Alumni Short

Cornell Law School: JD/LLM Program at Heidelberg, Faculty of Law

Program Description

Students are selected for the J.D./LL.M. in European and Comparative Law on the basis of their academic record and fluency in German. U.S. students are selected for the J.D./Master of Laws (LL.M.) on the basis of their academic record and fluency in German.  Students spend the first two years studying at Cornell Law School, followed by one year at Universität Heidelberg Faculty of Law. Upon successfully completing the program, students receive the Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School and the LL.M. from Heidelberg.

About the LL.M.

Heidelberg’s LL.M. program is designed to acquaint students with the essentials of the German legal system and furnish them with more profound knowledge of one area of the law.   Students may select courses according to their interests but must take at least one course in German public and private law and complete an LL.M. thesis.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must be completely fluent in German. Prospective Cornell students who are interested in this program should apply in conjunction with their initial application to Cornell Law. If a space in the program remains available, matriculated students will be invited to apply in the spring semester of their first year.

First- and Second-Year Curriculum at Cornell Law School

Students will be required to complete 62 credits of study.  The first year of study will be identical to that of regular J.D. students at Cornell Law School. In the second year of study at Cornell, the students must complete their credit and J.D. course requirements, which include six credits of experiential learning, a professional responsibility course,  and a course satisfying the Law School’s writing requirement.

The program includes restrictions to avoid course offerings counting toward the J.D. credit requirements that: (1) would be better taken as part of the curriculum of Heidelberg Universität or (2) are outside of the regular Law School curriculum (regular J.D. candidates are allowed to take one course in each upper-class semester in other divisions of the university in areas related to their legal studies).

Third-Year Curriculum at Heidelberg

In their third year, students study the basics of German private and public law, constitutional law, business law, and European Union law.  They also complete an LL.M. thesis.  Please see the LL.M. program description.

Following the award to the students of the LL.M. Cornell Law School will evaluate their performance and grant an additional 24 credits in advanced standing toward the Juris Doctor degree. Acceptance of any credit or grade for any course taken at Paris I is subject to determination by Cornell Law School.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Applicants admitted by Cornell pay full Cornell tuition and fees during all three years of study.  Students may continue to receive financial aid during the year in Heidelberg.  Their financial aid package will reflect the expenses of living in Heidelberg as opposed to Ithaca.

Bar Examinations/Admission

Program graduates have the necessary legal training to qualify for the bar examination in the United States, but further study and practice would be necessary to qualify to take the German First State Examination. It should be noted that graduates may be unable to take the July bar examination directly after graduation and should therefore expect to take the February bar examination in the U.S.

Program Cancellation

In the event that Cornell University Law School and/or its partner, Universität Heidelberg Faculty of Law, were to decide to cancel the program, all students who had been approved for, and committed to, participation nonetheless would be permitted to continue in the program.