Master of Laws (LLM) in U.S. Law Program

The University of Cincinnati College of Law’s Master of Laws (LLM) in U.S. Law program offers a nationally recognized education that’s highly customizable and achievable in less than a year. In addition to earning your LLM degree, there’s also the potential of qualifying to transfer into our JD program. Our program aims to immerse you in both American law and academics.

Our 24-credit LLM program can be completed in as little as nine months, although some students decide to spend up to two academic years in the program for a more convenient schedule.


The Master of Laws program is designed to introduce internationally trained lawyers to the U.S. legal system while providing students with the opportunity to design a course of study at Cincinnati Law that best advances their unique professional agendas. Graduates of the LLM program are better able to represent U.S. clients and are more prepared for negotiations and litigation with U.S. parties.

Students have the opportunity to focus on any of our nine Professional Pathways. UC Law also offers fellowships with the Ohio Innocence Project and through the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights.

Students in the LLM program complete at least twenty-four credits hours in order to earn the LLM degree. This generally occurs within one academic year. Two courses are designed specifically for LLM students and are required to complete the program:    

The U.S. Legal System. In this three-credit course, students gain a more advanced understanding of the critical features of the U.S. legal tradition, the functional components and participants in our legal system, and key legal concepts, including legal ethics and professional responsibility.

Legal Research & Writing for LLM Students. This three-credit course is similar to our traditional legal research & writing course, designed, however, to meet the needs of non-native English speakers. It is designed to help students develop the written communication skills, research skills, and persuasion strategies needed in both law school and professional practice as a lawyer.    

Additional courses are selected by individual students working in consultation with the Assistant Dean and faculty. By choosing courses from among the range of those offered to all law students, LLM students are able to design a course of study that best advances their own professional agendas.

Students may select courses in areas of study, called professional pathways, such as Business and Entrepreneurship; Criminal; International; Innovation, Technology and Intellectual Property; Science, Health, and Environment; Public Interest; Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution; General and Small Practice. Students may also choose to complete our Business Law Concentration.    

Learn more about our curricular offerings.

Classroom instruction is integrated with practice observations at courtrooms, government agencies, law firms, and corporate offices. During these observations, participants interact with judges, attorneys, general counsel, and business executives, who convey critical insights about practice in the U.S., including:

  • U.S. business customs
  • Liaising effectively with counsel
  • Navigating the U.S. judicial system

The College of Law will also provide forums for students to discuss their legal cultures, as well as to introduce their law firms or institutions to area attorneys and business executives. In this way, students, local attorneys, and executives have many opportunities to network and form lasting professional contacts.


LLM Students now have the opportunity to participate in one of the most sough-after opportunities at UC—the Ohio Innocence Project. Since 2003, OIP fellows have worked to achieve the release of inmates who were innocent of their alleged crimes.

Supervised by seasoned clinical professors, OIP fellows do the work of real lawyers—from interviewing witnesses and drafting motions to collecting evidence and seeking DNA testing on behalf of their clients.

Many cite their time spent in OIP as the most meaningful and memorable experience they had in law school.


Founded in 1979, the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights is the first endowed institute devoted to international human rights law at a U.S. law school.

UMI Students:

  • Work on the Human Rights Quarterly, the leading academic journal in the human rights field
  • Network with local lawyers, judges, and business leaders as well as distinguished legal professionals from around the world

Fellows must be enrolled in the LLM in the U.S. Legal System program and will receive a 50% tuition reduction.

Professional Academic Pathways

LLM students can choose from one of nine professional pathways:

Gain real-world business experiences at Cincinnati Law’s clinics, externships, and fellowships. Whether you spend time in our popular Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC) and work alongside innovators and disruptors or research corporate law topics, you’ll get the coursework and guidance you need to graduate with an impressive portfolio.

Learn more about the Business and Entrepreneurship Professional Pathway and the Business Law Concentration (information located further down the page).

Learn on the job through judicial externships with the U.S. District Court, the Ohio Court of Common Pleas and other courts with criminal jurisdiction, or sign on for a stint with a prosecutor or defense organization. As a Cincinnati Law student, you can also participate in our Indigent Defense Clinic and the Domestic Violence and Protection Order Clinic.

You’ll also find our students embedded at the Ohio Innocence Project at Cincinnati Law, the Glenn M. Weaver Institute of Law and Psychiatry and various nonprofits focused on justice and reform.

Learn more about the Criminal Law Professional Pathway.

With its expert faculty members, Cincinnati Law provides opportunities for hands-on learning about complex environmental legal issues in a region that’s home to an EPA office in a city with its own Green Plan.

Our clinics, externships and fellowships provide realistic and invaluable perspectives on what it’s like to be a practicing lawyer.

Gain expertise in health law at Cincinnati Law, thanks to our expert faculty as well as the broad range of top-quality healthcare facilities that surround us: a regional VA Medical Center, a top-ranked Children’s Hospital, one of country’s few Shriners’ Hospitals, to name just three. Learn about litigation and negligence, regulatory and public policy issues and the very business of healthcare institutions and enterprises.

Cincinnati Law is also home to the Glenn M. Weaver Institute of Law and Psychiatry, which provides opportunities for select students to gain experience with psychiatric issues as practiced in a legal setting.

Learn more abou the Health Law Professional Pathway.

Delve into the world of artistic and literary creation, advertising and marketing, and scientific invention when you study IP at Cincinnati Law. Our new clinic will support learning about trademarks and patents as well, and associated state laws about publicity rights and trade secrets.

Learn how globalization impacts legal practice, and policy, through coursework, fieldwork and specialized programs at Cincinnati Law. From commerce, corporations, telecommunications, trade, tax, investments, finance, intellectual property, product liability, the environment, crime, and human rights, we have the expertise to help you learn how to navigate a global legal practice or diplomatic career.

In addition, our groundbreaking Urban Morgan Institute continues to serve as a model for many other human rights programs with its emphasis on teaching, research and service.

Understand the intricacies of litigation, mediation, negotiation and dispute resolution through simulated and real-world experiences at Cincinnati Law.

From American Bar Association sponsored competitions to Trial Practice Team national and regional competitions, our students benefit from multiple opportunities to present in courtrooms.

Discover the legal policies and procedures on public interest topics like housing discrimination and child welfare as you work on real-world cases and for real-life causes around the world.

LLM Degree Outcomes

Based in the heart of Cincinnati, UC Law offers potential not commonly found with other law schools. Our city has been recognized as one of the best for young professionals and is home to over 800 law firms.

For international students, an LLM degree covers the necessary fundamentals of law in the United States. Graduates go on to various post-graduation careers such as lawyer, judge, business professional, consultant, banker, and more. Depending on previous professional and educational background, some LLM graduates are eligible to apply to take a bar exam in the US.

Earn Your LLM Degree Today!

We are committed to keeping our LLM program affordable.  All students admitted to the LLM program who request a scholarship will be offered a partial scholarship to reduce the cost of tuition.

The University of Cincinnati’s Master of Laws in U.S. Law program allows students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the U.S. legal process, improve their English legal writing skills, and advance their careers, all while gaining a depth of knowledge thanks to specializing in one of our nine professional pathways. Interested in learning more? Request information about the LLM degree program today!

Caution Regarding Bar Exam Eligibility

Due to Covid-19, the University of Cincinnati is offering most of it's Fall 2020 classes online. It is possible that Covid-19 will cause all Fall 2020 classes to be taught online.   No decisions have been made yet about how classes will be delivered in Spring 2021. If you are planning to take a bar exam in the US, please contact the bar authority in the relevant state to determine whether online classes will interfere with your eligibility. The LLM program does not guarantee your eligibility for any bar exams.   

Students wishing to seek admission to practice law in Ohio are required to successfully complete 30 credit hours. Twenty credit hours must be taken from the following list of courses identified by the Ohio Supreme Court: Legal Research/Writing; Business Associations; Conflict of Laws; Constitutional Law; Contracts; Criminal Law/Criminal Procedure; Wills, Trusts and Estates; Evidence; Family Law; Civil Procedure; Federal Income Taxes; Professional Responsibility/Legal Ethics; Property (Real & Personal); Torts; Uniform Commercial Code (Articles II, III, & IX). Please contact the Ohio Supreme Court for additional information and to determine whether your previous education in combination with the LL.M. program will be sufficient to apply to take the bar exam.

Completion of the LLM program does NOT guarantee your eligibility to practice law in the U.S., or specifically in Ohio.

Completion of the LL.M. program does not guarantee that you will be able to take a bar exam and practice law in the U.S. Each state sets its own requirements for eligibility, and admission to the bar in all states involves character, fitness and other qualifications. Some states have specific educational and documentation requirements that must be met by individuals who completed post-secondary education outside of the U.S. Applicants are strongly encouraged to determine what all of these requirements are in the state(s) in which they intend to practice by consulting the state bar authority directly and/or the website of the National Council of Bar Examiners.

The Business Law Concentration for LLM has been created to provide a relevant degree focus in this area and help for a better professional branding in future pursuits of the students. 

The coursework is similar to the Corporate Law Concentration for JD students but is adjusted to reflect the shorter duration of study and the fact that LL.M. students are not required to take the 1L courses. LL.M. students can complete the degree in 24 credit hours. Two three-credit classes are standard LL.M. requirements: Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students and U.S. Legal System. The concentration would add three additional required courses. Furthermore, a student would have to take at least one additional course from the business law curriculum elective list below (“elective”). The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs has the authority to waive the elective requirement or allow a course not listed below to satisfy the requirement. Students should be aware that many of these courses are taught only one time each year, and some courses may not be offered every year. 

Required Courses: Contracts, Business Associations, and International Business Transactions 

(Sales may substitute for International Business Transactions). 

Elective Courses (each student must take at least one course from this list or receive a waiver from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs):

  • Advanced Legal Drafting
  • Antitrust
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business Basics
  • Corporate Tax II
  • Copyright Law
  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Transactions – Deal Sheet to Close
  • Corporations II
  • Entrepreneurship & Community Development Clinic
  • Immigration Law & Policy: Understanding Contemporary Issues in the US
  • Individual Research Project (as approved by the Associate Dean)
  • International Business Transactions
  • International Commercial Arbitration
  • International Intellectual Property Law
  • International Tax
  • Introduction to Intellectual Property
  • Legal Drafting, Introduction to
  • Legal Drafting for LLM Students
  • Negotiations
  • Patent Law
  • Payment Systems
  • Practical Applications of Immigration Law: Business Immigration Law
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Sales
  • Secured Transactions
  • Securities Regulation
  • Startups, Venture Capital and Private Equity
  • Trademarks and Unfair Competition

We recommend that LL.M. students pursuing this concentration area consider applying for a legal externship in a law office and/or participating in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic. Some externships may be better suited for certain students than others. The Director or Assistant Dean in charge of the LL.M program and our staff will advise students on which externships would be suitable for them. The application process for many of these placements is highly competitive, and as such they are not guaranteed. 

Representative Business Law Externships:

  • D.E. Foxx & Associates, Inc. - General Counsel’s Office
  • AK Steel Corporation – Legal Department
  • Contech Engineered Solutions – Office of General Counsel
  • General Cable Corporation – Legal Department
  • Great American Insurance Group – Legal Department
  • Tire Discounters – General Counsel’s Office
  • General Counsels’ Offices for cities and municipalities
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Other Cincinnati Fortune 100 companies