Responding to a growing market of foreign lawyers seeking advanced degrees in U.S. law, Wayne State University Law School is launching a new master of laws degree this fall.
The LL.M. in U.S. Law program will provide a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental principles of the American legal system and serve as an opportunity for foreign-trained lawyers to study a wide variety of more specialized topics. The goal of the program is to prepare international students for careers in which a solid grounding in the U.S. legal system is desirable, whether that career is in private law practice, government work, business or academia.
Applications from foreign students are being accepted. A new website detailing the program was launched this week at law.wayne.edu/llm-us-law.
“As Detroit grows internationally, Wayne Law will continue to expand internationally, as well,” said Associate Professor Paul Dubinsky, director of graduate studies at Wayne Law. “We are undertaking initiatives to internationalize our school and its programs to stay at the forefront of the market’s growing global demands. Our new concentration in U.S. law is designed for applicants who already have earned a first law degree from an institution outside the United States.”
Wayne Law also offers LL.M. degrees in corporate and finance law, labor and employment law, and tax law.
Dubinsky and Wayne Law Dean Jocelyn Benson traveled to China on separate occasions in 2013 to promote the new program. They visited nearly a dozen Chinese law schools during their trips, Benson in June and Dubinsky in December, and pursued student and faculty exchange agreements. Dubinsky delivered a widely attended lecture on national security law at Shandong University.
LL.M. programs have grown rapidly in the past decade, according to an October article in The National Jurist. From 2000 to 2013, the number of LL.M. programs, including those targeting foreign-educated lawyers, grew from 110 to 265.
Wayne Law’s website for the LL.M. in U.S. Law includes special overviews of the program in Chinese and Arabic.
In coming years, a growing number of students from China and the Middle East are expected to study law in the United States, and Wayne Law is well poised with its master of laws degrees to offer both generalized and specialized programs to them and to students from other countries. Partnerships have been formed by Wayne Law with Beijing Normal University and the China University of Political Science and Law for that purpose.
The number of international students in American universities increased by 7 percent in 2012, to 820,000, and the largest group came from China, which sent about 236,000 students, according to a survey by the New York nonprofit Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. State Department, as cited in The National Jurist and other publications.
“Those of our American students who have been unable to study or travel abroad will benefit from studying alongside foreign classmates and with visiting scholars from abroad.” Dubinsky said. “Foreign LL.M. students will benefit from their immersion in American law and by being part of Wayne State’s extraordinarily diverse student body.
“Foreign students will be connected to our invaluable library and teaching resources, to our proximity to universities and industries across the border in Canada, and to the rich mix of multinational corporations, law firms and international organizations in Detroit,” Dubinsky said. “Wayne Law is proud of our ability to offer our LL.M. students personalized attention, a world-class faculty of scholars and internship opportunities in the heart of the city. Our tuition is substantially more affordable than many other U.S. law schools, providing great financial value for our students, as well.”