Eligibility and Admission Standards
In evaluating applications for admission to our LL.M. Program, we strive to select a student body of individuals with diverse backgrounds and interests who share a discernible commitment to excellence. We place primary emphasis on demonstrated qualities and proven skills that we regard as necessary for academic success and intellectual engagement at Columbia Law School. We endeavor to identify how, and to what extent, candidates have forged their values and achieved their goals; how they have chosen to commit their time, energies, and talents; and how they have made use of their opportunities. Applicants are evaluated, therefore, not only on their potential, but also on their demonstrated motivation, self-discipline and industry.
To be eligible for admission to the LL.M. Program, applicants must hold a first degree in law. A degree in a field other than law, even if followed by a master’s degree in law, generally does not suffice for admission. Applicants who have earned a law degree by correspondence course work or distance learning are not eligible for admission.
Strong preference is given to applicants who have had at least one year of full-time work experience after earning their first law degree. Only in exceptional circumstances are applications from candidates who are in their final year of their first law degree accepted. Applicants who have not yet graduated must demonstrate in their personal statements that admission to the Program would enable them to realize an immediate and specific career objective that would not otherwise be attainable.
Graduates of Law Schools in the United States
In the case of graduates of U.S. law schools, admission to the LL.M. Program is restricted to graduates of A.B.A.-accredited law schools who achieved honor status in their J.D. studies as evidenced by very high academic standing, by membership on their law reviews, or by outstanding work in research. Generally, preference is given to candidates who have acquired at least one year of significant professional legal experience subsequent to graduation.
Graduates of Law Schools in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or English-speaking Caribbean Countries
Admission for these degree candidates is generally restricted to those who achieved honor status in their prior legal studies as evidenced by very high academic standing, by membership on their law reviews, or by outstanding work in research. As a general matter, applicants from law schools in these countries who have not completed at least five years of post-secondary undergraduate and legal education combined must have been admitted to the bar and practiced for at least one year after completing their legal education.
Graduates of All Other Law Schools
Applicants from law schools in all other jurisdictions must hold a first degree in law to be eligible for admission. A degree in a field other than law, even if followed by a master’s degree in law, generally does not suffice for admission. Applicants who have earned a law degree by correspondence course work or distance learning are not eligible for admission.
International lawyers who intend to reside and practice law in the United States permanently should apply for the J.D. degree, the first degree in law, rather than the LL.M. Completion of an LL.M. degree at Columbia Law School does not guarantee admission to the J.D. Program.