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  • Tanvi Rajvanshi

General vs. Specialized LLM at Boston University: What should you pick?

The Boston University School of Law offers four different tracks as part of its LLM program. You can choose to either specialize in Banking & Financial Law, Intellectual Property Law, or Tax Law. If none of these fit your interests, BU also offers a general track LLM in American Law.

The traditional view is that a Bachelor's degree is where you are introduced to your field of study on a broad spectrum, whereas a Master’s degree is the platform for you to hone in on your particular niche of interests. Be that as it may, today’s employment landscape is constantly evolving, where one is required to deliver results as a generalist with knowledge on a diverse range of subjects.

So, the question arises: should I pursue a general or a specialized LLM? Based on our conversation with BU Law students and alumni, here are some important things we learned which may help point you in the right direction.

Background and Description

First, it is important to get a sense of what each track offers and how they differ from one another. In her search for where to pursue her further studies, Apoorva Panda, a graduate of the Tax program at BU Law, explains that she “looked at rankings, courses, faculty, and [she suggests] for everyone to first go through that research.”

It is important to note that the Tax LLM program at BU is one of the United States’ first graduate tax programs, and as such, it is highly reputed amongst both students and practitioners. Depending on your situation, you can pursue this program in-person, online, part-time, or full-time - giving you the flexibility to pursue an LLM on your terms. This is a 24-credit program (12 courses), with five required courses, and offers a three-semester bar qualification option for international students wishing to practise in the US.

The LLM in Banking & Financial Law is designed “for global practitioners who seek advance training in the rapidly evolving field of financial services law” (BU Law). This program remains the only financial services LLM program in the US designed exclusively for graduate students to understand financial law alongside economics and business principles. Some subject areas in the Banking program include Commercial Lending, Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporations and Hedge Funds, Securities Regulation and Venture Capital Financing amongst others. Like the Tax program, the Banking LLM is also a 24-credit program and can be completed on a full or part-time basis.

What’s clear is that there is no wrong choice between a general and specialized LLM.

Lastly, the LLM in American Law program is the general track BU offers, wherein you have the freedom and flexibility to pick and choose the courses that interest you. According to BU, “when you arrive, you’ll design a study plan with academic advisors built around the JD program’s 200+ courses, including fundamental and upper-level offerings and LLM-only, practice-focused courses.” In addition, with the American Law program you also have the option to pursue a concentration in either International Business Practice, Intellectual Property, or Taxation. You may also cross-register for classes in the Tax or Banking programs at BU. In this 24-credit program, you are given the keys to all the doors, you just have to choose which ones to unlock.