What use is an LLB for Americans

Master of Laws (LL.M.) - an academic degree with many question marks

LL.M. - an academic title that is read more and more often. This ominous LL.M. appears not only behind the names of lawyers, but also with auditors, management consultants or the legal counsel of the legal department. on.

The postgraduate degree “Master of Laws” (LL.M.) can now be obtained at many universities. International is the LL.M. a recognized and prestigious degree. But what is the actual qualification behind this academic title? Who or what are the “Master of Laws”?

Course content in the LL.M. courses

There is no uniform content framework for the LL.M. The specific course content is always based on the respective study regulations of the college or university that offers the course. What all LL.M. courses have in common, however, is that they are postgraduate courses with a focus on law.

Most LL.M. courses in Germany relate to the field of business law. The LL.M. course therefore focuses on those areas of law that are particularly relevant for a job in the company, such as B. corporate, competition, labor and tax law or the field of industrial property rights.

The focus in the LL.M. degree

The aim of most LL.M. courses is to train lawyers who are not only able to make a legally sound assessment, but at the same time have an overview of the economic consequences of the decision and can accordingly work out sensible alternative courses of action. In contrast to traditional law studies, LL.M. students get a different perspective on the legal way of working - the focus here is primarily on entrepreneurial interests and the risks of legal issues. You will learn specifically to use the law as an instrument for realizing (economic) corporate goals.

Very different focal points possible

Even if LL.M. courses have a common basic structure, the individual offers of courses with the LL.M. degree differ greatly in terms of content - the bouquet of possible modules and subjects is in almost all LL.M. courses very colourful.

The focus is on a wide variety of legal subjects, which can be individually combined with a variety of other content. All potentially conceivable economically interesting areas are recorded, starting with classic controlling, through the area of ​​financing and corporate management to personnel management or newer, interdisciplinary topics such as Industry 4.0, conflict management or company health management.

Business economists with a specialization in law, business lawyers or specialized fully lawyers

Since the LL.M. course is a postgraduate course, the professional qualification of an "LL.M." depends not only on the specific course, but also crucially on its previous course.

The classic preparatory course is the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) The combination of LL.B. and LL.M. has replaced the business lawyers since the Bologna Process. In this combination, LL.M. graduates have completed a five-year course with a focus on the legal field and combined with isolated basic business knowledge and soft skills. The path to becoming an LL.M. but is also open to business economists who usually have a legal focus in their bachelor's degree - e. B. International Business Law - have chosen. At the end of their studies they are not lawyers with basic business knowledge, but rather the other way round: business economists with a deep legal specialization.

Finally, of course, there are also fully qualified lawyers who complete an LL.M. degree after the second state examination. You use the LL.M. course to specialize in law. In the English and American countries in particular, many LL.M. courses offer specializations that are hardly or not at all offered in German law studies.

So there is no clear answer to the question of who or what the LL.M.s are, but - as the lawyers put it so beautifully - it depends. Depending on what the LL.M. holder studied before completing his LL.M. degree, the qualification is completely different. The range of possible qualifications is wide and can therefore range from legally experienced business economists to specialized fully qualified lawyers with additional qualifications.


In the case of the Master of Laws, the professional qualification does not result solely from the name of the training or the degree. Here, the qualification profile of an LL.M. graduate results from the combination of his or her previous studies, specialization and selected courses and can therefore be very different. The Master of Laws can be a generalist with in-depth knowledge in many areas of law and / or business administration, it can be a specialist in tax issues, human resources, management strategies or forms of financing, it can be a business economist or a lawyer specializing in commercial law from the outset.

So if you want to know who or what is really behind the "LL.M." degree, you always have to take a look "behind the facade".

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