The master of laws (LL.M.) for international students provides an introduction to the American legal system as well as lawyering skills for students who received their first degree in law outside the United States. Admission to the 24-credit program is limited in order to maintain a low faculty-to-student ratio and enhance the student experience. LL.M. students are integrated with the J.D. students to promote cultural exchanges, provide an international perspective and enhance diversity.
We offer a month-long intensive Legal English Workshop during the summer for those who would like to work on their English before beginning the program. The workshop may be a required condition of admission for candidates who need more English exposure prior to the commencement of graduate legal studies. Students in the three-semester format may undertake a summer internship with a judge, law firm or company. There is no thesis requirement, but students produce significant written coursework. Students may take a variety of courses or specialize in a particular area such as business and commercial law, litigation, family law, real estate law, intellectual property, international law, or urban land use and environmental law.
- Completion of the following required courses with passing grades:
- Introduction to Law and Lawyering - International (3 credit hours) Introduction to legal reasoning; case analysis and synthesis; case research; structure and style in legal writing with emphasis on expository writing, including office memoranda
- Introduction to American Law and Culture (2 credit hours) Introduction to the American legal system, including government structure, sources of law, common law development, and core substantive areas
- Introduction to American Legal Skills (2 credit hours) Introduction to oral and written advocacy; interviewing, counseling and negotiation; and alternative dispute resolution
- Completion of an additional 17 credit hours, approved by adviser
- Completion of all coursework within three years
Transfer of Credits to J.D. Program
Students may transfer from the LL.M. program to the J.D. program. Students who perform well in J.D. courses may gain admission without taking the LSAT. Elective credits earned during the LL.M. program may be applied toward the J.D. degree at UMKC or at most other United States law schools.
Eligible students must already have a college degree in law from a recognized school. There is no minimum GPA required for admission, but academic ability will be considered. Applicants must have demonstrated English proficiency, which will be evaluated through both an English proficiency test score and a personal interview. The LSAT is not required, but applicants must have taken either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Successful applicants must have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper exam (80 on the Internet version), or a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with no individual portion below 5.5.
In order to be considered for admission, a candidate must first submit a complete application packet. Incomplete applications cannot be processed for admission. The application packet consists of the following:
- A completed and signed application form
- The $75 non-refundable application fee payable by check, money order, credit card (VISA or MasterCard) payable in U.S. dollars
- An autobiographical essay or personal statement which includes your motivation for studying law, your interests and future plans and your objectives for attending UMKC
- Official academic credentials for undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate studies (transcripts and degree certificates) in both native language and literal English translation. Photocopies, faxed copies or scanned copies are not acceptable.
- An official TOEFL or IELTS score report. English proficiency is required for all applicants. Photocopies, faxed copies or scanned copies are not acceptable.
- An original or certified copy of financial statement must be included to provide proof of sufficient funding to meet all tuition and living expenses for the first year of studies. This funding should be in the form of liquid assets such as money in a bank account, stocks, bonds or other investments with cash value that can be quickly accessed. Proof of financial support must be submitted in English and dated less than 12 months prior to enrollment.
- If the applicant will rely on funding from a family member or other sponsor, the application must include an Affidavit of Support from their benefactor. An original or certified copy of the original letter of support explaining the relationship to the applicant and pledging financial support must be included, along with the appropriate supporting financial documents. A certified literal English translation must accompany any non-English document.
- One original signed letter of recommendation from a faculty member or school administrator or from an employer
- A legible copy of the biographical information / photo page from your passport
- A current résumé or curriculum vitae
Applications must be submitted by December 1 for consideration for early admission, and should be submitted by March 1 for customary processing.
In addition to the admissions packet, applicants must have an interview with the director of the program, the associate dean for International Programs, or a designee of one of them. Interviews in person are preferred, but can also be conducted by telephone if necessary.
Senior Program Coordinator