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What’s What Law Student Handbook

LLM Degree

Note: Please also refer to the registration letter sent to you by the Program Director for details on registration and the LL.M. Program. LL.M.s should also review all of the What’s What — Student Handbook, as all general law school policies applicable to J.D. students also apply to LL.M. students, except as noted.  LL.M. students should also look at the LL.M. website

Overview of Program Requirements: U.S. Students

To obtain the LL.M degree, LL.M students must earn a minimum of 26 semester hours of credit with a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or better. At least 18 of the 26 total credits must be from the environmental/natural resources curriculum. All classes listed as environmental/natural resources classes in the law school’s registration materials, including summer environmental classes, count toward the 18 “environmental credits”, except Administrative Law and Environmental Law. Credits earned in Administrative Law and Environmental Law count toward the 26 total credits needed, but not toward the 18 “environmental credits”. The two credits of the required LL.M seminar do count toward the 18 “environmental credits”, as do the 6 credits of thesis, if a student elects to do a thesis.

Of the 26 credits, two apply towards the required LL.M. seminar. At least 18 of the 26 total credits must be from the environmental/natural resources curriculum. All classes listed as environmental/natural resources classes in the law school’s registration materials, including summer environmental classes, count towards the 18 “environmental credits,” except Administrative Law and Environmental Law. Credits earned in Administrative Law and Environmental Law count towards the 26 total credits needed, but not towards the 18 “environmental credits.” The two credits of the LL.M. seminar do count towards the 18 “environmental credits,” as do the 6 credits of thesis, if a student elects to do a thesis.

Students who have not taken Administrative Law or a survey Environmental Law class in law school fairly recently must take those classes as a LL.M. at Lewis & Clark as they are important foundational courses. Students may take those classes in the summer or during the regular year. In some cases, students who did not take these two classes in law school, but who have substantial practice experience in administrative or environmental law, may request permission from the program director to waive those courses. As noted above, if you need to take either or both of these classes at Lewis & Clark, they will count towards the 26 total credits needed for the degree, but not towards the 18 “environmental credits” needed.

In order to be sure you are meeting the requirements for the LL.M. degree in terms of total credits and correct number of “environmental credits,” students are asked to submit their proposed schedules each semester to the program director and to inform the director of any schedule changes.

Overview of Program Requirements: International Students

To obtain the LL.M. degree, international students must earn a minimum of 28 semester hours of credit. International students are graded on a Credit/No Credit/Honors basis in all classes. Honors will be awarded in classes in which the qualifying LL.M. student would otherwise have received a grade of B+ or higher.  In unusual circumstances, an international student can request to be awarded letter grades instead of Credit/No Credit/Honors within the first three weeks of the semester. The decision to award letter grades is final and irrevocable, and the student should take into account any future uses of the transcript by employers, other graduate schools, sponsors, and bar examiners before submitting a request.  A form recording the student’s request for letter grades and the director of the international LL.M. program’s approval will be signed by both the student and the director.

Of the 28 required credits, four credits must be taken in required courses: the 2 credit August International LL.M Seminar (unless attendance at the seminar is waived) and the 2 credit academic year LL.M graduate seminar. Of the remaining 24 credits, at least 18 credits must be in environmental or natural resources classes. One of these must be Environmental Law (unless the student has taken a similar course recently at a U.S. law school). We also strongly recommend that international students take Administrative Law as it is helpful in understanding the U.S. environmental regulatory and enforcement system. International students do not complete a thesis. As discussed below, the student will complete a professional-level graduate research paper in the LL.M graduate seminar.

Grading Policy for International LL.M Students

This grading policy applies to international LL.M students. It applies to all classes, environmental and non-environmental.

These students are evaluated on a Credit/No Credit/Honors basis. The student will be awarded a grade of honors in classes in which the student would otherwise have received a grade of B+ or higher.

Students under this grading scheme who want to transfer credits into the J.D. program must have at least one Honors grade before applying to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Associate Dean will then evaluate the application to determine whether the student meets admissions standards.

Any students evaluated by this method are not counted in the grading curve for the course.

LL.M. Seminar: All Students

All LL.M.s need to register for one credit of the Graduate Environmental Seminar in each of two semesters (two credits total). Attendance is required for all LL.M.s. Other participants in the LL.M seminar will include the natural resources faculty and staff, and visiting scholars and fellows. Students will prepare a 20-30 page paper as part of the seminar on an environmental or natural resources law topic of their choice and will be graded in the seminar on their overall participation in the seminar, class presentation on their paper, and the paper.

Course Load/Timing

LL.M.s must register for a minimum of 5 credits each semester, except for summer school and the student’s final semester if less than 5 credits are needed to complete the degree. If a student wishes to take less than 5 credits in any semester that is not summer or the final semester, they must request permission to “underload” from the Program Director. Note that a student must be registered for at least 5 credits each semester to be considered a full-time LL.M. student. Being less than a full-time student may impact a student’s ability to defer loan repayments (depending on the lender), so please plan accordingly.

U.S. LL.M’s have a total of two and one-half years in which to complete the degree. International LL.M’s under U.S. Homeland Security regulations, must ordinarily complete their degree within 18 months and must contact the International Students and Scholars Office well in advance if an extension is needed. Extensions for U.S. students are granted only in exceptional circumstances upon written request to the Program Director. LL.M students who are unable to complete all degree requirements may be eligible to receive a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law instead of the degree.

LL.M.s have a total of two and one-half years in which to complete the degree. Extensions are granted only in exceptional circumstances upon written request to the Program Director. LL.M. students who are unable to complete all degree requirements may be eligible to receive a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law instead of the degree.

Course Availability

All courses offered at the law school are open to LL.M. students, except for externships, moot court, (except Merhige National Environmental Competition, which permits LL.M.s to compete) law review, and courses for which an LL.M. student has already received credit in obtaining the J.D. or other degree. Internships and other practical experiences are available to LL.M.s. These include the Environmental Clinic (working with the on-campus Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center); the International Environmental Law Project (working with the on-campus international environmental clinic); and Clinical Internship Seminar: Environmental/Natural Resources (working part-time with an environmental lawyer or legal organization in Portland and attending a weekly class meeting.) You may also register for an Individual Research project with a faculty member. Consult the Course Description book for details on these opportunities.

Thesis (LL.M.)

U.S. students who want to complete a written thesis should register for six thesis credits. Students cannot register for less than six credits for the thesis. The Program Director will work with students to assign a thesis advisor and two readers.

Note that once a student is no longer registered for credit and is only working on the thesis, they are no longer considered an enrolled student for purposes of school insurance coverage, repayment of loans, etc.

Leave of Absence/Withdrawal (LL.M)

Leave of Absence

Students who need to take a temporary leave of absence from the program must request a leave in writing of the Program Director. The request must specify the basis for the requested leave and the estimated length of the leave. In the absence of unusual circumstances, leaves will be granted for one semester only. The time taken off for a permitted leave is requested and granted prior to the start of the published first day of the semester, the student will no be required to pay tuition for that semester. If the leave of absence is requested and granted on or after the published first day of the semester, charges will be pro-rated according to the Policy of Charge Adjustment found on page 83. Therefore, the semester tuition charges and the LL.M Fee will be pro-rated on a per-day basis, based on the academic calendar, up to the 60% point of the period of instruction for the semester. After the 60% point, there will be no adjustment to these charges.

Withdrawal

If an LL.M student wishes to totally withdraw from the program (i.e., not complete the program), the student must notify the Program Director and Registrar as far in advance as possible prior to the withdrawal. The withdrawal is effective as of the date the student notifies the Registrar and Program Director. Students who withdraw prior to the start of the published first day of the semester, will not be required to pay tuition for that semester. For LL.M students who totally withdraw from the program on or after the published first day of the semester, charges will be pro-rated according to the Policy of Charge Adjustment found on page 83. Therefore, the semester tuition charges and the LL.M Fee will be pro-rated on a per-day basis, based on the academic calendar, up to the 60% point of the period of instruction for the semester. After the 60% point, there will be no adjustment to these charges.

LL.M. Tuition

LL.M. students are charged tuition by the credit hour. LL.M. students also pay a Student Activity and Building Fee of $85.00 per year.

Add/Drop form available online.

LL.M. students may register for, add and drop courses throughout the first three weeks of school without penalty. The initial billing will be based on the number of credits registered for at the time of billing. To avoid late charges on tuition, please pay tuition by the time it is due regardless of possible schedule changes. Your account will be adjusted if you change your schedule within the three week add/drop period after paying your tuition.

PLEASE NOTE the following policy on tuition adjustments for schedule changes (not withdrawals): Dropping classes during the first three weeks: Tuition reversed at 100% for dropped credits (as long as student is not dropping all credits). Dropping classes after 3 weeks: no reversal of tuition charges for schedule adjustment.

Insurance

All LL.M.s are subject to the same policies on insurance as J.D.S. Please consult the section of this book addressing insurance or visit the Student Health Insurance Information website for more details. Please note that you must be a registered student to be eligible for the college’s insurance. If you have completed your coursework and are just working on your thesis and are not registered for credits, you are no longer eligible for the college’s insurance.

Contacts

If you have any questions about the LL.M. program, please consult the Program Director Janice Weis at 503-768-6649 or jweis@lclark.edu, or the Assistant Director Lucy Brehm at 503-768-6882 or brehm@lclark.edu. You may also visit the website at: http://www.lclark.edu/dept/elaw/llm_home.html

 

Animal Law LL.M. Program

 

The Center for Animal Law Studies offers graduates of U.S. and foreign law schools the opportunity to earn an advanced degree in animal law from the leading educational institute in the field. The program is designed for attorneys who want to immerse themselves in the complex legal, philosophical and doctrinal issues involved in animal law.  We select recent law graduates or practicing attorneys who will benefit from this expertise, such as those who are seeking advanced credentials to teach, transitioning into the field from other practice areas, looking to become policymakers/advisors or desiring experience in U.S. legal principles and common law. The degree requires the completion of 26 credits for U.S. students and 28 credits for international students.   The program can be completed in one year (two semesters) with full-time attendance. During this time, we provide access to our renowned animal law faculty, leading scholars and practitioners in the field and the broadest curriculum offered in the nation, along with the ability to participate in the Animal Law Clinic and the journal, Animal Law.   Given Lewis & Clark’s rich history in animal law and depth of relationships, we can also offer numerous opportunities for students to gain the practical skills needed through externships with various organizations and research opportunities.  LL.M. students also have access to our career and professional development centers.  

For more detailed information on admissions and program requirements please visit the Animal Law LL.M. webpage

Contact:

If you have any questions about the LL.M. program, please consult the Program Director, Natasha Dolezal at 503.768.6976 or ndolezal@lclark.edu.