October 22, 2013

USC is the first law school to offer an online degree with the option of earning a certificate in business law or entertainment law.

Contact: Gilien Silsby, USC Gould School of Law, 213-500-8673 or 213-740-9690

USC Gould School of Law is launching a new online master of laws (LL.M.) program that will enable foreign attorneys and law graduates to learn about the United States legal system from anywhere in the world.

USC is the first law school in the nation to offer the online degree with the option of earning a certificate in business law or entertainment law. Only one other top 20 law school offers a general master of laws degree online to attorneys overseas.

“When it comes to legal education, our goal is to continue our history of innovation and creativity.” said USC Gould Dean Robert K. Rasmussen.

“Thousands of lawyers are practicing overseas and are keen to enhance their careers by earning a master of laws degree, but they simply cannot leave to study in the United States. We are offering them another alternative – a top-notch legal education strictly online. We believe that a major benefit of our program is that we will offer certificates in business and entertainment law.”

USC Gould has teamed up with Pearson Embanet, a leading provider of online learning services, to deliver all marketing and technology services, web support, maintenance, instructional design, and course conversion. The program will begin accepting applications in early 2014 for the fall of 2014.

Like USC Gould’s residential LL.M. program – in which about 170 international attorneys, judges, government officials and other international law graduates spend an entire year on the USC campus – the online program has received the American Bar Association’s acquiescence.

Prominent USC law faculty, who include industry experts that are committed to helping students succeed, will teach the online LL.M. classes. The Graduate & International Programs Office will provide students with curricular advising, academic support, career development, bar exam preparation and more!

“The online program allows international students to pursue a graduate degree focused in American law while meeting their professional and personal obligations in their home countries,” Dean Rasmussen said. “Classes offered online mirror those taught in the residential program. The program will also offer workshops on writing resumes, interviewing skills, and networking practice – all online.”

For international students, earning a U.S. master of laws degree is becoming increasingly important in the legal profession. The majority of USC law students find the certificate offerings to be of great interest and many pursue a certificate concurrently with the graduate degree, said Deborah Call, Associate Dean of USC Gould’s Graduate and International Programs.

“Graduates often tell us that in order to obtain jobs, or to enhance their professional careers, in top law firms or companies, they must have a master of laws degree. Those earned in the United States carry higher prestige because they can prove candidates are able to work with American and international clients in a multilingual setting,” Call said. “Further, those who take and pass a U.S. bar exam have even more prestige in the field. Bar passage in the U.S. provides the opportunity for a significant salary increase and promotion.”

Online students may attend an optional on-campus Summer Law and English program that allows them to engage with the campus community for a brief four-weeks. Our Summer Law Program is advised for those who would like to prepare for an LL.M. program, law students seeking to bolster their careers by improving their legal English skills and knowledge of operational U.S. law, or those planning to sit for a U.S. bar exam.

Call said she receives requests every year from foreign attorneys interested in taking online law school courses.

Maria Marta Dias Heringer Lisboa, an attorney in Sao Paulo, Brazil, enrolled in USC Gould’s summer program, but unfortunately did not have an opportunity to stay for an entire year.

“I learned so much in the short weeks I was at USC, and would definitely enroll in the online program,” she said. “Being able to earn a certificate in entertainment law would truly enhance my work. The possibility of an online LLM is amazing.”