Graduate Program in Banking & Financial Law

The Graduate Program in Banking & Financial Law prepares domestic and internationally trained lawyers for leadership positions in the American and international banking and financial services industries.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate a deeper understanding of the structure, regulation, and functioning of the US banking sector and of certain widely applicable international financial law standards.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the standards and approach of US public and private practitioners to financial services law issues, including reviewing, structuring, documenting, and completing widely utilized forms of financial transactions.

Degree Requirements and Curriculum

The LLM program may be completed on a full- or part-time basis with enrollment options in the fall and spring semesters. The program is offered on a residential and online study basis. Full-time students will complete the program over two semesters while part-time students can complete the program in as few as three semesters or up to four years. The program requires the successful completion of 24 credits, with one required course: US Banking Structure and Regulation. The course offerings are focused and seek to give students a thorough understanding of financial services law through a combination of regulatory, transactional, and business-oriented courses. Non-US students desiring to qualify to sit for an American bar examination must enroll on a residential basis and may be required to take additional courses, such as Introduction to the American Legal System and Professional Responsibility, among others. (Bar eligibility requirements vary from state to state.) With the permission of the Program Director, residential students may take a maximum of two courses related to banking and financial services in the School of Law’s JD, American Law, or Graduate Tax Program.

Optional Concentrations

The program offers five optional concentrations, which will be noted on a graduating student’s transcript:

  • The Business of Banking offers a full range of courses involving banking regulation and products designed for students who intend to practice law or work in the banking industry.
  • Compliance Management focuses on designing compliance systems for financial institutions in a post-crisis regulatory environment of heightened risk and compliance management expectations.
  • Financial Services Transactions (residential students only) is designed for lawyers seeking to gain experience in conducting complex financial services transactions, by complementing theory with a working knowledge of the practical aspects of structuring and executing a deal through in-class negotiation sessions and an internship. Students in this concentration are required to complete the Financial Services Law Internship.
  • Lending & Credit Transactions is geared for lawyers who wish to specialize in various forms of lending, including issues involving domestic and transnational loan structuring, perfection of security interests in property, and bankruptcy.
  • Securities Transactions focuses on matters involving equity and debt securities and the management of collective investment vehicles, including the obligations of issuers, their directors, and officers, as well as fund managers and distributors.

Financial Services Fundamentals

Candidates for the LLM in Banking & Financial Law (particularly those without significant prior financial sector training or employment) may enroll in Financial Services Fundamentals, offered as a 12-day session in August before each academic year as preparation for the detailed financial services courses in the Graduate Program in Banking & Financial Law.

Internships (residential students only)

The Financial Services Law Internship course provides students with real-world experience in the practice of financial services law. Subject to academic requirements, during their second semester, international and domestic students completing the concentration in Financial Services Transactions may work at a law firm, financial services organization, or regulatory agency under the supervision of a lawyer and a faculty advisor. In recent years, students have completed internships at ACCION International, Allston Brighton CDC, Cambridge Savings Bank, Computershare, the City of Boston, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, MA Division of Banks, Natixis Advisors, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, People’s United Bank, John Hancock Financial Services, and American Consumer Credit Counseling, among others.

Student Activities

The program is administered by a team of professionals dedicated to the academic and personal growth of each student. At the beginning of the academic year, each student meets with an academic advisor to develop an individualized study plan. The program frequently collaborates with the Boston Bar Association and other professional groups to organize lectures, symposia, and round-table discussions on issues affecting the financial services sector. Students are encouraged to deliver lectures to their colleagues as part of the Student Lecture Series. Membership in the Review of Banking & Financial Law, a scholarly publication of BU School of Law, is open to students in the program through a competitive examination.

Additional Information and Applications

You can learn more about the Graduate Program in Banking & Financial Law, including the application process and tuition and financial information, at

  • Candidates must hold a JD from an accredited law school in the United States or a first degree in law, such as a bachelor of laws or its equivalent, from a comparably recognized law school or law faculty outside the United States.
  • LLM Scholars Program (residential students only): All applicants to the residential Graduate Program in Banking & Financial Law are eligible to receive merit-based scholarship awards in the form of partial tuition waivers. All applicants are automatically considered, with no additional forms required.

Related Certificate

Students seeking financial services coursework, without committing to the full degree program, should consider enrollment in the online Certificate in Financial Services Compliance. The certificate is open to candidates without a law degree.