Executive LLM in International Business Law

The Executive LLM in International Business Law program is a blended learning graduate program that provides exposure to the core topics of international business practice.

Program Requirements

To earn the Executive LLM in International Business Law:

  • Students must complete six courses and two workshops (20 credits*).
    • Each blended learning course is comprised of a five-week preparatory online component, a two-week residential session in Boston or Budapest, and then a six-week online component.
    • Online orientation materials are available prior to each session. These materials include an online course, Introduction to American Law for the International Lawyer, created specifically for students in the Executive LLM program.
    • Students receive customized online course materials prior to each module.
  • Students must take U.S. Contract Law for International Lawyers (unless waived); U.S. Corporate Law for International Lawyers (unless waived); and International Business Transactions and Agreements.
  • Students must attend and participate in at least two Current Issues in U.S. Business Law Colloquia (each worth 1 credit), which are offered during each residential session. The colloquia series features expert practitioners and academics who discuss current legal topics in such fields as bankruptcy, intellectual property, alternative dispute resolution, international business arbitration, and multi-jurisdictional practice and competition (antitrust) law.

*Students are free to complete more than 20 credits if desired.

A Flexible Program Schedule

Sessions are offered four times per year:

  • Spring Boston has a mid-March residency
  • Summer Budapest has a mid-June residency
  • Summer Boston has an early August residency
  • Fall session is completely online

Students may take these sessions in any order, or may even complete the entire residency requirement by taking the Summer Budapest, Spring Boston, and Summer Boston sessions consecutively over six weeks in the summer. Students can complete the entire degree in approximately seven months, or take up to five years to finish: whatever best fits each student’s professional schedule.

Online Concentrations

Taxation and International Taxation Concentration

Executive LLM students may pursue a concentration in international taxation. All tax classes will be offered entirely online, with no residency component, and are offered jointly by the Executive LLM Program, the Distance Education Office, and the Graduate Tax Program.

In order to complete the concentration, students must complete three required courses:

  • Corporate Tax (4 credits)*
  • International Tax (4 credits)*
  • Transfer Pricing (2 credits)

*Note: Federal Income Tax (4 credits) is a prerequisite or co-requisite for Corporate Tax and International Tax. Requirements and prerequisites can be waived based on prior coursework.

Corporate Tax, International Tax, and Transfer Pricing count toward the Executive LLM requirements, as does Federal Income Tax, provided it is completed as a prerequisite or co-requisite in order to complete the course in International Taxation. As such, the International Taxation concentration requires completion of a minimum of 10 credits (or 14 credits if Federal Income Tax is required) but must be completed in addition to the 14 residency credits and other course requirements necessary for obtaining the LLM. Students are free to complete any additional online Graduate Tax courses, subject to all applicable prerequisites and co-requisites, but courses falling outside of this concentration will not be counted toward the LLM requirements.

Courses in Taxation 

Students enrolled in the Executive LLM may enroll in any online Graduate Tax courses, subject to all requirements, prerequisites and co-requisites. However, only Federal Tax (if taken as a necessary prerequisite or co-requisite, as per the above), Corporate Tax, International Tax, and Transfer Pricing will be counted toward Executive LLM requirements.

Courses

Courses are rotated through the four sessions:

  • U.S. Corporate Law for the International Lawyer
  • U.S. Contract Law for the International Lawyer
  • U.S. and Trans-Border Securities Regulation
  • International Business Transactions and Agreements
  • U.S. and International Intellectual Property
  • U.S. and Trans-Border Mergers & Acquisitions
  • International Arbitration
  • Corporate Finance with U.S. and International Reporting

Course Descriptions

U.S. Corporate Law for the International Lawyer

This course examines the legal structure and characteristics of U.S. business corporations and LLCs, especially in Delaware, with a focus on issues that will interest international lawyers. Topics include the distribution of power between management and shareholders; the limitations on management powers imposed by state law fiduciary duties; rights of minority shareholders; shareholder derivative suits; and capital and voting structures. U.S. federal securities law and mergers & acquisitions are covered in other Executive LLM courses.

U.S. Contract Law for the International Lawyer

This course covers legal and equitable remedies for enforcing contracts, elements of assent, interpretation of contract terms, determining what promises are enforceable, tests for performance and breach, and defenses to contract enforcement.

U.S. and Trans-Border Securities Regulation

This course analyzes key issues under the U.S. federal securities laws, principally the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, with respect to the offer and sale and trading of securities. It includes a study of what constitutes a security, the public offering process, mandatory disclosure requirements for public companies, exemptions from registration, and potential liabilities and sanctions.

International Business Transactions and Agreements

International Business Transactions and Agreements covers the transactional approach to legal problems encountered in commercial and financial business ventures that cross national borders. Topics include form of doing business (including formation of contracts and the range of issues presented—such as choice of law, choice of forum, commercial terms, force majeure, sales, distribution and agency law, franchise, licensing arrangements, and foreign direct investments); the operations of the institutions of the World Trade Organization; investment in free trade areas such as the European Union and NAFTA; and issues of transfer of intellectual property and international dispute resolution. Students will gain exposure to analyzing various international business agreements and documents including global joint venture agreements and privatization provisions, sales and letters of credit, distribution and franchise agreements, international development and investment agreements, letters of intent for mergers and acquisitions, and technology licensing agreements.

U.S. and International Intellectual Property

The U.S. and International Intellectual Property Law course examines legal protection of inventions, creative expression, and other kinds of information. This course will introduce students to patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Most of the course will cover American intellectual property law, but comparative and international issues will also be covered.

U.S. and Trans-Border Mergers & Acquisitions

This course will explore the various modes of business acquisition, including statutory mergers, asset purchases, and stock purchases. For each type of business combination, the course will examine (1) the strategic and practical advantages and disadvantages, (2) the statutory requirements and procedures, (3) the documentation required or suggested, and (4) the relevant case law. The course looks at the practical aspects of the business lawyer’s role in structuring the transaction, in identifying, explaining, and negotiating the business/legal terms, in negotiating the acquisition agreements, and in getting the deal done. The course materials will consist of traditional statutory and case materials, explanatory materials, and legal documents, such as letters of intent, confidentiality agreements, merger agreements, etc. The course will use U.S. materials (particularly the law of Delaware) as base materials, but will also consider trans-border transactions.

International Arbitration

The old maxim “where business goes, disputes soon follow” has renewed vitality in an age of globalization. As cross-border commerce follows American business abroad, and offshore foreign investment flows into the U.S., the potential for clashes in the business expectations of the parties increases, particularly as the economy softens. Dispute resolution thus becomes an almost inescapable component of today’s private international commercial dispute process. The focus of the course will be on international arbitration, from inception in the contractual drafting through the mechanics of the dispute resolution process to the enforcement stage, with some consideration of other alternative dispute resolution techniques. The original case studies and related materials are largely drawn from actual practice. This course is designed for corporate attorneys as well as litigators.

Corporate Finance with U.S. and International Reporting

Corporate Finance with U.S. and International Reporting is concerned with understanding financial statements and reports. The objective is that students will be able to read and understand the four financial statements and the 10-K annual report. Emphasis is placed on understanding the nature and meaning of the reports, as well as the relationship to the underlying transactions. Other topics may include: basic accounting principles, US GAAP versus IFRS, financial statement analysis, the relationship of the financial statement information to covenant documents, and accounting gamesmanship. It will also include analysis and structuring of capital transactions, with emphasis on financial statement analysis, attributes of equity and debt securities, and transactions which restructure existing corporate capitalizations. Transactions discussed will include an acquisition, an out-of-court debt restructuring, and a negotiated reallocation of equity.

International Environmental and Energy Law Concentration

Executive LLM program candidates may pursue a concentration in International Environmental and Energy Law (IEEL). Offered in conjunction with Vermont Law School, the nation’s top law school for environmental law studies, this provides an opportunity to complete a concentration in this growing and important area of specialized legal practice. This concentration is offered entirely online, with no residential components, in a seven-week, intensive format. These courses therefore allow for an additional element of scheduling flexibility in addition to providing immersion in this highly relevant international field. Completion of the IEEL concentration also allows students to complete the Executive LLM program requirements through two, rather than the usual three, residency sessions, if desired. Students may also enroll in these courses individually, subject to all prerequisites and other requirements, as all these courses will count toward the Executive LLM degree. As these are highly intensive and time-intensive courses, it is expected that students will take only one course from this basket at a time. These courses are offered at multiple times during the year.

To complete the IEEL concentration, students must complete 12 or more credits from this basket:

  • Environmental Law* (3 cr) (required)
  • Administrative Law (3 cr)
  • Energy Law and Policy in a Carbon-Constrained World** (3 cr) (prerequisite for Energy Regulation and the Environment)
  • Energy Regulation and the Environment (3 cr)
  • Alternative Fuels and Renewable Energy (3 cr)
  • Oil and Gas Development and the Environment (3 cr)
  • Environmental Dispute Resolution (3 cr)

*Environmental Law is a required course for Executive LLM students wishing to complete the concentration in International Environmental and Energy Law, and is a prerequisite for all courses other than Administrative Law and Environmental Dispute Resolution—although it is strongly recommended that Environmental Law be taken as the first course in any sequence.

**Energy Law and Policy in a Carbon-Constrained World is a prerequisite for Energy Regulation and the Environment. It is also recommended, but not required, that it be taken prior to Alternative Fuels and Renewable Energy, as well as Oil and Gas Development and the Environment.

All of these courses count toward the Executive LLM degree requirements. As such, the IEEL concentration requires completion of a minimum of 12 credits but must also be completed in addition to the 14 residency credits and other course requirements necessary for obtaining the LLM degree. As such, obtaining the concentration requires completion of a minimum of 26 ELLM credits (14 residency credits plus 12 concentration credits).

Courses in International Environmental and Energy Law 

Students enrolled in the Executive LLM may enroll in as few or as many of these courses as they wish, subject to all prerequisites and requirements. Environmental Law is a prerequisite for all courses other than Administrative Law and Environmental Dispute Resolution, although it is strongly recommended that Environmental Law be taken as the first course in any sequence.

Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance Concentration

Executive LLM program candidates may pursue a concentration in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance (ERMC). Offered in conjunction with Metropolitan College’s Administrative Sciences master’s program, the ERMC leverages industry and academic experts in the field of risk management, business continuity, and compliance at both LAW and MET. This concentration is offered entirely online, with no residential components, in a mix of 7-week, intensive courses and LAW’s standard 13-week courses. These courses therefore allow for an additional element of scheduling flexibility in addition to providing immersion in this highly relevant growth field in international business law. Completion of the ERMC concentration also allows students to complete the Executive LLM program requirements through two, rather than the usual three, residency sessions, if desired. Students may also enroll in these courses individually, as all these courses will count toward the Executive LLM degree. These courses are offered at various times of the year, and not all courses will necessarily be available in the same calendar year.

In order to complete the ERMC concentration, students must complete 12 or more credits from this basket, subject to the additional requirements below:

  • Administrative Law (3 cr)
  • Enterprise Risk Management (3 cr, MET)
  • Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance (3 cr, MET)
  • Enterprise Risk Analytics (3 cr, MET)
  • Fundamentals of Compliance Management for Multinational Enterprises (3 cr)
  • Legal Risk Management in International Trade and Finance (3 cr)
  • Cyber Law, Cyber Security, and Corporate Governance (3 cr) (anticipated to be available in September 2016)

In addition, ELLM students wishing to obtain the ERMC concentration must meet the following requirements: non-US trained lawyers, or those without a first degree in law, must complete: (a) Administrative Law; (b) Enterprise Risk Management, or Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance, or Enterprise Risk Analytics; (c) Fundamentals of Compliance Management for Multinational Enterprises or Legal Risk Management in International Trade and Finance; and (d) at least one more course, for a total of 12 credits. ELLM students who are US-trained lawyers are subject to the same requirements, except that Administrative Law is not required, and therefore they must completed at least two more courses in addition to (b) and (c), above, for a total of 12 credits.

While there are no formal prerequisites, it is highly recommended that students take Enterprise Risk Management before taking Enterprise Risk Analytics.

Executive-Style Conveniences and Pre-Arranged Accommodations

Students are provided with pre-arranged housing, the costs of which are included in tuition, for each residential session. Luncheons will be provided on days in which the Current Issues in U.S. Business Law Colloquium is held, affording students the opportunity to interact and network with fellow international business law practitioners. In addition, the residential experience is enhanced with social and networking events, allowing students to become part of the Boston University School of Law community.