An LL.M. with a Difference
The American University Washington College of Law Master of Laws in Law and Government (LL.M.) will prepare you to grasp the issues that are at the intersection of law, politics, and all levels of government through a broad-based examination of public law in the United States.
This is an LL.M. with a difference. Designed for both domestic and international law graduates who have a strong interest in U.S. government and politics, the dynamics of democracy, and the meaning of the rule of law, the LL.M. in Law and Government takes students on a broad and deep examination of the most important public policy issues of the time. Our organizing educational principle is that the best-prepared lawyers and analysts in fields of regulatory law not only have a firm grasp of particular subjects, but also a mastery of theories, political forces, and institutional realities that define public law in the United States.
Overview of the Program
The Program is focused on the law of government, emphasizing the legal regulation of both the private and public realms of U.S. society. Our curriculum is especially deep in federal law and includes offerings dealings with states and localities and with international and global issues, reflecting the increasing interdependence of world society.
The Program's organizing educational principle is that the best-prepared lawyers and analysts in fields of regulatory law have not only a firm grasp of particular subjects, but also a mastery of the theories, political forces, and institutional realities that define public law in the United States. Thus, while our students can choose to focus deeply on a sub-field of regulatory law, we also promote broad examination of cross-cutting and emerging issues, like Health Law.
Students combine a personalized course of study with the opportunity to engage in externships. Students may earn credit for working at courts, in federal agencies, on Capitol Hill, and in a myriad of international organizations including the World Bank and the Pan American Health Organization.
History of the Program
The Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Law & Government was designed by Thomas Sargentich and Jamie Raskin in 1998 to help law graduates with an interest in U.S. government propel their academic and professional careers. The Program attracts students with a variety of interests in different stages of their professional development. Located in Washington, D.C., the Program combines an intellectually challenging program with endless learning opportunities in the nation's capital. The Program provides students with a competitive edge in fast-changing areas of law, government, and public policy by utilizing the outstanding faculty at American University Washington College of Law and the extraordinary resources of legal practice and public service in Washington.
Who Should Consider the LL.M. Program?
The breadth of the Program's offerings and the opportunities afforded to students appeal to many different types of students, including:
- Recent law school graduates who seek to develop credentials, skills, and experience in order to maximize their opportunities upon entering the legal profession;
- Experienced attorneys who seek to use the LL.M. Program to re-tool and re-direct their careers, switching from one field of expertise to another;
- Attorneys who want to sharpen their knowledge of established specialties or to broaden their expertise as a prelude to professional reinvention; and
- Law graduates who seek to satisfy personal and intellectual plans to study and write about subjects of deep interest to them.
The LL.M. in Law and Government is founded on the law of government, emphasizing the legal regulation of both the private and public realms of U.S. society. To that end, almost all of the approved courses for the Program are domestic in nature. In limited situations and reflecting the increasing interdependence of world society, some courses that cover international and global issues are approved.
Students build a curriculum from the 100+ approved courses in consultation with the Associate Director of the Program on Law and Government specifically taking into account each students' individual academic and career goals. Courses that are not on the approved courses list will not count toward the LL.M. degree and may not be taken. In particular, first-year JD courses, clinics, journals, and most international courses will not count toward the degree.
Concentrations and Specializations
Students who are interested in a specific field of law may specialize in one of the twelve areas of study listed below by doing an in-depth study of a particular area of law. To earn a specialization, students must complete at least 12 credits approved for the area of specialization. Students who complete a specialization will receive a certificate from the Program in Law & Government; the specialization does not appear on transcripts.
Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
- Energy Law & Policy
- Environmental Law & Policy
- Health Law & Policy
- Immigration Law & Policy
- Intellectual Property & Information Policy
- Labor and Employment Law & Policy
- National Security Law & Policy
Civil & Constitutional Rights
- Criminal Law
- Disability Rights
- Gender & the Law
- Law, Politics, and Legislation
Business & Financial Regulation
- Intellectual Property & Information Policy
- Securities Law & Policy
The LL.M. in Law and Government is not specifically designed as a U.S. bar exam preparation course; however, after graduating from the program, many of our students sit for the New York or DC bar exams. For more information regarding the Bar Exam and additional resources, consult the New York Bar Exam Track page.