By MIRIAM KOBELLA
LL.M. (Master of Laws) is a Postgraduate Law Degree. You must have a J.D. or an LL.B in order to start the LL.M. program. If your J.D. is from the US, the LL.M. is a great way to extend your knowledge in certain areas of law. For us, the international students, the LL.M. program is a way to learn the US laws to achieve different goals. For some, once we obtain the LL.M., we can go back to our countries and enrich our legal career. For others, it is our path to sit for the bar exam to be able to practice law in the US.
The LL.M. students are attorneys from different countries, such as Mexico (Miriam), Paraguay (Daysi), Albania (Toma and Albi), Iran (Raheleh and Samira), Brazil (Fernanda), South Africa (Clayton), Lebanon (Jessica), Bangladesh (Nayem), Liberia (Forstina), and Egypt (Mohamed). We practiced different types of law during our legal careers in our home countries. For most of us English is not our first language, and the LL.M. may be the first time we are exposed to the US education system.
Even though we come from different backgrounds, cultures, and legal systems, we are eager to learn about US laws. It is interesting to realize how we have more similarities than differences. Maybe the statute of limitations and the rules are different, but the rationale behind the law, the essence or root of the law is very alike. Law and justice cannot be reduced to the Constitution and statutes of one specific country. Justice has no language or borders. When you have the opportunity to learn law in a country different than yours, you are opening a door to all the possibilities. That’s why LL.M. students are happy to be part of this unique experience of globalizing our knowledge of the law. Likewise, if you are curious to know how the legal system in other countries works, you can reach out to us, and we will be happy to tell you all about it.
Personally, I chose CSU College of Law because it offers a flexible schedule. Working and studying can be tough, but CSU offers an evening program that makes it possible to work and attend classes. Also, CSU has diversity within their student community. I wanted to be part of that diversity while embracing and learning from American culture as well. The US is a melting pot. Through the LL.M. students our college of law can get a taste of a flavorful international stew.
Going through the LL.M. experience can be challenging. Not just because of the language, but because of the cultural shock that comes with adjusting to the education system in a new country. The cultural differences and acceptable manners. The different types of food (I spent a week eating bird seeds, because I thought it was a -strange flavor- cereal bar). Even learning how to drive or using public transportation can represent a challenge. That said, we really appreciate any support, guidance, and kindness that we can get from our professors and fellow classmates. Even though we are not graded on the curve with all of you, we are on this legal professional path together. We are all part of each other’s way to success.
From an LL.M. student point of view, while comprehending statutes, reading cases, and outlining is important, I would also suggest investing time in curiosity. Never stop learning. Open your mind to what the world has to offer. Be welcoming to “different” and “Aprende la ley, vive la justicia.”
“Aprenda a lei, viva justiça”
“قانون را یاد بگیرید، با عدالت زندگی کنید”
“Mëso ligjin, jeto drejtësinë”
“Be daneshe hoghoogh agah bash, ba edalat zendegi kon!”
“Leer die regte, leef geregtigheid”
“Eikuaa léi, eiko tekojojape”
আইন শিখুন, ন্যায়বিচারে বাচুন।
تعلم القانون، عِشْ العدالة
“Learn Law, Live Justice”.
Originally published by The Gavel. Republished here with permission from The Gavel and Miriam Kobella.