Bankruptcy, LL.M.

24 Credits
School of Law
Queens Campus

Overview

Located in New York, the center of bankruptcy practice, St. John’s is at the center of bankruptcy education.  Our LL.M. in Bankruptcy degree program is the nation's only LL.M. program devoted to bankruptcy law. This highly successful program offers a wide array of specialized bankruptcy courses taught by leading practitioners, judges and academics. Our graduates practice with top firms and clerk for influential judges throughout the country.  The LL.M. program is only one part of the nation's most extensive bankruptcy program -- a program that also includes the leading bankruptcy journal, the national bankruptcy moot court competition, and the national bankruptcy mediation training program.

The LL.M. in Bankruptcy degree program is intensive and rigorous. It requires the completion of 24 credits. The program combines academic rigor with a practice-oriented approach that is designed to produce bankruptcy attorneys with the skills, the ambition and the knowledge to become leaders in the insolvency field. Students are permitted to take the program full-time (one year) or part-time (two to three years), entering in either the fall or spring semesters. 

The ABI Bankruptcy Case Blog and the St. John’s Bankruptcy Research Library offer current research on bankruptcy’s most cutting edge cases and issues.

You can also view our Placement Data and Comments from recent graduates. 

Contact

We welcome your inquiries about the Center for Bankruptcy Studies at St. John’s School of Law.

Yvette GutierrezKeith Sharfman
Director of Bankruptcy Programs 
718-990-5343
Fax 718-990-8095
yvette.gutierrez@stjohns.edu
Professor of Law and Director of Bankruptcy Studies 
718-990-5343
Fax 718-990-8095
keith.sharfman@stjohns.edu
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Courses

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Admission

Application Procedure and Forms

Student Selection Standards
The student body will be limited to outstanding candidates who have the capacity to handle a rigorous academic curriculum. Acceptance will be based on the individual’s performance at undergraduate and law schools, experience in practice (where applicable), published and unpublished written work, and, where appropriate, personal interviews. Particular emphasis will be placed on the applicant having achieved an outstanding academic record in obtaining a Juris Doctor from an accredited A.B.A. law school and on the applicant’s employment history and documented promise in the practice of bankruptcy law. The evaluation of applicants will be conducted by an appropriate LL.M. program faculty committee in concert with the law school Faculty Admissions Committee and the Dean of Admissions.

Rolling Admissions and Application Deadline
Students may commence the program either in the Fall or Spring terms. We use a rolling admissions process and consider applications as they come in and make every effort to inform you of our decision as soon as possible after receipt of your completed application. An application is considered complete when the School of Law has received the following:

  • Completed & signed application
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Resume
  • Official transcripts from law school (including class rank) and  undergraduate schools attended**
  • LSAT Score (a copy of the front sheet of the applicant’s LSDAS report, indicating his/her LSAT score provided by Law School)
  • Application fee of $100 (non-refundable)

Students will be expected to submit at least two letters of recommendation with the application, directed to the student’s capacity to handle the intensive program contemplated, preferably from one faculty member and, where appropriate, one practicing insolvency professional with whom the applicant was employed. In addition, the student must submit a personal statement explaining why the applicant desires to enroll and how the applicant believes the program will advance his or her career goals and objectives. The statement should be written in a clear, concise manner, reflecting the applicant’s personal writing style, and be approximately 250 to 500 words. Students may supplement these materials with published or unpublished work written by the student or other information or material the applicant believes may be helpful in the selection process.

A prospective student may apply online or by sending the completed application to:

LL.M. in Bankruptcy Program
St. John’s School of Law
8000 Utopia Parkway - Room 301
Queens, N.Y. 11439

LL.M. Bankruptcy Scholarships

Dean's Merit Scholarship
Partial scholarships are available to LL.M. in Bankruptcy students. Scholarships are awarded based on the individual’s credentials, potential for success and need. Students interested in applying for such scholarships must complete the Scholarship Application form and submit it with their applications.  A scholarship request has no impact on the admission decision, but due to budget planning needs, scholarship requests not included with the application are not likely to be granted. 

ABI Scholarship
The American Bankruptcy Institute currently awards a $15,000 annual scholarship to a student in the LL.M. in Bankruptcy Program. The scholarship is awarded based on the student’s credentials, demonstrated interest in bankruptcy law and potential for success in the field. Students wishing to apply for the ABI Scholarship should send an application letter to the Director of the Program outlining the student’s eligibility based on the foregoing criteria with appropriate supporting materials.

The Robert M. Zinman Bankruptcy Scholarship
The Robert M. Zinman Bankruptcy Scholarship Fund provides an annual scholarship to a deserving LL.M. in Bankruptcy student at the Law School based on the student’s credentials, demonstrated interest in bankruptcy law and potential for success in the field. Students willing to apply for the Robert M. Zinman Bankruptcy Scholarship should send an application letter to the Director of the Program outlining the student’s eligibility based on the foregoing criteria with appropriate supporting materials.

The Richard Lieb Bankruptcy Scholarship
The Richard Lieb Bankruptcy Scholarship Fund provides an annual scholarship to a deserving LL.M. in Bankruptcy student at the Law School based on the student’s credentials, demonstrated interest in bankruptcy law and potential for success in the field. Students willing to apply for the Richard Lieb Bankruptcy Scholarship should send an application letter to the Director of the Program outlining the student’s eligibility based on the foregoing criteria with appropriate supporting materials.

Apply Now

**Online applicants must also have their  official transcripts from law school (including class rank) and undergraduate schools sent to the LL.M. in Bankruptcy Program, as well as submitting them through LSAC

Students will be expected to submit at least two letters of recommendation with the application, directed to the student’s capacity to handle the intensive program contemplated, preferably from one faculty member and, where appropriate, one practicing insolvency professional with whom the applicant was employed. In addition, the student must submit a personal statement explaining why the applicant desires to enroll and how the applicant believes the program will advance his or her career goals and objectives. The statement should be written in a clear, concise manner, reflecting the applicant’s personal writing style, and be approximately 250 to 500 words. Students may supplement these materials with published or unpublished work written by the student or other information or material the applicant believes may be helpful in the selection process.

Foreign Applicants:  The New York bar examination has often been the choice for foreign-educated lawyers who complete an LL.M. program at an ABA-accredited law school. In April 2011, changes were made to the eligibility requirements that become effective August 2012. Eligibility requirements for the New York bar examination found at nybarexam.org.

Application Fees

Each application must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $100.

Acceptance Fees
In addition, acceptance fees are required of all applicants and are credited toward tuition if the applicant enrolls. Acceptance fees are due on the date specified in the letter of acceptance. Acceptance fees are as follows:

  • First acceptance fee - $300
    Due within three weeks of acceptance unless a different date is specified in the acceptance letter.
  • Second acceptance fee - $800
    Due within one month from the due date of the first acceptance fee unless a different date is specified in the acceptance letter.
    Acceptance fees will be applied towards the student’s tuition. They are non-refundable if the student does not enroll in the program.

Tuition (2015/2016 Academic Year)

  • Full-time student (one year): $1,776 per credit
  • Part-time students: $1,776 per credit
  • Tuition will be the full-time tuition in effect divided by 24 for each credit taken.

There is an additional late payment fee of $300 and a $5 Official Transcript Fee.

* subject to adjustment by the Board of Trustees

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Career Outcomes

Placement Data

Class of 2014

Number of graduates: 14

  • Employed Full time: 12
  • Unemployed Not Seeking: 0
  • Unemployed Seeking: 2
  • Status Unknown: 0

Type of Employment

  • Law Firm: 9
  • Judicial Clerkships: 3

Employed

  • At graduation: 8
  • Within 3 months: 3
  • Within 6 months: 0
  • Within 9 month: 1

Class of 2013

Number of graduates: 15

  • Employed Full time: 14
  • Unemployed Not Seeking: 0
  • Unemployed Seeking: 1
  • Status Unknown: 0

Type of Employment

  • Law Firm: 5
  • Judicial Clerkships: 9

Employed

  • At graduation: 13
  • Within 3 months: 0
  • Within 6 months: 0
  • Within 9 months: 1

Comments From Graduates

As part of the third year self-study review of the program, graduates were asked for their evaluation of the program. The following are excerpts from those comments. As a result of the selfstudy, the St. John's faculty voted unanimously to make the program a permanent part of the St. John's curriculum.

Justin G. Brass
Jeffries & Company 
"My experience in the LL.M. program has given me the ability to join our bankruptcy department ready to handle numerous responsibilities for which most second year associates would be unprepared. The LL.M. program has served as a difference maker not only as far as helping me find a great job with a top rated bankruptcy group, but has made me a better bankruptcy attorney."

Douglas E. Deutsch
(First LL.M. American Bankruptcy Institute Scholar)
Chadbourne & Parke LLP
"[I]t was a great year for me. As the professors were well-known bankruptcy practitioners, scholars, judges and former judges, it was exciting to participate in classes and hear their views on bankruptcy law. . . . Approximately nine months after completing the program, I continue to use the teachings from the LL.M. program daily and find myself frequently reviewing class notes for guidance on specific issues. The experience was extraordinary."

Francis E. Goodwyn
Mr. Goodwyn, an expert in environmental law, came to the program from an established practice (over 20 years) in Kentucky, to which he returned.
"Having returned to my practice, I find that I am now considered something of an expert on bankruptcy among local lawyers. I have been asked to give CLE programs . . . and the local County Attorney's office has retained me to help collect property taxes due from a large coal company that is currently in Chapter 7 (converted from a Chapter 11). I'm getting a lot more individual bankruptcy business than I did previously, to the point of having to hire more staff. I have no regrets about spending a year in the program and knowing what I know now, I would do it again."

Peter J. Lahny, IV
Emmett Marvin & Martin LLP
"The knowledge imparted by the program combined with the writing of a publication quality thesis and the quality and reputations of those well-respected practitioners who chose to teach each of the courses make it very easy for the students to choose quality law firms in which to continue their legal careers. The program is already well known throughout the community of insolvency related attorneys here in New York. Not only have I been very well received for my having obtained the LL.M. in Bankruptcy, but many of my colleagues have expressed an interest and desire to continue their own legal education by pursuing the same degree."

Paul A. Rachmuth
"To summarize my experience with the Bankruptcy LL.M., I would use the term 'life changing'. I received my J.D. in 1995. Since then I had been practicing bankruptcy and family law on Long Island . . . . Although I wanted to work in a firm doing 'higher end' corporate work, because I was not already working in a known firm in New York City, no firm would have been interested in me. As a direct result of the LL.M. program, I obtained the exact position I was looking for. I now represent major creditors in bankruptcy reorganizations and litigation (I also over doubled my salary)."

Graham H. Stieglitz
Burr and Forman, LLP
"An obvious factor in my satisfaction is the quality of education I received at the LL.M. program. I was lucky to be one of the four full-time students who started in 1999.
The LL.M. program is truly an exceptional experience. The attention to [the] individual student . . . represented a heartfelt desire to both teach and nurture each and every student . . . [E]ach and every member of the class went above and beyond the call of duty. It was typical for a student to research issues that came up in our prior discussions and present their finding at the next class. The motivation of this extracurricular activity was a sign of mutual appreciation that we were all there for one purpose -- to learn as much as possible about bankruptcy in the amount of time given."

Jeffrey D. Vanacore
Perkins Coie LLP
"The St. John's LL.M. degree is the credential of which I am most proud and which has garnered the most attention from potential employers. Indeed, the firm whose offer I eventually accepted . . . confided that they would not have hired me had it not been for the LL.M. degree. In the weeks and months since I began work, I have yet to be faced with an issue that I was not exposed to during my courses at St. John's. Further, I had the opportunity to develop long-lasting relationships with several of my colleagues in the program. Months after graduation, we still confer frequently via phone and e-mail, sharing our life experiences and deliberating over complex bankruptcy issues. The colleagues and distinguished faculty I met during the LL.M. program remain valuable professional and personal contacts."

Alumni

Shan Haider ‘13
Associate
Perkins & Coie LLP
Bill D. Bensinger ‘05
Shareholder
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell
& Berkowitz, PC
Emil Khatchatourian ‘13
Associate
Foley & Lardner LLP
Daniel Morse ‘05
Assistant US Trustee
Office of the US Trustee, Region 19
Leah Edelboim '12
Associate
Clifford Chance
Alexander Strom ‘04
Associate
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP
Janel M. Glynn '12
Associate
Gallagher & Kennedy P.A.
Sara Joos ‘03
Bloomberg LP
Ashleigh Blaylock‘11
Counsel
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Robert Yan ‘03
Associate
Farrell Fritz, PC
Catherine Thompson ‘11
Associate
Kelly Drye & Warren LLP
Kristin K. Going ‘02
Partner
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Grant Cartwright ‘10
Associate
Ballard Spahr LLP
Heath Rosenblat ’02
Counsel
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Patrick D. Fleming ‘09
Associate
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
Justin G. Brass ‘01
Jefferies & Company
John W. McDonnell ‘09
Partner
McDonnell Crowley, LLC
Douglas E. Deutsch ‘01
Partner
Chadbourne & Parke LLP
Michael Sousa ‘08
Assistant Director Business and Commerical
Law Program and Assistant Professor
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Jeffrey D. Vanacore ‘01
Counsel
Perkins Coie LLP
Paul R. Hage ‘07
Partner
Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C.
Graham H. Stieglitz ‘00
Partner
Burr and Forman LLP
Timothy E. Graulich ‘06
Partner
Davis Polk & Wardell LLP
 
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