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LL.M. Program to Offer Online Instruction

By Rachel Bender | January 2, 2013

For lawyers around the world, the need to understand the nuances of American law is becoming increasingly important; however, giving up their job to study in the United States for a year is often out of the question. Recognizing this dilemma, Regent University School of Law is now offering students the option to complete an LL.M. in American Legal Studies either on campus or online.

The program is designed for graduates of accredited institutions outside the U.S. who have already earned a J.D.-equivalent law degree. While the program itself is not unique, it is the only online program of its kind taught from a Christian worldview.

"With ever-increasing globalization, there is ever-growing trade with the world's largest economy—the United States," said Assistant Professor James Davids, director of the LL.M. in American Legal Studies program. "Successful trading with the United States requires knowledge of its customs and traditions and particularly its laws that govern trade. Therefore, courses in contracts, the Uniform Commercial Code and Business Associations will provide a framework for foreign lawyers advising clients doing business with American companies."

The courses are taught in English, not only because the majority of American legal writing is in English, but also because many of the students in the LL.M. program must have an English proficiency if they choose to take the Bar Exam after completing the program.

Whether on campus or online, LL.M. students study the same texts, perform the same assignments and take the same exams. What varies is simply the method of interactions among students and professors. Ultimately, the online option for the program in no way compromises the quality of instruction. "Every student must take a research and writing course which builds English proficiency," Davids explained. "Regent's program requires weekly written interaction between students and their professor, and is therefore more rigorous than similar programs."

Students elect to earn an LL.M. in American Legal Studies for a variety of reasons. For some lawyers who have graduated from a foreign law school, the LL.M. makes them eligible to take the Bar Exam—a must to practice law in the United States. Others are seeking a competitive advantage to gain a promotion within their present law firm or to change their professional focus to international law and American clients.

While the LL.M. does prepare international students to take the Bar Exam, some states do not yet recognize online courses as satisfying their LL.M. requirements for a foreign law graduate to take the state Bar Exam. However, Davids said, this still allows for some flexibility in choosing which state's exam to take.

For students not wishing to take the Bar Exam after completing the program, the online option is particularly attractive since it makes it easier to complete the coursework while still continuing to practice law in their own country, Davids added. "They don't want their children to leave their school, or their spouse to leave their job," Davids said. "[Plus] the online version of the LL.M. is more convenient and affordable."

Learn more about the LL.M. program in American Legal Studies.


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