How to Apply for the LL.M.
Things to Know
- We accept LL.M. students for the fall semester only.
- We strongly discourage sending supplemental materials after you’ve submitted your application. This includes application addenda and replacement items.
- The admissions committee will review files in January 2015 and continue to do so until the class is full.
Applicants must apply online through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) at lsac.org and include:
- $50 application fee (payable in U.S. dollars only)
- a personal statement
- a resume
Required transcripts, English proficiency test scores and letters of recommendation must be submitted to LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Do not send any documents directly to the Office of Admissions at Georgia State Law unless the staff specifically asks you to do so.
Track 1 applicants must have completed the coursework for the equivalent of a professional law degree or similar credential, but need not be practicing lawyers. (For Bologna Process students, this is the equivalent of completing the first three years of a five-year program.)
Track 2 applicants must first earn the equivalent of a professional law degree or similar credential and must be “authorized to practice law in a foreign jurisdiction.”
The Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law, Section 4(c) impose three basic educational requirements for foreign-educated lawyers who plan to take the Georgia bar examination.
(1) They must have received their legal education from a foreign law school. Section 4(c)(1).
(2) They must be authorized to practice law in a foreign jurisdiction. Section 4(c)(2).
(3) They must have been awarded an LL.M Degree for the Practice of Law in the United States (an LL.M. degree that conforms to the curricular criteria prescribed by the Supreme Court of Georgia). Section 4(c)(3).
With respect to the first requirement, Georgia State Law is responsible for certifying that the foreign law school from which the Track 2 applicant graduated is properly accredited under the laws of the foreign state where it is located. This proper accreditation is measured by conformity to one of three metrics: Either (1) legal education Institutions in the foreign country are sanctioned, recognized or regulated by the government [Rules, Part B, Section 4(c)(1)(a)] and this Institution is sanctioned, recognized or regulated pursuant to applicable law; or (2) legal education institutions in the foreign country are recognized or approved by an evaluation body [Rules, Part B, Section 4(c)(1)(b)] and this Institution is recognized or approved pursuant to applicable law; or (3) legal institutions in the foreign country are chartered to award the first professional degree in law by an appropriate authority [Rules, Part B, Section 4(c)(1)(c)] and this Institution is chartered pursuant to applicable law. Although the certification responsibility falls upon Georgia State Law, all Track 2 applicants planning to take the Georgia bar examination must provide as part of their initial application to Georgia State Law additional documentary information showing that the foreign law school from which they graduated satisfies one of the three metrics set out above.
The second requirement is an important consideration for Track 2 applicants planning to take the Georgia bar examination, but is not, strictly speaking an educational requirement. It is a prerequisite for taking the Georgia bar examination. In order to be permitted to take the Georgia bar examination, Track 2 LL.M. graduate must be “authorized to practice law in a foreign jurisdiction.”
Under the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law, Part B (Board of Bar Examiners), Section 4 (Educational requirements), subsection (c)(2) [hereinafter Rules], in order to be eligible to take the Georgia bar examination, a LL.M. graduate must be “authorized to practice law in a foreign jurisdiction.” The Comment on the meaning of the language “authorized to practice law in a foreign jurisdiction” in the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar’s Proposed Model Rule on Admission of Foreign Educated Lawyers [hereinafter Model Rule] interprets this phrase as meaning that an “applicant can, in his or her own country, engage in the activities which are generally considered the practice of law in the United States.” This interpretation has the same meaning as an attorney “who is currently a member in good standing” of the bar in another jurisdiction as that language appears in Rules, Part D, Section 2(b) (Attorneys’ Examination).
Graduates must eventually be prepared to provide sufficient evidence that they meet the requirements of Part B (4)(c)(2) as interpreted by the Comment to the ABA’s Model Rule quoted above. This authorization or ability to practice law must be current, and not lapsed, suspended or revoked for any reason including but not limited to loss of residency or citizenship in the applicant’s “own,” i.e., foreign country, failure to take the requisite steps to initiate authorization or failure to maintain active status through nonpayment of dues or loss of such status for disciplinary or similar reasons. Verification that an applicant has met the requirement of Part B, 4(c)(2) of the Rules will be done by the Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants after the applicant applies for fitness certification.
With respect to documentary evidence of authorization to practice law, the Comment to the ABA’s Model Rule should serve as a guide:
Meaning of “authorized” to practice Law As used in (2) of this rule, the word “authorized” is intended to mean that the applicant has achieved the ability to engage in activities which would be recognized in the United States as the practice of law. Foreign jurisdictions vary in the ways persons acquire the ability to engage in these activities and the labels attached to such authorization. For example some countries in Central and South America, do not issue specific certificates or licenses to practice law. Only the completion of [a] law degree program, at a law school approved by the Ministry of Education to grant the degree, is required. Other South American Countries require the graduate to register with the appropriate Bar Association by presenting the diploma and a police certificate that the law school graduate does not have a criminal record. In general countries assign different labels to approval by the government to practice law. Whatever the label or requirement, a United States jurisdiction considering an application under this rule should insure that the applicant can, in his or her own country, engage in the activities which are generally considered the practice of law in the United States.
Limited exceptions to this requirement apparently exist. For example, if an applicant intending to take the Georgia bar examination is unable to provide documentary evidence that he/she is admitted or otherwise authorized to practice law in the foreign country where the applicant received his or her legal education due to danger or political interference in the foreign country, the Board to Determine Fitness may waive this requirement for good cause shown by clear and convincing evidence.
Track 2 applicants planning to take the Georgia bar examination who are not “authorized to practice law in a foreign jurisdiction” may lack of authorization for a variety of reasons. For example, the foreign jurisdiction may require that law graduates undergo a period of apprenticeship either before or after that jurisdiction’s bar examination, or lawyers who previously practiced in a foreign jurisdiction may have allowed their authorization to lapse, but know that it can be reinstated before they apply to take the Georgia bar examination. Although such lawyers are welcome to apply for the Track 2 LL.M. program, they must recognize that they will not be eligible to take the Georgia bar examination until they are authorized to practice law in their home country, and will necessarily have to defer taking the Georgia bar examination until such time as they have completed all necessary prerequisites required by their home country.
Georgia State Law will accept applications from Thursday, May 15, to Monday, Dec. 15, for fall 2015 enrollment.