U.S. Bar Exam Information
The LL.M. Program in American Legal Studies is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the U.S. legal system and is not intended as a U.S. bar examination preparation course. However, after graduating from the program, many LL.M. students choose to take a U.S. bar exam, including New York, the District of Columbia, and others. We urge students who are interested in taking a U.S. bar exam to review the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements, which lists the bar eligibility requirements for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. This guide is published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
Information about the New York Bar is available on their website. Foreign-trained attorneys should pay particular attention to Rule 520.6 of the Court of Appeals for the Admission Attorneys and Counselors at Law and to the pre-LL.M. education requirements. Foreign-trained attorneys must submit an evaluation of their foreign credentials up to one-year in advance of sitting for the New York Bar exam. Students interested in sitting for the D.C. Bar exam should review the complete eligibility requirements on the D.C. Bar website.
Bar Examination Preparation Classes
Although it is expensive to take a bar preparation course, they are usually well worth the investment. Over the past several years, we have found that students who choose to save the money and study on their own usually do not pass the examination, while those who take the course do significantly better.
William & Mary does not offer bar preparation courses, nor does it endorse any particular company. LL.M. students are strongly encouraged to research the many course providers. Several of the top bar preparation providers have on-campus representatives who are happy to engage with LL.M. students.
New York Bar Exam
Foreign-trained LL.M. students who wish to take the New York Bar Exam must complete at least 12 credits of required classes from the 24 credits needed for the LL.M. degree including:
- Introduction to U.S. Law & Legal System (or equivalent course): 2 credit hours - offered in fall
- Legal Writing and Research for LL.M. students: a required 2 credit hour course – offered in fall and spring
- Professional Responsibility: 2 or 3 credit hours – offered in fall and spring
- Lawyering Skills for LL.M. students (2 credit hours) – offered in spring
At least 6 credits from the following courses:
- Civil Procedure (3 or 4 credit hours – offered in fall)
- Torts (3 credit hours – offered in fall)
- Business Associations or Corporations (3 or 4 credit hours – offered in fall and spring)
- Evidence (4 credit hours – offered in fall and spring)
- Property (4 credit hours – offered in spring)
- Contracts (4 credit hours – offered in spring)
- Constitutional Law (4 credit hours – offered in spring)
Other courses may be eligible, please consult with the [[llmadm,Director of the LL.M. Program]] for more information.
Because of these increased requirements, students who are opting to sit for the New York Bar exam may be limited in their other course selections.
New York Bar Pro Bono Requirement
All candidates seeking admission to the New York Bar after January 1, 2015 need to file documentation demonstrating that they have completed 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work, as required by Rule 520.16 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals. For further information regarding the implementation and requirements of the new rule, along with “Frequently Asked Questions,” please visit the New York Bar website.
Unlike many other LL.M. programs across the nation, William & Mary LL.M. students may satisfy the 50 hour pro bono requirement through a school sponsored externship during their spring semester. For more information, please visit the Externships page.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
After graduation, some LL.M. students choose to enhance their U.S. legal experience by gaining practical training in a law firm or other legal organization. The Office of International Students, Scholars, & Programs will assist you with applying for Optional Practical Training prior to graduation.
For further information, visit William & Mary's Reves Center for International Studies.