LL.M. for Foreign Trained Lawyers

The Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University offers a Master of Laws "LL.M." degree for candidates who have earned a first degree in law (for example LL.B.) outside the United States.

The relatively modest size of the LL.M. program allows for students to receive individual attention within the friendly Duquesne community. The University's Center for Global Engagement offers extensive programs and comprehensive English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.

Duquesne Kline School of Law offers both a General Curriculum and a Bar-Track Curriculum. Both provide opportunities to study and improve legal research, writing, and analytical skills in the context of US-American federal and state law.

Duquesne Kline is located right in downtown Pittsburgh, so students can profit from the short walking distance to firms or the courts when participating in externships. Pittsburgh is a vibrant American city with lots of great architecture, a diverse collection of art and culture ventures, friendly neighborhoods, good food, many night life opportunities, famous sports teams, and is regularly ranked as one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the United States.

Dean April Barton discusses why you should consider our LL.M. program for Foreign Lawyers.

Dr. Dorothee Landgraf, LL.M., Adjunct Professor and LL.M. Coordinator, shares her experience as a student in the program.


Program Overview

General Curriculum

Duquesne Kline Law's LL.M. for Foreign Lawyers General Curriculum (or Non-Bar-Track) is designed to familiarize foreign lawyers and students with the general principles of U.S. law and prepare them for the demands of practicing law in a global economy in a curriculum of 24 credits. Program graduates will return to their home counties prepared to work with their colleagues and U.S. attorneys handling issues that involve U.S. law.

Core Courses

The program's core courses include:

  • Introduction to the American Legal System
  • Legal Research Writing and Analysis
  • Minimum of two courses from the following list:
    • Contracts I, II
    • Torts I, II
    • Civil Procedure I, II
    • Property I, II
    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Constitutional Law I, II

Elective Courses

In addition to the core courses, LL.M. candidates may take any elective or J.D. required course, with some exceptions. For interested LL.M. students, the School of Law offers Directed Research in the form of a paper or a thesis.


The examinations of LL.M. candidates in the General Curriculum will be specifically identified and graded outside of any curve established by Duquesne Kline Law. LL.M. candidates will be graded in all courses on a pass/fail basis. Non-native English speakers can use a common-language (not legal) translating dictionary during examinations. At the professor’s discretion, other accommodations may be offered.


Successful candidates will be awarded the Master of Laws degree.

Bar-Track Curriculum

The Bar-Track Curriculum provides foreign-trained lawyers with the foundations for practicing law in the United States. LL.M. students in this program gain grounding in the basic principles of American law in a curriculum of 25 credits . 

The Bar-Track Curriculum offers externship work opportunities and mentor relationships.

Bar Exam Eligibility

There are several states that allow foreign-trained lawyers who complete an LL.M. degree to sit for the bar examination. At present, most common LL.M. students who wish to sit for a US state bar sit for the New York bar examination. Please review NY Bar Examiner page for foreign lawyers to learn more. Thus, during the application process, students interested in the Bar-Track Curriculum should determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Contact information for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

In certain limited circumstances, foreign lawyers who have practiced for five of the last eight years, and who meet other requirements, may seek to sit for the Pennsylvania bar examination. Rule 205 of the PA Board of Law Examiners

We can advise you on which LL.M. courses would be best suited to prepare for one of these exams.

Core Courses

The Bar Track Curriculum requires that students take and pass the following core courses in the semester listed in the chart below:

Fall Semester

  • Legal Reserch, Writing, & Analysis I
  • Introduction to the American Legal System
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Core Competencies for Legal Practice I
  • Constitutional Law I
  • Property I
  • Contracts I


Spring Semester

  • Legal Reserch, Writing, & Analysis II
  • Core Competencies for Legal Practice II
  • Constitutional Law II
  • Property II
  • Contracts II

Elective Courses

In addition to the core courses, candidates may take up to two electives in courses offered by the School of Law, with specific exceptions. 

It is strongly recommended that students on the Bar Track take electives in subjects that are tested on the bar examination, including Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Sales and Corporations.

For interested LL.M. students, the School of Law offers Directed Research in the form of a paper or a thesis.


Examinations of LL.M. candidates on the Bar Track will be the same exams, and will be subject to the same standards and grading scale as J.D. candidates. There is no extra exam time. 

Please note that Duquesne Kline School of Law strictly adheres to a policy of non-discrimination and will make reasonable accommodations for students as required by law.


Successful candidates will be awarded the Master of Laws degree. Based on academic performance, Bar-Track curriculum students may earn a degree with honors. 

Tuition, Fees, and Cost of Attendance

Please find information about the School of Law's tuition and fees, and cost of attendance under Tuition

Additional Cost for LL.M. students

LL.M. students should include in their budgeting additional costs such as fees for the translation of documents, fees for the English language testing, fees for the visa application and/or travel costs.


We encourage all LL.M applicants to research what scholarships may be available – in the US or in their home country, to support their year in our LL.M program.

LL.M. Application Procedure

Consideration for admission to the Master of Laws Foreign Lawyer LL.M. program is limited to applicants who have earned a first degree in law (LL.B.) outside the United States.

  • Applications for the LL.M. program are accepted beginning September 1, 2023. Decisions can take 6-8 weeks from the time an application is placed in review status.  Decisions are made on a rolling basis beginning in late November.

  • LL.M. Priority Application Deadline: March 15, 2023. Applications received after the Priority deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.
  1. LL.M. Application: Please apply via the LSAC. There is no application fee for the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University LL.M. program.

  2. Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report from LSAC (This includes your transcripts, Credential evaluation, and letter(s) of recommendation)


  4. Transcripts from ALL institutions attended, including graduate coursework. Transcripts must be translated into English.

  5. One letter of recommendation. Unless you have been out of school for over two years, your letter should be from a professor who taught you in a college or graduate school course.

  6. Resume or CV

  7. Personal statement (1-2 pages, double-spaced)

English language ability must meet or exceed a 90 TOEFL examination score, or an IELTS score of 7 for admission to either track of the LL.M. program. All candidates also must successfully complete a telephone interview with the Office of Admissions in order to establish the necessary fluency in English. 

Candidates with a TOEFL score between 85-89 or an IELTS score of 6.5 may be conditionally admitted to the General Track LL.M. Program after the phone interview and at the discretion of the Dean’s Office in consultation with the University. 

All international educational records must be submitted in the original language. If the transcript or other required documents are not in English, a translation must be included.

Transcripts must be certified by a credential evaluation service.  LSAC provides the International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service (ITAES).


Resources for LL.M. Students

If accepted, the LL.M. program staff will work closely with you, in cooperation with the Center for Global Engagement, concerning visa and other international student issues. LL.M. students must provide financial documentation showing their ability to pay for the cost of attendance in order to receive a visa.

Center for Global Engagement

Your Home on Campus!

You have access to some of the best views in Pittsburgh, set right on our campus! You also have  access to a variety of amenities to help you learn, grow and expand your horizons.

Get to Know the City!

In addition to a great education, Pittsburgh gives you access to culture, legendary sports, great neighborhoods, a world-class food scene, thriving industry and jobs, and much more. Pittsburgh
Ralph Antonioli

Whether you intend to stay in the U.S. or return to your country with the amazing legal knowledge you will acquire, I cannot recommend Duquesne Kline enough to provide foreign-trained lawyers with legal tools that will be at their disposal for the rest of their careers.

Ralph Antonioli Staff Attorney – International Arbitration | Sidley Austin LLP

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

TOEFL and IELTS scores must be from exams taken in the last five years. Expired scores will not be accepted.

All applications must be submitted online through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) application system.

Because of the sequence of coursework, applicants will only be permitted to start in the fall semester.

All admitted applications will be reviewed for possible merit scholarship awards. We encourage all LL.M. applicants to research what scholarships may be available – in the US or in their home country, to support their year in our LL.M. program.

We typically send a decision within 4-6 weeks after the application becomes complete for review.


Dr. Dorothee Landgraf, LL.M.

Adjunct Professor and LL.M. Coordinator