AN AMERICAN MASTER OF LAWS PROGRAM IS NOW AVAILABLE
By Marian Dent, J.D.
Marian Dent is a graduate of VCalifornia Berkley Law School
(Boalt Hall). She is not only the dean of Pericles ABLE but also a teacher
of law courses and the GMAT Preparation at Pericles. For more information
aboutPericles LL.M. Program please call 292-6463; 292-5188 or
write to email@example.com. This Spring, expect to see the first American
LL.M. program starting in Moscow. The program is presented by Pericles
American Business & Legal Education (ABLE) Project, a training center
that has been providing continuing legal education courses in the Russian
market for the past six years.
What is an LL.M. Degree?
The LL.M., or Master of Laws degree is, for lawyers the
equivalent of what an M.B.A. is for business people. It shows that a
lawyer has advanced, Western training and can fully function in an multinational
LL.M. students take one year full time, or two year part
time program of intensive study in advanced courses. Unlike a Russian
Candidate's qualification, however, the LL.M. program is less aimed
at future academics and more geared towards building the skills of a
practicing lawyer. LL.M. students work on legal writing and logical
skills, and study cases for a practical understanding of client problems.
Much as the M.B.A. is valued for teaching the elusive thinking style
of the business executive, the LL.M. teaches students to "think
like a lawyer."
Until now, however, while the business students could
choose from several Western M.B.A. programs that had brought their administration
and teachers to Russia, law students were limited to studying abroad.
To get an advanced degree in American or international business law,
lawyers were forced to find the time and money for a year in an American
The Pericles LL.M. program will allow lawyers to get the
same degree in Moscow. Moreover, because the Moscow based program is
evening study, students in the Pericles LL.M. program will be able to
continue in their jobs and obtain the degree without a loss of income.
Why is an American LL.M. Program Being Brought to Moscow?
This Moscow LL.M. program solves a Catch-22 in legal education
in Russia. While in the mid-90's several prominent law firms were willing
to pay for promising lawyers to obtain the LL.M. credential, now, more
and more, the LL.M. degree is becoming an entry level qualification
for multinational law firms and consultancies. Thus, to get the prestigious
jobs, law students need the LL.M. degree, but those who do not already
have the prestigious jobs cannot afford the $40,000 plus price tag on
a year of study in the U.S.
An additional need for bringing an American LL.M. degree
program to Russia is evidenced by the problems of those lawyers practicing
international business law in Russian law firms. Nowadays, Russian law
firms are maturing and starting to try to attract those Western clients
that were previously the domain of the foreign law firms in Russia.
But Western clients want to see Western trained lawyers. The result
is that lawyers practicing with Russian firms, even if they have years
of experience, are trying to find the time to obtain Western credentials.
Lawyers who already have family or career committments do not have the
luxury of taking a year off to obtain the credential that allows them
to more quickly advance their law firms reputations.
Now You Can Gain an LL.M. in Russia and Abroad Without
Spending Too Much Time and Money
The Pericles ABLE Project LL.M. program allows students
to gain hands-on experience in American classrooms through two summer
periods of study in the United States and Europe, while the rest of
the students' time is spent studying under American professors in Moscow.
Through cooperation with the University of San Diego law
school, based in California, Pericles LL.M. students can spend five
weeks of the summer studying advanced courses with American students
in various cities of Europe. There the Russian LL.M. students can take
courses from world renowned specialists in many areas of law that they
would not have the opportunity to study at home.
With a total price tag of around $10,000 over two years,
and with many students assisted by full or partial tuition stipends,
student work study, and loans, bright young lawyers can obtain the qualifications
they need without having to rob a bank to do it.
Enhancing Lawyers' Skills and Job Prospects
An additional benefit to this Moscow based LL.M. program
is the close connection between the program and multinational legal
employers. Pericles has spent the past year preparing a needs assessment
of the Western law firms in Russia. The curriculum is based on what
those firms want to see in their Russian associates.
Students attending this LL.M. program in Moscow will find
themselves faced with as rigorous skills and writing requirements as
students in U.S. based law schools. Western law firms in Moscow uniformly
pointed to writing as the area that they most want to see improved in
their Russian associates. Thus, mandatory courses in the Pericles ABLE
Project LL.M. include Western style legal writing and legal research.
In addition, written exams or papers will be a component of each course
that a student undertakes.
Another element of the Pericles LL.M. will be a mandatory
case study course in contract law. This first year course in the American
legal curriculum is covered in much less detail in Russian law schools,
simply because the law of contracts is not yet as well developed in
Russia as it is in the West. However, analyzing Western cases in contract
law instills a keen awareness of the multitude of transactional provisions
that can lead to contract disputes. Lawyers who have undergone case
studies in contract are more careful drafters and negotiators. Their
minds are honed to predict problems before they arise.
Finally, all LL.M. courses are rigorously graded in the
same way that law school courses are graded in the United States. Russian
students are given extra time on exams, but are not given any additional
consideration to separate them from American students. Thus, potential
employers have a yardstick by which to measure Pericles LL.M. students
with law students from U.S. law schools.
These are just a few of the areas in which Pericles has
adjusted the typical LL.M. curriculum to meet the needs of Russian students
and employers, and thus to ensure that Pericles LL.M. graduates are
sought after by multinational law firms.
How and When to Enroll
This LL.M. program is scheduled to begin in January, and
admissions preference will be given to those students whose applications
are received prior to December 21. Entrance examination requirements
are waived for the January entering class, but are expected to be put
in place for those students who wish to begin with the September 2002
The Pericles LL.M. program is not for everyone. Unlike
M.B.A. programs that students can take even without a first degree in
business, the LL.M. degree is open to only those students who have obtained
or are about to obtain a first degree in law. Law students of the 4th
year or above can apply.
In addition, practical experience as a lawyer, while not
absolutely necessary for admission to an LL.M. degree, is helpful and
will enhance the LL.M. experience for the student.
The Pericles LL.M., like all American LL.M. programs,
is taught entirely in English. Students who are not yet fluent in English
or who are weak in English legal terminology should prepare themselves
by taking courses in English or legal English prior to enrolling.
For more information on the LL.M. program, please
contact Pericles ABLE Project at 292-5188, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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