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American Legal System Emphasis

Students may begin the LLM program in either August or January and complete 24 credits, including six credits in the required courses (listed below). Students may select a minimum of 18 additional credits from among the law school's other courses. In addition, students may choose to specialize in any of our programs including, international business law, alternative dispute resolution, and human rights.

Hamline's American legal system curriculum has been developed to provide foreign lawyers in the LLM program the opportunity to explore the differences between their country's legal system and the U.S. legal system. In addition to the three-credit American Legal Systems course, which is required for all LLM students, students interested in an emphasis in this area can choose courses from the following recommended courses.

Recommended Courses

Comparative Law (3 credits)

Comparative study of the origins, development, and characteristics of the world's major legal systems, with emphasis on civil law systems.

Constitutional Law I (3 credits)

Introduces constitutional interpretation, including doctrines and competing philosophies, and the framework of state and federal government under the Constitution. It includes the historical background of the drafting and interpretation of the Constitution, the development of the Supreme Court as an institution, the powers of the three branches of the federal government and of the states, and the structure of the Constitution, all as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

Legislation (2 credits)

Study of statutes and legislative materials as they are used in litigation. Emphasis is on the interpretation of statutes by courts and the use of extrinsic aids in determining legislative intent.

Civil Procedure (6 credits)

This year-long course focuses on the American civil judicial process and dispute resolution. It includes a study of the constitutional and legislative grants of authority to the state and federal judicial systems, including questions of personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, and venue. Studies each stage of the civil lawsuit including pleadings, motions, discovery, trial, post-trial motions, appeals, and finality of judgments. In addition, examines alternatives to the litigation process including mediation and arbitration and the role of negotiation in resolving clients' problems.

Criminal Procedure I (3 credits)

Studies the constitutional issues that arise in the administration of criminal justice, focusing specifically on problems connected with police investigation and other pretrial processes, as governed by the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth amendments.

Dispute Resolution Practices (2 credits)

This is a basic course in dispute resolution processes designed to enable lawyers to advise and represent clients. It explores the full range of traditional and emerging alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, both court-annexed and extra-judicial. It begins with negotiation theory and strategy, followed by mediation, arbitration, and various hybrid devices using third-party intervention (such as early neutral evaluation, non-binding arbitration, summary jury trial and mini-trial). (Recommended prerequisites: Lawyering Skills, Professional Responsibility, and Evidence)

Additional electives (in consultation with advisor).**

*Students have the option of taking additional electives above the 24 required units. However, students must verify the terms of their visa if electing to take additional credits that may take more than one year to complete.

**Work experience opportunities through internships or other programs may be available.