In July Penn Law welcomed 118 internationally trained lawyers, judges, NGO leaders, faculty members, government officials and other legal professionals to the campus for a year of graduate study in the LLM program. The Class of 2015 represents 38 countries and was selected from a pool of 1,375 applications. In addition, Penn Law also welcomed an LLCM, three SJD students, and a visiting Judicial Scholar.
Comprised of legal professionals from around the world, the LLM student body brings experiences and expertise ranging from private practice to human rights to intellectual property and beyond.
“This is a wonderfully talented class that is also richly diverse in terms of background and areas of interest and practice,” said Matthew Parker L’00, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies.
Penn Law’s LLM program, which was first offered in 1898, brings international students to the Law School to enhance their understanding of American law and its global connections. Starting at the end of July, the students begin their studies with a special summer program to introduce them to the U.S. legal system as well as legal research and writing to prepare them academically for the fall semester.
“Our summer program is unique among U.S. LLM programs– it is five weeks long and the whole LLM class participates,” noted Elise Luce Kraemer L’ 93, Associate Director of Graduate Programs.
In addition, the class bonds by doing a variety of social and cultural events including a city bus tour, visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a banquet in Chinatown, and an afternoon with professional coaches for team building exercises.
“These activities allow the LLM class to become a real community before mixing in with the JDs in the fall and spring semester,” Kraemer noted. “This creates the best of both worlds – close ties within the LLM group and extensive opportunities to interact closely with JDs throughout the rest of the year.”
The LLM students, who take classes alongside upper-level JD students, select courses from an extensive curriculum of specialized courses and seminars at Penn Law.
“Students integrate with JDs in lots of ways,” added Parker. “They all get a JD mentor and LLMs have class officers and a member on the Council of Student Representatives. Additionally, LLMs participate in journals, pro bono projects, and join student groups such as the Light Opera Company, Penn Law Boxing Club, and intermural sports with the JDs.”
In 2012, the LLM program expanded the curriculum to include the Wharton Business and Law Certificate, a custom designed program for Penn Law LLM students taught by Wharton faculty and industry experts selected for their teaching skills, subject expertise and ability to offer applied concepts and examples to participants.
“One of the things that makes our program unique is the cross-disciplinary certificate in business and law,” said Parker. “Around half of the LLM class each year participate.”
In addition, LLM students have the opportunity to gain real world U.S. legal experience to develop their professional skills and learn more about the communities that exist beyond the walls of Penn Law though the LLM Public Service Program, Penn Law Clinics, and with local attorneys who serve as mentors.