Required and Prerequisite Courses

Strongly Recommended Courses for J.D. Students

We strongly recommend that J.D. Students take one of the following courses:

Introduction to Japanese Law (3 credits)

This comparative law course explores Japanese law and the major principles of civil law systems. Students will examine the history, structure, and content of the Japanese legal system, the role of domestic and international law in Japan, the Japanese Constitution, and the major areas of Japanese law. To better equip students for transnational work involving Japanese entities, the course will focus on how Japanese laws, regulations, and culture affect corporations, business transactions, and individual rights in Japan. It will also consider the role of Japanese law in promoting transnational investment, current issues in the practice of law in Japan, and several current social issues which the law affects. Students with a law degree from a Japanese university cannot enroll in this class.

Current Issues in Japanese Law (2 credits)

This seminar, taught in Japanese, is available only to students whose Japanese language ability enables them to participate in class and to read primary source material in Japanese. Students are not required to write Kanji, but they will have to read complex Japanese texts. Students who can read Japanese newspaper articles, with or without using a dictionary, are sufficiently proficient. The course covers a variety of subjects including recent legal reforms in Japan. Students with a law degree from a Japanese university cannot enroll in this class.

Required Courses for the LL.M. in U.S. Law Program

LL.M. in U.S. Law students must take a 3-credit course in Legal Research & Writing and satisfy a further 3-credit writing requirement by either taking a writing seminar or completing a guided research paper.

Legal Research and Writing (3 credits)

All students who do not have a J.D. degree from a U.S. law school must take this course, preferably as soon as possible after entering the program. Students first learn about the American legal system and basic research techniques (including on-line data bases such as Lexis/Nexis or Westlaw). They then work on problems that develop their writing and analytical skills. The course aims to develop basic legal skills in an informal seminar atmosphere to allow maximum contact with the instructor.

Paper or Serial Paper Requirement (3 credits)

LL.M. in U.S. Law students must satisfy a three-credit writing requirement. Most students take a seminar course that requires either a minimum 30-page paper or a series of papers that amount to 30 pages. A student with a particular interest in a subject for which we do not offer a seminar may instead write a paper if a faculty member is available to supervise it.

Prerequisite and Required Courses for the LL.M. in Transnational Law

In addition to the 24 credits required for the degree, students must complete our three-credit International Law course. Students who have previously completed an introductory public international law course may apply to have this requirement waived. T.LL.M. students must also satisfy a two- or three-credit scholarly paper writing requirement by either taking a writing seminar or completing a guided research paper.

International Law (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of international law. It focuses primarily on the nature and sources of international law; treaties and customary international law; international dispute resolution; international organizations (including the United Nations, international financial institutions and the WTO); and the application of international law in United States courts. It is designed for both the student seeking to acquire the basic building blocks necessary to pursue a career in international law as well as for the student planning to practice within the U.S. legal system who needs to understand how international law can (and will) relate to that practice.

Writing Requirement (2 or 3 credits)

Students must write a two- or three-credit paper on a comparative or international law topic. They can satisfy this requirement either by taking a writing seminar or, if a faculty member is available to supervise it, by completing a guided research paper.