Well after midnight, while most people are sleeping, Youssef Ibrahim is on the night shift in identification and criminal records at One Police Plaza, the New York City Police Department’s headquarters in lower Manhattan. For Ibrahim, it’s a plum assignment that allows him to work full time to support his wife and two children and still pursue his dream of passing the bar and becoming a licensed New York attorney.
Ibrahim’s journey to the New York bar began almost 20 years ago, when he earned a law degree in his native Egypt. He was a general practitioner in Cairo before immigrating to the United States with his family and settling in Staten Island. Now, he is one of 30 students starting their Master of Laws (LL.M.) studies at St. John’s Law.
Ibrahim and his classmates bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives to St. John’s three LL.M. programs:
Ranging in age from 21 to 53, they earned their first law degrees in 13 different countries, including Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States, and speak at least 16 languages. With the option of taking courses entirely online or combining remote and in-person attendance, this fall’s incoming LL.M. class is studying from five different time zones.
Ibrahim and his classmates in the U.S. Legal Studies program benefit from a curriculum designed for foreign-trained attorneys who want to take the New York bar exam and qualify to practice law in the United States. They learn the fundamentals of the law and hone practical lawyering skills through tailored coursework that includes:
The new Transnational Legal Practice (TLP) students come to St. John’s to gain the knowledge and skills they need to practice transnational or international law in their home countries or elsewhere. Many of the TLP students come to St. John’s through partnerships with schools such as the Sorbonne in Paris, France and leading universities in China. They choose from several curricular pathways to become well-versed in a specific area of cross-border practice:
All the pathways provide an introduction to the work and methods of American law schools, required courses in legal writing, and capstone courses exploring private transactions and public international laws and institutions. TLP students also take at least one foundational course on a core subject in transnational law taught by leading practitioners in the field.
This fall’s new Bankruptcy LL.M. students earned their J.D. degrees from six schools in four states. Whether coming straight from law school or resuming their studies after years of legal practice, whether attending full time or part time, they are advancing their careers in the nation’s only LL.M. program devoted to bankruptcy law.
Taught by acclaimed scholars, expert practitioners, and respected judges the curriculum includes:
This specialized program has positioned graduates to earn prestigious clerkships and jobs at top law firm year after year.
As they build their legal knowledge and skills, St. John’s LL.M. students who are non-native English speakers get unrivaled legal English instruction customized to their needs. This year’s entering class includes several full-time students in American Law: Discourse and Analysis, a yearlong course that allows them to focus on language development before starting their formal LL.M. studies.
St. John’s also offers English for American Law School, an intensive pre-session program for incoming LL.M. students who need to boost their legal vocabulary and communication ahead of beginning their doctrinal courses. Another offering, Bar Exam Language and Strategies, helps LL.M. students master the language of bar exam essays.
“Whether they’re pursuing their studies from near or far, we’re delighted to welcome such a strong and diverse LL.M. class to St. John’s Law,” says Associate Director of Graduate Admissions & Global Engagement Lauren Hartley. “While the worldwide pandemic has changed the way we teach and learn, it has also heightened the need for lawyers who can practice across borders, across the United States, and across our hometown of New York City with the exceptional skill and knowledge. A St. John’s LL.M. degree provides that knowledge and skillset and, with them, our graduates go on to success in a range of practice settings. We look forward to watching our newest LL.M. students achieve the legal career of their dreams.”