INTERNATIONAL LL.M. PROGRAMS: TULANE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL, NEW ORLEANS, LA, USA
Maria Landry, Director of Admissions, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to
answer my questions about LL.M. in Admiralty and Maritime Law. GHK
GHK: Director Landry, Tulane Law offers a variety of specialized LL.M. degrees such as in American Law, Admiralty & Maritime Law, Energy & the Environment, and International & Comparative Law. How would you interpret globalization in law in light of these LL.M. degrees and the subject areas they focus on? In particular, how can civil-law trained lawyers benefit from a specialized master of laws from the United States?
ML: With the increased number of international firms and companies, and international travel at its highest level (prior to the pandemic), globalization is today’s reality. Our different LLM programs are offered in areas that are particularly relevant in a global world. Civil-law trained lawyers will benefit not only from courses that will show them a different legal system, but also by being in a classroom filled with different points of view and different legal backgrounds, and a large number of international educated faculty.
GHK: I specifically would like to talk about one of your top-ranked LL.M. programs— LL.M. in Admiralty & Maritime Law. Based on your experience, why one gets a master’s degree in admiralty and maritime Law?
ML: Tulane has the number one program in the world in Maritime and Admiralty Law. The program is offered not only for those who have a background in the industry, but all of those interested in entering the field. The program is designed to offer students a detailed view of many legal aspects within the maritime world, from carriage of goods by the sea, to collision law and limitation of liability, and including courses on marine insurance and personal injury and death. Due to its nature, the maritime industry is a very international field of law and one that is constantly growing, as we have seen with the recent international shipping issues and delays for example.
Tulane Law School offers over twelve different courses on a yearly basis, and the courses touch not only on US law but also on international conventions and case law used around the world.
GHK: Tulane Law has a global reputation for maritime research and has been indicated as one of the best places in the States to study for a master’s in maritime law. What do you think are the most critical factors behind the success of Tulane’s Admiralty & Maritime LL.M.?
ML: There are many factors that make the program unique and outstanding. I mentioned the large number of course offerings and the range of the lectures on the question above, however, there are many other factors that contribute to the success of the program.
We have some of the best faculty in the world, Professor Force and Professor Davies are recognized worldwide for the contribute to the field and their many legal opinions. Additionally, we have several maritime practitioners that teach at Tulane Law, allowing students to receive lectures with firsthand exposure to real cases and current events.
Our Maritime Center is dedicated to its members and will take students on field trips to shipping yards and on vessel simulations, allowing them to get a very “hands-on” experience.
We also have the Maritime Law Journal, a student-edited law journal that includes scholarly works written by academics, practitioners, and students concerning current topics in Admiralty and Maritime Law.
Lastly, I will mention our amazing network of faculty, alumni and current students, allowing students to develop relationships in the field, as they navigate the courses.
GHK: Could you please explain the weight or emphasis given to each part of a student’s application, such as GPA, language score, a letter of motivation, and letters of recommendation? How should an applicant from Turkey address a low GPA or lack of work experience in an Admiralty & Maritime LL.M. application to Tulane Law?
ML: Tulane Law has a very holistic approach to the application. We look at the application as a whole and try to balance all the pieces of information submitted by the candidates.
Additionally, I always say that addendums to the application are very much acceptable and can be a good way to further explain something that is not addressed in any of the regular documents.
GHK: One of the obstacles that applicants often face is choosing referees. Could you tell us what advice you would give to applicants from Turkey in this regard?
ML: For the LLM program we require applicants to submit 2 letters of recommendation. Although most applicants will submit academic and professional letters, what we are looking for is a letter written by someone who the applicant well (not as a friend or family member) and can speak to your academic ability or work experience.
GHK: What does Tulane Law look for in a letter of motivation? Could you offer applicants from Turkey any advice regarding writing the letter of motivation?
ML: Letters of motivation or personal statements are the ideal place for the candidate to tell us more about themselves beyond what the transcripts or the resume will show. It is the perfect opportunity to tell us a personal story connecting the person to law, to the desire of furthering their legal education/career, or simply tell us of their future ambitions and professional goals. It is also important be well written, as oftentimes we will use it also as a way to see how the candidate expresses themselves in writing.
GHK: I understand that students who enroll in the Admiralty & Maritime LLM program have the option to participate in the Tulane Summer Abroad program in Rhodes before the start of their fall program. Could you provide us with more information about the Tulane Summer Abroad program?
ML: The Tulane Summer Abroad program in Rhodes is a wonderful opportunity to get the LLM started. It will offer 3 credits towards the LLM program, and it will provide a number of introductory maritime courses, in the beautiful Rhodes Island. LLM students are only responsible for the cost of the traveling and living expenses, as the course itself is covered under the LLM tuition. It is also a great setting to meet some JD students and get familiar with some of the faculty, as Professor Davies is the director for the program and will be there with other professors, attorneys, and judges. The program also offers a number of social activities and visits to some maritime companies.
GHK: Maritime law is a highly specialized, niche legal practice of law that can have varying applications to other law practices. However, young lawyers trying to establish a maritime practice through self-teaching or after a maritime law class may have a hard time. What do you think is the best way for young lawyers interested in maritime law to get into the practice? What are career services available to LL.M. students?
ML: As I pointed out, one of the strengths of the maritime program at Tulane Law School is the wonderful network of contacts our students will establish during their year in the LLM. Students are encouraged to discuss professional opportunities with faculty and our dedicated Career Development office. Additionally, throughout the year, there will be multiple events that students are invited to attend and meet others in the same area of law.
GHK: It is a common understating that an LL.M. degree is a key for practicing in the United States for someone who has a foreign law degree. Do you think an LL.M. degree is the best choice for international lawyers who plan to remain and practice law in the States?
ML: The LLM degree will show a lot of US companies and firms that the student has a degree in a specialized area of law. That in addition to a different language can in itself be of great advantage. Additionally, a lot of LLM students (if meeting other eligibility requirements) will be able to sit for a few different US bar exams (example of NY, CA or Louisiana), and become a US licensed attorney.
GHK: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Director Landry. Anything you would like to add for the Turkish law graduates reading this article?
ML: The LLM program is a great investment and adventure, both personal and monetary. Prospect students should take the time to do their extensive research and research all programs, cities, scholarship opportunities, etc. It is also a wonderful opportunity to further your legal education and professional career, and to make memories and friends that will last forever.