Master of Laws (LL.M.) - Study Plan

Above and beyond borders of a single legal system

The Master of Laws (LL.M.) Program

The Master of Laws (LL.M.) study plan has been designed to balance theoretical exploration with enhanced practical application during the master’s three distinct learning periods. Each period features common courses that all students take, which cover key topics that are essential to understand today’s global context.

At the beginning of the program, each student will be asked to choose their specialization in one of three areas—International Dispute Resolution, International Business Law, and Intellectual Property and Technology Law—or to design a more general Master of Laws (LL.M.) journey without a specialization. Depending on the student’s chosen area, the final evaluation will take the form of a thesis or a hands-on project.
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The Master of Laws (LL.M.) Structure

The Master of Laws (LL.M.) Syllabus

Note: This study plan may be subject to change.

COMMON PART

Introduction to Civil Law Systems

This course intends to give students a general approach to the civil law legal tradition, system and families, and is a first port of call for students who have a common law background and training. Civil law is very diverse: different jurisdictions have different approaches, structures and styles. Nevertheless, all of them share a common Roman and Canon Law heritage and a structural framework based on the basic tenets of the codification ideal. The course will focus on European jurisdictions using a historical and comparative method, and is divided into two parts: historical formation and the main features of the civil law system.

  • (*) For students with a Common Law background.

Introduction to Common Law Systems

This course will give students a general approach to common law and is intended to be a comprehensive introduction to this legal tradition for students that have a civil law background and training. Common law jurisdictions are diverse, but all of them share a common law heritage and a similar structural framework. Both this legal framework and its historical development will be the goal of this course, focusing on English law as the core source of the common law system, with references to the US legal system.

  • (*) For students with a Civil Law background.

Introduction to Comparative Corporate Law

This course will provide students with a functional and practical overview of the regulation of corporate institutions, focusing mainly on the US and the European Union. In addition, it will introduce students to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as a strategic tool to generate growth, enhance a company’s competitive position, transform a company and create shareholder value.

International Contracts

The aim of this course is to provide students with the skills and tools, as well as the critical mindset and methodology, to effectively negotiate and draft contracts in an international, cross-border scenario. At the end of the course, all students should be able to easily identify and use the sources of International Contract Law, and successfully draft and structure an international transaction that meets both parties’ requirements as well as the applicable rules and regulations.

European Common Market Law

Business Law in Europe cannot be understood without reference to EU Law. The course will provide a general approach to the internal market after dealing with EU institutions, EU constitutional principles, the decision-making process and the system of legal remedies. Substantive areas of the internal market—like the free movement of goods, persons and services—are of utmost importance for anyone conducting business across Europe.

International Litigation

The internationalization of business activity has grown dramatically in the last few decades, resulting in transactions being increasingly linked to different jurisdictions and legal systems. Conflict of laws (also called Private International Law or PIL) is the branch of the law tackling issues posed by the situations described above. This course deals with the conflict of legal rules from a business and commercial law perspective. In particular, the course focuses on selected and current topics in the area of international litigation, covering both international jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement issues from an EU perspective, while also referring to common law systems, particularly the US. This course is complemented by Conflict of Laws II.

Global Economy

This course will cover the most important terminology and conceptual frameworks needed to understand both the macroeconomic environment and the microeconomic needs and tools of businesses. At the end of the course, students will have acquired a more profound and structured understanding of how the economic process works, and the impact of fiscal, monetary, trade or labor policies. Students will also learn about the social and environmental impact of government economic policies and of businesses' interactions with their stakeholders.

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LAW

Capital Markets

This course addresses the regulation of capital markets, with a focus on EU law with reference to US securities law. The cornerstones of the course are the prospectus, transparency and market abuse rules. It also tackles public and particularly private enforcement.

Digital DNA: Data Insights & Visualization

This course helps the students develop essential analytical skills to manipulate and summarize data, look for meaningful insights using the latest point-and-click visualization tools, and further use these insights to support their own ideas, proposals and decisions. In this course, students are exposed to numerous real-world examples of how data is being used in their chosen area of interest.

INTERNATIONAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION

International Commercial Arbitration

This course familiarizes students with the fundamentals of today’s international commercial arbitration practice, which has increasingly become the natural forum for the settlement of international commercial disputes. The course tackles the main issues related to international commercial arbitration, including the arbitration agreement, jurisdiction of arbitrators, conduct of the proceedings, the role of arbitral tribunals and national courts, and the challenge, recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards, combining theory and practice mainly from the perspective of the counsel’s strategy.

Moot Court: Workshop

• Moot I: 1st semester

Participation in an arbitration competition is one of the most formative activities a future practitioner can undertake. Students enrolled in the specialization are expected to participate in one of the arbitration competitions listed below, depending on the number of students and their preferences. Students are organized into teams at the beginning of the LL.M. and rely on the guidance, encouragement and supervision of several IE faculty members throughout the written and oral phases.

- Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot
- Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court
- PAX Moot (Conflict of Laws)
- Moot Madrid
- Competencia Internacional de Arbitraje de las Universidades de Buenos Aires y Rosario de Bogotá

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TECHNOLOGY LAW

International IP Law

This course analyses the international intellectual property system, as well as the major international conventions including WIPO-administered treaties, the TRIPS Agreement, regional treaties like the TPP, NAFTA, USMCA, and the relevant EU Directives and Regulations. It focuses particularly on the roles of international organizations in the European continent: the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante. It also looks at the roles of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in shaping IP policies around the world. Finally, the course covers the protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources.

The Laws of Innovation: Methodological Approaches to IP and Technology Law

What are the laws of innovation and how do we approach the fields of intellectual property and technology law methodologically? This is a foundational course for the IP and Technology Law specialization of this master. It presents the fields of law that regulate the various aspects and outcomes of innovation at both global and regional levels, and proceeds to unveil the links between those fields, revealing methodological approaches suitable for each. The course focuses particularly on comparative and empirical methods, as well as law and economic approaches to innovation.

Innovation is a loaded term that is difficult to define. It captures creative methods, solutions, products, art, inventions and tangible and intangible assets. It encompasses incentives, processes and outcomes of entrepreneurship, technology and science. What are the various fields of IP law? What are the common features between copyright and industrial property rights? What are the differentiating factors, and the intersections between IP and competition law? Which laws govern scientific and technological innovation in particular? Do digital technologies deserve special attention by lawyers and policy makers and, if so, why? Students will leave this course with the answers to these questions.

COMMON PART

Applicable Law

A continuation of International Litigation, this course deals with private international law rules from a business and commercial law perspective, focusing on selected and current topics in the area of the law that are applicable. Students will become acquainted with choice of law rules for contract, tort, rights in rem, intellectual property, and corporate and insolvency issues in the EU. Reference will also be made to other methodologies for the determination of the applicable law, like in the case of US governmental interest analysis.

Introduction to International Dispute Resolution

Today’s corporate lawyers need to be aware of the importance of dispute resolution in transactional practice. The course will cover the essentials of international dispute resolution for a transactional lawyer, as well as dispute resolution mechanisms from a corporate perspective: arbitration, litigation and mediation. Students will then discover the legal framework of each of these methods and in what ways corporate accounting impacts disputes and funding schemes. The class will learn how to plan dispute resolution in commercial and investment contracts and foreign investments, and how to draft basic considerations for dispute resolution clauses.

International Tax Framework

The aim of this course is to help students build on their knowledge of the basis of international taxation, with a special focus on the tax implications of international transactions. The course will not focus on any particular country's tax system. Instead, it will involve an analysis of the key structural legal concepts and elements of the international tax framework (like tax treaties to avoid double taxation and OECD soft law), and the requirements and consequences of doing business in an international environment.

Financial Management: Business Valuation

In most global law firms, corporate financial operations (M&A, capital market transactions, restructuring and bankruptcy processes, project finance, etc.) are an important part of their business. Thus, a basic financial background is essential to participate in advising on and designing these types of operations. Through regulation, supervision and conflict resolution mechanisms, the law provides a legal framework to the financial system that seeks to guarantee certain principles and objectives, such as the stability of the economic and financial system, market competition, efficient allocation of resources, the struggle against corruption, the protection of investors, and more. This course will ensure that students know, understand and can work with the basic financial principles and methods used in business valuation.

Information Privacy Law

This course is devoted to the study of information privacy law in a global context. The class will begin by surveying privacy theories suitable to the contemporary challenges of data surveillance, tracking and the practices of targeted advertising and campaigning. The course then focuses specifically on the EU and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the global standard for data protection. Students will become familiarized with the EU data protection framework and will learn to compare them with equivalent frameworks from different jurisdictions, including those influenced by the GDPR, like the recent California Consumer Privacy Act.

International Trade Law

This course will help students understand international trade law, a specific branch of public international law. The class will become acquainted with the main principles and enforcement mechanisms of international trade law or World Trade Organization (WTO) law. The following substantial areas of WTO law will be examined: trade in goods, trade in services, the general exceptions, trade defense instruments and the TBT and SPS agreements. In addition, students will gain an understanding of the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism, as well as the organization’s rules concerning regional and preferential trade agreements. This is relevant in order to understand the relationship of regional agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with the multilateral WTO rules. The course finishes with a session devoted to the current challenges facing the WTO, its dispute settlement system and the international trading system as a whole.

Financial Accounting

This course will allow students to understand how financial statements are created and how accounting decisions affect these statements. Students will learn the theory behind using accounting as a tool for decision-making and problem-solving through the use of analytical, creative and critical thinking.

Professional Ethics

In this course, students will discuss legal ethics from a comparative perspective and learn the basic rules that govern lawyers’ conduct from a practical point of view thanks to a “problem-driven” approach. Students will have to face real-world cases that will help them to become effective lawyers.

Building and Marketing Legal Services

This dual-objective course will introduce students to the management of a law firm or legal department and help them understand the role technologies play in that regard. The class will then build upon their communication skills, mainly through social media, which aims to help them become successful lawyers and legal counsels.

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LAW

Corporate Governance

In this course, students are introduced to the concept of corporate governance and its key features and goals. It tackles the regulation and practice of actors in corporate governance, focusing mainly on shareholders and the board of directors, but also with reference to other bodies including gatekeepers like auditors, and their role in corporate governance.

Structuring a Deal

Transactional lawyers work hand-in-hand with taxation lawyers and therefore must be familiarized with the analysis they perform when structuring the transactions. This course helps students become acquainted with the basic tax concepts and considerations that are relevant in designing a deal.

Cross-border M&A

This course deals with mergers, acquisitions and other corporate restructuring activities, such as leveraged buy-outs and divestitures in an international context. The course provides an overview of the main legal aspects related to a merger and acquisition (M&A) process, from its inception until the closing of the deal, and provides students with the skillset to draft and negotiate the main legal and contractual documents governing M&A transactions.

Contract Drafting

In this practical course, students will examine civil and common law contracts to further understand their respective functions and how to modify them or create new ones.

INTERNATIONAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION

International Investment Law and Arbitration

This course provides an overview of the substantive and procedural aspects of international investment law and dispute resolution. With reference to positive and customary public international law, the ICSID Convention, the network of bilateral and multilateral investment agreements, and landmark arbitral awards, students will become acquainted with substantive standards of protection such as fair and equitable treatment, full protection and security, prohibition of undue expropriation, umbrella clauses and more, as well as issues from attribution to state defenses. They will also understand the complex issues at stake regarding jurisdiction, admissibility and procedure in the field.

Moot Court II: Workshop

• Moot II: 2nd semester

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TECHNOLOGY LAW

Copyright Law I: EU and International Copyright Law

This course offers a comprehensive examination of EU, international and comparative copyright law. The subject matter and scope of copyright protection, economic and moral rights, exceptions and limitations, as well as the notions of authorship and originality are among the topics covered in this course. In addition, the course reviews the history and theoretical justifications of copyright law, and the global conflicts and tensions in view of the technological revolution of the past decades. It also looks at copyright laws’ relevance in specific sectors, like education and access to knowledge, broadcasting and music, and the software industry. Finally, the course covers contemporary developments in the field, specifically how copyright laws apply to computer-generated experiences and creations, such as virtual, augmented reality and AI technologies.

The course is divided into Parts I and II. Part I (period 2) surveys the EU legislative framework, the continental efforts to create and strengthen a Digital Single Market, and the relevant case law before EU courts. EU copyright laws and policies will be analyzed within a global context of international copyright laws and other national frameworks. Part II (period 3) of the course will explore parallel developments across the globe, surveying different copyright frameworks. Students will study copyright laws and influential case law from various jurisdictions, like the US, Canada, India, Australia, China and more. They will also study the extraterritorial application of national copyright laws and reflect on the development of this field under the pressures of technological progress and globalization.

Patent Law I: EU and International Patent Law

This course focuses on patent law and litigation from around the world. It covers the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the International Patent System, as administered by WIPO. It surveys the patenting procedures and litigation in select jurisdictions with an emphasis on the EU, the US, China, South Korea and Japan. We will compare the various systems in regard to their requirements for patentability, scope of protection and enforcement. The course is divided into Parts I and II. Part I (period 2) introduces the international framework and focuses specifically on the European patenting system and the work of the European Patent Office (EPO). Part II (period 3) is devoted to the comparison with other major jurisdictions and in global litigation strategies.

Trademark Law & Geographical Indications

Trademark Law is the third large pillar of Intellectual Property Law. This course focuses on trademark registration and the enforcement of the exclusive rights that trademark law affords. The course reviews the laws of a number of jurisdictions: the Spanish system, the route and requirements to acquire an EU trademark from the European Intellectual Property Organization (EUIPO), and the international system with particular emphasis on the Madrid System and Union, and the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks. In addition, the course provides an overview of trademark law in the US introducing the Lanham Act and focusing on trademark infringement and rules, and precedence against false advertising and unfair competition. Additionally, the course explores issues particularly related with online activities and e-commerce, including the relationship between trademark registration and domain names. Finally, this course will cover geographical indications and the main methods of protection.

Internet Law, Policy and Governance

The Internet has affected our laws as much as it has affected our everyday lives. From the beginning of its commercial spread in the early 90s, this global communication system revolutionized the way the world shares information and stays connected, marking the third industrial revolution. Does the Internet deserve its own field of study in law? What are the contemporary internet law and policy debates? How is the Internet governed? These are among the core questions studied in this course. The course covers a wide range of topics including jurisdiction, online speech, privacy, security, net neutrality, the building and maintenance of our digital infrastructure and more. It also focuses on regional and global efforts to govern the Internet, and explores the roles of civil society organizations and international organizations, like the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Society, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the International Telecommunication Union.

COMMON PART

Competition Law

This course will study the fundamental rules, principles and institutions of competition law and, to a lesser extent, unfair competition law. It aims to underline the significance of competition law and policy for business organization and practices. The course takes a comparative approach and surveys both US antitrust law and EU competition law, covering an array of topics including horizontal and vertical agreements, cartels, abuse of dominance, merger control and state aid. The course concludes with looking at the main rules and principles of unfair competition law, and the constraints it imposes on business strategies and decision-making. Due to the domestic features of unfair competition law, the analysis will stress the common ideas and principles that may be extracted from the international conventions on this matter, focusing mainly on article 10bis of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

Negotiation

This course intends to improve participants’ negotiating skills. Under the supervision of course instructors, students will work in teams on case studies. By the end of the course, participants will know how to prepare for negotiations, achieve goals, satisfy interests more effectively and ensure the enforceability of agreements.

Strategy & Innovation

This course will introduce students to the mission and realities of general management in order to enable them to think strategically and effectively manage companies and business units. The course aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of the issues underlying value generation in business.

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LAW

Compliance

This course tackles corporate compliance in key areas such as corruption, money laundering, environmental compliance and more. It provides students with an overview of policies, procedures and principles of compliance programs together with potential corporate liability and its impact, both economic and reputational.

Business Ethics

Creating shareholder value and making money is not the sole goal of a corporation. In this course, students will deal with ethical culture in business, corporate social responsibility and its impact on society.

Corporate Finance

This course addresses corporate financing tools, sureties and guarantees. It covers bilateral and syndicated financing, as well as project and acquisition finance.

Digital DNA for Technology

This course involves building an understanding of current and emerging technologies, as well as how these might apply to innovating and solving problems in the students’ chosen professions or career paths. The course will introduce the class to a range of technologies, including IoT, blockchain, mobile, wearables, artificial intelligence, VR and big data.

INTERNATIONAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Transnational Civil Procedure

This course addresses the basic normative and conceptual architecture of the transnational civil and arbitral procedure. The class will analyze the main soft law principles, rules, guidelines, reports and notes put forward by institutions—like ALI/UNIDROIT, ELI-UNIDROIT, UNCITRAL, ICCA, IBA, ILA, ICC, CEA, CCBE and CIArb—to regulate all aspects of civil or arbitral proceedings, from conflict of interest to e-disclosure, lis pendens or virtual hearings. This course is an activity of the Jean Monnet Chair in European Civil Procedure at IE University.

Advanced International Litigation

This course addresses the main normative tools necessary to navigate the often-troubled waters of cross-border disputes. The class will learn to deal strategically with cross-border litigation, judicial cooperation, parallel arbitral, civil or criminal proceedings and international insolvency situations by applying international treaties—like the New York Convention, the Hague Choice of Court Agreements Convention or the Hague Judgments Convention—and the considerable procedural acquis that the EU has developed in its quest to become a genuine area of freedom, security and justice.

Business Mediation & ADR: Workshop

First-hand acquaintance with alternative resolution methods is becoming a must for any law practitioner in the field of business disputes. Through this workshop, students will get high-quality, hands-on training in the field, becoming equipped to naturally incorporate learned tools and skills into their future practice.

Advocacy: Workshop

Effective advocacy is one of the distinguishing marks of vocational dispute resolution lawyers. In this advanced, practice-based course, students will refine both their written and oral advocacy skills, reflect on the psychological context of legal communication, and incorporate techniques to become sophisticated and effective legal communicators.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TECHNOLOGY LAW

Copyright Law II: Comparative Copyright Law

This course offers a comprehensive examination of EU, international and comparative copyright laws. The subject matter and scope of copyright protection, economic and moral rights, exceptions and limitations, as well as the notions of authorship and originality are among the topics covered in this course. In addition, the course reviews the history and theoretical justifications of copyright law, as well as global conflicts and tensions in view of the technological revolution of the past decades. It also looks at copyright laws’ relevance in specific sectors including in education and access to knowledge, in broadcasting and music, and in the software industry. Finally, the course covers contemporary developments in the field, specifically how copyright laws apply to computer-generated experiences and creations, such as virtual and augmented reality and AI technologies.

The course is divided into Parts I and II. Successful completion of Part I is a prerequisite for commencing Part II. While Part I focuses on the EU and international copyright frameworks (see period 2 above), Part II explores developments across the globe, surveying different copyright frameworks. Students will study copyright laws and influential case law from various jurisdictions, like the US, Canada, India, Australia, China and more. They will also study the extraterritorial application of national copyright laws, and reflect on the development of this field under the pressures of technological progress and globalization.

Patent Law II: Global Filing and Litigation Strategies

This course focuses on patent law and litigation from around the world. It covers the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the International Patent System as administered by WIPO. It surveys the patenting procedures and litigation in select jurisdictions with an emphasis on the EU, the US, China, South Korea and Japan. We will compare the various systems with regards to their requirements for patentability, scope of protection and enforcement. The course is divided into Parts I and II. Part I (period 2) introduces the international framework, and focuses specifically on the European patenting system and the work of the European Patent Office (EPO). Part II (period 3) is devoted to the comparison with other major jurisdictions and in global filing and litigation strategies.

Global Data Governance: Regulating a World of Big Data and AI

Digital technologies have enabled the gathering and storage of personal and other data en masse. Big data and artificial intelligence have presented vast opportunities and, at the same time, unprecedented challenges that legal professionals cannot neglect. Meanwhile, the worlds of the so-called Internet of Things and smart infrastructures produce more and more data, and both private and public institutions gather and store an ever-increasing amount of it. This course focuses on contemporary theories of data governance at a global scale. It reviews influential frameworks, like knowledge commons, privacy enhancing technologies, contextual integrity and data trusts. The course will also introduce the principles of “good data” and discuss the notions of data sovereignty and data ethics, while covering the topics of data ownership, open data, transnational data flows, data localization and jurisdiction over data. Students will leave the course with an understanding of the regulation of infrastructures enabling data flows, from broadband and cables to satellites and the Cloud.

Students will get the chance to apply the theories and principles learned and deepen their knowledge on regulatory solutions to current challenges, like algorithmic decision-making, discrimination and other biases detected in AI systems, tracing and surveillance, and data colonialism. Students will be prompted to think about governance at local and global scales, focusing on both bottom-up and top-down solutions that maximize the benefits society derives from data and minimize the chances for violation of human rights and freedoms, like privacy, integrity and security.

Successful completion of the information privacy course in the second period is a prerequisite for this course.

Cybersecurity

Demand for cybersecurity is on the rise as the world becomes more connected and individuals, businesses and governments rely more on digital systems that are inherently vulnerable. This course provides a comprehensive overview of the current global cybersecurity challenges. It introduces cybersecurity as a global risk, and focuses on challenges related to public and private law aspects of cyber regulation, at a national, regional (supranational) and international level. The course introduces cybercrime, which will be further examined in a separate course during this period, and focuses on a variety of topics including industry standards and principles of cybersecurity, the relationship between cybersecurity and data protection, national security plans, surveillance, fake news and deep fakes, cyber-terrorism and the dark web. Finally, the course covers war and military organization in cyberspace, focusing on famous cases of cyber-operations and attacks, the notion of cyber-defense in international law, and on the Tallinn Manual and international cooperation.

Successful completion of the Internet Law, Policy and Governance course of the second period is a prerequisite for this course.

Cybercrime Laws

This course investigates the global fight against cybercrime and surveys the laws, institutions and international cooperation in this field. It focuses on the EU and explores the recent eIDAS regulatory framework promoting trust services and electronic identification, as well as the role of Europol and the European Cybercrime Centre. Additionally, the course examines the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in the US, and takes note of the transatlantic cooperation in this field.

Throughout this course, students will be tasked with exploring the relevant issues that arise in a number of crime areas, from trafficking through the dark web, to online sexual exploitation and abuse of children, economic crimes, payment fraud and high-tech crime.

THE MASTER OF LAWS (LL.M.) MENTOR PROGRAM

The Master of Laws (LL.M.) recognizes the value of experience by including a personalized mentorship program alongside curricular studies. In a series of one-to-one meetings over a ten-month period, experienced law professionals offer their insights, experience and support. Students have an opportunity to build a bond with a senior professional who has walked the path before and understands the challenges they’re facing, as well as the chance to enhance their professional network in this globalized, transforming sector.

LL.M. participants will benefit from the following aspects:

– Improvement of professional insertion through the creation of professional contact networks thanks to the help of Mentors.

– Increased exchange of experience: senior partners are more willing to exchange experience gained in the law firms with new junior arrivals. Newcomers, in turn, are more likely to listen and learn from them.

– Individualized counseling service and effective support to become a successful professional.Improvement of professional insertion through the creation of professional contact networks thanks to the help of Mentors.

SHELL: Skills for Healthy and Effective Lawyers

IE Law School has introduced a new core module called SHELL: Skills for Healthy and Effective Lawyers. As part of the Master of Laws (LL.M.), this module aims to prepare students for the new global world of work by giving them the necessary skills and tools to be tech-savvy and business aware but also approachable and culturally aware.
UPCOMING EVENTS