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

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

Washington University School of Law’s Master of Laws (LL.M.) in U.S. Law is an online degree program designed for international lawyers seeking a fundamental understanding of the U.S. legal system. Students develop the skills to research, write and communicate like a U.S. lawyer and earn a degree from a top U.S. law school without having to relocate or leave their current job.

Upon graduation from the program, students are eligible to sit for the bar examination in California and Washington state.

Learn about the difference between an LL.M. and a J.D.

Top-20 Ranked School of Law

Washington University School of Law is top-20 ranked law school by U.S. News and World Report. The online LL.M. matches the rigor of the on-campus program, as it is designed and led by the same faculty who teach on campus.

Accreditation and Acquiescence

The Washington University LL.M. program has obtained acquiescence by the American Bar Association (ABA). For more information on acquiescence, please refer to the ABA website.

In addition, Washington University in St. Louis has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1913. Learn more about the University’s HLC accreditation.

A Curriculum That Instills Real-World Legal Skills

The LL.M. program is ideal for international lawyers who want to expand their mastery of U.S. law and become practicing attorneys without having to pursue a full three-year Juris Doctor degree in the United States. Students will learn essential skills, such as:

  • Reading, briefing and communicating U.S. case law
  • Understanding U.S. common law tradition
  • Leading contract negotiations with U.S.-based clients
  • Using legal research databases such as LexisNexis and Westlaw

Program Requirements

Washington University School of Law’s online LL.M. is 24 credits and can be completed in as little as one year. All LL.M. students will complete the required introductory course and then select from 21 credits of elective courses to align their education with their career goals. By customizing their curriculum with electives, students develop expertise and specialized knowledge in certain areas of law, such as health care or employment law. Review LL.M. program requirements.

Course Catalog

Explore our extensive course catalog.

A Rich Online Learning Experience

By joining a global community of ambitious law students online, our LL.M. students are exposed to a wide variety of ideas, strategies and real-world scenarios that they can immediately apply to their day-to-day job functions. Our faculty teach using the Socratic method, a question-and-answer teaching method that is the standard in top U.S. law schools.

Live Classes and Interactive Course Work

The LL.M. curriculum is delivered through a combination of live, face-to-face classes on our virtual learning platform and self-paced weekly course work. Course material and recorded lectures are available online 24/7, so students can access them on any device on their own time.

Additionally, throughout the program, students have access to LexisNexis and Westlaw, two extensive legal research databases used by U.S. lawyers and law firms. With these databases, students can view and utilize legal materials including cases, statutes, administrative codes, public records and law journals. Access to these databases will not only help students with their legal writing and research but also give them hands-on experience with real-world legal materials.

Learn more about the student experience.

Widely Respected Faculty with Extensive Legal Knowledge

LL.M. faculty are respected scholars, researchers, lawyers and legal counselors who bring a wide range of expertise to the classroom. Because professors design and lead the curriculum, they are closely engaged with the course material and available for one-on-one mentoring and guidance. Meet our faculty.

On-Campus, Weekend Learning Experience

Each spring and fall, students in the program can attend an optional weekend learning experience in St. Louis, Missouri. These weekends allow students to:

  • Meet their peers and faculty in person
  • Take a one-credit elective course on campus
  • Observe live court hearings and meet with federal and state judges
  • Visit the Washington University campus
  • Network with law firms, organizations and businesses in the area
  • Discover the historic city of St. Louis

View a sample immersion agenda.

A Program with Tangible Learning Outcomes

In addition to preparing students for the bar examination in California and Washington state, the LL.M. program helps students advance their careers through exclusive university resources, personalized career guidance and networking opportunities with our community of accomplished alumni living and working all over the world.

These valuable resources are paying off for students and alumni. In a recent survey, graduates reported significant career benefits:

94% — Overall employment rate
78% — Graduates working in legal fields

What’s the Difference Between an LL.M. and a J.D.?

The two most common law degrees in the United States are the J.D. and the LL.M. International lawyers seeking a working knowledge of U.S. law typically pursue an LL.M. in U.S. Law, but it is useful to see how the two degrees compare.

LL.M. Degree

Typically completed in one year of full-time study, LL.M. programs are ideal for law school graduates (J.D. or equivalent) and attorneys looking to specialize in a specific area of law. International attorneys with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), for example, often pursue an LL.M. in U.S. Law as a shorter path to taking the bar exam and becoming a practicing attorney in the United States.

J.D. Degree

Typically completed over the course of three years, J.D. programs focus on preparing students to become practicing attorneys. Students learn research and writing methodologies, build the analytical and practical skills to assess a client’s legal problems and prepare to advise or represent a client in the resolution of their legal issues.

How Can You Advance Your Career with an LL.M. Degree?

Washington University School of Law’s online LL.M. degree prepares students to advance their careers in a variety of ways. These include:

  • Practicing law in the United States
  • Working in international firms
  • Practicing at home with greater international insight

Our program attracts students from a variety of different backgrounds with different career goals and legal interests. For example, Fei Wang, who graduated from the LL.M. program in 2015, is an attorney at Jincheng Tongda & Neal law firm in China, where she works with offshore investment banks, funds and multinational companies. With the LL.M. program, she was able to enhance her understanding of the differences between Chinese and U.S. law and better service her clients.