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May 01, 2013


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Professor Pansy P

The NY Bar now requires LLMs who are sitting for the Bar to have taken a legal writing class. Several schools have created an LLM writing requirement as a result.


Just to clarify the issue for me, by "writing requirement", do you mean a legal writing class, or the need to produce a modestly long and somewhat substantial paper on a subject which is given feedback by a professor and then revised?

Jacqueline Lipton

I meant the latter, Matt.


The NY bar requires a legal writing class, but that course is pretty much the same as a 1L legal writing class--practice focused. I am the administrator for a large LLM program comprising mostly international students, and I think the students benefit greatly from completing some kind of substantial research paper (optional at my school, in no small part because of limited faculty resources). Many students wish to stay and practice in the U.S. following the degree, and writing a substantial paper is a great way for them to better understand how legal analysis in the U.S. works (it provides a much better opportunity for feedback than standard law school exams), as well as to improve their English skills. In particular, I think it helps them hone the linguistic precision that is required for the practice of law, but is extremely difficult to master in a language that is not native to you. Additionally, it helps their research skills, a skill that they do not have much opportunity to practice outside the legal writing class. However, even if a student doesn't want to stay in the U.S. following the LL.M. degree, I think there is value in completing a research paper.

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