The LL.M. in American Law Program's flexibility allows you to pursue topics that best meet your professional and academic interests. Aside from two required courses -- "Introduction to the American Legal System," and "Legal Research and Writing" -- and participation in a spring semester Graduate Colloquium: Topics in American Law, you may freely select courses and seminars from virtually every American law subject offered in the J.D. curriculum.
The Program's flexibility means there is no typical study plan. You can pursue studies in a range of fundamental American law topics, including any of the first-year classes in civil procedure, torts, contracts, constitutional law, legislation, property and criminal law. Or you can specialize in more particular areas of interest through upper-class courses.
Students interested in intellectual property, for example -- one of our main areas of strength -- might take an introductory intellectual property class, along with a first-year contracts class and a basic course in corporations. They might then take classes in copyright, patent law and trademark and unfair competition -- or enroll in a Technology Licensing seminar to learn about drafting and executing license agreements.
Likewise, students interested in international business deals involving American companies might take a basic corporations class, international business transactions, one or more tax classes, securities regulation or even more specialized classes in mutual funds or securitization. A class in commercial code, antitrust, bankruptcy, or a seminar in project finance may also be of interest -- as well as several non-business subjects, such as American legal history or alternative dispute resolution.
The process of selecting courses that meet your professional needs can be repeated for almost any field of study.
In the American Law Program, the course selection process is highly individualized. Choosing classes involves one (or several) individual meetings the Director, who is available to answer questions about class content, teaching styles, workload and any other matter of concern. The director also meets with each student during the term, as an informal "check in" to discuss classes, address problems or help with any other aspect of the student's experience.
Students with strong interests in either intellectual property, international business law, or tax law can elect to pursue a formal "concentration" (or, specialization) in one of these fields and thereby receive separate certification that they focused their studies in these topics as part of their LL.M. In American Law degree.
Because of our emphasis on classroom learning, there is no thesis requirement. However, students may pursue writing projects under faculty supervision, either through independent research papers or seminars. They may also supplement their law studies with courses at other graduate or professional schools at Boston University -- such as the School of Management -- and, in appropriate cases, receive credit towards their law degree. With the director's permission, students may also enroll in classes offered through the School of Law's LL.M in Banking and Financial Law Program, and Graduate Tax Program, subject to space limitations.