BY JANET MANDELSTAM
The Indiana University Maurer School of Law has received an A-plus rating for its Master of Laws program. The grade from The International Jurist magazine recognizes a program that has been granting graduate degrees to international lawyers for more than 100 years.
Students in the program have already earned a law degree in their home country. “They come [to Maurer] to broaden their knowledge by getting a degree in a foreign country,” says Lesley Davis, assistant dean for international programs. While some are recent law school graduates, “most are accomplished professionals in their own country,” she says. “In our building we have judges and representatives of government ministries.”
Maurer’s master’s program was one of only two schools to earn top honors from the magazine in the areas of academics, best law school experience (participants attend classes with IU law students), career planning, and best value. Among 450 programs from 153 law schools, only Ohio State University matched that ranking.
The program accepts about 70 students each year. Current students come from 25 countries with China, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia topping the list.
The international students are in residence for an academic year. Because they arrive with varying levels of English proficiency, an intensive Legal English program is offered in the summer for students who don’t meet a minimum language requirement. During the year, Maurer provides mentors and many networking opportunities to help incoming students acclimate to life in the United States.
Students can earn a general Master of Laws degree or specialize in a number of areas, including business and commercial law, intellectual property law, and financial regulation and capital markets.
“Most of the students go back home when they earn their degree,” Davis says. But first, nearly a third will take a bar exam in the U.S. “Passing the New York bar, for example, sets them apart in their home country,” she says.
The Maurer School’s Master of Laws program is one of the oldest in the country. And, Davis adds, “It’s one of the most far-reaching, with alumni practicing in more than 50 countries throughout the world.”