Family Law LL.M. Curriculum

Family Law LL.M. Curriculum

The LL.M. Program in Family Law at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University is driven by the reality that family courts incorporate a wide variety of dispute resolution procedures and are populated by professionals from multiple disciplines. Our curriculum involves professionals and students from the fields of psychology, social work, and family counseling. Students have the opportunity to undertake a specialized program in advanced family law, to benefit from intensive clinical and externship opportunities, to participate in a cutting-edge interdisciplinary policy seminar and to write a publishable article in their area of specialization.

As part of the program, students are required to attend an orientation program preceding the start of classes which familiarizes students with the program and the field. Students are also required to participate in a symposium where they present their research or field case work to an audience of invited judges, lawyers, professors, mental health professionals and other Hofstra Law students.

The program includes:

LL.M. Thesis Seminar I and II - These seminars focus on the development of a thesis statement, followed by implementation of a research project, including student presentations, and lead to completion of a master's thesis. The student's thesis adviser is an experienced faculty member who meets regularly with the student. Students may submit their theses to the Family Court Review for possible publication.

Interdisciplinary Policy Seminar - During this course, students work collaboratively with faculty to develop and evaluate specific proposals for family law reform. The course is co-taught with faculty from other disciplines and students are required to write a final paper.

Simulation Courses - In collaboration with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Hofstra Law offers two interdisciplinary simulation courses in family law, Introduction to Child Advocacy and Modern Divorce Advocacy. These courses are designed to provide students with advanced skills training in critical areas of family law practice - interviewing, counseling, negotiation, mediation advocacy and trial skills. Courses are taught in small groups where students receive extensive, individual feedback on their performance.

Experiential Component - LL.M. students are required to complete a minimum of six credits of experiential coursework. They can satisfy the requirement by participating in one of Hofstra's family law related clinics or by participating in a suitable externship approved by the director. Students in the Child Advocacy Clinic, serve as law guardians, under close faculty supervision, in child protection cases and students in the Mediation Clinic serve as mediators in PINS (Persons in Need of Supervision) cases through the Nassau County PINS Diversion Program.

Electives - Students can choose from a variety of elective courses in family law and related subject areas, such as Adoption and Family Formation, Child Abuse and Neglect, The Child, the Family and the State, Collaborative Family Law Seminar, International Family Law, Juvenile Justice, Law and Sexuality, Legal Decision Making for Children and Incompetent Adults, Matrimonial Trial Skills, Mediation Principles and Practice, and Representing Clients in Mediation.