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Cornell Law School: LL.M. Degree

LL.M. students at law school convocation

LL.M. students following the law school final convocation

Master of Laws (LL.M.) Degree Program

The Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program at Cornell Law School is designed for students holding a first degree in law who wish to increase their understanding of American legal principles or to develop their knowledge of specialized areas of the law.

Cornell’s LL.M. program was established in 1929 and is a general LL.M., which allows students to tailor their curriculum to their individual academic and career objectives. The 80-85 LL.M. students are typically chosen from more than 1200 applicants and come from 25-30 countires each year. They range from recent law graduates to experienced lawyers, in-house counsel, judges and government officials.

There are no specific courses required for the LL.M. degree, and aside from a small number of courses designed specifically for LL.M. students, the LL.M. students choose their courses from the regular Law School curriculum (pdf), including first year courses and clinical offerings. There is a thesis option for those LL.M. students who wish to pursue advanced scholarly work. Approximately 50-65% of the LL.M. graduates sit for the New York State Bar Examination following the LL.M. degree.

LL.M. students are fully integrated into the life of the law school. In addition to participating in any of the school’s numerous student groups, the LL.M. students have their own student organization, which works closely with the Graduate Legal Studies Program Office in planning and scheduling programs and events designed for the LL.M. students, including a monthly LL.M. speakers’ series and the annual Inter-University Graduate Student Conference at the Law School.

Career and placement services for LL.M. students are handled through the Graduate Legal Studies Program Office. Career programs are scheduled throughout the year. Cornell Law School also participates in a major LL.M. job fair held in New York City at the end of January of each year.