UNC Launching Master's Program in U.S. Law

The School of Law is preparing to offer foreign lawyers an opportunity to improve their knowledge of U.S. law and legal process through a one-year master of laws degree program.

Michael L. Corrado, Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor of law, will direct the program, which will carry the designation of LL.M. It is expected to launch this fall with an initial class of three to seven students and an eventual student population of 25. Acquiescence of the American Bar Association to the program is expected this month.

“Our J.D. [juris doctor] and LL.M. students will benefit by studying together and by engaging in discussions about comparative legal issues, policies and judicial processes,” said Jack Boger ’74 (JD), dean of the school.

Boger supported the development of the LL.M. program as part of an ongoing effort to help train lawyers who will practice in the global economy. More than 100 U.S. law schools now offer an LL.M., including many of the most elite public and private law schools.

“We live in a time of rapid global changes, when legal issues involving banking and investment law, environmental law, intellectual property protection, and human rights cross boundaries of geography and have far-reaching impacts,” Boger said. “We need our lawyers and leaders to have a strong understanding of cross-cultural issues and comparative law.”

Corrado is an ideal director, Boger added, having established himself as a leading international scholar on adversarial systems worldwide. Corrado also has recently earned a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in law at the University of Trento in northern Italy, where this spring he will teach a seminar on U.S. criminal law while researching Italian and European approaches to criminal law issues. The LL.M. program also has been developed with the assistance of associate deans Robert Mosteller ’70 and Laura N. Gasaway.

Boger emphasized that the school’s domestic law students and professors who work primarily within the U.S. will benefit from learning alongside foreign-trained lawyers and forging international connections. The program builds on the school’s existing programs of international study abroad and student exchange, as well as visiting scholar programs for academics, judges and prosecutors. It also will benefit from law school’s faculty expertise in U.S. and international law and other fields of global legal scholarship.

“We live in a world in which significant shifts are occurring in ownership of wealth and resources, and American attorneys must be able to compete in this new global marketplace,” Boger said. “This degree program will help us to attract and develop a network of alumni worldwide, many of them leaders in their own nations, who will assist our U.S.-trained alumni establish global connections, whether they eventually practice in Charlotte, Raleigh, New York City or Seoul, Korea.”

To be eligible for the program, foreign lawyers must have earned a primary law degree from universities in their home countries. Preference will be given to foreign lawyers who have practiced law for at least two years. Admissions decisions also will be based on an applicant’s prior academic excellence in his or her legal studies and fluency in English.

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