The Master of Laws is a postgraduate academic degree, pursued by those either holding an undergraduate academic law degree, a professional law degree, or an undergraduate degree in a related subject. In some jurisdictions the “Master of Laws” is the basic professional degree for admission into legal practice. It is commonly abbreviated LL.M., from the Latin Legum Magister (meaning “master of laws”).
In India, the thrust of legal education is on the undergraduate law degrees with most of those opting for the undergraduate law degree either going forward to enroll themselves with the Bar Council of India and start practicing as Advocates or giving legal advice without being eligible to appear in courts (a consequence of non-enrollment). Similar to the United Kingdom, a master’s degree in Law in India is basically opted to specialize in particular areas of law. Traditionally the most popular areas of specialization in these master’s degrees in law in India have been constitutional law, family law and taxation law.
However, with the establishment of the specialized autonomous law schools in India in 1987 (the first was the National Law School of India University) much emphasis is being given at the master’s level of legal education in India. With the establishment of these universities, focus in specialization has been shifted to newer areas such as corporate law, intellectual property law, international trade law etc. Master’s degree of Law in India was in earlier times of 2 years but at present it
To become a lawyer and practice law in most states and countries, a person must first obtain a law degree. While in most common law countries a Bachelor of Laws (or LL.B.) is required, the U.S. and Canada generally require a professional doctorate, or Juris Doctor, to practice law.
The Juris Doctor (J.D.) is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law. The degree is earned by completing law school in the United States, Canada, Australia, and other common law countries. Many who hold the degree of Juris Doctor are professionals committed to the practice of law, and may choose to focus their practice on criminal law, tort, family law, corporate law, and/or a wide range of other areas.
The majority of individuals holding a J.D. must pass an examination in order to be licensed to practice law within their respective jurisdictions.
If a person wishes to gain specialized knowledge through research in a particular area of law, he or she can continue his or her studies after an LL.B or J.D. in an LL.M. program. The word legum is the genitive plural form of the Latin word lex and means “of the laws”. When used in the plural, it signifies a specific body of laws, as opposed to the general collective concept embodied in the word jus, from which the words “juris” and “justice” derive.
The highest research degree in law is the S.J.D. (or J.S.D., depending on the institution), and it is equivalent to the Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD or DPhil depending on the law school in UK), Doctorat en Droit (in France), or the Doktor der Rechtswissenschaften (Dr.iur.) in Germany. There are also variant doctoral degrees, such as the D.C.L. (Doctor of Civil Law) degree bestowed by McGill University in Canada. Most schools require an LL.M. before admission to a SJD or a PhD in law degree program. Like the PhD, the SJD degree generally requires a dissertation that is graded (often by two graders), orally defended (by an exam known as Viva Voce) and then often published as a book or series of articles.
The “Doctor of Laws” (LL.D.) degree in the United States of America is usually an honorary degree.