LLM in Intellectual Property Law: Degree Program Overview

After earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.), students who want to specialize in intellectual property law can enroll in a Master of Laws (LL.M.) program in the field.

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Essential Information

Master of Law (LL.M.) programs are available to practicing lawyers and new law school graduates who would like to learn more about a specific area of law, such as intellectual property law. In LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law programs, students learn about laws governing the ownership of artistic and scientific creations. Prior to graduation, they must submit a master's thesis or research paper. While lawyers are not required to complete LL.M. programs in order to specialize in this particular area of law, completing such a program can set them ahead of the competition when they are seeking jobs.

Applicants must have a J.D. (or the international equivalent) from an accredited school and submit a resume and letters of recommendation. If the candidate is from outside the United States, they must also submit LSAT and TOEFL scores.

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Master of Laws in Intellectual Property

Students in an intellectual property LL.M. program learn how to help clients establish ownership of a work of art or literature or receive compensation for the use of an original product design. The curriculum aims to give students an extensive background not only in trademark, patent and copyright laws, but also in economics and business. Some programs even include courses to keep students abreast of new developments in biotechnology and mass communications. Additional topics may include:

  • Antitrust law
  • Economic theories of law
  • International intellectual property law
  • Internet law
  • Litigating and resolving disputes
  • Trade secrets law

Career Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers in general were expected to see a 6% growth in employment opportunities from 2014-2024. Intellectual property lawyers in particular should see the demand for their services increase. Most lawyers work for private practices, while many others are employed by state or local governments. As of May 2015, the median annual wage for all lawyers was $115,820.

Continuing Education and Licensure Info

All lawyers in the U.S. must pass a bar examination approved by the jurisdiction or state in which they wish to practice. In most cases, this is either a state-issued bar exam, the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) or both. A separate exam on legal ethics may also be required. Applicants will need a J.D. to sit for these written licensing examinations.

Students with an LL.M. in Intellectual Property are qualified to pursue a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.). An S.J.D. is a terminal degree held mainly by law professors and scholars.

LL.M. programs in intellectual property law allow experienced lawyers and newly minted J.D.s to gain advanced skills in protecting clients' intellectual property rights. Graduates may also pursue academic research in the field by enrolling in an S.J.D. program.

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