The article under consideration in this symposium issue, “Foreign Attorneys in U.S. LL.M. Programs: Who’s In, Who’s Out, and Who They Are,” by Mindie Lazarus-Black and Julie Globokar, comes at a critical moment for law schools, especially those below the top tier. Many schools are reducing class size, offering unprecedented financial aid and scholarship packages, and entering a general retrenchment mode. This most recent crisis in law school applications and enrollment (applications are down at some schools by over 30 percent) has led to an increase in the popularity of Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs for foreign attorneys. The steep rise in the number and variety of law schools with LL.M. programsmay be seen, at least in part, as a reaction to the power of the law school ranking system adopted in 1990 by U.S. News and World Report (USN). Even before this crisis, law schools were under pressure to “optimize their ranking by, for example, basing admissions decisions on LSAT scores” and by “spending more money on merit-based scholarships in order to ‘buy’ students whose LSAT scores [would] raise the school’s median.” Crucial to understanding the recent rise in LL.M. programs is the exclusion of LL.M. programs from the USN ranking process. In other words, one way to bolster necessary finances and keep a law school’s USN rank as high as possible is to establish or expand an LL.M. program that attracts lawyers from around the world who have the capacity to pay.

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Copyright © 2015 Indiana University Press. This article first appeared in Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 22:1 (2015), 95-103.

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