Executive LLM in International Business Law

Changes to this program will take effect in the 2015–2016 academic year.

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 I Boston has a mid-July residency
  • Summer II Boston has a late-July/early-August residency

Students may take these sessions in any order, or may even complete the entire residency requirement by taking the Summer Budapest, Summer I Boston, and Summer II 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.

Taxation and International Taxation Concentration

International Taxation Concentration (Online)

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 (Online)

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 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.

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.