The Two-Year LLM in American Law Program is specifically designed to prepare internationally trained lawyers for the challenge of global practice. This comprehensive program immerses students in the intricacies of the U.S. legal system, providing a deep of understanding of US doctrine in virtually any area of interest—intellectual property, international business transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and alternative dispute resolution, to name only a few—they also learn something equally important: how US lawyers are trained to analyze legal questions and advocate on their clients’ behalf. Through rigorous coursework, engaging discussions, and hands-on experiences, students develop critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and legal research skills. They gain proficiency in legal writing, oral advocacy, and negotiation, enabling them to effectively communicate and advocate within the American legal context and beyond. Additionally, the program fosters an appreciation for ethical considerations and the broader societal impact of the law. Graduates of a Two-Year LLM in American Law are well-prepared to pursue diverse career paths in law firms, government agencies, international organizations, corporations, and academia, where their specialized knowledge and expertise in U.S. law make them highly sought-after professionals

No Thesis Requirement

The Two-Year LLM in American Law Program is classroom—not research—focused. As such, there is no thesis requirement, though students will likely write one or more lengthy research papers in the seminars they take. We make available writing coaches to help students organize and structure academic writing projects and improve expressive skills.

Concentrations in the Second Year

With more than 200 courses to choose from in the second year of the program, students can select topics from virtually any area of law. They may also specialize in a particular field—such as intellectual property, tax, alternative dispute resolution, commercial law, or labor and employment—by concentrating classes in a certain area. Students can also combine fields such as corporate and financial law and intellectual property, a popular combination at BU Law. In addition, students enrolled in the LLM in American Law Program can choose to pursue a formal concentration in Intellectual Property, Taxation, or International Business Practice; students who satisfy a concentration’s course requirements receive a separate certificate of specialization.

Learn more about the concentrations and their classes.

Intellectual Property and Information Law Concentration

Students study the essentials of copyright, patents, and trademark law, and also select cutting-edge topics such as e-commerce, legal issues in high-tech start-ups, technology licensing, and biotechnology and the law. The concentration requires a minimum of four classes.

Taxation Concentration

Students with professional tax experience and/or a strong background in tax studies can pursue the concentration in taxation, which requires a minimum of four specified courses taken through the JD curriculum and the school’s Graduate Tax Program. Beyond the concentration’s minimum requirements, students may also pursue further coursework in specialty practice areas, such as general business taxation, estate planning, international taxation, or financial services, depending on their professional goals and interests.

International Business Practice Concentration

Students who concentrate in International Business Practice immerse themselves in a range of business or commercial law courses. Students may select from more than 50 courses, such as International Business Transactions, Securities Regulation, International Project Finance, Corporate Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Antitrust. The concentration requires a minimum of four classes, including Corporations.

Electives in the Second Year

In addition to choosing any of the school’s first-year classes in the second year of program, Two-Year LLM in American Law students can select elective courses from the entire range of BU Law’s upper-class curriculum in the second year of the program.

Cross-Registering in Other BU Graduate Programs in the Second Year

Students who want exposure to specialized topics in banking, financial law, and taxation may cross-register in classes within the Graduate Program in Banking & Financial Law and the Graduate Tax Program in their second year of the program. Classes in transnational lending, international securities transactions, mergers and acquisitions, international taxation, and securitization are popular supplements for many students in their second year of the program. Students may also cross-register for classes in their second year of the program in other Boston University graduate schools—such as the Questrom School of Business and College of Communication—and, when appropriate, receive credit toward the LLM.

LLM Colloquium and Professional Skills Lab in the Second Year

In their second year of the program, all students must participate in the Professional Skills Lab, a dynamic, one-and-a-half-day interactive program focusing on developing core professional competencies, practical skills, and long-term career management tools. Students who are unable to attend the Professional Skills Lab must request permission and arrange with the Director of International Graduate Programs an alternative method for satisfying the graduation requirement.

Special Programs

  • Pro Bono Program
    Students can dedicate their legal skills and expanding knowledge to address unmet legal needs in the Boston area, throughout the United States, and around the world.
  • LLM Discovery Series
    Students take part in visits to Boston-area law firms, corporations, government agencies, and courthouses where alumni introduce them to the broad range of real-world practice settings in America.
  • Professional Skills Lab
    A one-and-a-half-day interactive program focusing on developing core professional competencies, practical skills, and long-term career management tools.
  • Outside the Classroom
    A full menu of extracurricular activities connects students with fellow LLM and JD classmates, the city of Boston, and the beauty of New England.

After the Program—and Beyond

Career Paths

While many students know their future plans prior to completing the LLM program, some return to their former employers, and others begin internships before joining their home country’s bar. Many other graduates leverage their BU Law degrees to find new positions in their home countries, often by participating in the International Student Interview Program (ISIP) that takes place each January in New York—BU Law is one of the few schools invited to participate. A smaller number of students find permanent work in the United States.

Internships in the US

Curriculum Practicum Training

One unique feature of the Two-Year LLM program is its incorporation of Curriculum Practical Training (CPT), which provides students on F-1 visas with invaluable opportunities to gain practical work experience in the second year of study. CPT allows students to engage in internships, externships, or other work placements that align with their academic and career goals. By working alongside legal professionals in real-world settings, students can apply the knowledge and skills acquired during their first year of coursework to tackle complex legal issues, hone their professional judgment, and develop a deep understanding of the practical application of American law. This hands-on experience not only enhances students’ legal acumen but also helps them build a professional network, gain exposure to different areas of law, and make informed decisions about their future career paths. The inclusion of CPT in the Two-Year LLM program offers students a unique advantage in their journey to becoming well-rounded legal practitioners. Students will be required to hold weekly check-ins with a designated faculty member and complete a short reflection piece as part of the CPT opportunity. 

Optional Practical Training

Graduates of the Two-Year LLM in American Law Program may seek to stay in the United States for a period of time after graduation—as permitted under visa regulations—to obtain practical work experience in a firm, company, or other organization. As an internationally trained LLM graduate, finding short-term, post-graduation work in the United States can be challenging, but it is not impossible; each year some students secure positions in the United States for up to a year and beyond. 

Throughout your time at BU, you will be guided and supported by a full-time associate director for professional development dedicated solely to LLM career issues. The associate director will assist you in identifying opportunities, preparing for interviews, and presenting yourself to the US legal market. Many LLM students find internships through connections from their home countries; you are encouraged to arrive in the United States with a list of connections to explore if you want to pursue an internship after Commencement.

Taking a US Bar Exam

Many Two-Year LLM in American Law students have the goal of passing a US state bar exam. While the Two-Year LLM in American Law Program is not specifically designed to prepare students to take a state bar exam in the United States, the program’s flexible curriculum will enable you to design a course of study leading to a high-level understanding of the US legal system. The Director and Associate Director of International Graduate Programs are available to meet with students to design a study plan that balances bar preparation with other areas of interest. Each state has its own rules regarding the eligibility of internationally trained lawyers to sit for the bar exam; you should visit the American Bar Association’s website to learn about the requirements in each state. The current rules in New York, Massachusetts, and a handful of other states allow certain LLM students to sit for the exam under specified conditions. Each year, a majority of LLM students take the New York or Massachusetts bar exam after Commencement.

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