2022-2023 WCL Catalog 
    Jul 21, 2024  
2022-2023 WCL Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

LLM in Law and Government

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs

The LL.M. in Law and Government is designed to give lawyers a solid foundation in the skills for practicing in law and public policy. The LL.M. offers several concentrations including (1) Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice (with further specializations in Energy Law & Policy, Environmental Law & Policy, Health Law & Policy, Immigration Law & Policy, Labor and Employment Law & Policy, National Security Law & Policy; (2) Business and Financial Regulation (with a specialization in securities law and policy); and (3) Civil and Constitutional Rights (with further specializations in Criminal Law, Disability Law, Gender and Law, and Politics and Legislation). A limited number of students may pursue an individualized course of study under the guidance of the student advisor and director. Students selecting courses to qualify for a bar exam will not be able to have a concentration or specialization.


The program is tailored to take advantage of the law school’s location in the nation’s capital. 

Concentrations and Specializations

Students who are interested in a specific legal field may specialize by doing an in-depth study in one of the eleven areas listed below. Students who complete a concentration or specialization will receive a certificate from the Program on Law and Government; the specialization does not appear on transcripts.

  • There are three concentrations and eleven specializations available to LLM in Law and Government students. Each specialization falls under one of the three concentrations. If a student completes the requirements for a specialization, then he/she will also receive the concentration.
  • To earn a concentration or specialization, a student must complete 12 credits approved for that specialization or concentration and complete either a 20-25 page research paper in his/her area of concentration or specialization or a an externship in his/her area of concentration or specialization.
  • Students may complete more than one specialization if they meet the requirements.
Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
  • Energy Law & Policy
  • Environmental Law & Policy
  • Health Law & Policy
  • Immigration Law & Policy
  • Labor and Employment Law & Policy
  • National Security Law & Policy
Civil & Constitutional Rights
  • Criminal Law
  • Disability Rights
  • Gender & the Law
  • Law, Politics and Legislation
Business & Financial Regulation
  • Securities Law & Policy

LL.M Admissions

  • Hold a JD from a U.S. law school accredited by the ABA or a first degree in law from a foreign law school with equivalent standards. 
  • Submit a completed application form along with supporting documents before the application deadline.
  • International applicants must meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement.

More information about applying is available on the Office of Graduate Admissions website.

LL.M Degree Requirements

  • Students must successfully complete 24 credit hours from the designated list of classes with a GPA of 2.0 (C) or better.
  • In the first semester, non-common law trained students must successfully complete American Legal Institutions (LAW-580-001; 2 credits) and LL.M Legal Research and Writing (LAW-580-002; 2 credits).
  • Graduation tracks:
    • Research Track: students are in this track by default. Students must successfully complete two research papers of at least 3,500 words each that demonstrate a high degree of skill in legal scholarship and writing. The legal memo written in the LL.M Legal Research and Writing class counts as one paper. 
    • Practical Skills Track: students are in this track when they register for the International Legal Studies Externship course (LAW-754). They must successfully complete an externship for credit, and complete one research paper of at least 3,500 words that demonstrates a high degree of skill in legal scholarship and writing. This legal memo written in the LL.M Legal Research and Writing class counts as one paper toward the paper requirement. 
  • The 24 credits needed for the LL.M degree can be completed part-time, or full-time (two or three regular semesters). Students on an F-1 or J-1 visa must be enrolled in at least eight credits during the fall and the spring, except for the last semester when students can take a reduced course load for one to seven credits. To take a reduced course load, the Reduced Course Load Authorization Form must be completed and submitted to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at isss@american.edu. NOTE: International students interested in taking the New York bar exam must complete the LL.M program within 24 months of matriculation. 
  • Students may enroll in a maximum of 16 credits per semester (fall and spring), however, it is recommended that students take no more than 14 credits per semester. WCL allows up to seven credits in the summer. NOTE: International students interested in taking the New York bar exam can only be enrolled in a maximum of four credits in the summer.
  • LL.M students may complete their degree requirements entirely by traditional classroom study or by classroom study combined with no more than six semester hours of approved externship and/or independent study credits.
  • Absent extraordinary circumstances, students must complete the LL.M degree within 60 months of matriculating in a given LL.M program.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs