Concentration in the Fundamentals of American Private Law

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Notre Dame Law School offers a concentration in the fundamentals of American private law for students pursuing the LL.M. at Notre Dame. Enriched by Notre Dame’s unparalleled depth and breadth of faculty expertise in private law and supported by the Notre Dame Program on Private Law, the concentration in the fundamentals of American private law recognizes that students have completed an intensive program of study in American private law. Private law is essential to American social and economic life, and understanding it is critical for lawyers who wish to understand how American law fosters commercial activity, advances domestic and international trade, and secures the economic and property rights of institutions and individuals.

Practicalities and Deadlines

Students should communicate their interest in following this concentration as part of their application to the LL.M. program. At the start of the fall semester, enrolled students should contact Professor Paul Miller, director of the Notre Dame Program on Private Law, to discuss their interest and their course selections.

Requirements

Applicants may apply for either an introductory or advanced program of study. The introductory track, outlined in Section A below, is intended for international students (i.e., those who do not have a J.D. from an American law school). The advanced track, outlined in Section B below, is intended for domestic students (i.e., those who have a J.D. from an American law school) who wish to enhance their general education in private law and/or engage in specialized study of private law. No student in either track may take classes that are the same or substantially similar to courses taken in their J.D. or equivalent first degree.

A student must have earned the required number of credits and have satisfied the writing and activity requirements.

Please note that requirements to sit for the bar exam differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Students are encouraged to evaluate how the requirements to sit for a bar in the United States fit with this concentration’s requirements in consultation with the Career Development Office, and to evaluate their course of study in this concentration in that light with Dr. Felicia Caponigri, Acting Director of International and Graduate Programs, as soon as possible after beginning the LL.M. at Notre Dame.

A. Introductory Track (International Students)

Students must complete at least 18 credit hours of courses as detailed below, in addition to the two required courses for international students, Introduction to American Legal System and LL.M. Legal Research and Writing.

1. Complete a minimum of 10 credits by completing the following 3 core courses

  • Contracts [4 credits]
  • Property [4 credits]
  • Private Law Workshop [2 credits]

2. Complete a minimum of 8 credits from the following courses

  • Advanced Topics in Contracts [2 credits]
  • Bankruptcy [3 credits]
  • Civil Procedure [4 credits]
  • Family Law [3 credits]
  • Labor and Employment Law [2 credits]
  • Law of Equity [2 credits]
  • Law of Medical Malpractice [2 credits]
  • Private Law Theory [2 credits]
  • Products Liability [2 credits]
  • Professional Responsibility [3 credits]
  • Real Estate Transactions [3 credits]
  • Remedies [3 credits]
  • Secured Transactions [3 credits]
  • Torts [4 credits]
  • Trusts and Estates [3 credits]

3. Satisfy a writing requirement by completing a substantial research paper – normally, of 35-45 double-spaced pages – on a topic in private law. The writing requirement may be satisfied in conjunction with a course or as a 2-credit Directed Reading, which would be in addition to the 8 credit hour minimum detailed in Section 2 above.

B. Advanced Track (Domestic Students)

Students must complete at least 18 credit hours of courses as detailed below. Again please note that students may not take for credit courses that are the same or substantially similar to those completed in their J.D. degree.

1. Complete a minimum of 4 credits by completing the following 2 core courses

  • Private Law Theory [2 credits]
  • Private Law Workshop [2 credits]

2. Complete a minimum of 10 credits from the following courses

  • Advanced Topics in Contracts [2 credits]
  • Bankruptcy [3 credits]
  • Complex Civil Litigation [3 credits]
  • Family Law [3 credits]
  • Labor and Employment Law [2 credits]
  • Law of Equity [2 credits]
  • Law of Medical Malpractice [2 credits]
  • Products Liability [2 credits]
  • Real Estate Transactions [3 credits]
  • Remedies [3 credits]
  • Secured Transactions [3 credits]
  • Trusts and Estates [3 credits]

3. Write a 4 credit LL.M. thesis — normally, of 50-75 double-spaced pages — under the direction of a faculty member from the Program on Private Law.