LLM in Banking & Financial Law Boston University School of Law
Equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to handle the regulatory, transactional, and compliance needs of financial services clients in today’s global economy, our graduates hold influential positions worldwide—in banks, governments, law firms, corporations, financial institutions, and multilateral and nongovernmental organizations. Since conferring our first LLM in Banking & Financial Law in 1984, our program remains the only financial services LLM program in the country with its own faculty and a curriculum designed exclusively for graduate study.
The program is administered by a team of professionals dedicated to the academic and personal growth of each student. At the beginning of the academic year, each student meets with an academic advisor to develop an individualized study plan. The program frequently collaborates with the Boston Bar Association to organize lectures, symposia, and round-table discussions on issues affecting the financial services industry. Students are encouraged to deliver lectures to their colleagues as part of the Student Lecture Series. Membership in the Review of Banking & Financial Law, a scholarly publication of BU School of Law, is open to students in the program through a competitive examination.
- Students will demonstrate a deeper understanding of US financial services law and regulation and of certain widely adopted international financial law standards.
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of the approach of US practitioners to financial services law issues, including structuring and documenting certain kinds of financial transactions.
The typical student in the Graduate Program in Banking and Financial Law has a demonstrated interest in financial services as demonstrated by their academic studies, internships, and/or work experience. Many applicants are experienced lawyers who have worked for several years before enrolling in the Graduate Program.
Some students use the Graduate Program to prepare for careers, others to sharpen skills already developed, and still others to change their fields of specialization. A number of students are sponsored by their law firms, financial institutions, or government agencies and return to them upon completion of their studies.
The LLM program may be completed on a full- or part-time basis with enrollment options in the fall and spring semesters. The program is offered on a residential and online study basis. Full-time students will complete the program over two semesters while part-time students can complete the program in as few as three semesters or up to four years. The program requires the successful completion of 24 credits, with only one required course: Banking Structure and Regulation. The course offerings are focused and seek to give students a thorough understanding of financial services law through a combination of regulatory, transactional, and business-oriented courses. In order to qualify for an American bar examination (such as the New York State bar examination), students with non-US law degrees must take the program on a residential basis and may need to take additional courses, such as Introduction to the American Legal System and Professional Responsibility, among others. Bar admission requirements vary from state to state. With the permission of the director, residential students may take a maximum of two courses related to banking and financial services in the School of Law’s JD program and Graduate Tax Program.
The program offers five optional concentrations from which students can choose:
- The Business of Banking offers a full range of courses involving banking regulation and products designed for students who intend to practice law or work in the banking industry.
- Compliance Management focuses on designing compliance systems for financial institutions in a regulatory environment, which seeks to meet the heightened expectations for risk and compliance functions in regulated financial institutions in a post-crisis environment.
- Financial Services Transactions (residential students only) is designed for lawyers seeking to gain experience in conducting complex financial services transactions, by complementing theory with a working knowledge of the practical aspects of structuring and executing a deal through in-class negotiation sessions and an internship. Students in this concentration are required to complete the Financial Services Law Internship.
- Lending & Credit Transactions is geared toward lawyers who wish to specialize in various forms of lending, including issues involving loan structuring, the perfection of security interests in property, foreclosure, and bankruptcy.
- Securities Transactions focuses on matters involving equity and debt securities and the management of funds, including the obligations of issuers, their directors, and officers, as well as fund managers/agents and brokers/dealers.
Financial Services Fundamentals
Candidates for the LLM in Banking & Financial Law (particularly those without significant financial services academic training or employment exposure) may enroll in Financial Services Fundamentals, offered as a 12-day session in August before each academic year as preparation for the detailed financial services courses in the Graduate Program in Banking & Financial Law.
Internships (residential students only)
The Financial Services Law Internship course was established to provide students with real-world experience in the practice of financial services law. Subject to meeting several academic requirements, during their second semester, international and domestic students completing the concentration in Financial Services Transactions may work at a law firm, financial services organization, or regulatory agency under the supervision of a lawyer and a faculty advisor. In recent years, students have completed internships at ACCION International, Allston Brighton CDC, Cambridge Savings Bank, Computershare, the City of Boston, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, MA Division of Banks, Natixis Advisors, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, People’s United Bank, John Hancock Financial Services, and American Consumer Credit Counseling, among others.
Graduates have typically taken positions in law firms, commercial and investment banks, other financial institutions, and government agencies. Some have joined the regulatory services of accounting and consulting firms. They work in legal positions, compliance and other control positions, consulting, and even in the business lines of financial institutions.