LL.M. (Master of Laws) in Comparative Law

Consistently ranked among the top LL.M. programs at a public law school, the LSU Law Center is the only law school in the United States with fully developed programs in both common law and civil law, matching the needs of today’s global practice. Our LL.M. in Comparative Law allows you to discover the U.S. common law under the guidance of professors who are familiar with the civil law, and to study the civil law in English, equipping you with an immense competitive advantage nowhere to be found but in Louisiana.

Our exceptional faculty is comprised of noted scholars and outstanding legal professionals. The faculty’s depth of knowledge of both common and civil law provides students with one of the most thorough and profound Comparative Law programs available.

Our Law Library is considered one of the best in the country, for its American law, foreign law, and international law collections. The LSU Law Center has a tradition of strong global academic connections particularly in Europe, Latin America, and Québec. The LL.M. program also appears on the LSU Law Worldwide blog, and we encourage you to sign up to receive the latest news and information.

The program offers highly competitive rates, minimizing your financial investment, in combination with affordable housing and living costs. When you add the unique and distinct culture of Louisiana to the strong academic curriculum and personal attention of the Law Center, you get a program that can’t be beat.

Download the LL.M. Brochure

The Program

The Law Center offers an advanced program of study leading to the degree of Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Comparative Law. This degree requires two semesters in residence and a minimum of 26 credit hours of study.

The LL.M. in Comparative Law is open to students with either Civilian or Anglo-American training who seek a firm foundation in the American common law taught from the unique perspective that only a truly comparativist institution can offer. 

LL.M. graduates under proper visa status are eligible to sit for the Bar Exam in Louisiana. See the details below in “Required Courses.”

Required Courses

All LL.M. candidates must attend a special Orientation program held at the Law Center beginning two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester.

The Orientation program will help you adjust to the language and study of law at a United States law school, as well as provide opportunities for course selection, completion of enrollment and administrative requirements, and other activities to accustom you to life as a U.S. law student. Orientation also includes a trip to the Louisiana Supreme Court in New Orleans, located in the historic French Quarter, and to the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge.

LL.M. students also take Introduction to United States Law, a first-semester comparative study of the institutions and concepts of Anglo-American and Louisiana laws (with an overview of how the common law evolves as compared to the civil law), and Legal Research & Writing, a practical skills component to help them prepare for professional legal writing.  Students who have earned a J.D. at a law school in the United States may be exempt from taking Legal Research & Writing.

The LSU Law Center then offers candidates a full range of law courses, seminars, and skills development classes, especially in the business, transactional, corporate, and commercial law areas that are often important to international lawyers.

Classes are also available in: civil and international law; intellectual property law; labor and employment law; environmental law; mineral and energy law; law, science and public health; constitutional and administrative law; family law; torts, admiralty and insurance; professional responsibility and the practice of law and procedure (including international criminal law and white-collar crime); and other areas.  You can find a full list of the course offerings available at the LSU Law Center in the Law Catalog; course descriptions begin on page 38.

If you are thinking about or planning to take the Louisiana Bar Exam, there are some requirements set by the Louisiana Supreme Court that you will need to consider when planning your courses.  To be eligible to sit for the Bar, you must successfully complete 14 credit hours in professional law subjects in any of the following categories:  Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Corporations or Business Organizations, Evidence, Federal Jurisdiction, Federal Civil Procedure, Intellectual Property, Louisiana Civil Procedure, Louisiana Obligations Law, Professional Responsibility, Taxation, Torts and Uniform Commercial Code.  No more than 4 credit hours in any one subject shall be counted toward this requirement.  We will be happy to provide comprehensive course recommendations for those of you who may wish to take the Bar Exam upon completion of the LL.M.

Academic Legal Writing Requirement

Each candidate must complete an academic legal writing project, either as an independent supervised research project or a seminar paper. All candidates attend the Legal Research Workshop during the spring semester and regularly meet with Law Center faculty members and instructors for assistance and feedback on their writing.

You will receive instruction in print and computer-based legal research, with free unlimited access to Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, HeinOnline, and many other databases, to learn to conduct both practical and academic legal research. The LL.M. Program staff and the librarians meet with you during Orientation and during the semester to assist you in making full use of the extensive and unique resources at the LSU Law Library.

Cost, Tuition, Financial Aid & Scholarships

The cost of living for a student in Baton Rouge is approximately $1,000-$1,400 per month, with housing available on or off campus.

Our tuition & fee structure is complex, due to the fact that we are a public university: the State of Louisiana funds part of the Law Center operation, which results in an additional fee for non-residents. Tuition for the 2015-2016 LL.M. Program is $19,750. Non-residents of Louisiana (students who did not live a minimum 12-month period in Louisiana and meet other residency requirements before the start of the program) must pay an additional fee of $19,350, bringing the total to $39,100. All students, whether Louisiana residents or not, must pay mandatory student fees in addition, which are approximately $1,800 per year. The maximal cost for a non-resident student is approximately $40,000.

However, based on your credentials and relevant personal circumstances, you may benefit from financial aid from the Law Center in the form of a tuition waiver or a waiver of the non-resident fee. A very limited number of full waivers may be granted in any academic year, resulting in a cost of approximately $1,800 (mandatory fees, which cannot be waived). Some students may be granted a full waiver of non-resident fee, which would make the cost approximately $20,000.  The cost of the program could be reduced further (to $10,000-$15,000) if the applicant is awarded a waiver of the non-resident fee and a partial waiver of tuition.

Within the guidelines fixed every year by the Law Center administration, the LL.M. Program Committee has full discretion in the award of financial help and can decide up to what extent it may be granted. In the event you wish to benefit from financial help, the application form will prompt you to apply for “full scholarship” (tuition waiver plus non-resident fee waiver) or “partial scholarship” (non-resident fee waiver), and request that you to document your resources and needs.

You may also apply for the A.N. Yiannopoulos Scholarship.  Established by former LSU Professor and Tulane Professor Emeritus A.N. Yiannopoulos – an internationally renowned scholar of civil law, comparative law, and maritime law – the scholarship awards $1,000 per semester to an incoming LL.M. student who has exhibited exceptional academic achievement. The application for the above-named scholarship is incorporated in the application for the LL.M. program. All scholarship decisions are made by the LL.M. Program Committee.

There are financial aid and scholarship programs offered to international students by private organizations. Many of the awards are targeted to specific countries. An excellent search tool to identify these programs is Edupass.

The Fulbright Commission offers opportunities for scholarships to citizens from almost all countries.

The Organization of American States (OAS) offers opportunities for loans and scholarships. The Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund of OAS offers loan opportunities for Latin American and Caribbean applicants. The OAS also awards academic scholarships to undertake graduate studies for residents of Member States.

Candidates may also wish to apply for private loans from U.S. banks or financial institutions.

Admission Requirements

The LL.M. Program is highly selective in nature. Only candidates who have exhibited exceptional ability in the past and whose record, as a whole, promises high potential for the future will be considered for admission to the program. Applicants must have completed a Juris Doctor from an ABA-approved law school, or its equivalent from a foreign law school. Admissions decisions are made by the LL.M. Program Committee of the law faculty.

Students will be admitted in the fall semester, beginning in August. There is no spring semester admission.

The deadline to submit completed applications is March 31. Late applications are accepted but may not receive full consideration regarding financial aid.

TOEFL Requirements

Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate to the LL.M. Program Committee their ability to conduct both classroom and research work in English. A minimum score of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based) or 100 (internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is generally required. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) may be accepted in place of the TOEFL; a minimum score of 7.5 is generally required. In addition to this score, a writing sample may be required by the LL.M. Program Committee for use in admission decisions. Conditional acceptance with an approved English as a Second Language (ESL) course is possible.  Please contact Ms. Jennifer Lane at jennifer.lane@law.lsu.edu for additional information about conditional admission requirements or any question you may have about the LL.M. program.

 Applications should be accompanied by the following supporting materials:

  • Official transcripts of all law and related study, as well as other university education. Graduates of law schools outside the U.S. should be careful that their transcripts indicate courses taken, number of hours awarded for each course, the grade received in each course, an explanation of the grading system, and a ranking of the individual student. Transcripts in a language other than English, French, or Spanish must be accompanied by an official English translation.
  • Three letters of recommendations by persons who are sufficiently acquainted with the applicant’s work to form an opinion about his or her ability to successfully pursue advanced legal studies. Please provide at least one letter of recommendation from a professor who knows you personally. The remaining two letters of recommendation may be from other professors or academics, or from people who have worked with you on a professional basis. The letters may be mailed by the recommender directly to the LL.M. Program office, or may be included with the application in a sealed envelope, signed by the recommender over the seal.
  • Personal statement including research interests and reason for pursuing advanced legal education, and your plans following completion of the LL.M. degree.
  • A check or money order for $50 (in United States funds) payable to the “LSU Law Center” as an application fee. The application fee is nonrefundable.
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS score sheet should be submitted by all non-native English-speakers. The generally accepted minimum score is 600 (paper based), 250 (computer based), or 100 (internet based) on the TOEFL.  The generally accepted minimum score on the IELTS is 7.5.
  • Passport-size photo (passport photo).

Requirements for Awarding of the Degree

  • To receive the LL.M. degree, a minimum of two semesters of full-time study is required, together with the attendance of the Orientation program. A longer period may be necessary due to the nature of the candidate’s particular program of study, prior legal training, the quality of performance at the Law Center, or other factors. The residency requirement may be extended to include an additional summer session.
  • Each candidate’s program of study is arranged on an individual basis between the candidate and the Associate Vice Chancellor for International Programs, and is subject to the approval of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
  • During residency, candidates must earn a minimum of 26 semester hours of credit. All candidates must complete an academic legal writing project, either as an independent supervised research project on a topic approved by a faculty advisor, or a seminar with an upper-level writing requirement.
  • The 26 semester hours are allotted as follows:
    • Two hours allotted for Introduction to United States Law (required for all LL.M. candidates), and 2 hours for Legal Research & Writing I (required for all international LL.M. candidates).
    • The balance of the hours is allotted for regular courses and seminars.
    • Of the semester hours allotted to courses and seminars, two or three semester hours will be allotted to the academic legal writing project and must result in a paper of publishable quality, upon discretion of the LL.M. Committee.
  • Degrees are awarded by the faculty upon the favorable recommendation of the Associate Vice Chancellor for International Programs, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and the LL.M. Program Committee. To receive a favorable recommendation, the candidate’s work as a whole must exhibit sufficiently high quality and scholarly maturity. A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.4 for regular courses and seminars and 2.8 for the academic legal writing project is generally required. Graduate students who do not receive a 2.4 average at the end of the Fall semester will be notified of the extreme difficulty to raise their average to a 2.4 cumulative average in one semester. For more information, consult with the Associate Vice Chancellor for International Programs. Any candidate who does not complete all program requirements, including the academic legal writing project, by the end of Spring semester will not be eligible to fully participate in all graduation ceremonies.

The LSU Law Catalog

Please submit applications to:

LL.M. and International Programs
Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Room W326
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-1000

LL.M. Program staff (Ms. Jennifer Lane, LL.M. Coordinator, and Prof. Olivier Moréteau, LL.M. Director) may be contacted by telephone at 225/578-7831 or 225/578-1126, or by email at llmadmissions@law.lsu.edu, jennifer.lane@law.lsu.edu or moreteau@lsu.edu.