Dec 01, 2021  
2021-2022 Law Bulletin 
    
2021-2022 Law Bulletin

Master of Laws



Admissions

The College of Law’s application for all degree programs includes questions about one’s personal, academic and criminal record. Submission of an application to the College of Law is a certification that the information contained therein is true and complete, to the best of the applicant’s knowledge.

If anything occurs that makes any applicant’s responses on his or her application incomplete or inaccurate, the applicant must amend the application as soon as is reasonably possible. In addition, students are obligated by the University Code of Conduct to update their application until the admitted student graduates from the College of Law. Any omission or misrepresentation may result in the invalidation of one’s application, revocation of a favorable admissions decision, a letter of reprimand (which, if applicable, must be reported to the bar), report to the LSAC Misconduct and Irregularities Subcommittee, report to bar authorities or any other action appropriate under the circumstances.

Admission to the LL.M. degree program is based on the following criteria:

  1. Prior education. Admission is limited to those with a law degree. Preference is given to those with superior academic attainment as evidenced by their grade point average (GPA), the strength of the institution granting their degree, and the academic rigor of their individual program of instruction.
  2. Interest in pursuing an advanced degree in law. In considering an applicant’s admission to the program, appropriate weight is given to the congruence between curricular interests of the applicant and the academic resources of Georgia State College of Law.
  3. Diversity. Georgia State College of Law seeks a diverse student body in the program to serve the larger policy objective of training domestic and foreign lawyers, as well as to foster recruitment of a diverse lawyer/student population. Admission may, therefore, be based partially on an applicant’s country of origin or the country from which their legal education was obtained.

Special English Proficiency Note for International Applicants for the LL.M. Program

All College of Law classes are taught in English, so proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English is essential. Applicants may be presumed proficient in English if they: (1) are from a country where English is an official language; or (2) earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from a college or university in which instruction is in English.

LL.M. students take some of their classes with J.D. students and are expected to participate in class discussions and ask and answer questions. Students also must be able to answer written examination questions and prepare other required assignments.

All College of Law applicants whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate English proficiency by scoring a minimum of 100 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or a minimum of 7.5 on the academic version of the International Language Testing System (IELTS). No other test or certificate-based methods of demonstrating English proficiency will be considered. A video teleconference or in-person interview of the applicant may be required to assess English proficiency.

For more information, applicants should refer to the TOEFL website (https://www.ets.org/toefl) or IELTS website (https://www.ielts.org/en-us).

International applicants also will need to provide documentation of their visa and financial status prior to admission.

Orientation

All students accepted for admission to begin study as an LL.M. student are required to attend Orientation preceding the beginning of regular fall semester classes. During Orientation, LL.M. students will be introduced to the unique aspects and requirements of their program, as well as the demands of classes they will take with J.D. students. The purpose of Orientation is to introduce students to the study of law in a U.S. law school and help them make the transition into a law school program that may differ in significant respects from the program through which they earned their first professional law degree.

All LL.M. students must also attend the Professionalism portion of Orientation. During this part, LL.M. students are introduced to the Honor Code and are required to take an oath to abide thereby. Students also will be required to complete, and submit to the associate dean for students, a Disclosure Affirmation, the purpose of which is to ensure that all information in students’ applications is accurate and complete. A student’s obligation to update such information continues until they graduate from the College of Law.

 General Information

The LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree is offered to students who have already earned a professional law degree. The different types of LL.M. programs students may pursue depends upon:

  1. whether the student’s original law degree was earned in the United States (domestic) or abroad (foreign); and
  2. the particular field of study the student wishes to emphasize.

The College of Law offers an in-residence program with multiple concentrations for foreign-trained lawyers and a similar program for U.S.-trained lawyers. Students may pursue the LL.M. on a full or part-time basis.

A student’s concentration is recorded on his or her transcript. In no event may a student earn more than one LL.M. degree.

Students may not transfer from the LL.M. program to the J.D. program or apply any credits earned while an LL.M. student to the J.D. program.

Foreign-Trained Lawyers

Concentrations

All foreign-trained lawyers, regardless of their concentration(s), must take and pass the following four courses: (i) Introduction to U.S. Law; (ii) Lawyering Skills for LL.M. Students; (iii) Research Methods in Law; and (iv) Legal Writing and Analysis for LL.M. Students. In extraordinary circumstances, one or more of these requirements may be waived by the associate dean for academic affairs in consultation with the director of the LL.M. program.

A foreign-trained lawyer may pursue the following concentrations:

Dual Concentrations

In addition, a foreign-trained lawyer may pursue a dual concentration LL.M. which requires successful completion of 36 credit hours. An LL.M. student pursuing a dual concentration must meet the requirements for each concentration.

Foreign-trained lawyers are eligible to take the bar track plus one of the following concentrations: general studies, health law, environmental and land use law, intellectual property, and legal analytics and innovation. Foreign-trained lawyers enrolled in the bar track plus dual concentration LL.M. must successfully complete the 26 credit hours required for the bar-track LL.M. plus an additional 10 credit hours of study in the student’s selected area of concentration.

Foreign-trained lawyers may also opt for two non bar-track concentrations, selecting two concentrations from the following: general studies, health law, environmental and land use law, intellectual property, and legal analytics and innovation. Foreign-trained lawyers taking two non bar-track concentrations are required to take the four classes listed above which are required of all foreign-trained LL.M. students.  In addition, they are required to take 12-13 credits in each of the two selected concentration areas. Any student interested in pursuing a dual concentration must consult with the Director of the LLM program at the beginning of their studies at the College of Law.

U.S. Trained Lawyers

All U.S.-trained lawyers enrolled in the LL.M. program must complete a substantial writing project. The writing project may be in their field of interest, and may be pursued in conjunction with an elective or an independent research project supervised by a faculty member and approved by their faculty advisor. Such project must meet the College of Law’s established writing requirement standards, being of publishable quality.

Concentrations

U.S.-trained lawyers pursuing the General Studies concentration may take all electives, as approved by the associate dean for academic affairs, for their required 26 credit hours.

U.S.-trained lawyers pursuing an LL.M. in one of the other four concentration areas must complete 26 credit hours of required concentration courses, concentration electives, and general law electives as specified below.

A U.S.-trained lawyer may pursue the following concentrations:

Important Note for U.S. - Trained Laywers in the LL.M. Program: If any of the above-listed required courses were satisfied during a student’s previous attainment of a J.D. degree, the course must be replaced with a concentration or general law elective approved by the dean for academic affairs.

Dual Concentrations

U.S.-trained lawyers may also pursue a dual concentration LL.M. which requires successful completion of 36 required credit hours. The dual concentration LL.M. for U.S.-trained lawyers requires 18 credit hours in each of two concentration areas selected from (1) general studies, (2) health law, (3) environmental and land use law, (4) intellectual property, and (5) legal analytics and innovation. Dual concentration students must also complete a substantial writing project under the supervision of a faculty member with expertise on the chosen topic at the intersection of the two concentration areas.

To earn a dual concentration LL.M., a U.S.-trained lawyer must complete a minimum of 18 credit hours in each of the two selected concentrations:

  • General Studies
  • Environmental and Land Use
  • Health Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Legal Analytics and Innovation

Any student interested in pursuing a dual concentration must consult with the Director of the LLM program at the beginning of their studies at the College of Law.

Important Note for U.S. - Trained Laywers in the LL.M. Program: If any of the above-listed required courses were satisfied during a student’s previous attainment of a J.D. degree, the course must be replaced with a concentration or general law elective approved by the dean for academic affairs.

Final Exams

To preserve anonymity, examinations are administered by proctors, rather than the instructors of the courses being examined. Proctors start each in-class exam and ensure that all examinations are properly administered and end on time. Proctors are instructed to contact the registrar or other appropriate staff to resolve any problems with an examination. They are also provided with instructors’ contact information and may contact them in the event of a substantive problem with the examination. Students must take examinations in the room assigned and may not bring any materials into the room other than those specifically permitted by the instructor.

Examinations are graded anonymously by the use of individually assigned exam numbers, which are randomly reassigned each semester. Students may access their examination numbers on a password-protected website, or they may obtain their numbers in person after presenting a valid photo ID to the registrar. To preserve anonymity, students may not disclose their numbers until after all grades are received. Anonymous grading of seminar papers or projects which require consultation between a  student and a faculty member may not be possible. All matters involving the taking of examinations are governed by the College of Law Honor Code.

Failure to Complete an Examination

A student who receives an examination is expected to finish it during the period for which the examination is scheduled. Students who do not complete examinations will be graded on what they submit during the examination period unless an exception based on exigent circumstances is granted by the associate dean for academic affairs. Such exceptions will be extremely rare and will be granted only if the student has notified the proctor of the examination of his/her inability to complete the exam and can establish the reason for such inability to the satisfaction of the associate dean.

Laptop Option for Final Examinations

The College of Law offers the option for students to take final examinations on their laptops if the use of computers has been authorized by their professor. To participate in this program, each student must ensure that his or her computer is in good working order. In addition, the use of a designated software program that inhibits the accessing of another part of the hard-drive during the examination is required. Each semester the registrar’s office will notify students about laptop examination procedures and technology requirements. The required software will be provided to students during these sessions by the College of Law. If a student does not install the designated software properly and timely, or if the student’s computer will not function properly with said software installed, the student will be required to write his or her examination.

The COL staff or faculty may assist in installation of software; however, it is the primary responsibility of the student to ensure that their computer and the requisite software are both functioning at the time of the exam.

Grading

Final grades in each course of the College of Law will be in letter form, on an A+ to F scale with grade point values (used to calculate grade point averages and class ranks) as delineated below:

A+ 4.3
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D 1.0
F 0.0

Note: There are no pluses or minuses in the D range.

Other marks may be used in appropriate circumstances, such as:

S Satisfactory
U Unsatisfactory
I Incomplete
IP In Progress
W Withdrawn without prejudice
WF Withdrawn Failing

Course Grading

Grades for LL.M. students are determined independently from those compiled for J.D. students, even when they are enrolled in the same class. LL.M. students will not be included in the J.D. grading medians calculated for individual classes.

An LL.M. student must receive a grade of at least a C- to receive credit for a course. An LL.M. student must repeat any required course(s) in which that student receives a grade of less than C-. When an LL.M. student repeats a required course, as described herein, the student’s transcript shall reflect both the original and the subsequent grade; both grades will be used in calculating the student’s grade point average. In no event may an LL.M. student take a required course more than twice.

Incomplete (I):

The grade of “I” (Incomplete) may be given to a student who for nonacademic reasons beyond their control is unable to meet the full requirements of a course. In order to quality for an “I,” a student must:

  1. have completed most of the major assignments of the course (generally all but one) and
  2. be passing the course (aside from the assignments not completed) in the judgment of the instructor.

A student may request an “I” when a student has a nonacademic reason for not completing one or more of the assignments for a course (including examinations).  It is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor in person or in writing of the reason. The grade of “I” is awarded at the discretion of the instructor and is not the prerogative of the student. Conditions to be met for removing an “I” are established by the instructor.

Deadlines for Removal of “I”

The period of time given a student to remove an “I” is established by the instructor, subject only to the maximum time limits set by the university. The university requires that the grade of “I” be removed by the end of the second academic term after the “I” is assigned (whether or not the student was enrolled during these two terms.) The Office of the Registrar will assign a grade of “F” at the end of the second academic term unless the Office of the Registrar receives a final grade (for S/U grading, a U will be assigned). No student may graduate with an incomplete grade.

Grade Changes

No final grade submitted to the College of Law registrar may be changed without the affirmative vote of the faculty at a faculty meeting, except for a grade change to correct a clerical or computational error (mathematical), or pursuant to a grade appeal decided in the student’s favor in accordance with the standards for “Appeal of Course Grade” set forth below.

Course Grade Appeal Process:

A grade appeal is available only for review of claims that the grade was based on arbitrary or capricious grounds. There shall be no appeal to challenge the merits of a faculty member’s evaluation of the student’s performance.

The process of appealing a course grade is as follows:

  1. A student must first review the situation with the instructor who assigned the grade. This review must take place within 30 calendar days of the date the grades are posted.
  2. If the question is not resolved with the instructor, the student may appeal in writing to the associate dean for academic affairs, who shall appoint an ad hoc three-person faculty committee to hear the appeal. The student’s written appeal must be received by the associate dean for academic affairs no later than 14 calendar days after the date of review with the instructor. The appeal must describe how the instructor’s grading is alleged to have violated the standards set forth in the policy above. A copy of the appeal will be provided to the faculty member whose grade is appealed.
  3. The faculty appeal committee may decide the matter solely upon consideration of the facts alleged in the student’s written appeal or may consider other relevant information. The decision of the faculty appeal committee will be conveyed to the student and the faculty member whose grade is the subject of appeal in writing no later than 14 calendar days after the conclusion of its deliberations.
  4. If the student wishes to challenge the decision of the faculty appeal committee, the student may appeal in writing directly to the dean. The written appeal must be received within 14 calendar days of the date of the writing conveying to the student the decision of the faculty appeal committee. As with the appeal to the faculty committee, the dean’s review shall be limited to the grounds for appeal stated above. The dean will render a decision in writing within 14 days of receipt of the student’s written appeal. The decision of the dean shall be final except as further appellate process may be available at the university level.

Academic Good Standing

For all students enrolled in the LL.M. program, to be in good standing, for all purposes including transfer status, a student must, on the basis of all course work completed, have a cumulative average of at least 2.20 each semester, which is the minimum cumulative average required for graduation.

Probation/Exclusion

Each student will be formally evaluated for good standing purposes at the end of every semester. An LL.M. student must receive a grade of at least a C- to receive credit for a course. An LL.M. student must repeat any required course(s) in which that student receives a grade of less than C-. When an LL.M. student repeats a required course, as described herein, the student’s transcript shall reflect both the original and the subsequent grade; both grades will be used in calculating the student’s grade point average. In no event may an LL.M. student take a required course more than twice.

Any student whose cumulative grade point average at the end of fall semester places them in jeopardy of being excluded under this policy will be so notified by the associate dean for academic affairs. Any student whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.00 at the end of the spring semester, or who fails a required course more than once, will be automatically dismissed from the College of Law, without right of appeal.

Rankings

LL.M. students will receive grade point averages, but not class ranks.