Each year, a select group of lawyers trained at law schools outside of the United States comes to GW Law to pursue graduate legal studies. The knowledgeable staff of the Graduate Programs Office (GPO) facilitates for these students a smooth transition to the United States and to the GW campus. The office provides services that range from academic advising and course selection to assistance with issues including housing, campus resources, and life in Washington, DC. The office also organizes a variety of nsocial, cultural, and informational programs.
For Fall 2014, the GPO received more than 800 applications from 82 countries outside of the United States. The entering class included 116 LL.M. candidates from non-U.S. law schools, representing 39 countries. Class members included judges, prosecutors, corporate counsel, attorneys, students, Fulbright scholars, human rights activists, and government officials. The greatest number of students were from China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Iran, Ghana, the United Kingdom, Thailand, France and Peru. In addition, 10 international exchange students enrolled for the 2014–2015 academic year.
International students at GW Law do not pursue a separate course of study from their U.S. counterparts; rather, they bring important global perspectives to the classroom while working side-by-side with both U.S.-educated LL.M. students and J.D. students.
Master of Laws (LL.M.) Program LL.M.–J.D. Transfer Program
A limited number of international LL.M. students is eligible to be admitted into the GW Law Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree program after completion of the LL.M. degree. If admitted to the J.D. program, a student might be eligible to transfer 28 hours of credit from the institution that granted their first law degree, thereby allowing the student to complete the J.D. with two years of further study after completing the GW LL.M.
Career Options for International Students
After completing the LL.M. degree, some F-1 visa holders remain in the United States for one year of Optional Practical Training before returning to their home countries. Others return directly to work at the corporation, law firm, or post from which they took leave to pursue the degree. A few remain in the United States for longer than a year. Between 30 and 50 percent of the Law School’s international LL.M. graduates take a U.S. bar exam each year; the GPO staff and faculty advisors work with those students to develop an individual plan of study for degree completion and qualification for the bar.