Students currently enrolled in the LL.M. Program sometimes inquire about transferring into the J.D. Program.
American employers generally prefer to hire J.D. graduates for traditional American legal practice. While foreign LL.M. students may be at an advantage with international employers, J.D. students, who have had three years of American legal study as opposed to one, may be at an advantage with American legal employers.
Current UCLA LL.M. students are allowed to apply to the J.D. Program as transfer students during the transfer application period (early May through early July of each year). The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is not required. The applicant’s grades and the relative difficulty of coursework pursued in the LL.M. Program at UCLA will be weighed heavily. The admissions process is extremely selective (more selective than the LL.M. Program). Students with very high grades and strong English language skills (including demonstrated ability to communicate sophisticated legal concepts in English-speaking legal environments) will be the most competitive. Letters of reference from UCLA School of Law faculty will also carry significant weight.
If the applicant is accepted into the J.D. Program, he or she may transfer the credits from law classes taken toward the completion of the LL.M. degree, with the exception of courses that cannot be taken by J.D. students, such as Contracts for Foreign Lawyers (403), Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research (406), Contract Law: Analysis and Application (413), American Law in a Global Context (470), U.S. Constitutional Law for Foreign Lawyers (475), and Torts for Foreign Lawyers (476). Units earned from LL.M.-only sections of courses that can be taken by J.D. students, such as Evidence (211), Introduction to Federal Income Taxation (220), Business Associations (230), Entertainment Law (305), and Professional Responsibility (312) will transfer.
The student must then complete the first year curriculum in his or her second year at UCLA. In the third year, enough advanced courses must be completed in order to satisfy the J.D. graduation requirement of 87 units. No LL.M. degree is awarded.
Only students currently enrolled in UCLA’s LL.M. Program may apply in this manner. Those who have already been awarded an LL.M. at UCLA or elsewhere may apply as traditional J.D. applicants to the three-year program. This will require the submission of a valid LSAT score. Questions about the J.D. application process should be directed to the Admissions Office.
An FAQ for UCLA LL.M. students considering applying to transfer into the J.D. Program is available here.