Academics

Master of Laws (LL.M.) in U.S. Law

Academics

The online Master of Laws (LL.M.) in U.S. Law curriculum is designed by Washington University School of Law professors to explore the foundation of the U.S. legal system. Classes are kept small — no more than 15 students — and are taught by law school faculty using the dialogue-based Socratic method, the most common and preferred method of instruction in U.S. law schools.

Program Requirements

The program is 24 units and can be completed in one to two years on a full-time or part-time basis, respectively. 

Courses

  • Fundamentals of U.S. Law I: Contracts
  • 3 units
    This course is designed to introduce students to U.S. contracts. Contracts are vitally important in understanding U.S. law as they are the foundation of corporate law and cover areas such as employment, loans and credit. In addition to learning principles behind U.S. theories of contractual obligation, the course is intended to provide instruction in “how to succeed” in a U.S. law school class.

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  • Fundamentals of U.S. Law II: Civil Procedure
  • 3 units
    This course is designed to introduce students to the process of U.S. civil litigation, focusing on topics such as procedural posture, the sequence of events in pre-trial and trial practice, and standards of appellate review. The course is intended to provide students with the skills necessary to read and analyze judicial decisions. 

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  • Introduction To U.S. Law & Methods I: U.S. Legal System
  • 2 units
    This course is designed to introduce distinctive aspects of the U.S. legal system. The goal is to learn how law is found, made and changed in the U.S., rather than to focus on any particular area of law. The objective is to learn largely through assuming the role of a lawyer resolving a practical client problem with U.S. legal sources, methods and institutions. The course is organized by various sources of law: common law, statutes and regulations, constitutional law and case law, interpreting and applied enacted law. In addition, the jury trial and the importance of procedure are covered. In each subject, the class formulates what appears to be distinctive in the U.S. system.

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  • Introduction To U.S. Law & Methods II: Legal Writing
  • 1 unit
    This skills course introduces students to effective formats and style for written communication with U.S. lawyers. In written comments and personal conferences as well as in class, professors emphasize prediction of probable court holdings through the analysis and synthesis of judicial decisions and statutes as well as the use of fact argument and analogy.

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  • Professional Responsibility
  • 3 units
    The goal of this course is to help prepare students for the ethical dilemmas they will face in legal settings. The course will examine the nature and types of lawyer regulation, client-attorney relationships, confidentiality rules, conflicts of interest, duties to courts, adversaries and third parties, client solicitation and billing, and access to legal services. The course addresses the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the California Rules of Professional Conduct, relevant sections of the California Business and Professions Code and also considers ethical duties arising under common law and other sources of authority.

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  • Business Associations
  • 3 units
    This course is a survey of the law of business associations, emphasizing corporations and issues and problems relating to corporate governance. The course covers publicly and closely held corporations, the organization of business associations, the distribution of power and control between management and shareholders, with a focus on the fiduciary duties of directors and officers. In this regard, students explore the developing notions of fiduciary duties to shareholders and other stakeholders. The course explores the rapidly evolving nationalization of corporate governance standards and its implications. The course further focuses on practical application of the material by applying the fundamentals of corporate organization through collaborative class exercises.

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  • Intellectual Property
  • 3 units
    This course combines an overview of patents, trademarks and copyrights with a focus on early-stage issue recognition, planning and response. Specific topics include patent searches, patentability opinions, business name selection, business product/service/domain name selection and copyright registration.

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  • Negotiation
  • 2 units
    Students in this course learn the skills of negotiation through simulations, lectures and exercises in which they negotiate and observe their classmates and experts negotiate. Class members conduct at least three negotiations during the course — a sales contract, a retainer agreement between an attorney and a client, and a complex multiparty dispute. In addition to the simulations and discussion of the readings, there is instruction on drafting agreements and individualized advice about further steps to improve negotiation skills.

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  • International Business Transactions
  • 2 units
    Cross-border business transactions are the mainstay of the modern global economy, and very few transactions can be negotiated or performed without due consideration of implications that may arise in such an international environment. Accordingly, understanding of the legal aspects of private transactions carried out across national borders can be indispensable to the modern legal practice. This course provides a survey of such issues, including transnational sales, cross-border operations (including branch offices and subsidiaries), international business combinations (including mergers and joint ventures), and the role of international law (including treaties and international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund. A series of problems will be used to explore the dynamics of planning, negotiating, creating and executing cross-border transactions.

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  • Property
  • 2 units
    An examination of real and personal property, the estate concept, some of the problems of landlord and tenant law, future interests, easements and legal principles of property law as they apply to the use of property in our society.

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Sample Course Schedule

While the LL.M. program is available full time, many of our students work and complete the program on a part-time basis. Below is a sample part-time course schedule:

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4
Introduction to U.S. Law & Methods I: U.S. Legal System (2 units) Fundamentals of U.S. Law I: Contracts (3 units) Fundamentals of U.S. Law II: Civil Procedure (3 units) Business Associations (3 units)
Term 5 Term 6 Term 7 Term 8
Professional Responsibility (3 units) Negotiation (2 units) Property (2 units) Intellectual Property (3 units)
International Business Transactions (2 units) Introduction to U.S. Law & Methods II: Legal Writing (1 unit)

In addition to these courses, @WashULaw students also have the opportunity to take courses from other online graduate programs delivered by several top-tier colleges and universities. Learn more about cross-university courses here.

If you have questions about the online LL.M. program, contact an Admissions Counselor at (+1) 314-281-5200 or admissions@onlinelaw.wustl.edu.

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