LL.M. in Advocacy

  • Master of laws (LL.M.)
  • Starting date: Spring; Fall
  • Tuition Fee: $51,876.00 USD
  • Language: English
  • Program type: Part-time; Full-time
  • Duration: 1 year; 2 years
  • Specialization: Legal Practice


About the Program


The Master of Laws, LL.M. in Advocacy (Advocacy LL.M. Program), at American University Washington College of Law (WCL) provides opportunities for law graduates to enhance their legal advocacy skills in and out of the courtroom. The Advocacy LL.M. Program combines a rigorous academic component and a breadth of practical litigation training, including optional credits from externships, writing projects, and teaching opportunities.


LL.M. students will improve their technical trial skills, learn new litigation strategies and tools, strengthen persuasive abilities, and focus on the application of professional ethics in the pretrial and trial settings. Important focuses of WCL's Advocacy LL.M. Program are the use of modern technology in 21st century litigation and the training of ethical trial lawyers.


The Advocacy LL.M. Program benefits from all the opportunities afforded by the law school's location in Washington, D.C. Many full-time faculty members have extensive professional backgrounds in private practice, government litigation and non-profit advocacy, which they bring to bear in the classroom. Further, students in the Advocacy LL.M. Program benefit from more than thirty distinguished practicing judges and attorneys from the Washington, D.C. area who serve as adjunct faculty for the Stephen S. Weinstein Trial Advocacy Program courses. Many of these judges and practitioners have been honored for their excellence in the courtroom and contributions to the larger legal community.


The Advocacy LL.M Program was created to take into account the real-life needs of students. It is a 24-credit degree program that students can choose to pursue full-time (and complete in one year) or part-time (and complete at their own pace, usually in two years). The two areas of concentrations offered by the Advocacy LL.M. Program are Civil Trial and Criminal Trial Advocacy. Beyond these, students can chose an area of specialization that fits their individual goals or continue in the general litigation track. Required courses and most elective courses are offered in the evenings to accommodate students' work schedules. LL.M. degree requirements are two advanced courses: (1) Advanced Trial Advocacy and (2) Ethics for Trial Lawyers. Additionally, LL.M. students may select from among the following core courses regularly offered by the Trial Advocacy Program to fullfill their areas of concentration or from a wide variety of courses offered through the law school:



Most courses are taught in small-sections with a maximum class size of 8-14 students. Multiple sections of some of these courses are offered regularly. See a full list of offerings on the "Courses" page in the "Curriculum" section.


Who Should Consider the Advocacy LL.M. Program

  • Recent law graduates who seek to develop their skills, experience and credentials in order to maximize their opportunities upon entering the legal profession.
  • Associates working in the litigation sections of law firms who want more opportunity to develop or improve their litigation skills.
  • Lawyers in practice who have the desire to re-tool and re-direct their careers, or re-immerse themselves in an academic program to sharpen their knowledge of established specialties, broaden their expertise.
  • Lawyers preparing for an academic career or to satisfy other professional and personal goals.


There are ample classes to help new and experienced attorneys excel in an increasingly high-tech courtroom. An extensive renovation of the Stephen S. Weinstein Courtroom, completed in September, 2008, as a result of a recent, generous gift of Stephen S. Weinstein '65 for the benefit of WCL's Trial Advocacy Program. The fully integrated state-of-the-art courtroom facility features upto date technology, replay capability allows professors to give almost instant feedback; a new jury deliberation room equipped with a camera and sound capability to assist students understandd the workings of a jury all provide a unique opportunity for students to develop skills suited for litigation in the digital age.


The breadth of courses offered assists students in preparation for all aspects of litigation. Since there are no specified concentrations or tracks in the Advocacy LL.M. Program, students can select courses to suit their individualized interests. It is the flexibility of the Advocacy LL.M. that makes the program attractive to a broad range of potential students.


Program Highlights:


Basic Degree Requirements

Upon starting the Advocacy LL.M. Program, each student will be assigned a LL.M. advisor; the student must receive approval from the advisor for all course selections. To receive the LL.M. degree, a student needs to earn at least 24 credits, chosen from the designated list of classes. No transfer credits will be accepted.


At least 16 of these credits are to be earned from classroom-based courses and seminars and up to 8 credits can be earned from optional professional writing projects, co-teaching, and externship placements.


Every student must complete (1) the two credit Ethics for Trial Lawyers course, and (2) a two or three credit Advanced Trial Advocacy course before receiving the LL.M. degree. As a prerequisite to the Ethics for Trial Lawyers course, students must have successfully completed a basic ethics course during their JD studies. As a prerequisite to the Advanced Trial Advocacy course, students must have successfully completed a basic trial advocacy course or the equivalent in practice. The satisfaction of prerequisites will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the student’s LL.M. advisor.


The 24 credits needed for the LL.M. degree can be completed in two semesters of full-time study. Part-time students generally complete the Advocacy LL.M. Program in three or four semesters. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA for all course work and complete the program requirements in no more than six semesters.



Entrance Requirements


1. Applicants must have completed a law degree at an ABA accredited U.S. law school, or at a foreign law school with equivalent standards.

2. Submit complete application form before deadline and be selected for admission.

3. Provide proof of competency in English.

4. Meet visa requirements for international applicants.

5. Once admitted, applicant must complete the Newly-Admitted Student Requirements.


Proof of Competency in English


Applicants whose first language is not English must take one of four tests for English competency, either the TOEFL, PTE, IELTS, or ILEC exam. It is not necessary to take all four. Applications will not be considered complete until we receive exam scores. Photocopies of test reports will not be accepted.


1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum TOEFL score of 600 paper based test or 100 internet based test is required.

2. Pearson Test of English (PTE). A minimum PTE score of 68 is required.

3. International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum IELTS score of 7 is required.

4. International Legal English Certificate (ILEC). To have your official ILEC scores sent directly to our office, please visit the Verification of Results site, fill in the provided form, and then click the submit button.


Visas for International Applicants


Non-U.S. citizens must submit the Certification of Finances for International Students (CFIS) and appropriate financial documentation with their application or after being admitted to receive an I-20 form upon admission. The I-20 allows the student to apply for the F-1 (student) visa. Failure to return the CFIS will result in a delay in the issuance of the I-20. Students studying under other nonimmigrant visa categories will be contacted if there is a problem with their visa status.


Most international students attend WCL on an F-1 visa. A new visa can be acquired only at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Because visa application procedures vary by location, please contact the U.S. embassy or consulate where you plan to apply for your visa.


Required documents for your visa application:


1. Signed and valid I-20

2. Valid passport

3. Financial documents for at least one full academic year, dated within three months

4. Official admission letter

5. Application and application fee (provided at the U.S. embassy or consulate)

6. Supporting documents to provide evidence of intent to return to your home country, such as family ties, property, or a job in your country


Please contact the Office of International Student & Scholar Services for more information.


Newly-Admitted Students


Tuition Deposit:
Newly-admitted students must submit a tuition deposit of $350 within five weeks after notification of acceptance. If the deposit is not made within this time, the applicant's admission to the program will be rescinded automatically. Deposits are credited against tuition charges for the entering semester. Complete deposit instructions are included with the letter of admission. Tuition deposits are non-refundable.


New Student Orientation:
All incoming students must attend the Orientation held the week before classes each semester. Fall semester classes usually begin the third week of August. Spring semester classes usually begin the second week of January. Exact dates are posted on the Academic Calendar on the WCL website.