FAQ

What programs may I apply for if I earned my law degree in Japan or in a country other than the U.S.?

If you have a first law degree from any country other than the U.S., you can apply for any of our programs.

In addition, Japanese citizens and foreign nationals holding a visa that entitles them to reside in Japan for longer than three months may apply for conditional admission to the LL.M. in U.S. Law.

I have a J.D. degree from the U.S. What programs may I apply for?

If you have a J.D. degree from the U.S., you may apply only for the following programs.

Must I have a law degree to enroll in the programs?

To be admitted to either LL.M. program, you must have a law degree from a university that the relevant government or organizational body has recognized or accredited. If you do not have a law degree but have a degree or work experience in a law-related field, you can apply for the Certificate programs. We limit admission of non-law graduates.

What is the language requirement for non-native English speakers?

To be admitted into any of our programs, non-native English speakers must have a TOEFL score of at least PBT 570 or iBT 88 or an IELTS minimum band score of 6.5 with no score below 6.0.

Can I have the language proficiency test requirement waived?

If you have earned a university degree in an English-speaking country or from an institution in which English is the medium of instruction, you may petition to have the language proficiency test requirement waived.

How long should my personal statement be?

Your personal statement should be one to two word-processed pages.

Must I submit a certificate of degree completion in addition to my transcript?

If your transcript, in addition to showing that you completed the courses listed, also shows that your university actually conferred your degree, then you do not need to submit certificates of law degree completion. Your transcript alone will suffice.

What is the difference between the two LL.M. programs?

The LL.M. in U.S. Law program is typically for students without common law training. Students in the program take U.S. law courses, though they may also take comparative and international courses.

The LL.M. in Transnational Law program is typically for students who have earned a J.D. in the U.S. or who come from a jurisdiction where the legal system is based on the common law, or who may not have a common law background but have a very particular interest in international and comparative law. Students may take only international or comparative law courses. Students who have never earned a law degree outside Japan must spend a semester in Philadelphia, Rome (summer only) or Beijing.

The LL.M. in Transnational Law also has a prerequisite course: International Law. Students who have not satisfied the prerequisite must take a further 3-credit course in international law in addition to the 24 credits required for the degree.

What is the difference between the two certificate programs?

To earn a Certificate of American Legal Studies, you must take at least 9 of the required 12 credits in U.S. law courses. To earn a Certificate of International Law, you must take at least 9 of the required 12 credits in international and comparative law courses. For your final three credits in either certificate program, you may choose any course you wish.

Can I take all my courses in Tokyo?

Students in the LL.M. in U.S. Law program may complete their entire degree in Tokyo, or they may take some courses in Tokyo, some in Philadelphia, some in Rome (summer semester only), and some in Beijing.

Students in the LL.M. in Transnational Law program may complete their entire degree in Japan if they obtained a law degree outside Japan.

Students in the Certificate Programs may take courses only in Tokyo.

What courses are required for the LL.M. in U.S. Law program?

The LL.M. in U.S. Law program has one required course: Legal Research and Writing. In addition, you must complete a writing project, either by taking a writing seminar or by undertaking supervised research.

What courses are required for the LL.M. in Transnational Law program?

A three-credit survey course in International Law is a pre-requisite for the degree. If you have not already taken this course, you should take it early in the LL.M. program. In addition, you must take 24 credits of international or comparative law electives which must include a two or three credit writing course in which you produce a scholarly paper. You may also satisfy this writing requirement by undertaking supervised research.

Do I have to write a thesis or any other papers?

The LL.M. in U.S. Law program requires that you earn three credits by writing either one paper or a series of shorter papers. The LL.M. in Transnational Law program requires either a two- or three-credit scholarly paper. In both degree programs, you can satisfy these requirements either by taking a writing seminar or by undertaking guided research supervised by a professor.

Are any courses taught in Japanese?

One spring semester course is taught in Japanese: Current Issues in Japanese Law. This course is open to non-native Japanese speakers with sufficient proficiency in Japanese and to Japanese students who have never earned a law degree in Japan.

Which courses should I take first?

In the LL.M. in U.S. Law program, you should take Legal Research and Writing on the first occasion we offer it after you enroll in the program.

In the LL.M. in Transnational Law program, if you have not already taken International Law, you must take this course early in your studies.

Am I qualified to be a lawyer in the U.S. after finishing the LL.M. program?

No. You must pass a state bar examination to be considered a lawyer in the U.S.

Where can I get a job after graduation?

In Japan, we have seen an increasing need for bilingual individuals trained in U.S., international, and Japanese law. Employers and executive search firms contact us seeking to hire our students and graduates. Many large corporations have operations and contacts in more than one country, so the need for lawyers who are familiar with laws other than those of their home country is increasing.

The Law Program provides an opportunity to study with lawyers and law students from the U.S. and around the world, giving you a ready-made source of contacts. A student who graduates from an LL.M. or certificate program should have many options available. Of course, specific employers may have their own requirements. In America, law firms and corporations require that persons hired as lawyers pass a bar exam in the U.S.