MSU College of Law

Explore Graduate Programs in the American Legal System

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Whatever your goals, we can help you achieve them.

At MSU Law, the skills you will learn are just as important as the courses you will take.

  • Critical thinking
  • Common law research and writing
  • Applying business concepts to legal practice
  • Oral advocacy
  • Dispute resolution
  • Negotiation
  • International Civil Litigation

The global legal job market is competitive. Employers want practice-ready professionals. Our graduates are ready to lead the modern legal marketplace. There is no other place like MSU Law to learn how to be a lawyer in a technology-driven global marketplace.

We offer innovative courses for law students to develop new ways of delivering legal services, training in skills like entrepreneurial lawyering, electronic discovery, and lawyer ethics and regulation in a technology-driven world. We combine disciplines such as informatics, statistics, business, machine learning, programming and design to better understand and analyze the law. Our students are prepared not only to be good lawyers, but to be good businesspeople.

LL.M. and M.J. candidates are required to successfully complete a total of 24 credits during their years of study in the United States, and spend roughly half of their credits in J.D. classes with American students.

Curriculum

Personalize your education or follow a standardized program. Either way, you’ll be guided by an advisor and by faculty focused on your area(s) of interest to make sure your program brings you the most benefit possible.

Required courses include:

If I had studied law just in China, I would have missed the opportunity to learn to communicate with Americans. I see myself as one who will solve problems in this gap – a translator of culture and culture-based thinking.

Sophia Feng, Head (China) and Chief Representative (China) for the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) in Shanghai, China, LL.M. ’13.

Individualized Academic Support

Supporting students is a vital part of the work of the Office of Graduate and International Programs. Graduate students receive extensive preparation for their studies during the required orientation at the beginning of every semester and online, and have ready access to a variety of support services during their time at MSU Law.

Teaching assistants, Academic Success Program staff, and others work closely with our graduate students to help ensure that they understand foundational concepts that are needed for academic and career success. Staff members are available to assist students with exam preparation, writing assignments, and other projects. Students also receive one-on-one assistance from academic and career advisors from the beginning of the application process until – and even beyond – graduation.

We firmly believe that your success is also our success. We’re therefore very committed to helping you through every step of your academic journey here. We want your experience here to be an amazing one in every way.

Carrie Feeheley, Director, Office of Graduate and International Programs

Our faculty

Graduate students who come to MSU Law find knowledgeable and caring mentors on our faculty.

Learn about corporate law from the chair of the American Bar Association’s Russia-Eurasia Committee and expert on corrupt practices law.

MSU College of Law faculty are successful in their own right, but they teach here because their goal is to help you become successful, too. At MSU Law, faculty make it a point to have “open doors” to their students for questions, discussion, mentorship, and more. Students are our top priority.

My professors at MSU Law were definitely a bunch of legal geniuses whose combined academic expertise and practical experiences skillfully transform theories and principles into working tools needed by law students not only in passing the bar exams but in preparing them to become competent practitioners in any legal field.

Hon. Marlon Moneva, LL.M. ’12 (Philippines)

Here’s just a sampling of our amazing faculty, committed to helping you achieve your goals.

Nicholas Wittner

Michael A. Lawrence

Bruce W. Bean

Daphne O’Regan

Hon. Rosemarie Aquilina

Mary A. Bedikian

Daniel D. Barnhizer

We have an incredibly accessible faculty. We care about our students. That’s part of the culture, it’s not an exception. I firmly believe that not every law school environment is like this. I feel very comfortable encouraging students to come here because they will have a great experience.

Review all of our faculty profiles »

Student Life

MSU Law is a second home to students from all over the world, and these students come together as a family while they are all away from their own loved ones. Celebrating national and religious holidays together and educating one another about customs, beliefs and traditions from their countries, our international students join with their American classmates to recognize important dates on the U.S. holiday calendar as well.

The Office of Graduate and International Programs, the MSU Law Office of Diversity Services, and numerous student groups present frequent educational, cultural and social gatherings throughout the year.

Our international students also make the most of their experience by spending time with American J.D. and law graduate students both inside and outside of class, including through activities spearheaded by a student group focused on bringing international and American students together at the Law College.

Law students join international students from other MSU departments to celebrate holidays, host events, and otherwise interact with the larger MSU international and student community. While MSU Law has more than 50 student groups, MSU has more than 250. MSU Law international students may join any Law College student group or any MSU graduate or other student group, making the possibilities for making friends and professional connections endless.

The MSU Campus

The MSU College of Law is small, private law college on the campus of a major research university. With fewer than 1,000 students, and about 100 graduate students, MSU Law students truly have the best of both worlds: an intimate, personal law college environment within one building, and the enormous campus and college town in which the Law College makes its home.

Michigan State University is a world-class educational institution with more than 43,000 students. The university is located in East Lansing, Michigan, itself a community of 50,000 people. MSU is just miles from neighboring Lansing, the state capital, and only a short drive from Chicago, Detroit, and the scenic shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Learn more about the MSU campus.

Life in East Lansing

East Lansing is a mix of small-town charm and cosmopolitan diversity and sophistication. With nightlife, shopping, and excellent dining all within walking distance, the world is at the doorstep of MSU College of Law.

Michigan State University is home to more than 4,000 international students from more than 125 countries. Student groups representing most cultures of the world can be found on campus, and all welcome new members. A variety of religious and cultural institutions are within a short walk of MSU Law.

Students living alone and looking for a convenient location may live right across the street from the Law College in Owen Hall, a graduate student facility with one-bedroom units and an excellent cafeteria featuring foods from all over the world. Those who wish to bring their families to East Lansing or who prefer to live off-campus will find university apartments located just a short distance from MSU Law, and many other comfortable and affordable options.

Our Alumni

MSU Law grads are in demand. We offers intellectually stimulating work with an impressive return on investment. Our graduates find positions in firms, companies, government agencies, courts, universities, international organizations, and multiple other employers around the world. Here’s just a sampling:

  • Agencia Nacional de Mineria, Colombia
  • Çektir & Başarı, Turkey
  • Council for American-Islamic Relations
  • Court of Appeals, State of Indiana, United States
  • Faculty of Law, Ishik University, Kurdistan, Iraq
  • Freundenberg Corporation, Germany/United States
  • Georgian-American Alloys Management, Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Gjensidige Corporation, Norway
  • Gulf National Bank, Saudi Arabia
  • Jeong Se Law Firm, South Korea
  • Jinko Solar Company, China
  • Magneti Marelli, LLC, Italy/United States
  • Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Indonesia
  • P.T. Indonesia Asahan Aluminum, Indonesia
  • Philippine Judiciary, Philippines
  • Robert Bosch, LLC, Germany/United States
  • Rolim, Viotti & Leite Campos Advogados, Brazil
  • Saudi Arabian Food and Drug Authority, Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Singapore
  • Sun Yat-Sen University, China
  • Tark Grunte Sutkiene and Baltic Legal Solutions, Lithuania
  • TECOM, United Arab Emirates
  • United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Rwanda
  • Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica
  • University of Bialystok, Poland
  • Van Campen Liem, Luxembourg
  • White & Case, LLP, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates
  • William Booth University, Democratic Republic of Congo

Professional Development

Your dream job will be out there. Take charge of finding it.

Professional development is more than just resume-building and networking. It’s about learning appropriate etiquette, developing networking know-how, meeting the right people in the industry, and understanding what skills you need to get the right job or the best practical experience.

MSU College of Law students receive one-on-one career advising, mentoring and lessons in the practical, “real life” skills needed to succeed beyond the classroom. Professional development opportunities include the following:

  • Weekly graduate student lunches
  • Access to the CASE job postings database
  • Social media training
  • Resume-writing workshops
  • Personal career advising with Career Services Office staff
  • Mentoring from alumni and professors
  • Networking opportunities
  • Access to career fairs
  • Annual etiquette dinner

Learn more about MSU Law Career Services »

Taking a Bar Examination

Graduates of the MSU Law LL.M. in the American Legal System may be eligible to take a bar examination in select U.S. jurisdictions, depending on their prior legal education and the course work they take while at MSU Law. Students who enroll in the LL.M. in Intellectual Property, Information & Communications Law will not be eligible to take a bar examination in the United States unless otherwise qualified.

Given the difficulty of the examination, and the fact that J.D. students take three years of course work in American law in preparation for the bar as compared to one year of LL.M. coursework, MSU Law strongly encourages international lawyers who hope to take a bar examination in the United States to apply for the Advanced Standing J.D. program (link) rather than the LL.M. program.

The rules and regulations relative to admission to the practice of law vary from state to state. For the specific requirements, reference should be made to the statutes, rules of court, and the Board of Bar Examiners in the particular state in which the student intends to seek admission. In general, a written examination conducted by a state agency is a prerequisite to admission.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners is a great resource for Bar Exam information and testing resources beyond commercial providers. Their website is: http://www.ncbex.org/

Figuring out how to pay for your degree can be overwhelming. We’re here to help every step of the way.

Tuition and Living Expenses

MSU Law does not charge separate tuition rates for in-state, out-of-state and international students. This is different than other departments at MSU, as the rest of the University charges different tuition rates based on residency.

East Lansing is significantly more affordable than many urban areas, and has excellent public transportation so that a car is not needed for local travel.

Estimated expenses vary by program depending on the number of credits required, the length of time needed to complete the program, and other factors.

Funding Resources

While MSU Law offers a limited number of partial-tuition scholarships to qualifying candidates, students are expected to provide their own funding to cover their tuition, living and travel expenses. Students are encouraged to secure funding early in the application process so that they can meet visa processing, federal financial aid and other admissions deadlines.

Law College Scholarships
The Law College awards a limited number of scholarships each year to qualified applicants. No special application is necessary.

The Law College has limited scholarship awards because tuition recently was decreased to help students better manage their tuition costs.

Foreign Government-Sponsored Education Programs
Many foreign governments will sponsor tuition and living expenses (some partially and some completely) for their citizens to study in the United States. Often, awards are made through competitive scholarship programs. Students should inquire with their countries’ ministries of education, or connect with the EducationUSA office at the local U.S. embassy or consulate, which can assist in helping find funding sources. EducationUSA can also assist students interested in Fulbright or other U.S.-government sponsored fellowship and scholarship programs.

Private Loans for International Students
Students who do not qualify for federal aid may need to consider a private loan. Although the Office of Financial Aid does not recommend any particular lender students are encouraged to speak with John Garcia, Financial Aid Director, if they decide to pursue a private loan. Generally a non-citizen would need a stateside co-signer for the loan; the co-signer will be responsible for repaying the loan if the student does not do so. Some additional information can be found at http://www.law.msu.edu/finaid/intl_students.html

Federal Financial Aid for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents
The cost of a quality education is not insignificant; most students need to look beyond their own resources for assistance. The Office of Financial Aid at Michigan State University College of Law is committed to making sure you have resources that will allow you to enroll and that you receive your aid in a timely and efficient manner.

A full description of the MSU Law Financial Aid Office’s resources and information can be found at http://www.law.msu.edu/finaid/aid-preparation.html. Links to the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and the federal aid process are also found here.

Enrollment Requirements
Federal aid, and sometimes private loans, require students to be enrolled at least half-time. Usually a student must have three credits in a semester to be considered half-time. You can review enrollment information and contact the Office of Financial Aid with any concerns.

Tuition Reimbursement Benefits through your Employer
It is not uncommon for employers to offer financial assistance with employees’ education. Some offer tuition reimbursement, educational fellowships or scholarships. Consider asking your employer to invest in your education. Be sure to prepare well ahead of time by researching the program you wish to pursue, making a list of ways your company will benefit from your education, and address concerns your employer may have.

Student Visa Funding Requirements

To qualify for an I-20, you must prove that you have the funding to cover the cost of attendance for EVERY YEAR of your program of study. To fulfill this funding requirement, you must prove that you have the funding immediately available to pay for your first year of study AND the ability to fund additional years in the program, as necessary to graduate.  This can be proven through sponsor proof of current or projected income or through a work or government funding guarantee.  If you are self-funded, you will have to prove that you have the entire Projected Program Total immediately available because it is assumed that you will have no income while you are attending MSU College of Law.

Students in the J.D. program must take at least 13 credits per semester to be in status for SEVIS purposes, while graduate (LL.M. and M.J.) students must take at least 9.

Learn more about the visa process »