How To Apply to the LLM-Legal Institutions Program

Application Deadlines

Fall 2018Application Deadline: March 15, 2018
Spring 2018 Application Deadline: October 15, 2017


Thank you for your interest in the Master of Laws-Legal Institutions program at the University of Wisconsin Law School!  The LLM-Legal Institutions program is designed particularly for those whose legal education is from outside the United States and who want to take courses in U.S. law, including common law analysis, as well as international law. 

If you are not already familiar with the program and its costs, please read about the LLM-Legal Institutions program before filling out your application.  There are several links that will give you helpful information about the program, including the program requirements and answers to frequently asked questions.  You will also want to know details about the expenses of the program.

To apply for the Master of Laws – Legal Institutions program, an applicant should submit the required documents through LSAC or by mail. LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS) arranges for letters of recommendation, transcripts, and English proficiency exam scores to be sent to Law Schools. This $75 service (plus $16 reporting fee) is required if you choose to submit your materials through LSAC. 

  • A completed application form. The document may be filled in online and saved as a pdf or printed and scanned in as a pdf.
  • If you are claiming Wisconsin residency, please complete a Record of Residence form. This form should be printed out and then scanned in and emailed with your application. The Record of Residence form does not need to be completed if you answered "No" to Question 16 on the application.
  • A personal statement--a statement that tells us why you are interested in the Master of Laws – Legal Institutions program. (minimum of 2 double-spaced pages). Submit as a pdf.
  • A current resume, in English, submitted as a pdf.
  • 56.00 application fee.
  • In separately signed and sealed envelopes, three original letters of (The back of the envelopes should have the signature or stamp of the recommender). The letters should be on letterhead and should have a waiver attached.
  • Official transcripts from all higher education institutions you attended (undergraduate, law school, and any others) along with any school certificates (i.e. graduation certificate and any other certifications). Must be mailed to the Graduate Programs office.
  • Official TOEFL (or IELTS) report. Must be mailed to the Graduate Programs office.

We must receive the original letters of reference (with waivers), TOEFL or IELTS reports and official transcripts (not scans or copies) If not using LSAC to apply, these documents should be mailed to:

University of Wisconsin Law School
Attn: Graduate Programs Office
975 Bascom Mall, Room 3222
Madison, WI 53706-1399

Application Instructions and Contact Information:

Deadlines: The application must be submitted electronically by or before 11:59 p.m. on March 15, 2017 for Fall 2017 admission or by or before 11:59 p.m. on October 15, 2017 for Spring 2018 admission. 

1. Complete an application form. 

  • Dates should be given in the format of month-day-year (mm/dd/yyyy); for example, a birth date of March 5, 1985 should be stated on the application form as 03/05/1985.
  • During the LSAC application process, you will be able to leave the site by clicking on the Save button and exiting the website. To return, you must enter your username and password.
  • You, the applicant, are responsible for gathering and submitting all required information. Applications are evaluated on the information supplied.
  • Your electronic signature is collected when you transmit your application through LSAC. Remember that once you submit your application materials, they cannot be changed or returned.

2. Write a personal statement as a separate document and save it as an Adobe PDF file. 

A carefully prepared personal statement is extremely helpful to the Graduate Admissions Committee in learning about you.  In your personal statement, state why you are applying to the LLM-LI program and what you hope to gain from your studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Include information such as your prior experience, your current interests, and your future goals.  You can also state the area or areas of law that interest you and your anticipated plan of study in the Legal Institutions program.  Avoid writing a personal statement that discusses in very general terms why you want to attend a master’s program or that simply restates your resume. The statement should be double-spaced and two to three pages long. Be sure to include your name and LSAC account number (if using the LSAC service) on each page of your personal statement.

3. Prepare a current resume, in English, as a separate document and save it as an Adobe PDF file. 

4. Pay the application fee.  The application fee is paid with a credit card if you choose to use LSAC. LSAC's application fee is $56. There is also a $16 reporting fee as well as a $75 Credential Assembly Service (CAS) fee bringing your total to $147. If you choose to submit all materials directly to the Graduate Programs office, you may mail your $56 fee separately as a bank check payable to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In that case, mail the check to the UW Law School Graduate Programs Office, 975 Bascom Mall, Room 3222, Madison, WI 53706 U.S.A.

5. Request letters of reference (“recommendation letters”) from three people and have the letters sent, WITH WAIVERS, to the Graduate Admissions Office.  

  • Waivers are required for each recommendation letter. Complete a waiver form (including your signature) and give one to each writer of a recommendation letter to include with the letter.
  • About the recommendation letters: These need to be original letters, signed, and on official stationery (sometimes called “letterhead”), accompanied by the waiver form that you have signed and given to the recommender. Request that the letters of recommendation be sent directly to LSAC (if using their service). Otherwise, request that the letters of recommendation be sent directly to the Graduate Programs office in a sealed envelope that contains the original signed letter and the waiver form. Or, you may include the letters with your other supplementary materials, making sure that the letters are in their own sealed envelopes. The back of each envelope should have the signature or stamp of the recommender. We also suggest that you provide stamped envelopes addressed to the Graduate Admissions Committee and give one to each recommender as a convenience.
  • Choose your recommenders carefully. A well-thought-out letter from someone who can attest to your skills and abilities is more persuasive than a letter from someone who doesn’t know you well. Letters of recommendation written by family members are not acceptable.
  • To ensure that your file is ready for the Admissions Committee, we strongly encourage you to have your letters of recommendation submitted well in advance of our application deadline. Your application is incomplete until we receive all your letters of recommendation.

6.  Official transcripts are required.  Official transcripts, in English, from each previous undergraduate and graduate institutions that show the degree granted and date of the degree are required as part of your application. If using the LSAC service, please follow their instructions for submitting Official Transcripts.

If you are submitting your materials directly to the Graduate Programs office, please include your official transcripts.

7. TOEFL (or IELTS) requirement.  Every applicant whose native language is not English must take an English language test and have the results submitted as part of the application.  The Graduate Admissions Committee prefers that applicants to the LLM-Legal Institutions program take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam. IELTS scored are also accepted.

  • Contact Education Testing Services (ETS) and request that your TOEFL score be sent to LSAC (if using the LSAC service). LSAC’s TOEFL code for the LLM Credential Assembly Service is 8395.
  • You may also send your TOEFL report directly to our office. Our mailing address is given below. If you choose not to use LSAC, then you should use the TOEFL code of 1846 for the UW-Madison.

Application Status:

The Graduate Admissions Committee reviews applications based on the date they are complete, and does so on a rolling basis. Applications are considered complete when the Graduate Programs Office has received all the required documents. The Graduate Programs Office notifies applicants when the application is complete.  Usually, applicants will be notified of a decision within eight weeks after the application file is considered complete, but that cannot always be guaranteed. We correspond with applicants primarily through email and by regular mail, therefore, it is important that you include the Graduate Program Office’s email address,, in your address book and keep us up to date on address changes to prevent missing important notices sent during the admission process.

Address and contact information:

University of Wisconsin Law School
Attn: Graduate Programs
975 Bascom Mall, Room 3222
Madison, WI 53706


Phone: +1 (608) 262-9120

Office Hours:
Monday through Friday - 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

A note for international students:  Most international students enter the U.S. on a student visa (“F-1” visa). To apply for the F-1 visa, the student needs a document called the “I-20” from the educational institution (in this case, the University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Once an international student is admitted to the LLM-Legal Institutions program, the Graduate Programs Office will communicate with the student by email to begin the process of preparing the student’s I-20 document. For the I-20 to be prepared, the international student must be admitted to the LLM-Legal Institutions program and must provide original financial documents that show sufficient funds for the tuition and cost of living expenses connected to the program. The financial information is on our website and information from the International Student Services office is also helpful.

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