Boston University launches bar support program for LL.M. students

Boston University has introduced an optional “Fundamentals Track” to its LL.M. in American Law Program in an effort to meet the increasing demand for bar-preparation support among LL.M. candidates.

The Fundamentals Track is designed to provide LL.M. students who intend to take a state bar exam with intensive exposure to bar-related topics, taught in a condensed format in the spring semester.

“This is an exciting initiative that meets the needs of a growing number of our foreign-trained LL.M. students who want to take a bar exam after commencement,” said John Riccardi, assistant dean for graduate and international programs and director of the School’s LL.M. in American Law Program.

Available only to BU Law’s American Law students, the courses will cover the basic doctrinal concepts of two topics, Real Property and Evidence, which civil law-trained lawyers often identify as the most challenging in bar- preparation material.

The two, six-week classes will be offered sequentially, each awarding two credits toward the LL.M. degree, with the expectation that most students will take both, though they may enroll in either class individually.

“LL.M. students will still have the option to take the J.D. versions of these classes,” Riccardi said. “But the Fundamental Track offerings will be specifically designed for them.”

The Fundamentals Track meets the unique needs of foreign-trained students, as the LL.M.-only sections will emphasize the black letter doctrine that is tested on bar exams.  They will cover the material more thoroughly than a summer bar-prep review program. Additionally, each course comprises just two credits (instead of four), leaving more room in students’ schedules to take electives in their specialized areas of interest.

Riccardi said that while the Fundamentals Track promises to be a valuable learning opportunity for LL.M. students, it will not, by itself, qualify a student to take a bar exam.

“Each student must confer with the relevant state bar authorities to determine his or her eligibility, and each student is responsible for meeting the relevant requirements to take the bar exam,” he said. “The Fundamentals Track is not meant to substitute for a summer bar-preparation program and there are, of course, no guarantees that taking these classes will result in passing the bar. We are confident, however, that the Fundamentals Track option will give students a solid exposure to two challenging and fundamental topics they will encounter on a U.S. bar exam.”