AAY: Thank you so much for sharing the details of the student-centered methodologies used in the Two Year LLM. My personal teaching experience also proved that increasing student participation makes learning more effective. Please also tell our readers what skills and abilities these methods give students.
RP: Using these methodologies allows students to graduate from our program with the ability to:
AAY: What are other advantages of the Two-Year LL.M.?
RP: Two-Year LLM students have an additional year to truly feel part of BU Law’s dynamic and diverse law school community. They also have an additional year to spend in Boston, the intellectual capital of the United States – if not the world. Additionally, as a Two-Year LLM student at BU Law, students have access to an academic support system led by a full-time faculty dedicated exclusively to supporting the learning goals of our international LLM students. They also benefit from an extra year of exposure to learning tools for exam preparation and study techniques; individualized career development advisement from our Professional Development office; workshops on CV and cover letter writing, interviewing, and job-search strategies; a head start on learning bar subjects; early bar preparation and other bar exam workshops; and social and athletic outings with fellow LLM students, such as apple picking, a trip to see the Red Sox play at the historic Fenway Park baseball stadium, BU hockey and basketball games; ice skating and snow tubing; a harbor cruise and lobster lunch, law prom, and much more.
AAY: When I was an LL.M. in American Law student at BU Law in 1999-2000, I had an academic advisor and was assigned two JD student mentors. Please outline the academic support services at the Two-Year LL.M.
RP: Students in their first year of the Two-Year LLM receive individualized academic support from full-time law staff and faculty who are also trained attorneys. They also receive regular academic support workshops to review foundational concepts and skills.
AAY: Could you please tell us about the second year’s schedule?
RP: Schedules will vary depending on the program students select for their second year. All students will take a minimum of 12 credits per semester, with most classes Monday through Thursday. Some programs will have more classes during the day (Amercian Law and IP), while others have classes primarily in the evening (Tax and Banking). Some programs also offer classes during the day on Fridays. In all programs, students have significant flexibility to select courses focused on their specific interests.
AAY: Can Two-Year LL.M. students take courses routinely covered on bar exams during their second year? Does the Two-Year LL.M. help prepare students for the bar exam of a particular state?
RP: Yes, students in all programs, except for the Tax LLM and MSL-T, may take courses routinely covered on bar exams during their second year. Tax students typically need to extend their program for an additional semester to both meet the requirements for their degree and also take bar-qualifying courses. Most students in the Two-Year LLM who want to sit for a US state bar exam will choose New York because that state is easier for most foreign-trained attorneys to qualify. Although the Two-Year LLM does not focus on preparing students for any particular bar exam, we have observed that the students who do the Two-Year LLM are statistically more successful in passing a US bar exam than those who have only studied in the US for one year.
AAY: I know from experience that Legal Writing Courses are invaluable. Are the Two-Year LL.M. students required to take more sophisticated legal analysis and communication courses during the program’s second year?
RP: Our Two-Year LLM students take extensive legal writing courses in their first year, so they are prepared for more sophisticated legal analysis and communication courses during the program’s second year. Students in the American Law and Intellectual Property Law LLM programs are required to take a legal writing course during their second year. Those in Tax and Banking may take a legal writing course in the second year but are not required to do so.
AAY: Can Two-Year LL.M. students participate in non-classroom activities, internships, externships, clinics, and other experiential opportunities at the same level as JD students?
RP: Students who are in the Two-Year LLM program are encouraged to take advantage of the many extracurricular activities at the law school, including participating in clubs and organizations that involve both JD and LLM students. During their first year, students in the Two-Year LLM are expected to focus on their courses, but they will have the ability to do our LLM moot court and other experiential opportunities offered by their specific program in the second year. Two-Year students also have the advantage of being able to spend an additional summer between their first and second year at BU Law. During that time, students may engage in experiential opportunities such as volunteering in a law firm or other legal services provider.
The JD program has certain opportunities that are open only to students in that program, such as clinics, but we seek to give all LLM students ample opportunities for professional development and practical training.
AAY: Can a Two-Year LL.M. student earn a joint degree at BU Law?
RP: No, we do not currently offer joint-degree programs for our LLM students.
AAY: Can a student join the JD program while enrolled as a Two-Year LL.M. candidate or post-LL.M.?
RP: Yes, students enrolled in the LLM in American Law Program (a second-year option of the Two-Year LLM program) may apply to the JD program as transfer students and—if they are admitted—may receive up to one-third of their JD credits from their LLM studies, consistent with American Bar Association standards. This means they may be able to complete the JD program with two additional years of study.
AAY: You probably have witnessed the professional development of countless Two-Year LL.M. graduates. Lastly, please share your perspective on this.
RP: The LLM Professional Development Office is staffed by experienced attorneys who are employed as full-time staff at BU and provide career advising services to graduate students at BU Law. Two-Year LLM graduates gain an additional year of support from this office in resumé and cover letter reviews; mock interviews; individual career counseling; career and job fair alerts; bar information and advising; and professional development guides.