Frequent Questions about Mitchell’s LL.M. for Foreign Lawyers

Who should consider applying for the LL.M. program?

William Mitchell’s LL.M. program is designed for foreign lawyers and law faculty who seek to learn American substantive law and receive an in depth understanding of America’s legal system and practice of law.

The LL.M. degree is especially attractive to lawyers who expect to work with American trained attorneys on international transactions or disputes that involve American law and legal institutions.  This includes lawyers who 1) represent clients with interests in the United States or 2) have American clients with interests in the lawyer’s home countries.

For faculty, the LL.M. program offers the opportunity to learn American substantive law and receive important grounding in the case law method and legal reasoning process which characterizes the common law tradition.  Faculty will also have the opportunity to participate in many of William Mitchell’s innovate teaching and curricular initiatives.  Increasingly, a master of laws degree from an American law school is seen as an important credential for professional advancement in many educational institutions.

The LL.M. degree is not intended to qualify foreign lawyers to take the bar exam or to practice law in the state of Minnesota. Although the LL.M. degree may enable students to take the bar exam in other states, it is the responsibility of any student who may be interested in practicing law in the United States to research and understand the requirements of doing so.

How do I submit an application for admission to the LL.M. Program?

Please click here to learn more about the application process and requirements, and to apply for admission.

When should I apply?

You should apply as soon as possible and let us know that you are in the process of applying to make sure we can still consider your application for this fall.

What are the application requirements?

  • Official Transcripts in English (or accompanied by a certified translation) of previous law school work. These must show the date on which each degree was granted. You must submit a transcript for each institution you have included on your application. Official transcripts must bear the original signature of the registrar or other appropriate official.
  • Credential Evaluation of transcripts and grades. Please use a credential evaluation service such as LSAC or World Education Service WES to process your transcript and grades. These evaluation companies translate the information into English as well as provide us with your U.S. grade equivalency. If possible, always request a “course by course” report which lists each individual university course and the grade received.
  • Personal Statement, in English, of 750 to 1,500 words describing previous law study and professional experience, reasons and goals for studying in the LL.M. Program, and any other relevant information.
  • Proof of Competency in English. All courses are taught in English. Applicants from non-English speaking countries or whose native language is not English must provide proof of English competency. This could include an official TOEFL score report or other established test of English. Applicants will also be asked to demonstrate English competency through a short interview.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation focused on academic ability, English language competency, motivation and self-discipline, and demonstrated ethics.
  • Resume / Curriculum Vitae.
  • Visa Materials. Upon Admission, you will need to submit two additional items:
  • Visa information. Most international students enter the U.S. on a student visa (“F-1” visa). In order to apply for the F-1 visa, the student needs a document called the “I-20” from the educational institution (in this case, William Mitchell College of Law). We will require additional information from you in order to complete the Visa application once you are admitted to the program.
  • Financial information. In order to complete the Visa application, we will need original financial documents that show that the student has sufficient funds for the tuition and cost of living expenses connected to the program. We will send additional information concerning the financial information once you are admitted to the program.
  • Completed application

What does the program cost?

Tuition for the full-year program for the 2014-15 academic year is $29,000.  In addition, students can expect to pay anywhere between $12,000 and $16,000 for living expenses (including insurance, housing, meals, books, etc.).  For visa purposes, applicants must provide financial documentation showing the availability of funds to cover tuition and anticipated living expenses.

Do my transcripts need to be translated into English?

Yes, please ask your university to translate your academic transcripts into English.  If your university is unable to translate your transcripts, please use a certified translation service, such as the LL.M. Credential Assembly Service provided through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).

What is a “Credential Evaluation?”

In order to evaluate all applicants on a uniform basis, we require all LL.M. applicants to have their transcripts / grade reports evaluated by an independent company, such as LSAC or WES. These evaluation companies translate the information into English as well as provide us with your U.S. grade equivalency. If possible, always request a “course by course” report which lists each individual university course and the grade received.

What is the LL.M. Credential Assembly Service and should I register for it?

William Mitchell will accept applications only through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).  LSAC collects and authenticates the academic records and TOEFL scores of international lawyers who are applying for admission to U.S. LL.M. programs.  To register for the service or receive more information, go to www.llm.lsac.org.

Does William Mitchell charge an application fee?

No.

Do you require the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)?

No.

Do you require applicants to take the TOEFL?

No, but we require all applicants from non-English speaking countries or whose native language is not English to provide proof of English competency, which could include the TOEFL or some other means (see application requirements above).

Whom should I ask to write my recommendation letters?

Please supply recommendation letters from knowledgeable persons who can tell us about your academic qualifications and career interests.  If possible, please include at least one academic reference.

Am I required to declare a specialization when I apply?

No.

Will I be able to specialize in a particular field of study?

As an LL.M. student, you may pursue an optional specialization in any field that you would like, with the approval of your faculty advisor.  Working with your faculty advisor and other faculty, if you choose, you can design and pick your own concentration.  Such concentrations could include Intellectual Property, Human Rights, Dispute Resolution and Negotiation, and Business and Corporate Law, by way of example.  Additionally, you may develop your own specialization, subject to the approval of your faculty advisor.

Do I have to pick a specialized LLM program?

Unlike a number of other law schools, William Mitchell does not require its LL.M. students to take a specialized LL.M. program or have a specific focus for their LL.M. degree.  Students can design their own LL.M. program.  There are no specific courses that LLM students are required to take, other than the introductory course before fall semester.  This means that students have the flexibility to create their own programs and put together course and seminar schedules that reflect certain practice specialties that are of particular interest to them.

Are there required courses?

Yes.  Each LL.M student must take the mandatory introductory course offered in early August for three weeks (4 credits), Introduction to the Legal System of the United States.  In special circumstances, LL.M. students can demonstrate an existing mastery of the fundamentals of American Law and test out of the introductory course.

What other courses are available to LL.M. students?

LL.M. students will be able to choose from William Mitchell’s full J.D. curriculum.

William Mitchell Course Descriptions

Does completion of the LL.M. degree qualify students to take the bar exam?

The LL.M. degree is not intended to qualify foreign lawyers to take the bar exam or to practice law in the State of Minnesota, although it may enable students to take the bar exam in other states.  Each state has its own regulations regarding qualification to take the bar exam.  Students should do their own research regarding these regulations.  The National Conference of Bar Examiners publishes a yearly guide with bar information of all individual states and additional details at www.ncbex.org.  If you are interested in taking a bar exam in the United States, we recommend you research these regulations before you enroll in any LL.M. program.

How can I contact the LL.M. Program?

For more information, please contact Jim Hilbert.