LLM Application Basics
One of the most important tips for prospective Master of Laws applicants is to start early with your LL.M. application.
Applying for an LL.M. program will require considerable amounts of time, energy, and commitment on your part. Be sure to plan ahead and start as early as possible. Remember, you may need to coordinate with others for necessary LL.M. application documents such as academic transcripts, references, translation of documents, or language tests. By beginning early, you will not end up rushing to complete the application or run the danger of submitting sub-par application documents.
Law schools usually accept LL.M. applications roughly one year ahead of the expected starting date of your studies, with application deadlines often ending in the winter or spring months prior to a fall start date. In order to put yourself in a more advantageous position, you should submit your application well before the final deadlines that law schools publicize.
Law schools often operate on a rolling-admissions basis, meaning that they start reviewing LL.M. applications before the actual deadline. Before you even submit your application, they might have already selected a number of candidates and filled some of the coveted seats on their programs. Some schools even offer “early admissions” or “early review“, whereby applicants are invited to submit their applications before a general deadline and will be notified early of the outcome of their application.
LLM Application Documents
Your complete LL.M. application file will typically include the following documents:
- Application Form
- LL.M. Financial Statement (if not already included in the Application Form)
- LL.M. Personal Statement, sometimes also referred to as a “statement of purpose” or “essay”
- Research Proposal and/or Writing Sample (for some law schools and programs)
- 2-3 Reference Letters
- University Transcripts
- English Language Test Results (TOEFL and TWE or IELTS – unless English is your first language)
- Financial Assistance Form (optional)
Application Fees & Costs
You will also be required to pay each law school to whose LL.M. degree program you are applying a non-refundable application fee. For U.S. LL.M. programs, these fees can range anywhere from approximately $50 to $100. In addition, you should expect to incur additional costs for translation of transcripts and, if the application process is not or not exclusively done electronically via the internet, courier or mail service fees.
LLM Credential Assembly Service
In addition, applicants to LL.M. programs in the USA, Canada, and Australia should consider using the LLM Credential Assembly Service (LLM CAS) offered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
The LLM CAS collects your official academic records, letters of recommendation, and English proficiency scores so you only have to submit them once. The service also offers to authenticate international transcripts and lets prospective LL.M. candidates apply electronically to participating law schools. Use of LLM CAS for LL.M. applications is highly recommended by some schools (such as Vanderbilt) and even mandated by others (such as Yale).
Check out our eBook How to Master the LL.M. Application – A Concise Guide with Samples for more in-depth tips and sample documents.