The LL.M. in Comparative Law requires two semesters in residence and a minimum of 26 credit hours of study. The program runs from early August until the end of May of the following year. We do not offer a part-time program at this time.
Our program is open to candidates with either Civilian or Anglo-American training who seek a firm foundation in the American common law and/or the Louisiana civil law taught from the unique perspective that only a truly comparativist institution can offer.
Our LL.M. candidates are fully integrated with the Juris Doctor (J.D.) student body. Except for one course, they take all of their classes with American students pursing a U.S. J.D. degree. Exams are given and graded anonymously and our LL.M. students are graded on the same curve as American students. This gives our students a competitive advantage with regard to passing an American state bar exam; especially since many U.S. law schools grade LL.M. students as a separate group in classes that are open to both J.D. and LL.M. students.
Students have great flexibility to tailor their coursework to match their individual interests and have the freedom to explore a wide variety of courses to suit their professional plans.
All LL.M. candidates must attend a special Orientation program held at the Law Center that begins two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester (usually the first two weeks of August). Each candidate’s program of study is arranged on an individual basis between the candidate and the Program Director.
Orientation (2 weeks)
Orientation 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.
Compulsory Courses (4 credits)
LL.M. students 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 learn professional legal writing in the United States. Students who have earned a J.D. at a law school in the United States may be exempt from taking Legal Research & Writing.
Elective Courses (typically 22 credits)
The LSU Law Center 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 40.
Academic Legal Writing Requirement (Optional)
Candidates may complete an academic legal writing project, either as an independent supervised research project or as a seminar paper. They will then attend the Legal Research Workshop in the spring semester and regularly meet with Law Center faculty members and instructors for assistance and feedback on their writing.
Every student receives instruction in print and computer-based legal research to learn how to conduct both practical and academic research. Free unlimited access is provided to Westlaw, LexisNexis, HeinOnline, and many other legal databases. The Law Center complex is equipped with the latest in computer technology, and provides free WiFi access to all students. Our Law Library is considered one of the best in the country; it contains the full complement of state, federal, and international legal materials, as well as resources that are not available elsewhere, including original source materials.
Bar Examination Information: A 100% Success Rate!
Though our LL.M. is not primarily designed to be a preparatory program leading to legal practice in the United States, some of our graduates decide to sit for a U.S. bar exam. In the past seven years, our LL.M. New York Bar passage rate has been 100%, as compared to the national average of foreign educated candidates, which is less than 50%! Our passage rate for the Louisiana Bar is also 100%.
Preparing for the Louisiana Bar Exam
LL.M. graduates under proper visa status are eligible to sit for the Bar Exam in Louisiana.
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, Criminal Procedure, Corporations or Business Organizations, Evidence, Federal Jurisdiction, Federal Civil Procedure, Intellectual Property, Legal Research and Writing, Louisiana Civil Procedure, Louisiana Family Law, Louisiana Obligations Law, Louisiana Successions, Donations and Trusts, Professional Responsibility, Property, Sale and Lease, Security Rights, Taxation, and Torts, provided that 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 students who are considering taking the Bar Exam after the LL.M.
Preparing for the other Bar Exams
LL.M. graduates with proper visa status may be eligible to sit for other state Bar Exams. Each state has its own criteria and procedures, which vary from somewhat difficult to nearly impossible for foreign trained attorneys to meet eligibility requirements. The New York Bar is often the jurisdiction of choice for LL.M. graduates, who may also consider California or Massachusetts. Information on bar exams in states other than Louisiana can be found on each state’s bar association website and in the booklet “Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements,” available on the American Bar Association website.
- March 31: deadline for application for financial aid consideration (under special circumstances, we may accept applications shortly after this deadline)
- July 30 to August 10: LL.M. Orientation Program
- August 13: First day of classes Fall Semester
- December 14: End of Fall Semester
- January 14: First day of classes Spring Semester
- May 4: Examinations End
- May 24: Graduation Ceremony
For additional details, see the LSU Law 2018-2019 Academic Calendar.