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Frequently Asked Questions for Current LL.M. Students

Academic Enrichment Program and Other Academic Resources
Bar Exam/Bar Admission
Career Advising
Course Evaluations
Exams
Grading/Honors/Class Standing
Graduation
Illness/Leaves of Absence
Registration/Course Selection
Technology
Transcripts
Tuition/Billing


Academic Enrichment Program and Other Academic Resources

What is the Academic Enrichment Program?

The Academic Enrichment Program is a series of seminars on topics designed to help foreign LL.M. and exchange students make the most of their U.S. law studies.  These sessions give students strategies for success in classes and on exams. 

Are Academic Enrichment Program sessions mandatory?

Yes, the program is mandatory for all foreign-trained LL.M. students and exchange students.  If a student must miss a session for any reason, he or she must make up the missed session.  Instructions for makeups will be posted in the Graduate & International Student eNewsletter.

I need to miss a session of the Academic Enrichment Program.  What should I do?

First, you should email Kandice Thorn at kthorn1@law.fordham.edu or Kiran Chahal at llm@law.fordham.edu in advance if at all possible to let them know you must miss the session.  Then you must make up the missed session by following the instructions posted in the Graduate & International Student eNewsletter.

I took all the Academic Enrichment sessions last semester.  Do I need to do it again?

No, you need only complete the Academic Enrichment Program in your first semester of study.  Thereafter, if you feel you could benefit from attending a session, you are welcome to join, but otherwise, you need not participate.

How can I access recordings, PowerPoint slides, and handouts from past Academic Enrichment Program sessions?

Recordings of past Academic Enrichment Program sessions, along with the related slides and handouts, can be found by going to law.fordham.edu/llm/currentstudents and clicking on “Academic Enrichment Program” in the left navigation.  You will be prompted to enter your law school network ID and password (the same credentials you use to access printing at the law school). 

I am having trouble following my classes.  What should I do?

If you feel you are struggling academically, you should make an appointment to see Kandice Thorn during her office hours as soon as possible.  It is best to address such issues early rather than waiting until the end of the semester.  Ms. Thorn can help you identify resources and strategies to help you succeed.  You can also make an appointment to see our LL.M. program T.A.  Information about the LL.M. program T.A. can be found in the Graduate & International Student eNewsletter.

Who should I see for academic advising?

Kandice Thorn is your primary point of contact for academic advising.  You can make an appointment to see her during her office hours by signing up on the sheet posted outside Room 405.  Office hours are announced each week in the Graduate & International Student eNewsletter.  Part-time students who are unable to come in during regular business hours can email Kandice Thorn at kthorn1@law.fordham.edu for a telephone or after hours appointment.


Bar Exam/Bar Admission

Should I take the bar exam?

This is a very personal decision.  The factors you should consider include the following: how useful NY bar admission will be in your desired career path (considering in particular your desired geographic location and the value that New York bar admission will add there), the time and cost of sitting for the bar (including the time needed to gather documentation for your advance determination of eligibility and the cost of bar preparation classes, which can be quite expensive), and the likelihood of passing the bar (the bar passage rate for first time foreign takers is around 40% statewide, including applicants from English-speaking common law countries who can sit for the bar without doing an LL.M. degree).  If you have any questions about this, you should feel free to contact Kandice Thorn at kthorn1@law.fordham.edu

Is the bar exam necessary to get a job in the U.S.?

It depends on the kind of job you want.  If you wish to work long term as an attorney in the U.S., bar admission will be necessary.  This is true whether you work for a law firm or a corporation and whether or not you represent clients in court.  Many LL.M. graduates seek short term internships or visiting attorney positions for a year or less before returning to their home countries.  For these types of positions, bar admission is generally not required.

Will my LL.M. degree meet the requirements to sit for the bar exam?

Please see law.fordham.edu/llm/barexam for information on eligibility to sit for the New York bar exam.  You should also visit the New York Board of Law Examiners website for additional information.

Which is the best bar review course?

While we adamantly recommend that students complete a bar review course in the months leading up to the bar exam, we are not able to recommend any course in particular.  There are many good options for bar study. The various bar review companies set up informational tables in the Law School cafeteria throughout the semester.  We encourage you to visit their tables to learn more about each company and the courses they offer.  Dates that the companies will be tabling will be posted in the Graduate & International Student eNewsletter.

How do I increase my chances of passing the bar exam?

Taking a bar review course in the months leading up to the bar exam is crucial; in fact, it is nearly impossible (for J.D. and LL.M. graduates alike) to past the bar exam without taking one of these courses.  We also offer two law school courses designed to introduce LL.M. students to various subjects that are tested on the New York Bar Examination: Perspectives in U.S. Law (4 credits; offered in the spring) and Fundamental Principles of New York Law (2 credits; offered in the fall; not guaranteed to be offered in Fall 2014).  We encourage you to take at least one of these courses if possible. 

If English is not your first language, it will also be important for you to work on becoming even more proficient reading and writing in English.  The bar exam has strict time limits that can make passing the exam difficult for those who require extra time to read and write in English. 

What is the 50 hour pro bono rule and how can I meet this requirement?

Please see our “Bar Exam” webpage for information about the 50 hour pro bono rule and how to fulfill that requirement.

Where can I find more information on sitting for the bar examination?

We have created a webpage with information on sitting for the bar exam.  It can be found at law.fordham.edu/llm/barexam.  There you will find helpful information about the requirements to sit for the New York bar exam, as well as useful links where you can find more information and apply to sit for the exam.    You should also visit the website of the New York Board of Law Examiners (http://www.nybarexam.org/). 


Career Advising

What kind of career advising does Fordham offer to LL.M. students?

Career advising for LL.M. students and alumni is handled through the Graduate Professional Development Program, an initiative of the Office of International and Non-J.D. Programs.  Through GPDP, we offer students a wide variety of services and programs.  For complete information about these services and programs, you should visit law.fordham.edu/llm/gpdp.  Students interested in careers in the public sector also have access to advising through Fordham Law School's Public Interest Resource Center

Who should I contact for career advising?

Kandice Thorn oversees career advising for LL.M. students through the Graduate Professional Development Program.  The best way to make an appointment for individual career advising is by signing up for an appointment during Kandice Thorn’s office hours, which are announced in the Graduate & International Student eNewsletter each week.   A sign up sheet is posted outside Room 405. 

Where can I find resources to help me in my job search?

The Graduate Professional Development Program maintains a website with links to many resources, including a number of Mini-Guides designed to provide you with the important foundational information that will allow you to conduct an effective job search.  We also include links to many outside resources, and videos of our past programs.  A link to our Symplicity job bank can be found on this page as well.  These resources can be found at law.fordham.edu/gpdpresources

I really want to find a job in the U.S.  What should I do?

Networking is the most effective job search tool at your disposal if you wish to work in the U.S. following the LL.M. program.  As a starting point, we suggest that you read the Networking Mini-Guide (available at law.fordham.edu/gpdpresources) carefully and attend or view the GPDP program on networking (the current semester's schedule of events is available in the Graduate & International Student eNewsletter; videos of past programs are available on the GPDP website).  You will also want to perfect your U.S. style resume, and meet with Kandice Thorn for personalized career advising.

Where can I find recordings of past GPDP programs?

Recordings of past GPDP programs can be found at law.fordham.edu/gpdpresources

Can I contact the Fordham Law School Career Planning Center for career advice?

No, all career advising for LL.M. students is handled through the Graduate Professional Development Program, situated in the Office of International and Non-J.D. Programs.  CPC services are exclusively for J.D. students, who have very different career advising needs from our LL.M. population.  You can, however, access the same Fordham Law School job bank (Symplicity) by looking at our most popular online resources, available at law.fordham.edu/gpdpresources.

How can I submit my resume or cover letter for review?

You may submit your resume or cover letter for review using the online form available at law.fordham.edu/gpdpresources.  Please note that there are a number of steps you must complete before submitting your resume, including reading the related Mini-Guide and proofreading your document for consistency, grammar, and spelling.


Course Evaluations  

When will the professors see their course evaluations?

Professors see their course evaluations after the end of the semester, only after all grades have been entered and are final.

How do I complete the course evaluations?

Each semester, you will receive an email when the course evaluation process opens up.  When the process is open, you can go to law.fordham.edu/evaluate to proceed with the evaluations.

Can I be sure that course evaluations are anonymous?

Yes!  Confidentiality is essential to the evaluation process and is taken very seriously by the administration.  Professors cannot see any evaluations until their grades have been submitted for the course.  Additionally, the system does not allow professors to connect an evaluation with a particular student unless a student identifies himself or herself in the written comments.

Does anyone read the evaluation that I submit?

Yes.  Professors read their own evaluations and evaluations are also reviewed periodically by the Vice Dean.


Exams

Are exams graded anonymously?

Yes, exams are graded anonymously.  For this reason, you should not contact your professor for any reason regarding your exam.  If you must request an extension, if you have any technical issues uploading your exam, or if you have any other issues with respect to your exam, you must contact the Registrar’s office or the LL.M. office.

How can I know whether my exam is “in class” or “take home”?

The Registrar’s Office posts a tentative exam schedule during registration.  If you see your course listed on the tentative schedule, you can be reasonably certain that your class has an “in class” exam, meaning an exam that is offered to all students in person at the same time (though not necessarily the same as your class time).  If your class is not listed, you can be reasonably certain that you will have either a “take home” exam or a paper requirement.  If you would like further clarification, you may reach out to your professor directly.


Grading/Honors/Class Standing

What is the LL.M. grading scale?  Is it curved?

The LL.M. grading policy can be found under Rule 9 of the Rules Governing Examinations, Grades, and Honors.  LL.M.s are graded on a mandatory curve for certain courses, and the curve is recommended for others. 

Are LL.M.s graded on the same scale as the J.D.s?

No, LL.M. students are graded on a separate scale.  The LL.M. grading policy can be found under Rule 9 of the Rules Governing Examinations, Grades, and Honors.

What are Latin Honors?

Latin honors are magna cum laude and cum laude honors.  They are awarded at the May graduation ceremony.  Graduates whose grades place them in the top 10% of all graduates for the academic year (including August/September, February, and May graduates) and who have completed the Writing Requirement will receive magna cum laude honors.  Graduates whose grades place them in the top 25% of all graduates for the academic year (including those in the top 10% who did not complete the Writing Requirement) are awarded cum laude honors.

When will I know if I will receive Latin Honors?

Latin Honors are announced at the May graduation ceremony each year for all graduates who completed their degree during that academic year (August/September, February, and May).  If you do not attend the ceremony, you will receive an email and letter with honors information.

What is my class rank?

We do not calculate LL.M. class rank.  However, each May, we calculate the top 10%, 25%, and 50% for all graduates who completed their degree during that academic year (August/September, February, and May).  Letters indicating such standing are distributed shortly following the graduation ceremony each May.

How do I calculate my GPA?

GPAs are not calculated for LL.M. students.  If an employer is asking for your GPA, you should explain that LL.M.s are graded on a separate scale and do not receive GPAs.  You can refer the employer to Rule 9 of the Rules Governing Examinations, Grades, & Honors.

How soon will I know my grades after exams?

Grades are posted to my.fordham.edu as soon as they are submitted to the Registrar’s office by the professor.  For graduating students, grades are due in advance of graduation; for all other students, grades are due three weeks after the final exam period ends.


Graduation

When is graduation?

Graduation ceremonies typically take place around the third weekend in May.  Students who graduate at any point during that academic year (August/September, February, or May) are invited to participate in the May festivities.  The date of graduation can be found on the academic calendar on the Registrar’s webpage.

Is there a separate ceremony for students who graduate in February (after fall term) or August/September (after summer term)?

No.  We typically hold a dinner for February graduates, and they are invited also to participate in the May festivities and ceremony.  We have very few September graduates, so no special arrangements are made for them, though they are invited and welcome to participate in the May festivities and ceremony following their graduation as well.

When should my family come for graduation?

You can find the graduation date on the academic calendar on the Registrar’s webpage.  There may be events for graduates and their families in the days leading up to graduation as well.  For more information about these events, you may contact Kandice Thorn at kthorn1@law.fordham.edu.  

How long is the diploma ceremony?

The diploma ceremony usually lasts a few hours.  Graduates are expected to remain seated throughout the entire ceremony.  Although the LL.M. graduates are the first to receive their diplomas, you should not leave until the end of the ceremony.  Leaving early or talking while other graduates are receiving their diplomas is considered very rude.

What should I wear to graduation?

Typically people dress in business or business casual attire for graduation, however you should keep in mind that the gowns that all graduates wear can be very heavy and hot.  If you opt to wear a suit, you may wish to have a family member hold on to the jacket for you throughout the ceremony. 

When will I find out if I graduated with honors?

We calculate honors each May for all students who graduated during the academic year (August/September, February, and May).  We announce honors at graduation and send out letters to students who received honors shortly thereafter.

When will I receive my diploma?

For February graduates, diplomas are generally ready for pick up from the LL.M. office after February 1.  You can also request to have it mailed to you if you are not in the area (send an email to llm@law.fordham.edu to request this option).  If you think you will participate in the May graduation ceremony, you can also elect to receive it then. 

For students who graduate in May, you will receive your diploma at the May ceremony.  If you do not participate in the ceremony, you can pick it up from the LL.M. office any time after the ceremony, or you can request to have it mailed to you by sending an email to llm@law.fordham.edu

How will my name appear on my diploma?

Your name on your diploma should be your legal name.  You will be asked to specify your name as it should appear on your diploma when you apply to graduate just before starting your final semester of study.

Can I add a title such as “Dr.” to my diploma name?

No, titles cannot be added to diplomas.


Illness/Leaves of Absence

What should I do if I am sick and must miss a day of class?

If you are sick and must miss a day or two of class, you should email your professor(s) to let them know you will miss class (or to explain why you missed class if you are unable to email the professor in advance of the absence), and you should arrange to get notes and any missed assignments from a classmate. 

What if I get very sick and must miss multiple days?

If you must miss multiple days of class due to illness or for any other reason, you should email your professor to make them aware of the situation and to discuss how you can best keep up with the work in class.  Arrange to get notes and any missed assignments from a classmate.  In addition, you should contact Kandice Thorn at kthorn1@law.fordham.edu so that she is aware of the situation and can assist as necessary.  If you are unable to reach out to your professors individually, you may simply email Kandice Thorn and she can help reach out to your professors.  The important thing is to be in touch with us during this time.

What if an illness, death in the family, or other emergency occurs during final exams?

If an emergency occurs during final exams or something comes up that may cause you to need to postpone taking one or more exams, it is important that you do not contact your professor, as that can compromise the anonymity of the grading process.  You should contact Kandice Thorn at kthorn1@law.fordham.edu immediately (in advance of missing the exam) to determine the best course of action.

How do I request an extended leave of absence?

If you must request an extended leave of absence for any reason, you need to contact Kandice Thorn at kthorn1@law.fordham.edu to discuss the terms of your leave of absence, and you must also submit a Leave of Absence request form to the Office of Student Affairs.  You should note the schedule for tuition refunds.

I am pregnant and due to have a baby during the semester.  What should I do?

Depending on the due date, you will either be able to continue the semester with some excused absences around your due date, or you may need to take a leave of absence and return the following semester.  If you are in this situation, you should contact Kandice Thorn at kthorn1@law.fordham.edu as soon as possible to discuss. 

Where can I find information about University health insurance?

Information about University health insurance can be found on the Student Health Services website.  Additionally, international students may wish to contact the Office for International Services for information specific to them. 


Registration/Course Selection

When is registration? 

Registration for the fall semester usually happens in mid-June; registration for the spring semester usually takes place in mid-October.  You can check the Academic Calendar for exact dates for any given term.  LL.M. students register on the first day of registration.  Some classes close out very quickly and registration opens up to more groups of students after the first day, so students are strongly urged to register early on the first day to ensure the best chances of getting the courses they want.  Occasionally, a few very popular classes close out during the first minute or two of registration.

Can I seek a waiver from any of the LL.M. program requirements?

Waivers are rarely granted, except in specific situations detailed in the requirements for each program (e.g., Introduction to the U.S. Legal Profession and the Content Outline courses may be waived for students who are already admitted to the New York bar).  You can seek a waiver from an LL.M. program requirement by submitting the Request for Waiver from LL.M. Program Requirement form, available at law.fordham.edu/llmforms.  In many cases, documentation such as past transcripts or course syllabi may be helpful or required in order to evaluate your request.  Please provide as much information and documentation as you can in order to help us efficiently process your request. 

When is the last day to add or drop courses?

The last day to add or drop courses for each semester (generally at the end of the first week of the semester) can be found on the Academic Calendar available on the Registrar’s webpage

Where can I find first assignments for my courses?

Professors frequently post their first assignments and syllabi prior to the start of the semester.  They can be found on the Registrar’s webpage.  First assignments for Introduction to the U.S. Legal System can be found at law.fordham.edu/llm/intro.   

Where can I find the course schedule and when will it become available?

The course schedules are posted on the Registrar’s website.  The fall schedule is usually posted sometime in May and the spring schedule is usually posted sometime in September, a few weeks before registration.  Course schedules can also be found on my.fordham.edu, however you should note that my.fordham.edu rolls courses over automatically from the same semester of the previous year, meaning that until the schedule is posted on the Registrar’s webpage, the schedule available in my.fordham.edu is likely reflecting courses from the previous year and is therefore inaccurate.  As soon as the schedule is posted on the Registrar’s webpage, you can be certain that the schedule on my.fordham.edu is up-to-date. 

I am registering for Fall classes.  How can I know what will be offered in the Spring (or vice versa)?

Unfortunately, we cannot know the course schedule for the next semester while registering for the current semester.  To get a sense of what may be offered, you can look at schedules from previous years, available on the Registrar’s website at law.fordham.edu/registrar, however you should note that course offerings change from one year to the next.  If you have a question about the likelihood of a specific course being offered, you can ask Kandice Thorn or Kiran Chahal in the LL.M. office.  Sometimes a tentative schedule for the following semester is posted during the registration period for the current semester; be aware that this schedule is subject to change.

Who can I talk to for academic advising?

Kandice Thorn and Kiran Chahal are available to meet with students for academic advising.  You can make an appointment with them by signing up for their office hours outside of Room 405.  If no office hours appointments are available, you can email kthorn1@law.fordham.edu or llm@law.fordham.edu for an appointment. 

A class I want is closed.  How can I get into the class?  Is there a waitlist?

Most classes do not have waitlists.  If a class is closed and there is a waitlist, a screen will appear when you try to register for the course asking if you wish to be placed on the waitlist and providing details about how the waitlist works.  This is typically for legal writing and legal research classes only.  If a class is closed and has no waitlist, the only way to get into the class is to continue to check back on my.fordham.edu to see if a spot has opened up.  You are advised to check back frequently, especially during the Add/Drop period, when previously closed classes tend to open up briefly as students change their schedules. 

How can I learn more about registration?

The LL.M. Program website contains information about registration for LL.M. students.  From that page, you should also click on the links on the left to view the informational sessions and webinars sponsored by the LL.M. program in advance of each semester’s registration.  We hold info sessions, either live or via video or webinar, for both new and returning students each semester in advance of registration.

A class I want is not open to LL.M. students.  Can the law school grant an exception and allow me to take the course?

Certain categories of courses are not open to LL.M. students.  These include first-year J.D. classes (except for first-year courses offered during the summer term and occasionally for Constitutional Law) and J.D. drafting courses.  In addition, each semester there may be specified courses that are not open to LL.M. students. 

Toward the end of the Add/Drop period, you will receive an email with a list of courses initially closed to LL.M. students that have open seats remaining.  At that point you will have a very limited window of time to request enrollment in one or more of those courses.  Instructions for how to request enrollment will be included in the email.  Seats in those courses will be granted on a “first come, first served” basis.  It is important that you check your email frequently so as not to miss this opportunity. 

Can I audit a class?  

LL.M. students are generally not permitted to audit courses.  There are three exceptions to this rule:

  • Students may audit Perspectives in U.S. Law in the spring.
  • Students may audit Fundamental Principles of NY Law in the fall.
  • Students who are waived from taking Introduction to the U.S. Legal System may audit that course.

Students who wish to audit one of the courses mentioned above must submit a Course Audit Form, available at law.fordham.edu/llmforms

Can LL.M. students register for clinics?

Beginning in the Spring 2014 semester, clinics will be open to LL.M. students in their second semester of study.  Students interested in pursuing clinical opportunities should keep in mind the following:

  • Admission to clinics is conditioned on applying to the clinic and being accepted, sometimes following an interview process, similar to a job interview.  Demand is very high for clinics and admission is very competitive.  Application to a clinic is no guarantee of admission. 
  • Each clinic lasts one semester.  Most clinics offer students five credits, comprising three credits for fieldwork or casework and two credits for a related seminar.  Students who take a clinic must enroll in both the seminar and fieldwork/casework components.  For students who do not hold a J.D. from a U.S. law school, only four of those credits may be applied toward the 24-credit minimum for the program; however, students who do not intend to sit for the New York bar exam may request to have more than four credits apply toward their 24-credit minimum by submitting a Request for Waiver from LL.M. Program Requirement form
  • Clinical offerings vary each semester.  LL.M. students are only eligible to take a clinic after one semester of study. 
  • A few clinics may not be available to international LL.M. students due to regulatory requirements.  We will inform you which clinics, if any, are closed to international LL.M.s in any given semester.
  • Most clinics have certain prerequisites or recommended courses, however those may be waived at the discretion of the professor.  If you believe that your professional background makes you a good candidate for a clinic notwithstanding that you are missing a prerequisite, you may apply for that clinic.  There will be a place in the application form where you can explain your credentials and request that prerequisite(s) be waived.
  • The application process for clinics occurs several months before the start of the semester for which you are applying.  Keep your eyes open for deadlines throughout your first semester.  Late applications will not be accepted.   Deadline information can be found at http://law.fordham.edu/clinical-legal-education/12019.htm and will be announced in the Graduate & International Student eNewsletter.  Information for the spring semester will be posted as soon as it becomes available.  It is your responsibility to be aware of these deadlines.
  • Work in most clinics fulfills the 50 hour pro bono requirement for admission to the New York bar, but you may verify this with the professor who teaches the clinic.

For more information about Fordham’s clinical offerings, please visit law.fordham.edu/clinics.  In addition, we will hold an information session each semester for students who may be interested in applying for clinical opportunities.  The date and time of the information session will be announced in the Graduate & International Student eNewsletter.


Technology

I can’t access Symplicity.  What should I do?

Symplicity usernames and passwords are emailed to all new students shortly after the start of their first semester, and to alumni shortly after they sign up for an alumni account.  If you are unable to login with your username and password, click on “Forgot my Password.”  For current students, your username should be your Fordham Law School email address; for alumni, your username should be the email address you used when you signed up for an alumni account.  If you are still having trouble, contact llm@law.fordham.edu and describe the issue you are having in detail so that we can respond appropriately.     

I can’t get into the password protected pages of the Fordham Law website.  What should I do?

To access password protected pages of the Fordham Law website, you need your law school network username and password.  This is the same password that you use to access printing in the law library, and may be the same as your My.Fordham credentials.  If you are having trouble, you must contact the Law School Helpdesk.

I am having trouble with My.Fordham.  Who should I contact?

Fordham University IT handles issues related to My.Fordham.  You should contact them with any questions or concerns.

Who can help me with technology issues?

For general technology issues, you should contact the Law School Helpdesk.  


Transcripts

How do I request an official or unofficial transcript?

Instructions for how to access official and unofficial transcripts can be found on the Registrar’s webpage

Should I bring official or unofficial transcripts to a job interview?

Unofficial transcripts are usually sufficient for a job interview, unless the employer specifically requests an official transcript.  


Tuition and Billing

Why does student health insurance cost more in the spring than in the fall?

Spring semester health insurance also covers the summer that follows.  Because it covers a longer period of time than the fall, the premiums are higher in the spring. 

Can my late fees be waived?

The LL.M. office cannot waive late fees.  If you wish to have late fees removed, you must contact Student Accounts.  They alone have the discretion to remove late fees.

Who should I contact with questions about my bill?

The LL.M. office does not handle billing and is unable to answer most questions related to billing.  You should contact Student Accounts for all billing related questions.