Wake Forest Law first in North Carolina to offer Two-Year J.D. for International Lawyers

Photo of Manchester Plaza with Reynolda Hall in the background on the campus of Wake Forest University

Photo by Ken Bennett

Beginning in August 2015, the Wake Forest University School of Law will offer an American Bar Association-approved Two-Year Juris Doctor (J.D.) for International Lawyers. Wake Forest is the first law school in North Carolina to offer this degree, which is specifically designed for lawyers educated outside of the United States who are interested in gaining expertise in American law.

Graduates are eligible to take any state bar exam along with all other J.D. graduates. Admitted foreign law graduates receive one year of law school credit based on their legal education in their home countries.

Associate Dean of International Affairs Richard Schneider says, “Wake Forest Law recognizes that while many foreign law graduates come to the U.S. to earn an LL.M. degree, some foreign law graduates, however, want to come to the U.S. to earn a J.D. degree. They might consider a J.D. degree to be essential for their home law job market, or they may have ideas of staying in the United States to practice law.”

Interim Dean of Wake Forest Law Suzanne Reynolds (’77) praises the new degree opportunity. “Since every lawyer’s experience is increasingly global, the presence of more international J.D. students at Wake Forest enhances the study of law for everyone at our school.”

Santiago Herrera Hall (’17) is from Argentina and an incoming Two-Year JD student in fall 2015 and cites the collegial atmosphere that pervades the law school and the wide variety of upper-class courses offered at Wake Forest as playing an important role in his decision. “It also helped the fact that the law school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C., a friendly and incredibly welcoming, vibrant city with a remarkable sense of community. I also feel I can have an impact in both Wake Forest Law and Winston-Salem,” says Hall.

Hall adds about the decision to chose Wake Forest Law, “The staff sincerely cared about helping me make the right decision. They patiently addressed each and every concern I had, and helped me assess whether Wake Forest was the best fit considering my background and career plans—instead of just ‘selling’ and deal with whatever concerns you later. This last was very important during the decision-making process and helped me understand Wake Forest’s character and culture.”

Maria Travers (’17) is from Nicaragua and chose Wake Forest because of the school environment and the resources the university provides its students, with priority to the availability that professors have for any academic concern. “The classes are small and the faculty and staff are very welcoming. Wake Forest Law will give me the opportunity to gain the fundamental knowledge of law to be a humanitarian legal professional, which will be crucial to my career,” states Travers.

Shuo Li (’17), also in the incoming fall 2015 class, cites reasons for furthering her legal education at Wake Forest. “I finished my legal education in China in one of the best Chinese law schools and after completing a one-year LLM program in the U.S., I found out that I still want to get more from the American legal educational system – just one year is not enough. Wake Forest University School of Law is giving me the chance to continue my legal education, and its good reputation and faculty make me feel that this is the law school I want to join.”

Visit the website for admissions requirements and details at http://twoyearjd.law.wfu.edu/

Wake Forest Law’s International Programs also include the Master of Laws in American Law (LL.M.), S.J.D., Visiting International Researcher, and Study Abroad programs in London, Venice, Vienna and Nicaragua.

In addition to the JD and the Master of Studies in Law, the law school also offers the following dual degrees: the JD/M Div, the JD/MA in Religion, the JD/MA in Bioethics and the JD/MBA in conjunction with the university’s School of Business.