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Master of Laws (LLM) - Online

Earning the Online LLM degree requires successful completion of 21 credit units, including two required courses:

Introduction to the U.S. Legal System, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Introduction to the U.S. Legal System introduces students to the legal system in the United States and the distinctive process and methods of American law. The course examines the basic structure and operation of government in the United States, particularly the judicial branch, and will focus on the American method of making, finding and enforcing law. The course provides a basic understanding of the historical context in which the legal system in the United States developed. Further, the course examines the foundational values of American law, such as due process and equality.

Legal Research, 1 unit toggle arrow icon

Legal Research examines the basic legal research methodologies and techniques for the federal and California jurisdictions by focusing on online research sources.

Your remaining 18 credits will be chosen from electives including:

U.S. Law and Skills Building

Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy, 3 units toggle arrow icon

This course provides an introduction to administrative law and the legal rules and principles governing agency regulation. It covers the structure of administrative agencies at the Federal and state level, sources of law, delegation of authority, agency rulemaking, adjudicatory and investigatory functions, and judicial review processes. The relationship among Federal agencies, the executive branch, the legislature, and the judiciary is also explored in this course, as well as the role of various state agencies and the Office of Administrative Law in the state of California.  The course concludes with a review of emerging issues in administrative law, including challenges to agency authority and policymaking, as well as to the administrative state.

Constitutional Law, 3 units toggle arrow icon

Constitutional Law explores the U.S. Constitution and its structure. The United States Constitution has been interpreted and reinterpreted by the Supreme Court on numerous occasions, giving rise to a wide range of guidelines, tests, and rules not contained in the text of the original document. This course therefore will focus heavily on the fundamental doctrines of substantive constitutional law as developed through case law. It covers the delineation of spheres of responsibility between the judiciary and legislature, the nation and the state, and the government and the individual. The course surveys various topics in American constitutional law along with historical and contemporary constitutional issues. Seminal U.S. Supreme Court cases are studied.

Effective Writing for Professionals, 2 units toggle arrow icon

This course is designed to study and practice writing in business and legal settings.  The premise is to teach students writing structure based on audience, tone, form, and purpose. We will address the fundamentals of business writing, including electronic mail, letters, formal reports, and memos, with an emphasis on clear and concise writing.  The course will also feature the fundamentals of legal writing, including IRAC, with an emphasis on legal analysis and consistent writing.

Legal Profession, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Legal Profession considers the role of the lawyer in society, history, and organization of the legal profession, alternate career patterns, conflicting duties, the adversary system, equal access to justice, and other issues of ethics and professional responsibility.

The course attempts to sensitize students to ethical issues faced by lawyers in various kinds of practice. The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and Ethics Opinions, the California rules, and related statutes and leading case law are examined.

Emphasis is placed on discussion surrounding hypothetical situations in order for students to recognize and resolve dilemmas stemming from legal, professional, and personal dilemmas that are likely to occur during the practice of law.

Topics in American Law, 3 units toggle arrow icon

Topics in American Law provides students with a survey of various topics in American law, including torts, criminal law and criminal procedure, evidence, and property.

Introduction to Litigation in U.S. Courts, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Introduction to Litigation in U.S. Courts examines rules of civil procedure, taking a "nuts and bolts" approach to litigation in the court system. There will be discussion of the differences between state and federal rules of civil procedure. The course will be taught with a focus on litigation strategy and practical solutions.

Business Law

Business Principles in Law, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Business Principles in Law introduces students to the basic principles and practices of contemporary business so that they can be more effective professionals when advising business clients and/or better leverage their internal and external legal resources. The course will focus on fundamental business concepts, including, an introduction to accounting, business strategy, management, finance and risk. Additionally, the course will cover the challenges business leaders face in the contemporary economic, political, and social environment. Course sessions will include lectures, guest speakers, and analysis and discussion of real world situations.

Business Organizations, 4 units toggle arrow icon

Business Organizations examines the legal organizations most often used by businesses in the United States, and discusses the specific laws governing business organizations, the policies and theories underlying these laws, and best practices for complying with them. The primary focus is on corporations as these are the predominant form of business organization by every measure except number of firms. The course also covers unincorporated entities, such as partnerships and limited liability companies. After taking this course, students will have a solid foundation in the law of business organizations, a general understanding of the business contexts in which the law operates, and an appreciation for the practical issues transactional lawyers confront when advising business organizations. The subject matter will be taught using a "problem method" in order to promote a practical understanding of business organizational law.

Contract Drafting and Strategy, 2 units toggle arrow icon

In this course, students will examine the strategies, objectives, and challenges that will affect how they draft contracts. They will consider the lawyer's role in drafting contracts and the factors that influence drafting style, technique, and content. The course will begin by analyzing the standard structure and terms of a typical contract, including the purposes behind them. Students will learn to draft precisely. Students then will dissect and examine a range of contracts used in business relationships (e.g., business formations, employment, real estate transactions, mergers/acquisitions) to evaluate drafting techniques and decisions in specific transactions. Finally, the students will use the knowledge they've gained to ink a deal.

Mergers and Acquisitions, 3 units toggle arrow icon

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) examines the legal and practical aspects of corporate mergers and acquisitions. It focuses on the various federal and state laws governing mergers and acquisitions and considers the relevant issues of law from the perspectives of all affected stakeholders: the target company, the acquiring company, shareholders, officers, board of directors, employees and others. The goal of the course is to provide students with an appreciation for the issues transactional lawyers confront when advising corporations engaged in M&A transactions. The subject matter will be taught using a "problem method" in order to teach practical transactional skills.

Securities Regulation, 3 units toggle arrow icon

Securities Regulations examines the regulation of the offer and sale of securities under the Securities Act of 1933 and the reporting requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Topics to be covered include: the definition of a "security"; the registration of securities for public sale under the Securities Act; the exemptions from such registration requirement; the periodic reporting requirements under the Exchange Act; regulation of secondary market transactions; the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act and the Exchange Act, including Rule 10b-5; civil liability under the Securities Act; and the operation of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The aim of this course is to provide a basic working knowledge of the federal securities laws to students intending to pursue a career in corporate finance or securities litigation, whether in a law firm, securities firm or regulatory agency. It also will be of interest to those interested in the development of the modern regulatory state, as exemplified by the continuing evolution of the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Regulatory Compliance, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Regulatory Compliance provides an overview of regulatory compliance law and the ways that various organizations ensure compliance with governing laws and regulations. Students will understand basics about regulatory compliance law in the United States, and the ways that various organizations ensure compliance with governing laws and regulations. This course provides students with an examination of various areas of law, regulation, and policies, as well as the ways various industries utilize compliance protocols or programs. Central principles, as well as the statutory and regulatory framework that govern this growing field of compliance will be analyzed.

Entertainment Law and Industry

Dealmaking in the Entertainment Industry, 2 units toggle arrow icon

This course will explore the legal and business issues that arise in connection with the development, production and exploitation of theatrical motion pictures and television/streaming programs. This includes the negotiation of the terms of literary purchase agreements and above-the-line talent agreements; the challenges of the changing landscape of media companies and exploitation platforms; and the impact of copyright issues.

Entertainment Law and Industry, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Entertainment Law and Industry provides a detailed survey of entertainment law from a practical perspective, including legal issues in litigation and transactional contexts in the entertainment industry. Students will also learn about the structure of the entertainment industry, including distribution and financing structures and changes to those structures in digital environments. This course covers legal issues not covered in the Intellectual Property: Copyright and Intellectual Property: Trademark modules, including idea contracts, the right of publicity, and fundamentals of collective bargaining agreements.

Digital Media Transactions, 2 units toggle arrow icon

The course will focus on the business, legal, and financial issues that relate to the creation, financing, and exploitation of digital media, including TV, shorts, mobile, virtual reality, influencers, and merchandising. In addition, the business, corporate, structuring, and tax issues (as opposed to intellectual property issues) will be explored.

Intellectual Property: Copyright, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Intellectual Property: Copyright provides a detailed survey of copyright law from a practical perspective, including the application of copyright laws in litigation and transactional contexts, with a focus on the entertainment and media industries.

Intellectual Property: Trademark, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Intellectual Property: Trademark provides a detailed survey of federal trademark law form a practical perspective, including the federal trademark registration process and the application of trademark laws in litigation and transactional contexts. Students will also learn about the "ICANN" system and laws relating to internet domain names.

Music Law in Practice, 2 units toggle arrow icon

This course will provide students with the necessary skills to practice music law. They will learn the unique challenges of talent representation including client acquisition and keeping clients satisfied. Students will develop the ability to read, analyze and advise these clients through the use of real world contracts. Topics covered will range from the basics of an artist's team to record deals and publishing agreements to how royalty streams flow from services like Spotify to the artist. We will make these issues concrete with discussions of real world events.

Negotiation Skills, 2 units toggle arrow icon

This course is designed to: (1) develop your understanding of negotiation, and your awareness of yourself as a negotiator; (2) give you some tools and concepts for preparing for and analyzing negotiations; (3) enhance your negotiating skills through frequent role plays, reflection and feedback; and (4) teach you how to keep learning from your own negotiating experience

Financial Compliance

Corporate Governance, 2 unit toggle arrow icon

Corporate Governance introduces students to the role and responsibilities of the board of directors and executive management in private, public, and nonprofit entities. The course will examine the purpose, evolution and history of corporate governance standards, the current structure, makeup, priorities and culture of boards, shareholder/stakeholder engagement, shareholder activism, corporate social responsibility, indemnification of boards and their management, and current "hot" topics in corporate governance.

Financial Institution Regulation, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Financial Institution Regulation introduces foundational concepts on general financial institution compliance, including compliance methods and regulatory rules affecting banks, securities firms, funds, and other financial services. Compliance case studies will help students understand how a financial institution's compliance department operates. This includes discussions on recommend best practices, policies and procedures.

Global Regulatory Compliance, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Global Regulatory Compliance provides an introduction to regulatory regimes governing business practices that are enforced globally and with which multinational and other companies that are engaged in cross-border transactions must comply; as well as the ways that organizations ensure compliance with such laws and regulations. This course will cover specific regulatory regimes that are enforced globally including, antitrust, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, Anti-Money Laundering, Data Privacy, U.S. Export Controls, and regulatory governance of/restrictions on foreign direct investment.

Health Care Compliance

Health Care Compliance, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Health Care Compliance explores the key areas of risk for healthcare organizations generally as well as unique risk areas for specific types of healthcare companies. Nearly all healthcare organizations require the implementation and operation of a compliance program. The course will prepare you to work as a compliance professional in a healthcare organization by enabling you to compose policies and procedures, spot problems, develop plans to address compliance challenges and respond to government investigations. This course also delves into what traits of a compliance program make it effective.

Health Care Law, Business and Finance, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Health Care Law, Business and Finance will focus on business and financial management in the health care industry. It will cover health care business fundamentals, financial risk and return, capital budgeting, and long-term financial analysis and planning. This course will also touch on the impact of financial and capital decisions on health care organizations, and the related ethics and laws involved.

Health Law and Policy, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Health Law and Policy covers laws governing health care services, including liability of physicians and other health care personnel, government regulations for hospitals and other health care organizations, the cost and quality of health care, and other legal aspects of health care in the United States. This course will examine health care laws from the perspective of the administrators and legal professionals who operate hospitals and health care organizations. There will be a focus on how the laws that govern health care are practically applied in the operations of healthcare organizations. Students will learn about a variety of key health care topics including: physician/patient relationships, malpractice issues, physician compensation, health care related contracts, Medicare, fraud and abuse, compliance programs, clinical research, and torts related to current policy.

Health Privacy Law, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Patient Privacy Law emphasizes the history, purpose, and relevant provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Additionally, the course will survey other important federal and state privacy laws, and their enforcement. Students will learn how to identify risk and situations that implicate HIPAA. They will understand which privacy laws apply to hypothetical health care situations, and the importance of security and prevention of related issues.

Human Resources Law and Compliance

Contemporary Issues in Human Resource Compliance, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Contemporary Issues in Human Resource Compliance explores regulations and compliance issues as well as related problem-solving techniques in the workplace. Various current problems will be explored, such as harassment policies, prevention and enforcement, immigration compliance, social media policies, regulation of employee behavior outside the work place, and more.

Employment Discrimination Law, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Employment Discrimination Law will examine the regulation of employment discrimination under federal law. Primary attention will be paid to issues of race, sex, age and disability discrimination. The course will provide students a comprehensive overview of the legal doctrines developed to address workplace discrimination. It will address issues of statutory interpretation, litigation strategy and problems of proof. It will also situate this body of law within a set of sociological and theoretical frameworks aimed to enrich students' understandings of the law's foundations and purposes.

Employment Dispute Mediation, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Employment Dispute Mediation provides a general survey of substantive employment law related to the procedural rules governing mediation. The course will begin with an introduction to the statutes, regulations and cases governing common employment disputes with a particular emphasis on anti-discrimination law, whistleblower protection, and employer accommodation of disabilities and religious practices. Hypotheticals and partner exercises will simulate aspects of the mediation of employment matters, specifically, counseling clients about mediation, drafting mediation briefs, communications during mediation sessions, negotiation tactics, and drafting agreements.

Human Resource Compliance, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Human Resource Compliance explores the key areas within the field of human resources and employment and labor law from recruiting through termination. As the people who comprise the workforce, human resources are the backbone of every organization. Thus, the human resources field is valuable for every business leader and advisor to understand in order to meet the strategic objectives of an organization and to minimize risk. This course will prepare you to advise and support employers in day-to-day management of the workforce by enabling you to spot issues, compose policies and procedures, and develop an appropriate course of action based on legal requirements and best practices.

Privacy Law and Cybersecurity

Cyber Security & Cyber Crimes, 2 units toggle arrow icon

Cybersecurity is a key governance issue for all organizations, and thus understanding the legal aspects of cyber risks in different business sectors is important. This course will place an emphasis on threats to cybersecurity and the necessary compliance frameworks for cybersecurity. In addition, the course will examine the legal issues posed by cybercrimes with a look at computer hacking crimes, identity theft, internet fraud, malware and phishing offenses, civil torts, etc.

Information Management & Risk, 2 units toggle arrow icon

This class will teach students best practices for overseeing the development, implementation, maintenance and adherence to current privacy laws and regulations. Students will learn how to manage and mitigate risk associated with the acquiring, storage/retention, use, sharing and disposing of data. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to identify privacy and data protection issues, communicate effectively about privacy and data protection issues, and offer solutions to relevant stakeholders such as customers, end users, suppliers, vendors, regulatory authorities, and others.

Information Privacy Law, 2 units toggle arrow icon

This course will examine the legal and policy issues pertaining to information privacy in the United States. The course will address the privacy issues facing both the public and private sectors, particularly in response to the growing emergence of cybercrimes and cybersecurity issues. Topics will include: the concept of privacy, privacy in the information age particularly in the current cyber threat environment, privacy and the media, consumer data, employment issues, government access to information and the Fourth Amendment, national security issues, and international privacy issues.

Bar and Certificate Courses

Concentrate your studies by completing coursework to sit for the California Bar exam, or select coursework to earn a graduate certificate. Learn about our bar and certificate tracks.

Note: Courses used toward a degree or a certificate completed at another university may not be applied toward a master's degree at USC. If courses were not used toward a completed degree or a certificate, a maximum of five credits may be transferred to our Online LLM degree.

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