International Jurist names LL.M. degree program among best value, law school experience


Photo of cover of International Jurist Spring 2017 issueThe International Jurist has ranked Wake Forest Law among the top LL.M. degree programs in its Spring 2017 issue. Wake Forest Law was among the schools to receive an “A” rating for “Best Law School Experience” and “Best Value.” It’s the second year in a row the law school has been recognized for “Best Law School Experience” by the magazine.

Wake Forest Law’s LL.M. program, which is one of the longest running in the U.S., is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017.  The program was selected based on eight factors when grading schools for the law school experience including participation in activities such as clinics, journals, extracurricular offerings and excursions. In determining best value, the magazine’s editors looked at a mix of academic cost and experience factors. “We have to keep doing what we do best,” says Associate Dean for International Affairs Dick Schneider.

For international lawyers and law students looking to enhance their legal careers by studying the U.S. legal system, Wake Forest Law’s LL.M. program attracts students with its small class sizes and dedicated professors.

The 10-to-1 student/faculty ratio allows students to receive individualized experiences catered to each of their unique goals.  Wake Forest Law’s faculty members, many of whom are experts in international legal issues, are accessible and hands-on, says International Graduate Programs Director Amber Featherstone. ”LL.M. students are paired with a faculty adviser for guidance in course selection, research and more,” she explains.

Javlon Otakulov (LL.M. ’17), a native of  Uzbekistan, chose Wake Forest Law because he wanted to improve his professional skills.  “Wake Forest Law’s LL.M. program offers a wide range of essential courses in my area of law,” Otakulov said. “I was attracted to the school’s facilities and the opportunities for international law students.”

The personalized attention LL.M. students receive also extends from a J.D. mentoring program, Featherstone adds.

The JD Mentor Program partners LL.M. students with current JD students to provide assistance in adjusting to a new culture, language and education. Each fall, JD student volunteers are paired with a new LL.M. student based upon their backgrounds, interests and languages spoken. It was through this program that Kintaro Minami (LL.M. ’17) and Ray Dunn (JD ’18) met and forged a strong friendship.

“My life in law school became more comfortable after I met Ray, my mentor, in the beginning of fall semester,” said Minami, who hails from Japan. “Once you make a friend that you can talk with about your experience in law school, you will feel better.”

Ana Paula de Barros (LL.M. ‘17), originally from Brazil, knew she wanted to pursue an LL.M. in the United States, and for her, Wake Forest Law turned out to be the perfect fit. “Several people in the U.S. had told me about the quality of Wake Forest School of Law,” de Barros said. “I was attracted to the small program where we have the opportunity to foster close relationships with professors and deans of the university. For me, relationships matter.”

While at Wake Forest Law, she has been proactive in getting to know her American classmates.

“I think we can learn a lot from the experience of being in the same classroom as all American students, because it really pushes us to work harder.”