Published June 12, 2017
What’s the difference between a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M)? Which one should you pursue? Here’s how to tell which program you are eligible for and what best aligns with your interests.
The vast majority of law students in the United States will start their legal careers with a J.D. program. This is a program that covers the foundational legal doctrines as well as more specialized topics and practical skills. A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution and an LSAT score are required to enter a J.D. program.
A J.D. from an accredited law school allows you to sit for the bar exam in the U.S., practice law in a U.S. jurisdiction, and is the preferred degree for most legal employers.
A J.D. is considered a terminal degree, but it’s also a prerequisite for the LL.M. degree. The LL.M. requires a first degree in law, and many internationally trained lawyers come to the U.S. and obtain an LL.M in order to sit for the bar exam in the U.S. While the J.D. program covers many topics, an LL.M. program is highly specialized in a topic of choice.