J.D.-LL.M. Buddy Program
Boston College’s LL.M. program is designed to immerse lawyers from other countries in the intricacies and flavor of the United States legal system, and help prepare them for the challenges of work in an increasingly global legal community. This kind of immersion can be a big adjustment, and the J.D.-LL.M. Buddy Program plays an important role in giving our new LL.M. students the support that they need. The program matches each incoming LL.M. student with a J.D. "Buddy" who helps orient the student to Boston College Law School, Boston, and American life in general, especially during the crucial first month of the academic year
Who are ll.M. Students?
Boston College LL.M. students are lawyers from foreign countries who attend BC Law for a full year. In 2013-14, we hosted 20 students from 16 countries: business lawyers from Argentina, Colombia, France, Ghana, India, Japan and Korea, environmental lawyers from France and Puerto Rico, human rights lawyers from Mexico and Nigeria, and recent law school graduates from Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, Spain, and Taiwan.
Although the LL.M. students are in a separate degree program, they are enrolled in the same courses, participate in the same student organizations, eat in the same cafeteria and attend many of the same events as J.D. students. Their experience at BC Law depends to a great extent on how quickly and fully they become part of the BC community – an adjustment that the Buddy program plays a significant role in achieving.
What is a J.D. Buddy?
A J.D. Buddy is simply a second - or third-year J.D. student who can provide an LL.M. student advice on life at BC Law, American culture, how to get around, housing, activities, or just a good place to eat. We encourage our J.D. Buddies to contact their assigned LL.M. students during the summer, then again within the first few weeks of the fall semester. Each J.D. Buddy invites his or her LL.M. Buddy for lunch, coffee, or a study break – basically, meets with their LL.M. Buddy on an informal and casual basis, as a way of being a friendly ear. Being this kind of “early friend” can make a huge difference to a foreign student who is a long way from home.
In addition, each year the LL.M. Office organizes an orientation program for LL.M. students during the week before regular classes start. This typically includes a Sunday afternoon picnic, campus tours, information sessions, informal get-togethers and a trip to downtown Boston.
Why be a Buddy?
Here are a few reasons:
• You can meet fascinating people. LL.M.s come from a wide range of nationalities and bring to BC Law impressive backgrounds and resumes. Many have considerable legal work experience in their home countries.
• You can learn a lot from an LL.M. student – about another legal system, about possible employment in another country, or simply about another culture. LL.M.s are also great sources of travel advice!
• If you’re interested in practicing another language, you’re likely to find a willing partner among the LL.M.s. Indeed, many speak three or four languages.
Finally, it can be immensely gratifying to help someone feel at home in a foreign land, and to contribute to the enrichment of the BC Law community. At its best, the J.D.-LL.M. Buddy program cultivates experiences that both J.D. and LL.M. students remember for the rest of their lives.