL.M., you become eligible to sit for a state bar exam such as in New   York or California. Once you pass the state bar exam, then you automatically become a certified lawyer in that state. In the UK, in order to become either a solicitor or a barrister[*], you must first get a qualifying undergraduate law degree (LL.B.) or a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). Afterwards, you must take Legal Practice Course in order to become a solicitor or a Bar Professional Training Course in order to become a barrister, both of which are one-year full-time or two-year part-time courses. For this reason, becoming a lawyer in the UK can take much longer than in the US.

 

So, if you are planning on doing an LL.M. abroad in order to obtain qualifications to practice law, we recommend getting an LL.M. in the US rather than in the UK.



[*] Lawyers in the UK can practice as either solicitors (who work directly with clients) or barristers (who have the right to represent clients in court).