Academics

Which Program is Right for You?

The School of Law is proud to offer a variety of ways to study law. Finding the program that works best for you depends on your personal situation, your scholarly interests, and your professional goals.

We hope this shorthand guide points you in the right direction, and gives you some sense of how many different kinds of scholarship happen here.

If you have more questions, or simply want to discuss your situation, please contact the Admissions Office to set up a personal consultation.

Degree Programs

The Juris Doctor

The J.D. is the basic US law degree, and is held by the vast majority of practicing US lawyers, as well as businesspeople, policy makers, academics, and people in other walks of life.

Best for: People who wish to become US lawyers, and who do not have a law degree.
Time: The J.D. generally takes three years to complete.
Prerequisites: Applicants must have a college degree and must have taken the LSAT.

Advanced-Standing Two-Year Juris Doctor for Internationally-Trained Lawyers

Substantively, Advanced-Standing students are just like J.D.s - they join the entering class, and take all the classes required of J.D. students, and form all the bonds that constitute the US legal profession.

The difference is timing: the Advanced-Standing Two-Year J.D. is intended for students who already hold a law degree (J.D. or equivalent) from a jurisdiction outside the United States, and who accordingly receive advanced standing, and therefore can finish the degree in just two years.

Best for: People who already have a law degree and who wish to practice US law, either in the US or abroad. This degree is specifically intended for international lawyers who wish to practice New York law in a global context.
Time: The Advanced-Standing Two-Year J.D. generally takes two years to complete.
Prerequisites: Applicants must have a law degree.

Note

The Board of Law Examiners will not allow a person with a J.D. that contains credits earned by correspondence or asynchronous distance education to sit for the New York bar exam.

The General LL.M.

The General LL.M. is intended for people who already hold a law degree, and who wish to "go deeper." Some students choose to design a specific course of study. Many students, with law degrees from other countries, choose to study US law, and perhaps strengthen their English language skills.

Best for: People who hold a law degree and wish to design an advanced course of study, and/or to learn about the US legal system. Note that LL.M. students are permitted to sit for the New York bar exam, as well as the exams of other states, and in some cases, this can be an economical alternative to the Advanced-Standing, Two-Year J.D.
Time:   The General LL.M. usually takes one year to complete.
Prerequisites: Applicants must have a law degree and demonstrate English proficiency. The LSAT is not required.

The Criminal Law LL.M.

Like the General LL.M., the Criminal Law LL.M. is intended for people who already hold a law degree, and who wish to "go deeper." The Criminal Law LL.M. builds on the Law School's recognized strength in the multidisciplinary inquiry into criminal law to allow the design of advanced projects.

Best for: Lawyers with an interest in doing advanced work in criminal law. Holders of the degree often intend to teach, do policy work, or become judges.
Time: The Criminal Law LL.M. usually takes one year to complete.
Prerequisites: Applicants must have a law degree and demonstrate English proficiency. The LSAT is not required.

Dual Degrees and Interdisciplinary Programs

As a major center for interdisciplinary scholarship, the Law School offers a wealth of programs that allow people to receive a degree in law and another discipline. Programs include:

  • J.D./MSW (Law and Social Work Program)
  • J.D./MBA (Law and Management Program)
  • J.D./MA (Law and Applied Economics Program)
  • J.D./MS (Legal Information Management and Analysis Program)
  • J.D./Pharm.D. (Law and Doctor of Pharmacy)
  • J.D./MUP (Law and Urban Planning Program)
  • J.D./PhD

Best for: Joint degree programs vary considerably, and reflect not only the requirements of the two schools conferring degrees, but also your interests and circumstances.
Time and Prerequisites: Depending on how an individual's joint program is structured and what degrees are conferred, the time required and the prerequisites for entering the program can vary considerably.

Fellowships

Post-Doctoral Fellowships

Post-Doctoral Fellowships are designed to allow young scholars to conduct research, write, and publish in an engaging and supportive environment, with the resources the University at Buffalo School of Law commands and with few responsibilities. The fellowship carries with it a stipend, university research privileges, office space, the possibility of travel and research grants, as well as the possibility of teaching experience. Recent fellows have come from a diverse range of institutions, including Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard, UCLA, Wisconsin and Yale.

For more information contact: Laura Wirth, Assistant Director, Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy

Best for: Aspiring scholars.
Time: Fellowships are granted for one year, and are generally non-renewable.
Prerequisites: Applicants must have completed a PhD or J.D. but not have begun a tenure-track appointment.

Mid-Career and Senior Fellowships

Mid-Career and Senior Fellowships are available as sabbatical supplements, to allow established scholars to work at the Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy. These fellowships include standard university research privileges, including access to the University libraries, office space, high-speed internet, computer and/or external monitor, phone, website space, and working paper series, as appropriate to the fellow.

For more information contact: Laura Wirth, Assistant Director, Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy

Best for: Established scholars.
Time: Fellowships are granted for one year, and are generally non-renewable.
Prerequisites: Fellows are already established scholars; there are no specific requirements.

Distinguished Alumni Research Fellows

On an occasional basis, distinguished alumni with scholarly interests will be invited to work at the Baldy Center and/or the Law School, and given research and other privileges.

For more information contact: Laura Wirth, Assistant Director, Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy or BobbyJo LaDelfa, Vice Dean for Strategic Planning and Operations

 

Best for: Alumni with serious scholarly interests.
Time: Fellowships are established in the sole discretion of the Baldy Center and the Law School.
Prerequisites: There are no specific requirements.