A World-Class Bankruptcy Program
Our standard is excellence. We offer the nation’s only
LL.M. in Bankruptcy program and we accept only about a dozen
highly motivated students a year. Our intensive and comprehensive
curriculum spans the gamut of bankruptcy practice. We offer more
than two dozen specialized master’s level bankruptcy courses that
are taught by a world-class faculty comprised of leading academics,
judges and practitioners. Our program is highly individualized and
our classes are small, with most classes smaller than a dozen
students. Our 30-credit LL.M. program combines 24 credits of
practical course work with six credits of work on a publishable
scholarly thesis. Our graduates are successful and are employed by
leading firms and courts.
The J.D./LL.M. Option
As a student in the J.D./LL.M. joint degree program, you
complete both your J.D. degree and your LL.M.
in Bankruptcy degree in as little as seven semesters. The
joint degree program can reduce by half both the time and expense
of obtaining your LL.M.in Bankruptcy Degree. How does it work?
The LL.M. in Bankruptcy courses you take as a J.D. student will
count toward the credits needed for your J.D.degree. In addition,
up to 15 of those credits can also count toward the 30 credits
needed for your LL.M. in Bankruptcy degree. You will receive your
J.D. degree upon completion of the J.D. degree requirements and
your LL.M. in Bankruptcy degree upon the completion of the
degree requirements. (You must complete your
J.D. degree and be formally admitted into the LL.M. program in
order to receive the LL.M. degree.)
What Do I Take?
The joint degree program is flexible so you can take as
few or as many LL.M. courses as you like—and you can take them
whenever you like.The only limitations are that you must have
the appropriate pre-requisites(typically Creditors’ Rights) and
that no more than 15 credits cancount toward the LL.M. degree
(although you may take more than 15LL.M. credits as a J.D.
What is the Best Schedule?
Your schedule depends on whether you want to complete both
degrees in seven semesters of full-time study, or you want to take
a lighter load and finish in eight or more semesters. Ours is a
small program, so you should meet personally with the Director to
design a schedule tailored to your interests, needs and career
If you are in no hurry to graduate then your scheduling options are
very flexible. We suggest that you take as many of the required
LL.M. courses as possible while you are a J.D. student. This will
ensure that you are well prepared for your elective courses and
thesis work, and it will give you maximum scheduling flexibility
for your post-J.D. coursework. If you complete 15 LL.M. credits as
a J.D. student under this option, you will need to take only nine
more elective class credits and complete your thesis (for six
non-class credits). This is an excellent option if you are
interested in a judicial clerkship (many begin in the fall) or if
you plan to start a job while you complete the LL.M. degree on a
part-time basis.If you wish to graduate in only seven semesters,
then you must take all of the required LL.M. courses (and any
electives you want) that are offered during your final semester of
law school. We generally offer each course only once a year and in
the same semester each year. For example, if you wish to graduate
in seven semesters, with your seventh semester being the fall term,
then you must complete all the spring semester required courses by
the end of your sixth semester. Although it is not essential, you
may also wish to complete the first part of your required Advanced
Research Seminar (thesis preparation) by the end of your final
What About the Bar Exam?
Take the bar examination as soon as possible after
completing your J.D. degree. Focus on passing the exam and do not
try to write your thesis or take additional summer school classes
when you should be studying for the bar. You will be much more
attractive to employers if you are admitted to the bar before you
complete your LL.M.in Bankruptcy.
Special Course Considerations
Our curriculum is rich and interdisciplinary. In addition
to more than two dozen specialized LL.M. in Bankruptcy courses, the
full range of J.D. courses plus many M.B.A. courses are available
as electives, subject to the Director’s approval. Special rules
apply to J.D. and M.B.A. elective courses taken by joint degree
students. Contact the Director if you want to apply these credits
to your LL.M. degree requirements.The Advanced Research Seminar
(thesis preparation) presents a special challenge if taken during
the J.D. phase of the joint degree program. Students rarely
complete a thesis early, but you must at least produce adraft that
can be graded during the semester if you intend to apply anythesis
credit to your J.D. degree.
The joint degree option has the effect of a half-tuition
LL.M. scholarship since you may double-count up to half of the
credits needed forthe LL.M. in Bankruptcy degree. In addition,
several LL.M. scholarships are available for exceptional students.
However, LL.M. scholarship aid will be applied only to the credit
hours you take in the LL.M. program after completion of your J.D.
degree (and thus is not available for theJ.D. portion of the
joint-degree program). If you attend a school other than St. John’s
University, we can arrange a consortium agreement (if your home
school agrees) so that your student loans will be available for
credits taken at St. John’s before you receive your J.D. degree.
Various student loan and work-study programs are available for your
post-J.D. work in the LL.M. program.
A Flexible Option
The joint J.D./LL.M. in Bankruptcy degree program is
designed to be as flexible as possible. The program is open to both
St. John’s students and J.D. candidates at any ABA-accredited law
school. While we strongly recommend that you apply to and be
admitted into the J.D./LL.M. program before taking any LL.M. in
Bankruptcy courses, LL.M. courses completed before you apply may
count toward your LL.M. degree if you are later admitted into
the LL.M. program. Indeed, as long as you are admitted into
the LL.M. program within two years after graduating from the J.D.
program, any LL.M. courses you completed as a J.D. student will
count toward the requirements for your LL.M. in Bankruptcy degree.
Thus, you may apply before you take any LL.M. courses, while you
are taking LL.M. courses, or within two years after your J.D.
graduation. However, the program is selective and admission is not
guaranteed regardless of how many LL.M. courses you completed as a
J.D. student. Thus, you must be accepted into the LL.M. program
before taking any LL.M. courses if you want to be certain that they
will count toward the LL.M. in Bankruptcy degree.
Students From Other Schools
Under ABA rules, our LL.M. in Bankruptcy courses may be
applied astransfer credits to satisfy the J.D. requirements of
other ABA-accreditedlaw schools. You may obtain the full benefit of
the joint degreeprogram by spending your final semester of law
school as a visitingstudent at St. John’s, taking bankruptcy
courses for J.D. credit while completing half of your LL.M. degree
requirements. (Alternatively, if you attend a nearby law school,
you may enroll on a visiting student basis in one or more specific
LL.M. in Bankruptcy courses while taking other J.D. courses at your
home school.) Your home school is not required to accept transfer
credits. Thus, before enrolling at St. John’s you must obtain a
letter from your Dean stating that our credits will be accepted for
transfer for your J.D. degree. You will receive your J.D.degree
from your home school, but will already have completed much of the
work on your St. John’s LL.M. in Bankruptcy degree.
J.D./LL.M. Admission Standards
The J.D./LL.M. option is available to St. John’s law
students and to students attending other ABA-accredited law schools
(subject to the consent of the home school’s Dean). Our program is
small and we are looking for strong students who have the character
and intelligence needed to flourish in a rigorous academic program.
Acceptance will be based on your academic record, recommendations,
published and unpublished written work, interest in bankruptcy and
otherr elevant factors.
You may apply for admission to the joint degree program at any time
after you have completed 54 J.D. credit hours (the equivalent of
two years of J.D. coursework), including at least one introductory
bankruptcy course (the St. John’s Creditors’ Rights course or an
equivalent course at another law school). Applications may
be obtained from the LL.M.office or the program website
(listed below). There is no deadline and your application will be
processed as soon as it is complete. However, if you attend a
school other than St. John’s, please apply well in advance of the
semester you wish to matriculate so that there will be time to
obtain necessary approvals from your Dean and make any necessary
student loan and housing arrangements. If you are not a St.
John’sstudent, you must also submit a letter from your Dean stating
that our credits will be accepted for transfer for your J.D.
Director of Bankruptcy Programs