FAQs for LL.M. and SJD Students

Will my classes for fall 2020 semester be online or in person?
WCL will deliver all courses remotely via online platforms in the fall 2020 semester.

Where can I find more information about how an online only semester will affect my student visa status?
The International Scholar and Student Services FAQ contains information for both new F-1 and J-1 students as well as returning F-1 and J-1 students.

When is the LLM/SJD Orientation in the fall? Will it be online or on-campus?
The LLM/SJD Orientation is on August 18-19, 2020 and it will be held online. In addition, LLM and SJD students will be invited to attend a few orientation sessions together with the JD students throughout July. More information will be forthcoming to all incoming students.

Will online classes offer the same learning experience as in-residence classes?
Yes.  The WCL curriculum and faculty for online classes remain the same as in-residence classes. The faculty and administrators will continue to work closely with each student to give the individual attention that is hallmark of our law school.  Our experience has shown that faculty interaction with students is not diminished through an online platform but that in some cases is enhanced. Our goal for this coming semester will be to meet all students “where they are” in terms of their needs and preferences for their educational experience.

Drawing on the deep expertise of WCL’s Office of Online Learning and faculty who have been intensively trained as online educators, WCL will ensure that fall online courses continue to excel and meet the academic needs of all students.  Our online platforms allow for additional positive learning experiences that would not be available in person.  For example, the online format allows our world-renowned faculty to draw from their impressive contacts to organize guest lectures and mentoring sessions with prominent world leaders and decision makers. 

What does AUWCL excel at in providing high quality online education to LLM and SJD students?
WCL’s Office of Online Learning, together with WCL’s Taskforce on Online Pedagogy, have worked closely to ensure that our classes offer personal communication between professor and student that takes into account individual needs of each student.  The online format allows for guest speaker participation and emphasizes active, hands-on learning. Many classes will have a mix of pre-recorded asynchronous material and live virtual sessions. The asynchronous material can be completed whenever is convenient for the student. The live sessions will be held at scheduled class times, and we are making our best efforts to schedule LLM and SJD classes that work for your time zones. All “live” sessions will also be recorded.  Professors are planning to hold office hours and small group sessions with each student or group of students online, and to accommodate those who may have problem with time differences.  In addition, the LLM academic advisors will liaison with faculty and students to ensure successful academic experience.

As an international student, how will the online learning in fall 2020 impact me?
WCL faculty, administrators, and staff are mindful of the fact that international students are located worldwide and not everyone is in the same time zone as Washington D.C. We therefore will make our best efforts to accommodate the needs of each individual student and to ensure our international students thrive in an engaging online setting.

Will WCL adapt its policies regarding class attendance and participation to accommodate international students who live outside of the U.S.?
While the policies regarding class attendance and participation remain the same for online classes, WCL faculty are aware and mindful that not every student is located in the same time zone as Washington D.C. The faculty will be able to work with individual students to find the best ways for such students to stay engaged and gain the specified learning outcomes.

Will I still have sufficient meaningful interaction with my professors during and outside of the classroom?
Yes. WCL professors are working with the Office of Online Learning to create engaging online classes, including breakout sessions, group and individual exercises, and simulations. Students will have many opportunities to interact with the professors through such engaging online learning setting. Outside of classes, our faculty will hold virtual meetings, office hours, and mentoring sessions.

If my situation allows me to be physically present in the Washington D.C. area, what opportunities will be available to me on-campus this fall?
WCL will open a limited number of study spaces in the law library and other designated areas for those students who face extraordinary circumstances. WCL is developing an application process for these spaces and will be in touch soon with more information.

As an LLM/SJD student, do I have full access to student services online ?
Yes. WCL is designing the semester flexibly to meet your individual needs, so that you may gain the full benefits of WCL online. All student services for LLM/SJD students, including academic and course advising, student counselling, bar exam advising, writing tutoring, and career advising, will be fully available virtually.

Will currently waitlisted classes be eventually open at the beginning of the fall semester to enroll more students?
We will follow our usual policies with regard to waitlisted classes.  For more information please contact the Registrar’s office at registrationservices@wcl.american.edu.  

How am I going to be assessed if I take online classes, and will classes be graded for the fall?
Please check the syllabi for your courses, as each professor will specify the assessment method for a specific course. Classes will be graded in accordance with WCL’s grading policy.

As an LLM student, can I take only one or a few online classes in the fall and continue with in-residence classes starting spring 2021?
Yes, WCL’s goal is to resume fully in-residence teaching as soon as we can while ensuring the safety and well-being of all community members. If we continue with our hybrid delivery instruction in the spring 2021, you can continue taking courses in this format.

If I enroll in online classes in the fall and cannot continue with in-residence classes in spring 2021 (due to reasons such as border closures, visa denials, change in professional or personal circumstances,) can I complete the degree online?
WCL’s goal is to resume full campus operations in future semesters as soon as we are able to do so while ensuring the safety and well-being of all community members. If we do go back to in residence teaching of all classes in the spring, we will make every effort to offer selected online courses in spring 2021 so that you can complete the degree entirely online.

As a foreign-trained lawyer, does the New York bar accept online credits completed in the fall 2020?
Yes. The New York Court of Appeals has ordered the waiver of the restriction on online learning through the fall 2020 semester, given the Corona pandemic. The order is available at http://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/news/nottobar/06042020Order.pdf. With this decision of the New York Court of Appeals, you will be able to count the online credits you earn in the fall towards the 24-credit requirement for sitting for the New York bar. 

Can the required textbooks be shipped to addresses outside of the U.S.? If not, how can I have access to the electronic version of the books?
It depends on the publishers. Amazon may ship books overseas. Several publishers also sell the electronic version of the books as the law library will explain further in future postings. WCL also has an Office of Faculty and Adjunct Support Services, which can make copies of reading materials available to students at a reasonable cost that includes royalty fees.

Will the Pence Law Library open in the fall? How can I access the library’s services and resources from my home country or home city outside of Washington D.C.?
We are still assessing this matter.  All students will have full access to library services and resources through online methods.  Our expert librarians continue to look forward to helping you with all of your research needs.

Will all of networking events available to LLMs/SJD students be online? Will I benefit from online networking events in the same way as at on-campus events?
WCL’s Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) will provide opportunities for students to engage in networking events. Such events will mirror an in-person experience as much as possible. Students will have an opportunity to follow-up with employer(s) and/or speaker(s) after the event for an individual meeting. WCL also has a dedicated LLM/SJD Career Counselor who works closely with LLM and SJD students throughout their studies at WCL.

As an LLM/SJD student, what career and professional development activities are available to me in the fall?
OCPD will host career workshops (i.e. Resume Building, Interview and Networking Skills) virtually. In case students are unable to make these sessions due to time zone difference, recordings of these workshops will be available and accessible to students 24/7. Moreover, LLM/SJD students will have an opportunity to participate in International Interview Program (ISIP) towards the end of spring 2021 semester. Virtual job fairs may also be held during the fall 2020 and LLM/SJD students can participate in remote externship and employment opportunities.

We will continue to work on programming for these activities as in any semester. Please check back for more information as the summer progresses. Please also feel free to reach out to the Office of Graduate Admissions at llm@wcl.american.edu if you would like to talk to specific administrators who are working on this programming. 

How can I find an externship with an employer in the U.S. from my home country or home location outside of Washington D.C.?
WCL’s LLM /SJD Career Counselor together with our externship advisors continue to work on programming that support our students in finding an externship. Please feel free to reach out to the Office of Graduate Admissions at llm@wcl.american.edu if you would like to talk to specific advisors who are working on this programming. 

Whom do I reach out to for more information or other questions?
You can always contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at llm@wcl.american.edu.  We greatly look forward to being in further touch with you over the summer and welcoming you to WCL this fall.