Proposal for a New LLM Programme in Corporate Law
Business activities of modern companies are often no longer restricted to the country of their
incorporation. Globalization of business has enhanced integration of markets and cross
border corporate mobility, while giving momentum to transnational and multinational
corporations. A forward-looking study of corporate law must take into account this
convergence trend. It must re-adjust the traditional focus on the black-letter of national
company law to a broader interdisciplinary and transnational horizon. Such an holistic
approach would equip students with valuable tools for legal practice or academic work at the
highest level of professionalism.
Today’s corporate lawyers need more than detailed knowledge of the corporate law
technicalities of their home jurisdiction. They must have a good understanding of
transnational and comparative aspects of corporate law. In addition to the ability to analyze
complex legal and regulatory questions within a national and international framework,
modern corporate lawyers must find practical and efficient methods to implement their
clients’ business ideas. To this end, they must possess the analytical tools necessary to
understand financial and economic aspects underlying the transactions that they design,
negotiate and implement.
The proposed LLM in Corporate Law is an innovative programme that aims to respond to the
increasing market demand for versatile corporate lawyers, by offering a unique portfolio of
courses that allow students to acquire in-depth knowledge of legal, economic, financial and
comparative matters covering the entire life-cycle of a corporation.
2. Academic Strategy
The new LLM programme will fill a gap in the post-graduate programme curriculum of the
Edinburgh School of Law, while contributing to the implementation of the Schools’ objective
to produce highly skilled and employable graduates.
Over the past two decades, the post-graduate programmes in law at University of Edinburgh
have grown exponentially both in scope and in student numbers. The expansion that took
place over the last three academic years is illustrative for the School of Law’s success in
developing its post-graduate curriculum. In the 2009-2010 academic year there were 165
LLM students. The following year the number rose to 230. In 2011-2012, the School has
approximately 240 LLM students. It cannot be assumed, however, that numbers will continue
to grow unless the School continues to expand into areas in which it has yet to tap. Corporate
law is the most obvious omission from our current offer.
Many leading law schools from the UK, Europe and North America have already responded
to the market need for well-rounded corporate lawyers by introducing interdisciplinary LLM
programs in the broad field of corporate law (see Appendix A). The School of Law must join
this movement and fructify the opportunity to generate income by offering an academically
rigorous LLM programme in corporate law.
The LLM in corporate law is a necessary addition to the School’s graduate programmes
offer. In addition to a general LLM, the School currently offers nominate LLM programmes
in Commercial Law, Comparative and European Private Law, Competition Law and
Innovation, European Law, Global Environment and Climate Change Law, Technology and
the Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Economic Law and Law and Chinese.
There are also two MSc programmes in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Global Crime,
Justice and Security.
In this rich menu of offerings, corporate law is thinly represented. There is no nominate LLM
in Corporate Law. While the LLM programmes in Commercial Law, International Economic
Law and Competition Law and Innovation address important aspects of UK and international
corporate law, the School’s post-graduate curriculum lacks a customized programme able to
meet the needs of aspiring or entry-level corporate lawyers.
Against this background, the proposed LLM in corporate law is a pioneering programme
designed to provide students with the opportunity to gain the expertise and key practical
skills required to understand the multiple dimensions of the activity of modern corporations
and the global environment in which business transactions take place. To achieve these goals,
the programme is structured on three modules:
(i) UK company law;
(ii) comparative and international aspects of corporate law; and
(iii) economic and financial aspects of corporate law.
Students will be afforded great flexibility to design an individually tailored programme by
selecting the courses that suit best their career plans. To facilitate a well-balanced exit profile
upon successful programme completion, students will be strongly advised to select courses
across the three main modules.
The new LLM programme will integrate organically in the existing framework of graduate
programs offered by the School. There would be obvious synergies with the programmes in
Commercial Law and International Economic Law. Many courses that will be offered by the
LLM in Corporate Law, such as Company Law, Banking and Finance Law, Corporate Social
Responsibility and the Law, EU Competition Law, Financial Models and Derivatives in a
Legal Context, or Principles of European Tax Law, are already available in the
abovementioned LLM programmes. In addition, some of the courses offered as part of the
LLM in Comparative and European Private Law, such as Comparative and International
Trust Law, will readily find a place in a Corporate Law LLM.
For the first academic year, two new courses will be added to the core of the new LLM
programme: Comparative Corporate Governance and Corporation Law and Economics.
Alongside Company Law (already offered at postgraduate level) these courses will form the
core of the three modules that make up the new LLM programme.
This combination of new and existing expertise provides exciting opportunities to enhance
the attractiveness of the School’s postgraduate profile. Students will be attracted to one
programme by the opportunity to take courses offered by another, and the combined effect
will be to give considerable critical mass in the field of corporate and commercial law. The
research student community will also benefit from these synergies. The new programme will
allow research-oriented corporate law students to carry on their research as PhD students at
the Edinburgh School of Law.
3. The Market for the Programme
The introduction of the new programme is especially timely at the moment, given the
increased focus on the role of corporate governance and corporate social responsibility in the
activity of modern corporations. On the legal practice side, there is a growing demand for
law professionals with advanced training in financial and comparative aspects of corporate
A brief comparison with competitor law schools demonstrates the market potential of an
LLM in Corporate Law at the University of Edinburgh. As the Appendix shows, leading law
schools in UK, Europe and North America have already responded to the marked demand for
interdisciplinary and comparative law trained lawyers.
In 2010, the University of Oxford launched a MSc in Law and Finance, taught jointly by the
Faculty of Law and the Said Business School. The University of Cambridge is launching a
new LLM in Corporate Law in the 2012-2013 academic year. The University of Glasgow
boasts an LLM programme in Corporate and Financial Law “unique in the UK”. Other
outstanding institutions, such as London School of Economics, University College of
London, University of Bristol or Queen’s University Belfast offer LLM programmes in
Corporate Law or Corporate Finance, or general masters programs with a specialization in
In continental Europe LLM programs in corporate law and related areas in English are
offered by Erasmus University of Rotterdam (LLM in Business, Corporate and Maritime
Law) and University or Antwerp (LLM in Globalisation, Corporate Responsibility and Law).
Leading US law schools also offer specialized graduate programmes in corporate law: New
York University (LLM in Corporation Law), Stanford University (LLM in Corporate
Governance and Practice), or Fordham University (LLM in Banking, Corporate and Finance
The variety of corporate and corporate-related LLM programmes offered by these institutions
demonstrate that there is a constant demand for highly skilled corporate law postgraduate
students. The LLM programmes introduced recently by University of Oxford and University
of Cambridge confirm that the market demand continues to increase. Although facing
noteworthy competition, the new programme at Edinburgh School of Law is bound to be
very successful. The excellent reputation that the Edinburgh LLM in Commercial Law
enjoys attracts numerous international students with strong interests in corporate law. The
LLM course in Company Law has constantly proven very popular. In 2010-2011, for
instance, the course was offered twice a week due to very high student demand. This
academic year the number of students had to be capped at 30, a number that proved
insufficient to meet the demand. Consequently, the new courses that the LLM in Corporate
Law will stand a high chance of being very popular.
The new programme targets recent graduates and law practitioners who wish to acquire in-
depth knowledge and practical skills in corporate law and related areas. The expected
students are a combination of Scottish, British and international students with varying
degrees of corporate law experience.
4. Programme Development
Global and interdisciplinary in scope, the programme will provide students with a valuable
skill base to pursue careers in national and international legal firms, corporations or
regulatory authorities. It will also equip students with the knowledge and research expertise
to pursue further academic study in various corporate – related fields.
The Law School is able to provide an outstanding level of academic support for our students,
including extensive research support through our Legal Research Methods course. The
School will also provide excellent library resources, computing equipment and study space to
the new students, without incurring significant additional costs.
Teaching will take the form of weekly lecture sessions, student-led seminars and workshops
offered by legal practitioners. The LLM assessment strategy is generally based on written
essays and a final dissertation, and is ideally suited to the students’ needs to develop their
critical analysis, argumentation and research skills.
After the program takes off, new core courses will be added to the three modules. The core of
the Economics and Finance module will be expanded by the addition of courses such as
Economics for Lawyers or Fundamentals of Corporate Finance, developed in cooperation
with the academic staff from the School of Business and School of Economics at Edinburgh
University. The comparative and trans-national module will be further developed in
cooperation with leading corporate law scholars from McGill University and University of
5. Financial Sustainability
The expected popularity of the new programme renders it viable and sustainable on the long
term. There new programme does not entail significant additional costs for the School. The
specialized courses will be taught by leading members of the Law School academic
community, as well as by experienced legal and business practitioners who are already
engaged in teaching graduate courses at the School.
In 2012-2013, the tuition fees for this degree will be £8,450 (home/EU) or £14,400
(overseas). Such fees, if treated as recurrent income, would be subject to University top-
slicing (47%). Thereafter, in line with the recommendations of the CPGSC Working Group
on Postgraduate Programme Sustainability, the income flowing to the School would be
subject to a notional 20% top-slice thereafter to account for School administrative costs. This
would ensure that the costs associated with this programme would be covered by the income
that it generates.
The School will continue to assess financial sustainability on an ongoing basis, in accordance
with the recommendations of the Working Group mentioned above.
Institutions that offer LLM programmes in corporate Law, or corporate Law and other
Institution Programme title
Queen Mary University of LLM in Commercial and Corporate Law
University of Glasgow LLM Corporate and Financial Law
University of Manchester LLM Corporate Governance
Warwick University LLM International Corporate Governance and
University of Bristol LLM in Labour Law and Corporate Governance
(a degree with aspects of company law)
University of Westminster LLM Corporate Finance Law
University of Southampton LLM Corporate and Commercial Law
University of Leeds LLM in International Corporate Law
Institute of Advanced Legal LLM in International Corporate Governance,
Studies, London Financial Regulation and Economic Law
Queens University, Belfast LLM in Corporate Governance
University of Wolverhampton LLM International Corporate and Financial Law
University of York LLM International Corporate and Commercial
University of Lancaster LLM in International Business and Corporate Law
University of Oxford MSc in Law and Finance
University of Cambridge LLM in Corporate Law (starting 2012-2013)
Erasmus University Rotterdam, LLM Business, Corporate and Maritime Law
University of Antwerp, Belgium LLM Globalisation, Corporate Responsibility and
New York University, USA LLM Corporation Law
Fordham University, USA LLM Banking, Corporate and Finance Law
Stanford University, USA LLM in Corporate Governance and Practice
University of San Diego, USA LLM in Business and Corporate Law
Widener University School of LLM Corporate Law and Finance
National University of Singapore LLM Corporate and Financial Services Law
The University of Hong Kong LLM in Corporate and Financial Law
(in cooperation with University of
Institutions that offer general LLM programmes with specialisation in corporate law
University College of London LLM with specialisation in Corporate Law
London School of Economics LLM with specialism
Corporate and/or Commercial Law
University of South Africa LLM with specialisation in Corporate Law