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2015年4月16日 (木)

Guidance: Helpful references for your LL.M. preparation

Legalinesprofseries

Preparing for your LL.M. study in the U.S. requires time and effort. With everything that has to be done prior to your move to the U.S. (such as securing housing, moving your stuff, getting a mobile phone, opening a bank account, securing your health insurance, etc.), it is easy to overlook your preparation for the actual coursework involved in the LL.M. program.

Going about the task of studying in advance for your LL.M., however, can be stressful if you have no idea where to start and which sources could help you the most. With limited time on your hands and a wealth of information out there, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Here is a short list of resources to help you get started:

1. Your law school’s online system

Your first and one of your most important resources is your own law school’s online system where you can access information on law journals, school journals, and even outlines made on certain courses offered in their program. One example is the UC Berkeley online system which offers sample outlines for students to review.

2. Commercial Study Aids

There are numerous commercial publications out there that provide briefs or outlines of cases contained in casebooks used in the classroom. These are especially helpful when you have limited time to prepare for exams. The following are just some examples:

  • Concise Hornbook Series (West)

In the Concise Hornbook Series, legal concepts are discussed briefly and concisely to provide a clear profile of the said area.

  • Emmanuel Law Outlines Series (Aspen Publishers)

This series includes detailed and itemized discussions of various legal concepts in a wide range of topics.

  • Examples & Explanations Series (Aspen Publishers)

This series contains several practice exercises and relevant explanations helpful for students who want to assess their proficiency in various areas of the law. Most J.D. students use this series complemented by either the Gilbert or Emmanuel series.

Examples_and_explanations_28

  • Gilbert Law Summaries Series (Gilberts)

Similar to the Emmanuel Law Outlines Series, this also contains detailed discussions of various legal concepts.

  • Understanding Series (LexisNexis)

Similar to the Nutshell Series, the Understanding Series also provides an outline of the pertinent elements and concepts involved in a range of subject areas. The series, however, makes use of more case laws as samples which serves as good further reading to build on your knowledge of the common law.

  • Nutshell Series (West)

The Nutshell Series touches on the important points involved in each of the law subject areas. The book discusses legal concepts in a brief and concrete manner while explaining jargon. This book is a good introductory book for the study of the U.S. legal system.

Nutshell_4   

Audio Resources

There are also a number of audio resources in CD and MP3 Format that contain lectures covering a wide range of key legal topics.  

  • Bieler Audio Series
  • Casenote Legal Briefs (Aspen Publishing)
  • Sum & Substance Audio CD (West)

3. Online sources

Lexis Nexis and Westlaw are two essential online legal research tools that offer outlines and capsule summaries helpful for studying for classes and exams. These sites also provide various resources about surviving law school and to help you research about law firms.

C-Span’s US Supreme Court Case Law is an interactive timeline featuring facts, photos, interviews with experts, and other videos about significant events in the Supreme Court's history, dating from its first meeting in New   York in 1790 up to the present.

Websites like JD Supra and Law.com offer wide range of legal news and commentary on various areas of law. The American Bar Association has a comprehensive listing of law-related blogs, also known as blawgs.

Finally, law students often access websites such as Outline Depot where they can view outlines made by other law students.


We hope you found this list helpful. Indeed, there is no shortage of resources for those really want to learn about the law!

 

2015年4月 9日 (木)

Guidance: English Proficiency

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Sometimes, specially in the case of non-native speakers, there may not be enough confidence in one’s English abilities. One must keep in mind that during your law study you will have no time to study English. So, prior to going to law school make sure that your spoken and written English is already fairly good to catch up with the sophisticated and complicated legal concepts in your class.

If your English level is not as strong as you want it to be, having a back-up plan could help you a lot. For example, during lectures you can ask the permission of your professor to record the discussion. Keep in mind that lectures are just as important as the textbooks as it is the professor who will be writing the exam.

Remember to pay attention to note-taking and to attend all the lectures and seminars.

The LL.M. Advantage

Having a U.S. law degree can be a highly valued credential among Japanese lawyers (civil law tradition). But beyond the degree, having the law school “experience” can bring you a competitive advantage. With your LL.M. degree, you can have the additional qualification that shows your knowledge of U.S. legal principles and attract a foreign client-base.

Your LL.M. degree can help you improve your credentials, allow growth in your career and expand your options.

2015年4月 6日 (月)

SLS Navigator: Stanford's Online Curriculum and Career Guide

The SLS Navigator helps their students construct their own curriculum and prepare for their professional career.

First Step

The journey on the online navigator starts with a list of possible career paths you can pursue. Asking the questions "What direction will you take? What choices do you have to get there?", the navigator invites students to explore from general direction to specific practice areas.

After choosing your law practice route the page then leads to a page that explains your chosen practice and its specialty areas. It also provides a list of foundational and elective law subjects along with related courses outside the law school.

Planning your Career

Aside from clinics and course offerings found within Stanford Law School, the navigator also includes other resources related to your chosen route. From blogs, academic journals, treatises and other web resources this online navigator allows you to get a clear picture towards your professional goal.

Slsnavi

2015年4月 2日 (木)

Studying Abroad? Here's What to Prepare for

Based on the experience of our course graduates, we have compiled some of the things that you might want to watch out and prepare for before the start of your LL.M. program in the United States.

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1. Housing: Off-campus or On-campus

Students can either choose to live off-campus or on-campus. On-campus housing is managed by the university and is located within or near the campus premises. If you choose to avail of on-campus housing facilities, it would be better to inform your university as soon as possible as slots are limited and are usually on a first come first serve basis.

Other universities offer on-campus housing specifically for international students, married students or students who will come with their family. It is best to inquire with your university regarding this matter to get more detailed information.

One of the advantages of on-campus housing is its nearness with the school. Also security and safety of the students is ensured by the university. Sometimes though, on-campus housing can be more costly than that of off-campus ones.

For off-campus housing, students can opt to live alone or to room-share. University websites also provide information about off-campus housing options for students.

Usually, students receive contact information of their future classmates before the start of the program. If you opt for the room-share option, you can post an advertisement for prospective room mates among your future classmates.

2. Moving
In moving, one of the things that you might want to prepare for is mobile phone connection. To register for a mobile account in the U.S. one must provide a Social Security Number and a credit card usage history. If you do not have the two, it is likely that you will be asked to provide a huge deposit to avail of a mobile phone service.

With this, it is better to check about available options in your own country. For Japanese, KDDI Mobile and Docomo USA can be found in the U.S.

Another thing to prepare for is the transfer of your stuff from your home country to the U.S. Students may check with local moving companies in their area regarding this matter.

3. International Student Insurance
Universities provide students with insurance options that may be required or voluntary. Usually, university insurance has a predetermined set of health services that students can avail. Students who would like to avail of a more comprehensive insurance package from private companies can also do so.

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4. Classes!
With minds pre-occupied with all the preparations in moving to the U.S., students tend to forget to prepare for their LL.M. classes. Preparing for your LL.M. classes can be the most valuable in helping you get your degree and make the most out of your experience.

Getting ready in advance for the coursework can be especially helpful for students from civil law countries who may find themselves overwhelmed with the different legal system. Studying in advance about the U.S. legal system can save you much time in understanding concepts come the start of the semester.

If you are interested in preparing for your LL.M. you can read books to introduce you with the common law, enroll in summer school programs in U.S. law schools or avail of our preparation course.

2015年3月30日 (月)

Scholarship Opportunities for Japanese Students

One of the major concerns that international students might have to consider in deciding whether or not to pursue studies abroad is the program cost. This includes both the tuition and the living expenses that the program will incur. Students who do not have enough budget to accommodate the program cost can choose to apply for scholarship programs or financial aid opportunities.

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Looking for scholarship funding can be difficult if you don't know where to start, so here are some tips to help you out.

  • Fulbright program

For students who are interested in pursuing studies in the U.S., you can apply for a scholarship grant under the Fulbright program.

  • Scholarships offered in universities

Most universities offer scholarship opportunities to international students who excel academically or on a need-based criteria. Other programs are diversity-related and are aimed towards students who belong to a particular racial group or sector in society.

For information on U.S. universities that offer scholarship opportunities to international students check out the EducationUSA website. You may also want to contact your prospective university about scholarship offerings that they have.

  • Scholarships offered in your own country

You may want to look out for scholarship opportunities offered in your own country to students interested in pursuing studies abroad. You may do so by either asking your current school about such opportunities or by checking out government or private institution web sites on the matter.

  • Research about tuition and living costs data of U.S. schools

Checking out data on program costs of different U.S. schools can help you weigh your options better.

You can check out an article by the National Jurist and find out which are the best value law schools in the U.S.

Wondering about your LL.M. degree preparation? Check out our course offerings or contact us at: llm@itojuku.co.jp

2015年3月26日 (木)

Bar Admission Requirements and Attorney Registration Requirements in New York

Many Japanese graduates of LL.M. programs in the US take the state bar exams in New York and California. In recent years, however, attorney registration requirements and eligibility to take the bar examinations in New   York have become stricter.

 

One significant change concerns the credits to be acquired during the course of LL.M. study as part of the requirements for admission to the bar exam in New   York.

 

In the past, other than 2 or more courses on the foundations of American law, the New York State Board did not require bar exam applicants to take any particular course so that LL.M. students who wish to take the New York bar exams were relatively free to choose the their subjects in law school.

 

However, if you completed your LL.M. after 2012 with the intention of taking the bar exam after 2013, you must obtain at least 24 units during your course of study, of which the following courses must be included:

(1)   legal ethics (2 or more units)

(2)   legal research & writing (2 or more units)

(3)   foundations of American law (2 or more units)

(4)   exam questions in the New   York state bar exam (6 or more units)

 

In addition, applicants applying for admission to practice in New   York State after January 1, 2015 will be required to perform 50 hours of pro bono work.

                                                

In the future, apart from New York, attorney registration requirements and eligibility requirements to take the bar examinations in other states are likely to change as well.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Get the latest information on the different state bar exams and prepare for the US Bar Examinations now!

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).

2015年2月26日 (木)

LL.M. Preparation Courses

Most people from Japan preparing for LL.M. study in the US still rely on books on American law written in Japanese. However, because LL.M. programs are designed for those with a basic understanding of American law, little attention is paid to detailed descriptions of basic principles during the LL.M. course lectures. As a result, many students end up spending most of their valuable time studying abroad without being able to adapt to the demands of the LL.M. course.

For this reason, Itojuku offers courses that will enable you to acquire basic knowledge and the necessary skills in preparation for your LL.M. study in the US. By learning the basics of American law before going abroad, you can reduce the burden of your preparations, deepen your understanding of the contents of your LL.M. study, and make better use of your time abroad.

Many of you may be thinking of beginning your preparation for your study of US law when you commence your study abroad. However, once you begin preparing for your study abroad, you will be become too busy with language study and application procedures that you may not have enough time to study American law. In order to pace yourself, we recommend that you begin preparing your study of American law at the early stages of your preparation for your study abroad.

Itojuku's LL.M. Preparation Courses>>

Highlights

1)       Simulates LL.M. study while in Japan. Includes lectures that help enhance various skills such as argumentation and negotiation skills in English.

2)       Deals with topics in the MBE(Multi-State Bar Exam)that are also found in the state Bar Exams.

Packed with the latest information on US Law Schools and LL.M. Study!

2015年2月 9日 (月)

Particularities between the Civil Law and Common Law

Civil Law and Common Law

Image courtesy of  Jeroen van Oostrom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Legislation and Jurisprudence

For both the Civil and Common law traditions, the legislation serves as the paramount source of law.

In a Civilian tradition, where certainty and predictability are valued goals in regulating society, codes and statutes play a major role in providing an overview of the law.

On the other hand, in the Common law tradition, jurisprudence is central to the system. The role of judges in changing and developing the law on a case-by-case basis has allowed in-depth coverage of selective areas of the law.

In Japan for example, as a Civil law country, the Seibunhō (成文法) or written law is used as opposed to the case law in the U.S. legal system.

The Civil Law and Common Law traditions have their own distinct particularities as a legal system. Though, in today’s world where the focus on global issues expands across borders, the challenge to gain mutual understanding of these two systems has never been more significant.

With lawyers engaging in practice that involve transnational deals, exposure and hands-on experience to both systems have increasingly gained prominence in the legal practice.

*The explanation on the Common Law and Civil Law tradition used here is based from an article titled Comparative Legal Traditions – Introducing the Common Law to Civil Lawyers in Asia.

2015年2月 5日 (木)

LL.M. Career Guide: Things to Remember During Job Interviews (Part 2/2)

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During the interview

After the interview

During the interview:

  • Be on time and dress for the occasion.
  • Prepare your resume, cover letters, writing samples and transcripts.
  • Take note of the following: proper posture, eye contact, firm hand shake and smile.
  • Highlight your legal experience or indications of academic achievement.
  • Prepare for the commonly asked interview questions. (Example: Why did you choose to do an interview with our firm?)
  • Ask intelligent questions.

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After the interview:

  • Write thank you notes.  
    After the interview, remember to write a thank you letter to your interviewers. Following up is an extremely important aspect in the interview process that can make the difference between getting hired or forgotten amid the sea of applicants. Here is a sample 'Thank you letter' format from UC Berkeley.

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*For more information, you can check out our public guidance videos on U.S. law study, law career and the bar exam among others on our LL.M. Video Streaming page. This guideline also made use of the 2010 Yale Law Career Plan Guide as additional reference.

For additional information, please check out the 2012-2013 Yale Law School International LL.M. Career Planning Guide.