The Fundamentals Track is designed to provide LLM students who intend to take a state bar exam with intensive exposure to bar-related topics, taught in a condensed format in the spring semester. Exclusively available to BU Law’s LLM in American Law students, the courses will cover the basic doctrinal concepts in two topics that civil law–trained lawyers often identify as the most challenging to comprehend when preparing for the bar: Real Property and Evidence. The two classes will be offered sequentially in the spring semester, each for six weeks. Each class will award two credits toward the LLM degree. It is expected that students would take both classes—first Real Property, then Evidence—though they may enroll in either class individually.

The benefits of the Fundamentals Track include:

Efficient Use of Credits

The JD versions of Real Property and Evidence are semester-long, four-credit classes which delve deeply into these topics—deeper, in fact, than what is needed to gain basic familiarity with the fundamental doctrines. The Fundamentals Track gives students an option to take one or both of these bar-qualifying classes for two credits each, an appropriate level of classroom instruction for the level of exposure students need for bar purposes. Devoting four—instead of eight—credits to these classes leaves students with more room in their schedules to take electives in their specialized areas of interest, such as corporate transactions or intellectual property.

LLM-oriented Instruction

The Fundamentals Track offers LLM in American Law students an attractive choice: students can take Evidence and Real Property through the JD curriculum, or through the Fundamental Track’s LLM-only sections. Teaching in the LLM-only sections will be designed to accommodate the unique backgrounds and needs of foreign-trained students, emphasizing the “black letter” doctrine that is covered in bar-review programs and tested on bar exams.

Early Exposure to Most Challenging Topics

Nearly all LLM (and JD) students take a bar-preparation class after graduation. For JD students, these bar-prep programs are mostly a review of the topics they have already studied over the past three years. Because LLM students cannot possibly cover the full range of bar-related topics during their one year of study, they often confront US law topics for the first time during the summer as part of a bar-prep program. LLM graduates report that two to three days of Evidence and Real Property instruction through a summer bar-prep program is not enough to become comfortable with the underlying doctrine. On the other hand, they say that taking these classes during the LLM program helped them comprehend the key concepts, allowing them to use a summer bar-prep program for review. While the Fundamentals Track is not meant to substitute for a bar-prep program, it presents students with an efficient way to gain exposure to the topics that are most difficult to learn “quickly” over the summer.

While we are most excited about the Fundamentals Track, please note that BU Law makes no claims that this option, or the School’s overall program of study, extracurricular programming, or advising resources will qualify any individual LLM student to take a bar exam; each student must confer with the relevant state bar authorities to determine his or her eligibility and each student is responsible for meeting the relevant requirements to take the bar exam. Likewise, the Fundamentals Track is not meant to substitute for a summer bar-preparation program; additionally, there are, of course, no guarantees that taking these classes will result in passing the bar. We are confident, however, that the Fundamentals Track option will give students solid exposure to two challenging and fundamental topics they will encounter on a US bar exam.