20 Frequently Asked Questions by Foreign-Trained Lawyers

The following questions are commonly asked by foreign law graduates who apply to Miami Law’s LL.M. programs. Prospective students should use the answers listed below as a guide to help them decide which LL.M. program is right for them.

 1. Why should one get an LL.M. degree?

This is a decision that only each individual can make. Law School is an intellectual, financial and emotional commitment and should be entered into with 100% effort. Many alumni say the LL.M. degree opened doors for them, either in their countries of origin or in the United States. In today’s increasingly global world, understanding legal systems that are different from one’s own is more essential than ever. 

 2. Do students take classes with American J.D. students?

Yes. The University of Miami integrates foreign-trained lawyers who are LL.M. students into the Law School and permits them to take courses offered to J.D. students. Although a few introductory courses are offered exclusively to foreign law students, in general students have wonderful opportunities to learn alongside American law students in classes adding another dimension to their legal education in the United States.

 3. Are any courses offered in Spanish?

The University of Miami is unique in its commitment to bilingual and bicultural education, and offers law courses in Spanish. These courses are intended for law students who are trying to improve their knowledge of technical Spanish and are part of the LL.M. in International Law (Inter-American).

 4. Which LL.M. should a student choose?

Most foreign-trained lawyers choose the U.S. and Transnational Law LL.M. for Foreign-Trained Lawyers, or the LL.M. + Intensive Legal English + LLM program.  

In addition the law school offers LL.M. programs in Entertainment, Arts and Sports, Maritime LawTaxation Real Property DevelopmentTaxation of Cross-Border Investment and International ArbitrationForeign-trained students should demonstrate prior experience with the common law and strong English ability before applying directly to these programs.

Miami Law’s LL.M. in Estate Planning is only for graduates of U.S. law schools.

 5. Can a student receive credit for previous law studies?

Depending on what program a student wishes to do, he or she may get credit for previous law studies. A student will not receive credit for previous studies if he or she pursues a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, but may receive some credit for previous studies if a J.D. degree is pursued

 6. Can one get admitted to the Bar after completing an LL.M. program?

While each state in the U.S. has its own eligibility requirements, many Miami Law students take various state bar exams, including New York, and we are the only Law School in Miami to offer this option. In the United States, law graduates are required to take a bar exam in order to practice law. For specifics on international lawyers sitting for a U.S. bar exam, please visit the Bar Admission area of the website.

 7. What if one’s goal is to get a J.D. degree?

For students who already know that obtaining a J.D. degree is their professional goal, particularly if they want to get admitted to practice in Florida, they can choose to apply directly to the J.D. program, or they can start with the LL.M. program and then transfer to the J.D. to get a J.D./LL.M. One benefit of starting in the LL.M. program is that it gives foreign students a chance to decide if they are really interested in returning to law school for the entire J.D. program. 

 8. Is it possible to just take a course without applying to the program?

Students may only enroll in classes for credit once they have been admitted to the School of Law. Subject to space ability, the instructor's permission, the permission of the LL.M. program director and the payment of the appropriate fee (which is one-half the otherwise applicable tuition), attorneys may audit classes. Auditors do not take examinations, and no grades or academic credit are recorded for their work. In general, the LL.M. program director will not grant permission unless the attorney satisfies the admission criteria for the program. In addition, attorneys must have an appropriate visa status to register as non-degree auditors.

 9. Can one apply to the program while still studying for a law degree?

Students may apply while waiting to receive a degree. If admitted, they will be granted a conditional admittance, contingent upon proof that they have received their law degree. It is mandatory students have their law degree before the date of enrollment in classes at UM. See LL.M. application information.

 10. What financial resources exist to help afford law school?

Attending a private law school is a big financial commitment. The Law School is committed to helping qualified graduate students obtain the necessary financial aid to complete their legal education. Click for specifics on paying for law school and scholarships.

 11. What if a student wants to continue working during law school?

Some students in the LL.M. program do work during law school. Some students are working as part-time clerks in local firms or companies. Others are working full-time and taking a reduced course load. Students must complete 24 credits to get their degree; some students take their classes in two, three or four semesters depending on their personal circumstances. Of course, a student's ability to work will be contingent upon their visa status.

 12. What about moving to Miami and getting settled? Does the law school provide help?

A hallmark of Miami Law's LL.M. programs is the one-on-one attention provided to all students. Once a student decides to attend UM, information on housing and other facets of relocation to South Florida are provided. Miami Law also provides the I-20 Form required to get a visa and helps orient new students to the University and Law School communities with an orientation specifically for foreign-trained lawyers.

In addition, the University of Miami’s Department of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) exists specifically to meet the special needs of international students across all the schools at UM. This includes cultural familiarization, academic and personal matters or compliance with immigration regulations. ISSS assists all UM students with making applications to the INS for Employment Authorization should a student wish to work following graduation. For more information, please contact the ISSS Office.

 13. What is the application deadline and what items and TOEFL score are needed to apply to the University of Miami School of Law LL.M. program?

Please visit the admissions area for a full checklist of deadlines and items required for an application.

 14. What is the Law School Admission Counsel (LSAC) LL.M. Credential Assembly Service

It is recommended that international applicants to the University of Miami School of Law's LL.M. program register with LSAC's LL.M. Credential Assembly Service to save time and money, especially if they intend to apply to a number of U.S. or Canadian graduate law degree programs. For a registration fee of $185 (US), LSAC will collect, authenticate, and distribute university records and TOEFL score(s). Five reports to law schools are included in the registration fee. For additional information about this service, go to https://llm.lsac.org(Please note that the LSAC Credential Assembly Service serves only to authenticate non-U.S. or Canadian credentials that are needed in addition to a completed admission application. To apply to Miami Law, LL.M. applicants should complete the University of Miami School of Law application and submit all required application fees.)

 15. What is the cost of attending the University of Miami School of Law?

Please visit the Cost of Attendance for specifics. 

 16. Is it possible to send an application without the Statement of Financial Responsibility and the bank letter?

The Statement of Financial Responsibility and bank letter are only required for international students who need a visa. It is not necessary to include the Statement of Financial Responsibility or bank letter with an initial application. The LL.M. program will make a decision on an application without having the Statement of Financial Responsibility or bank letter and will not need the Statement of Financial Responsibility or bank letter until after a student has been admitted in order to process the visa.

 17. What types of jobs can one expect to get after graduation?

Miami Law's LL.M. programs include students who wish to return directly to their countries of origin following graduation, seek a one year period of practical training – an "internship" – prior to returning, and some who seek permanent employment in the United States. The option that is available may depend on a number of factors, including individual personal immigration status. Miami Law urges students to carefully examine current immigration regulations and consult with a United States consulate. Each LL.M. program works closely with the Career Development Office, which has and International LL.M. advisor, to counsel foreign-trained law students on their job options. 

 18. What are the Visa Requirements?

Students applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa are required to show that they have sufficient funds to provide for their educational, living and personal expenses for one year before the University of Miami will issue the necessary I-20 document for a student visa. Students studying under an F-1 or J-1 visa must maintain full-time enrollment during the academic year (excluding the summer session). To maintain full-time enrollment, students studying under an F-1 or J-1 visa must register for nine or more credits each semester. Some students in the United States on other types of visas may be eligible for part-time or full-time study. However, students cannot enroll in classes under a tourist (B1/B2) visa. Embassies around the world require varying amounts of time to process visas. It is recommend that all applicants confirm with the consulates in their home country the visa procedures currently in force. For consulate location, consult this website

 19. Does the University of Miami have an English For Lawyers Program?

Yes, the University of Miami School of Law now offers an Intensive Legal English + LL.M. option.

 20. How does one get Health Insurance?

All international students are required to enroll in the University sponsored health insurance program. The annual premium for this coverage is added to each student's fees. Optional coverage for dependents can be requested during the first two weeks of the fall and the spring semesters or within 30 days of termination of other similar coverage, or because of any of the following events; birth, legal adoption, placement for adoption, marriage, legal guardianship, or court or administrative order. These charges are paid directly to the insurance company. Inquiries should be directed to Insurance For Students or 800-356-1235. Please also see the Student Health Center website.

For further questions about the application process or about the LL.M. programs in general, please do not hesitate to contact your LL.M. program of interest to discuss options or to set up an appointment to meet with Miami Law’s staff in person.