University of Pittsburgh

LL.M. Degree

The University of Pittsburgh's Master of Laws (LL.M.) Program for Foreign Law Graduates provides lawyers who have completed their law degree outside the United States with an opportunity to study common law in the United States. Students pursue their goals with the help of a close-knit community of intelligent and energetic scholars who are at the forefront of domestic and international legal research and scholarship.


The University of Pittsburgh offers a general LL.M. degree that gives students the freedom and flexibility to choose their courses from the Law School’s full curriculum. Students can focus their coursework on a particular field, or they can take a generalized approach and incorporate multiple subject areas. Either way, CILE staff is here to help develop an appropriate course of study tailored to each student’s needs.

Interaction with U.S. JD students is integral to understanding U.S. law, and to participating fully in the social and intellectual life of the law school. The LL.M. program allows students to study the U.S. legal system and institutions alongside JD students. The International Law Society (ILS) also takes an active role to put together social events for LL.M. and JD students to mingle and form relationships beyond the classroom.

One of the unique benefits of our LL.M. program is that we have our own professional writing specialist who works individually with our LL.M. students, to review their written work and teach them how to produce clear and effective English. We also work hard to place LL.M. students in post-graduation internships that match their professional interests and needs.  Past LL.M. internship placements have included PPG Industries, Bayer, Alcoa, H.J. Heinz Co., and local private law firms and professional organizations.

Unlike most LL.M. programs, the University of Pittsburgh intentionally limits the size of its class in order to offer each student a personalized course of study and experience. Students benefit from inclusion in the entire Law School community, in addition to a small community of global scholars who are dealing with common experiences. Special opportunities are arranged for the LL.M. class to visit important legal institutions and see their studies in practice.

Keeping the LL.M. class small also allows faculty members to deal with student needs on an individual basis. The required LL.M. courses (Introduction to American Law, U.S. Legal Research & Writing, and the Spring Colloquium) are limited to LL.M. students to allow for substantial discussion and comparison of home legal systems, and for students to receive personal feedback on both written and oral presentations.

Despite a small class size, enough LL.M. students are admitted to have a significant impact on the JD students in other classes. In an age when revenue generation is encouraged, and numbers often rule, we are pleased that the University of Pittsburgh School of Law has seen fit to focus on quality rather than quantity in this program.

Pennsylvania Bar: PA Rule 205:

While Pitt Law LL.M. graduates routinely qualify to take the New York bar exam, changes adopted in December 2013 now make it easier for an LL.M. graduate to qualify to take the Pennsylvania Bar exam as well.            

            Generally, an foreign lawyer may sit for the Pennsylvania Bar Exam if he/she:

           1)         has been admitted to practice in his/her home country;
           2)         has practiced in his/her home country for five of the past eight 
                       years immediately preceding application to take the Pennsylvania Bar
                       Exam; and
           3)         has completed at least 24 credits in classes from a specific list of 
                       courses (these courses must include Constitutional Law,
                       Civil Procedure, Professional Responsibility,
                       and Legal Research and Writing).                

Any student interested in this possibility should carefully check Rule 205 of the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules (

Revised 09/28/2011 | Copyright 2011 | Site by UMC