The Illinois LLM program is designed to prepare students with or without any prior legal training to excel in their future professional careers. International students are introduced to the U.S. legal system and are also provided the opportunity for specialization in their own area of academic or professional interest.
Students may also apply to earn a Concentration rather than a General LLM degree. Concentrations will enable students to deepen their knowledge in a particular legal field. Available concentrations include:
- Corporate Law, Commercial Law and Trade
- Criminal Law
- Intellectual Property & Technology Law
- International and Comparative Law
- Justice, Democracy, and Legal Rights
- Regulation, Sustainability, and Compliance
For students planning to take the New York Bar Examination, the Illinois LLM is fully compliant with the requirements of the New York Board of Bar Examiners. Although a bachelor’s degree in law is not required for admission to the Illinois LLM program, applicants without a bachelor’s in law should be aware that they may not qualify to take a bar examination in the United States, even after completing the Illinois LLM.
2-Year JD Option
Students who have completed an LLM at Illinois or another accredited U.S. law school can apply for advanced standing to complete the JD degree in two years.
Third Semester Option
Students may choose to complete the LLM degree in two or three semesters. Some students may apply to complete the LLM degree in three semesters to engage in a more intensive program of study, greater internship opportunities, and additional time to study for the bar exam.
Students complete a total of 32 credit hours (typically eight courses) for the LLM degree. A minimum grade point average of approximately 2.75 based on a 4.0 scale is required to graduate. Grading system details may be found here.
LLM Legal Writing and Research: Illinois LLM students are required to take a specially designed three-week 2-credit orientation and legal writing and research course. This course provides LLM students initial training in legal reasoning, writing, and analysis and introduces the student to the unique learning environment of the U.S. law school. Taught by College of Law faculty, students meet their faculty in a classroom setting and learn study and time management skills in small group sections. This course meets for three weeks prior to the start of the fall semester.
Professional Responsibility: This fall semester course provides students with the history, goals, instruction, values, rules and responsibilities of the U.S. legal profession and its members. For students planning to take the New York Bar Examination, this course fulfills the professional responsibility requirement of the bar examination.
*Please see the College of Law Courses page for a full listing of courses and course descriptions.
Mixed Classes: Sharing classes and interacting with the JD students are hallmarks of the Illinois program. LLM students select the majority of their classes from the nearly 200 courses offered each year at the College of Law. In classes with high LLM enrollments, Teaching Assistants are assigned to provide additional support.
Individualized Counseling: Students are provided individualized counseling and advising to assist them in career planning, academic success, and bar eligibility.
Practical Skills Training
Competitions: Illinois LLM students have ample opportunity to build legal skills through participation in a LLM Negotiation Competition and LLM Client Counseling Competition.
Trial Advocacy: A course about trial skills, Trial Advocacy teaches through seeing and doing. In highly individualized sessions, students are guided in the development of these skills through a combination of a student’s personality and courtroom style, an attained understanding of trial skills, common sense, and practice.
Advanced Legal Research: Offered during intersession, the course provides LLM students with advanced online search skills including Boolean logic and natural language searching; case law research; statutory and legislative history research; regulations research; and advanced legal research tools including Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law.
Illinois Community Service Projects: Students can compete for opportunities to intern in the University of Illinois Office of Student Legal Services, participate in the Chicago Service Project, earn pro bono notations for completion of 60 hours of community service, and participate in programs and projects organized by the College of Law Student Legal Relief organization.
Illinois Global Law Fellows: Enrolled LLM students are eligible to compete for internships at a U.S. law firm, service organization, or court to be completed following graduation.