The traditional track of the Berkeley Law LL.M. is designed to provide students with a range of opportunities, from obtaining a basic knowledge of the U.S. legal system to undertaking original research on a particular aspect of law. One objective of the program is to integrate American and international law students at various levels of study. Other than the core curriculum courses specifically designed for international LL.M. students, traditional track candidates for the LL.M. degree satisfy course requirements by enrolling in courses and seminars from among those offered to law students pursuing the J.D. degree.
Required courses for international students include Fundamentals of U.S. Law (3 units), and Legal Research & Writing (2 units). Domestic students are exempt from these courses, but must complete a capstone writing project of 15 pages or more in length.
See the Schedule of Classes for a list of classes by subject.
Core curriculum courses:
(required for international students in the traditional track)
Fundamentals of U.S. Law (three units; Fall semester)
Students study the sources of U.S. law and the structure of the U.S. court system. Students also learn the fundamentals of the case method of legal education and statutory construction, and study how cases progress through the American court system. The course will also explore topics of judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, and the practical and political limitations of these concepts. Students will then use case analysis skills to examine landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases. This course is graded and requires a comprehensive final examination.
Legal Research & Writing (two units; Fall semester)
In this class, each student researches and writes a 15- to 20-page research memorandum addressing a compelling issue in contemporary law. Through this writing exercise students learn predictive legal reasoning. Students also complete other, shorter assignments throughout the term, including an introduction to Bluebook citation. Research instruction is integrated into the writing assignments, and includes mainly on-line but also a few traditional book-based resources. Students receive extensive written comments and attend one-on-one conferences on their papers. This course is graded, and fulfills the capstone writing requirement for the LL.M. degree.