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U.S. Legal Studies LL.M.

The LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies is designed for one purpose: to prepare internationally-trained attorneys to pass the New York Bar Exam and gain admission to practice law in this unrivaled jurisdiction.

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Your Keys to the New York Bar

New York is home to the world’s preeminent law firms and to leading attorneys in every practice area. It is the legal profession’s hub and heart.

As a student in this program, you will:

  • Learn from some of New York’s best academic lawyers and most experienced practicing attorneys
  • Live in New York City, the financial, cultural and commercial capital of the U.S. and a true World City
  • Prepare yourself for the Bar Exam in a program focused closely on getting you ready to meet this challenge

The LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies at St. John’s offers you these and many more keys to a rewarding legal career in New York and to the world of practice opportunities you can access as a New York lawyer.

Frequently Asked Questions Request Info Apply
Degree Type
Area of Interest
Law, Policy & Government
Associated Colleges or Schools
Program Location
  • Queens Campus
Required Credit Hours

The Curriculum

The LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies is designed to give you the knowledge and skills you need to pass the New York Bar Exam and succeed in practice in this important jurisdiction. Students must complete at least 24 credits; many complete between 24-30 credits. Part-time and full-time schedules are available, depending on visa status. Core classes in the program include:

  • Introduction to U.S. Law & Lawyering (2 credits)
  • Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis for LL.M. I & II (3 credits, 2 credits)
  • Professional Responsibility (3 credits)

Other credits are earned in subjects covered on the New York Bar Exam, as well as other courses offered in the Law School’s J.D. program. We strongly recommend that all or most of these credits be taken in subjects tested on the New York Bar Exam.
Recommended electives include:

  • Evidence
  • Trusts & Estates
  • Business Organizations
  • Contracts
  • Torts
  • Civil Procedure
  • Property
  • Criminal Law

Preparing You for the New York Bar Exam

Gaining admission to the New York Bar is a multi-step process. Staff at the Office of Graduate Studies assists all our students as they navigate the process. If you have questions about your eligibility for a bar track program and eligibility for the bar, please review our Frequently Asked Questions. You can also contact our office to speak with an admissions counselor.

The primary reason our LL.M. students are successful on the bar example is simple: preparation. We offer the following "bonus" courses to help students prepare for the bar exam. The ability to read, comprehend, analyze, and write quickly is essential for success on the bar exam. These courses help students practice those skills and learn the material most commonly tested on the exam.

  • Applied Legal Analysis (ALA) (3 credits per semester)

A two-semester, six-credit course set designed to prepare LL.M. students for the bar exam by providing a comprehensive review of subjects that are commonly tested on the exam. Over the course of two semester, the subjects usually covered include: Property, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure.

  • Drafting: Practice Documents (2 credits per semester)

A separate companion course to Applied Legal Analysis. It focuses on writing essays and documents on topics related to the subjects of Applied Legal Analysis, to help students prepare for the written portions of the bar exam and for eventual practice in law firms. You can take this course in both fall and spring semesters.

Practical Experience: Internships & Post-Graduate Work

Our dedicated LL.M. career advisor helps students develop a professional network, develop job application materials, and prepare for interviews, for positions during their course of study and after graduation. Starting in the second semester, LL.M. students have the opportunity to intern for academic credit. Many students also take advantage of summer work opportunities. Depending on the circumstances, some students who study at St. John's on an F-1 student visa are able to take advantage of the visa status known as OPT (Optional Practical Training) after they complete their course of study. Note work opportunities vary depending on student visa status, among other factors. Past student work experiences include:

  • Large law firms
  • Small law firms
  • Courts & government
  • Business
  • and more!


Students in the LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies can choose from a wide variety of courses taught by some of our most experienced and highly regarded faculty members. Our bar preparation faculty know what it takes to pass the bar exam and assist you in every way to succeed. We recommend that our students take elective courses in subjects heavily tested on the New York bar exam. Distinctive features of American law, like the jury system in civil trials, make Civil Procedure and Evidence often unfamiliar subjects for foreign-trained lawyers and important subjects for bar study. The Introduction to U.S. Law course is designed to help students acquire the study skills necessary for success in doctrinal and legal writing courses, with an emphasis on areas in which United States law is distinct from that of many other nations.

Margaret E. (Peggy) McGuinness
  • Professor of Law,
  • Director, LL.M. in Transnational Legal Practice Program,
  • Co-Director, St. John’s Center for International and Comparative Law
Robert A. Ruescher
  • Professor of Legal Writing,
  • Director, LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies Program