Current University of Miami School of Law LL.M. students who wish to matriculate in the J.D. program have the option to enroll in the joint LL.M./J.D. program.
Joint LL.M./J.D. students will be eligible to receive both the LL.M. and the J.D. degrees within 2.5 to 3 years (depending on the number of Advanced Standing Credits awarded for their foreign law degree.) The joint LL.M./J.D. program requires students to complete a total of 100 credits.
The applications for the LL.M. and J.D. Programs are comparable, with the major exception that the LSAT exam www.lsac.org is required for all J.D. applicants.
A separate admissions committee will review the application and determine eligibility to enter the J.D. program. The admissions committee takes into consideration such factors as TOEFL score, LSAT score, and grade point average in the classes taken with J.D. students while in the LL.M. program. LL.M. students recently admitted to transfer into the J.D. program have had TOEFL scores of at least 600.
In addition, because performance in basic U.S. law courses has been shown to be the best predictor of success in the J.D. program and passage of a U.S. Bar exam, the committee will take a close look at the character of the courses taken during the LL.M. year. It is strongly recommended that LL.M. students thinking about matriculating into the J.D. program take at least one 1L class and/or one basic U.S. law course during each semester of their LL.M. program such as:
Q: What is the advantage of doing the Joint LL.M./J.D versus doing an LL.M. to J.D. transfer? Won’t it take longer and cost more money? A: The main advantage is that at the end you will have two degrees, rather than one, and it will take the same amount of time and may cost less money.
Q: How does it cost less than doing a transfer? A: Normally, in order to get both degrees a law student would have to earn a minimum of 24 credits for the LL.M. + 88 credits for the J.D. = 112 credits. However, the Joint LL.M./J.D. program provides that 6 credits from the LL.M. can be counted towards the J.D., and 6 credits from the J.D. can be counted towards the LL.M. In effect, this means that 12 credits are double counted towards the credit requirement for the combined degrees. As a result in order to earn both degrees under the joint degree program, students must earn only 100 credits.
Q: Can a student receive Advanced Standing Credit for a foreign law degree? A: Absolutely. Under the new ABA Standard 505, Miami Law may award up to 29 Advanced Standing Credits towards the J.D. to students for their foreign law studies. The specific number of such credits will be determined by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs based on a review of the applicant’s J.D. application file.
Q: What does this mean for me? A: If you enroll in the Joint LL.M./J.D., then you need only 100 credits (instead of 112) to earn both degrees. If you receive 29 Advanced Standing Credits towards the J.D., then after your LL.M. year, as you begin your J.D. in the third semester - you will already have earned 24 credits (LL.M. year) + 29 ASC = 53 credits. That means that to complete the Joint LL.M./J.D. you only need 47 more credits. You can complete your remaining credits in three semesters or one summer and three semesters. If you are awarded fewer than 29 ASC, in most cases you will still be able to complete in three semesters and one summer.
Q: If a student only wants to transfer into the J.D., how does this work? A: At the end of a student’s LL.M. year, he or she will forego his or her LL.M. degree. Because the new ABA Standard 505 allows Miami Law to grant a maximum of 29 ASC, this means that when a student starts the J.D., he or she will receive 29 ASC towards the J.D. This means that 88 - 29 = 59 credits are still needed to complete the J.D. Under this scenario a student will be able to complete the J.D. in four semesters. At the end of this period the student will receive only the J.D. degree.
For current LL.M. students interested in enrolling in the Joint LL.M./J.D. program or transferring to the J.D. program, please contact the Office of International Graduate Law Programs for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessica Carvalho Morris, director of the International Graduate Law Programs, has appeared numerous times recently on Spanish-language television newscasts discussing the legal ramifications of high-profile issues.