FAQs for the General LL.M. Program - Not accepting 2022/23 or 2023/24 Applications
The 2022/23 and 2023/24 General LL.M. application process is suspended.
Q: What is the application deadline?
A: The deadline is June 1 for the Fall Semester and November 1 for the Spring Semester.
Q: How can I pay the $60 application fee?
A: You may pay the application fee with a check or money order in U.S. funds, made payable to Southwestern Law School. You may also pay the fee using a credit card, either through the LSAC online application by selecting the Electronic Payment Option or by contacting the LL.M. Program Office for special handling procedures.
Q: How can I check my status?
A: You may check your application status by contacting the LL.M. Program Office.
Q: Who should write my recommendation letters?
A: Letters of recommendation should be written by someone who knows you well and has had an opportunity to evaluate your work. Law school professors and job supervisors are good choices.
Q: What kind of writing sample should I provide?
A: Your personal statement is considered your writing sample.
Q: When will I be informed of a decision?
A: Decisions are usually mailed 2 to 3 weeks after all required documents have been received.
Q: Will my application be placed on hold until all documents are provided?
A: Yes, applications are reviewed by the Admissions Committee only after all the required documents have been received.
Q: Should my transcripts be sealed and forwarded directly by my school?
A: Yes, only transcripts sent directly from your school are considered official.
Q: Will I need to have my official transcripts sent to Southwestern prior to starting the program?
A: Yes, official transcripts are required from all degree-granting institutions within 30 days following the first day of the student’s first semester.
Q: Do I need a J.D. from an ABA-approved law school?
A: Yes, applicants who studied law in the United States need to have received their J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school. However, a law degree earned outside the United States must be from a university accredited in the country in which it is located, or the candidate must be admitted to practice before the highest court in that country.
Q: Do I need to take the LSAT?
A: The LSAT is not a required test for the LL.M. Program.
Q: Can I defer my enrollment?
A: If you are accepted and find you cannot enroll as originally intended, you can request a deferment for up to one academic year. Deferments are granted on a case-by-case basis.
Q: What is the structure of Southwestern’s academic calendar?
A: Classes are taught on the semester system. The Fall Semester begins in mid-August and ends in mid-to-late December. The Spring Semester begins in early January and ends in mid-to-late May. Two semesters are considered one full academic year.
Q: Can I start in either the Fall or Spring?
A: Yes, you may begin your LL.M. studies in either the Fall or the Spring Semester. This preference should be noted when filling out the application.
Q: How many units should I enroll in as a full-time student?
A: Students must enroll in a minimum of eight units to be considered full-time. However, the program will take three semesters to complete by taking the minimum number of units each semester. Typically, full-time students take 10 to 14 units per semester. A total of 24 units are required to complete the program.
Q: Can I study part-time?
A: Yes, you may enroll as a part-time student, as classes are offered during the day or evening. International students who are in the United States on a student visa must maintain full-time enrollment.
Q: Do you offer summer classes?
A: Yes, Southwestern offers a Summer Session, which begins in late May and ends in late July. Summer classes are generally taught in the evening. Continuing LL.M. students who are already enrolled at Southwestern may take summer classes. However, entering students may not commence the LL.M. Program in the summer (students may only commence in the Fall or Spring semesters).
Q: Are LL.M. students eligible to participate in the externship program?
A: Domestic students are eligible for externships beginning in their second semester of study. International students holding a student visa are not eligible to participate until they have completed at least one full academic year.
Q: Can I schedule an interview with a counselor prior to being admitted?
A: Yes, we encourage all prospective students to visit our campus. Appointments with a counselor may be made by contacting the LL.M. Program Office.
Q: Will the professors be available to discuss issues outside of the classroom?
A: Yes, all Southwestern professors have designated office hours so they may be available to answer questions or discuss classroom material with students on an individual basis.
Q: How are LL.M. students graded?
A: LL.M. students whose first language is other than English and who received their law degree from a school outside the USA or Canada are graded using a non-letter grading system. These marks are High Honors, Honors, High Pass, Pass and Fail. Students may also choose the system using letter grades, with the same grading standards as the J.D. students if they intend to use this course of study to qualify to sit for a bar examination. Graduates of ABA schools in the United States and law schools in Canada will be given letter grades.
Q: Is the LL.M offered only to foreign scholars?
A: No, graduates of ABA-approved law schools in the United States are eligible to apply, as well as internationally educated students with law degrees.
Q: Is a written thesis required to qualify for the LL.M. degree?
Q: Is on-campus housing available?
A: Southwestern now offers on-campus housing. Completed in Fall of 2013, the fully furnished apartments are available to LL.M. students. The housing complex features wireless internet access, in-unit washer/dryers, private study rooms, a rooftop sundeck, secured indoor parking for residents, and a state-of-the-art security system among other amenities. Housing space is limited and not guaranteed. The LL.M. Program Office also offers resources to help admitted students find local housing as well as help narrow or direct their search. Southwestern is conveniently located in the Wilshire Center area of Los Angeles, very close to a number of different apartment complexes. Students commute from a variety of areas in Los Angeles, and many choose to live in Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Burbank, and Glendale.
Q: Should I take additional English classes?
A: Proficiency in English is essential to your success in your studies at Southwestern. The city of Los Angeles is home to a number of private institutions of language instruction. If you feel like you would benefit from additional language study, you may want to explore some of these options. Southwestern does not offer English language instruction.
Q: Should I submit my transcripts for evaluation by a credentials evaluation service agency?
A: Yes. If you received your law degree from a university outside of the United States or Canada, it is important that you send all of your transcripts to a credentials evaluation service. A degree equivalency statement with an assessment of grade point average should be requested. The service will compile a report that assists the admissions committee in making a final decision.
Q: From which agencies does Southwestern accept credentials evaluation reports?
A: A list of service providers’ reports that may be accepted can be found here.
Q: Will I be able to sit for a bar examination when I finish this program?
A: This LL.M. program can be tailored for you to qualify to be able to take the bar exam in California. There may be other states in which you will qualify to sit for the examination in that jurisdiction. We recommend that you contact the state bar examiners in the specific state in which you would like to practice to determine your eligibility.
NOTE: the General LL.M. Program is not a bar preparation program; it is a degree program. While you may qualify to sit for a bar examination, you won’t have had a chance to study every subject tested on the bar by the completion of your degree, so extensive additional study on your own prior to taking the exam is highly recommended.