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LLM in American Legal Studies

The LLM in American Legal Studies degree is designed for students with a law degree from outside the United States.  Enhance your career options and prepare for global practice through the solid foundation you will gain in U.S. law and legal systems in our LLM program.  Vermont Law is the leading school in the U.S. for environmental law and is nationally renowned in dispute resolution and clinical law.  Our distinguished faculty have litigated major cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, testified as experts before Congress, and served in top leadership positions in U.S. and international organizations.

The LLM in American Legal Studies curriculum is designed to help candidates achieve bar passage and meets all the curricular requirements to sit for the bar in New York or Washington, D.C.  The program focuses on essential skills, knowledge, and perspectives to help you succeed.  We offer exceptional support to our LLM in American Legal Studies students:

  • Training in case briefing, legal writing, exam preparation, bar exam workshops and resume-writing, with one-on-one assistance
  • A Specialist in Legal Writing to help with English grammar, punctuation, and tone
  • A friendly and supportive community of faculty, staff and students who care about your success


The LLM in American Legal Studies is a one-year program of two semesters in residence beginning in the fall, with a minimum of 29 credits and a maximum of 33 credits.

Fall Semester

Spring Semester


Criminal Law

Constitutional Law

Property Law

Civil Procedure I

Civil Procedure II


An elective from all JD courses*

Legal Writing

Course in Legal Profession: Required for those wishing to take the New York  bar exam.

Legal Research


*with prior approval of the Director of International and Comparative Law Programs


Our faculty are dedicated teachers and motivated scholars whose publications have established them as recognized and respected experts in an impressive range of U.S. and international law fields. Many of our faculty have lived overseas and they interact regularly with colleagues abroad.

Every member of the Vermont Law School faculty takes an active interest in the education and professional development of our students. As mentors they can provide direction, connections, and inspiration when graduates move forward into their careers.


To be eligible for admission to this degree program, applicants must have a first law degree from a university outside the United States and demonstrate English proficiency through one of the following tests:

Minimum TOEFL required:

600 paper-based;

250 computer-based; or

100 Internet-based

Minimum IELTS required: 6.5

Minimum PTE required: 68


This testing requirement is waived if the applicant's native language is English or if the applicant has a university degree from an institution whose courses are taught in English in a country whose language is English.

Review of applications is conducted on a rolling basis. In general, the application deadline is March 1, with decisions made by the end of March, to allow sufficient time for the visa application process to be completed.


Several months before the fall semester, we send admitted students information on housing options near the law school, as well as the information needed regarding the visa application process.

Details regarding this LLM program and the application form are available here.


"I am very happy with my Vermont Law School experience. My goal was to sit for the bar, but it gave so much more."
-Olga Kariyawasam LLM 2012 / passed 2012 New York bar exam

Olga Kariyawasam worked as a lawyer in Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was interested in international business and law. She chose Vermont Law School as the best place for her to pursue an LLM in American Legal Studies. "To sit for an American bar exam, I needed overview of the American legal system, and not a specialized degree."

"I liked so many things about Vermont Law. The beautiful location, the lower cost, the incredibly welcoming atmosphere," says Kariyawasam. "But a very important differentiator is the consistent availability of academic support." Kariyawasam made regular use of VLS's Academic Success Program. "The VLS Legal Writing specialists are so, so helpful. I met with them between classes and they helped me deal with the very precise language skills needed for lawyers. My Vermont Law professors did an excellent job preparing us for subjects that are tested at a U.S. bar exam. I couldn't have made it so far without them!"

Kariyawasam passed the New York bar and looks forward to a fulfilling career. "I will be able to find a well-paid job with a global law firm because of my success in Vermont Law's LLM in American Legal Studies."

"More and more international firms are looking for lawyers who speak excellent legal English."
-Romain Picard, LLM 2013

"When I pass the New York Bar exam, I will have reciprocity to practice law in the U.S. and France.  An LLM in American Legal Studies at Vermont Law School prepares me for this and allows not just a transfer of credit, like some programs, but an actual American diploma."  Romain Picard is a law graduate from The University of Cergy-Pontoise, the top-ranked school for business law in France.  He came to VLS because of his interest in the study of comparative law.  "Every country has its own legal culture, but judges and legislators face many of the same problems worldwide."

"At Vermont Law you immediately become a member of a wonderful community," Romain says.  "When I have questions I can send an email to my professor at night and be having coffee with that professor the next morning.  They care about our success."

He has been impressed by the sensitivity and global perspective he has found at Vermont Law School.  "During oral presentations, one professor actually required that American students present in other languages while the LLM students presented in English!  It was an amazing moment in my education.  It's clear that VLS sees they are not only providing an opportunity for their international students.  Our participation on campus is acknowledged as a great opportunity to expand the experience of American students as well."

Ultimately, Romain sees his degree from VLS as an important asset in his career.  "More and more international firms are looking for lawyers who speak excellent legal English.  At Vermont Law you will gain both the camaraderie of being a full member of the community and the technically precise study of American Law."