LL.M. in American Law

Number of units: 24-32 units
A student speaking with faculty

Required Course

Fall Semester

Introduction to American Law

This course is designed to introduce foreign lawyers to the legal system in the United States and the fundamentals of American law. Students will learn about the basic structure and operation of American government, with an emphasis on how cases progress through the court system. The class will examine differences between the American common law legal system and civilian systems. Students will become familiar with foundational principles underlying the American legal system, such as judicial review, due process, equality, and others. The class will also provide Academic Skills Program (ASP) concepts to provide students with additional skills to prepare them for success in other law school courses and exams.*For students who received their J.D. degree from an ABA-approved Law School in the United States, this requirement is waived.

Elective Courses

Upper-division J.D program and LL.M-Specific electives

The LL.M. curriculum includes a broad range of classes from across the upper-division J.D. curriculum. Students may choose an academic program that best suits their individual needs and interests. Students will receive individual academic advisement from the LL.M. Program staff to determine their course of study and receive guidance on issues including eligibility to sit for a U.S. bar examination. Course descriptions are available on the interactive Law Course Catalog. The following LL.M.-only elective courses are included in the curriculum as well:

Reading, Analysis and Writing in American Law

In this course, foreign lawyers will learn how to research American law, how to perform common law analysis, and how to write research memoranda. Students will complete a series of written assignments throughout the term to practice these skills.  Instructors will provide extensive feedback via written comments and one-on-one conferences. LL.M. students without substantial academic English experience are highly encouraged to enroll in Legal Writing and Analysis in American Law.

Professional Responsibility, Globalization, and the Legal Profession in the United States

In this course, foreign lawyers will be introduced to the basic rules of professional responsibility that regulate the American legal profession, with a focus on the California Rules of Professional Conduct. The class also provides an understanding of various legal practice settings in which LL.M. graduates might work in the U.S. or interact with in a transnational practice in their home countries – in particular, corporate law firms, so-called “boutiques,” solo and small firms, and a variety of nongovernmental organizations and public interest law firms. Guest speakers will provide some of the context of internationalized legal careers and also serve as mentors, sharing their experiences with LL.M. students from outside the United States.

Pre-Semester Orientation

Students are required to attend an intensive and substantive orientation prior to the start of the academic year. This three to four-day orientation will cover an introduction to the American legal system, what to expect in law school classes, basic outlining and studying techniques, cultural intelligence and leadership competencies and other important topics for the new LL.M student.

Optional Program Extension

Students will have the option of continuing to enroll and take classes for up to one year after completing the degree requirements pending approval of the Assistant Dean, Chief Global and Executive Programs Officer and the Dean of Students. Students must be in good academic standing and the extension must align with the student’s overall academic and professional goals.

LL.M. U.S. Bar Requirements

Please be aware that earning an LL.M. does not guarantee eligibility to sit for a bar exam in the United States. State Bars, and not UCI School of Law, determine eligibility to sit for a bar exam. Students should consult the individual websites of the State Bar in which they intend to take the bar exam, and carefully follow the instructions posted there. See LL.M. U.S. Bar Requirements for additional information.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Legal Knowledge and Understanding: UCI Law graduates have knowledge and understanding of the U.S. legal system and the principal fields of substantive and procedural law.
  2. Essential Practice Competencies: UCI Law graduates have the competencies essential for the practice of law. They can effectively spot, analyze and research legal issues; apply legal reasoning; develop solutions to legal problems; find and develop facts; communicate orally and in writing in the legal context, using a style and format appropriate for the audience and the purpose; and negotiate and draft agreements. They understand and are capable of lawyering in a client-centered manner.
  3. The Legal Profession: UCI Law graduates have a basic understanding of the history, structure and economics of the legal profession, and are aware of the range of professional opportunities available to them as lawyers. They value inclusiveness, equity, and diversity in the legal profession.