INTERNATIONAL LL.M. PROGRAMS: CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL of LAW, CLEVELAND, OH, USA
Elizabeth H. Woyczynski, Director of Admissions and Student Services, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. GHK
GHK: Director Woyczynski, Case Western Reserve Law offers some of the top-ranked LL.M. programs in the United States and has many options of specialized LL.M. degrees such as Intellectual Property Law, Business Law, and Criminal Law. I also noticed that it is launching a new master’s degree and certificate program in health care compliance and risk management. Has Case Western Reserve considered demands from the international students when creating these programs? In light of this, how would you interpret globalization in law?
EHW: Case Western Reserve University School of Law has a very well-regarded curriculum in health law. We are located in Cleveland, with nationally and internationally renowned hospitals within walking distance of the law school. Our international LL.M. students can get an LL.M. degree in US and Global Legal Studies with a concentration in Health Law. And the law school is starting a new master’s program in Compliance and Risk Management, which prepares students to work in law firms and a wide range of industries. Compliance professionals need to be informed about state, federal, and international laws and regulations. Our international LL.M. students with their foreign undergraduate law degrees, and their facility in other languages, bring valued strengths to the profession. A number of our LL.M. graduates sit for a US bar exam, and although passing a US bar exam may be useful, jobs in compliance often don’t require admission to the practice of law in the United States.
GHK: I specifically would like to talk about one of your top-ranked LL.M. programs— LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law. Based on your experience, why one gets a master’s degree in intellectual property?
EHW: Our LL.M.s in Intellectual Property Law take required classes in Patent Law, Copyright Law, and Trademark Law. And they have a lot of electives they can choose from to complete the 24 credits required for their LL.M. degree, such as Music Industry Law, Cyberlaw, International Intellectual Property Law, etc. We offer many classes in business law; our international LL.M. students pursue a curriculum melding the law, business, and tech aspects of commercializing new ideas.
GHK: Is there a particular profile of LL.M. applicants that you think would be successful in securing admission at Case Western Reserve’s LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law? What would be your recommendation to a prospective applicant without relevant work experience in intellectual property law?
EHW: We admit students who don’t have undergraduate degrees in law into the international LL.M. program. Our LL.M. students who have an undergraduate degree in science and engineering thrive in our Intellectual Program Law LL.M. degree, and they are strong candidates for legal jobs upon graduation.
GHK: Does one need a technical background to participate in the LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law?
EHW: It’s not required. Our international LL.M. graduates with engineering or science backgrounds are particularly well prepared for jobs in patent law.
GHK: Is LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law designed for a particular type of students in mind? In particular, are most of the LL.M. candidates international students, or do you have students who have a J.D. from U.S. law schools?
EHW: At Case Western Reserve University School of Law the JD and the international LL.M. students take the same classes in intellectual property law.
GHK: Can a student pursuing LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law take courses in bar-tested subjects? Also, how often do you see international students interested in taking the patent bar exam offered by the USPTO?
EHW: Some of our international LL.M. students in Intellectual Property Law plan to take a US bar exam. IP Law LL.M.s are required to take introductory classes in US law and government, legal writing, and contract law. And they can add classes in Business Associations and Professional Responsibility. These classes make it easy for international LL.M.s in IP Law to qualify to take a US bar exam, but the IP Law curriculum does not allow enough time to take classes in a wide range in bar-tested subjects. To be best prepared to pass a US bar exam, we recommend that LL.M. students pursue an LL.M. in US and Global Legal studies, with a 10-credit concentration in IP Law. However, if international LL.M.s really want to get the degree in Intellectual Property Law and be prepared to pass a US bar exam, we recommend that they complete their LL.M. degree in three semesters instead of two. In the third and last semester, international LL.M.s don’t have to be full-time students, and their tuition is significantly reduced.
GHK: The COVID‑19 crisis has resulted in a significant increase in online learning. In the light of this, is LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law available only in residential, or does Case Western Reserve Law also offer limited residential or online formats?
EHW: We offered online classes to international students studying outside the USA during the height of the COVID pandemic. But starting in Spring 2022, Case Western Reserve University School of Law will no longer offer online classes to LL.M. students studying outside the USA. Being in the USA, using the English language on a daily basis outside of class, and taking classes with American JD students deepens the level of mastery for our international LL.M. students
GHK: Since LL.M. degrees are typically expensive to obtain, could you please tell us a bit about merit or need-based scholarships that the Case Western Reserve Law offers? Does applying for financial aid affect one’s chances of admission?
EHW: Case Western Reserve University School of Law offers merit scholarships to international LL.M.s that range from 10 to 40% of tuition. Merit scholarships are awarded at the time of admission. There is no need for an applicant to apply for scholarships. And certainly, there is no disadvantage to any applicant who inquiries about eligibility for merit scholarships.
GHK: What are the job opportunities for a foreign LL.M. graduate who has earned an LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law from Case Western Reserve Law? Does Case Western Reserve have a good alumni network?
EHW: Case Western Reserve University School of Law has one of the oldest LL.M. programs for international students. This year we celebrated the program’s 30th anniversary. We have about 1,500 alumni from 60 different countries. Our LL.M.s in IP Law have gotten jobs in industry and at law firms, and some have continued their educations to earn Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degrees in Intellectual Property Law, and they are teaching at law schools abroad.
GHK: Thank you for your time, Director Woyczynski. Any parting thoughts for applicants from Turkey considering Case Western Reserve Law?
EHW: Case Western Reserve University has many programs of study – such as engineering, medicine, etc. – and there are very likely to be additional Turkish students in other graduate degree programs. We have a number of Turkish graduates who have succeeded in our LL.M. and SJD programs. We recommend that Turkish LL.M. degree students come prepared to network with, be friend, and learn from students from the US and other international students from all over the world.