The best way to gain information about potential Master of Laws programs is to go to straight to those schools themselves. Here’s a quick summary of the LLM program at Harvard Law School.
Harvard Law School LLM Program
The Harvard Law School LLM Degree is open to both international students and graduates of American law schools. The LLM program lasts one-year and offers degree candidates the opportunity to take 22-26 credits worth of courses from Harvard Law School. Since students holding JDs from American law schools are expected to be more familiar with the American legal system than their foreign counterparts, the degree requirements for internationally- and domestically-trained lawyers differ slightly. International students are required to take one course out of American Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Corporations, Criminal Law, Property Taxes, and Torts. Students from international law schools must also complete either a 25-page paper, a 75-100 page “LL.M Paper,” or an “LL.M Thesis,” which is generally significantly longer in length than the “LL.M Paper” option.
Degree candidates from American law schools are expected to be on the road to a career in legal teaching. As is the case, these students are encouraged to use the LLM program as an opportunity to consider the larger themes of their potential studies as they prepare to become law professors. Students from domestic law schools must enroll in at least one course in legal theory or jurisprudence, and must complete either the “LL.M Paper” or “LL.M Thesis.” The option to write a 25-page paper is not open to degree candidates with JDs from American law schools.
Applications to Harvard’s LLM program are open to everyone, making them a great way for lawyers to not only expand their legal knowledge, but to also add some brand recognition to their education. Ambitious law school students who performed well at less-known universities sometimes use an LLM as a way to display their legal expertise at a world-renowned institution like Harvard. Each year applications must be submitted before the end of November, though Harvard’s law school admissions office encourages prospective students to submit their application materials by mid-November. The application process consists of online application forms, a personal statement, submission of law school transcripts and 2-3 letters of recommendation, as well as TOEFL scores for applicants whose prior legal education was not conducted in English. In 2011, Harvard accepted roughly 150 out of 1,500 applications.
Harvard’s office of financial aid offers grants for up to the full amount of its $47,600 tuition; however, the average LLM scholarship grant only covers half the amount of tuition. As a result, most students turn to loans to help them cover not only tuition, but additional expenses as well, which Harvard estimates add up to over $70,000 for the average LLM student.