The University of Arkansas School of Law offers the first and only advanced legal degree program in the U.S. in agricultural and food law.
The LL.M. program offer face-to-face instruction in a small classroom setting in combination with a new opportunity for distance education beginning Fall 2014.
Unlike most other distance LL.M. programs, the Arkansas approach provides full integration between enrolled face-to-face students and their online classmates.
Distance students can participate in core courses offered on campus through live video-conferencing with classroom capture and carefully designed online interaction. For the new distance students, the LL.M. classroom will be wherever they are, allowing them to maintain their job and residence elsewhere.
In addition to courses delivered “live” with synchronous video conferencing, innovative hybrid courses and self-paced, guided online study courses are offered. Course design assistance from the experienced distance learning professionals at the UA Global Campus assures excellence.
The Program also includes popular condensed courses taught by nationally recognized food and agricultural law experts. These classes are offered over a period of several days.
LL.M. students attending classes on-campus in Fayetteville benefit from an expanded curriculum and special experiential opportunities available in Northwest Arkansas. These include participation in the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative, the Food Recovery Project, and food and agriculture related externships. And, of course, they get to experience the charm of Fayetteville, Arkansas, first hand. A limited number of Graduate Assistantships are available to students on campus.
The laws that apply to the production, marketing, and sale of the food we eat, the natural fibers we wear, and increasingly, the bio-fuel that runs our cars have an extraordinary impact on us all. In the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law, we study the full spectrum of law and policy from “from farm to fork” – from the perspective of the farmer, the processor, the retailer, and the consumer.
The LL.M. Program offers a full curriculum of specialized agricultural and food law classes designed specifically for our candidates. Our courses address the most current legal issues involving food and agriculture.
Beginning Fall 2014, the LL.M. Program will have a significantly expanded curriculum, with courses offered in a variety of different formats. Incorporating the latest technology, distance education opportunities are integrated into the curriculum.
Specialized LL.M. courses are taught by nationally recognized scholars and practitioners through a mix of law professors at the University of Arkansas School of Law, Visiting Professors that teach condensed courses, and special guests that deliver topical presentations.
Who can take LL.M. Classes?
In addition to LL.M. candidates, the Graduate Admissions Committee and the Director of the LL.M. Program may permit others to enroll in the specialized agricultural and food law classes, subject to space availability
- A number of LL.M. courses are open to University of Arkansas School of Law JD students in good standing.
- LL.M. alumni can return to take some of the LL.M. classes for CLE credit (subject to their state CLE rules).
- Students from other law schools or attorneys that are not admitted to the Program may be allowed to take courses for non-degree credit.
- UA graduate students may be allowed to take LL.M. courses with the permission of their advisor and dean.
The School of Law cooperates with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences to offer a dual-degree program leading to the LL.M. in Agricultural & Food Law and Master of Science in agricultural economics degrees.
Each program applies its own admission standards. For further information on the master’s in agricultural economics, contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Professor Jennie Popp by phone (479) 575-2279 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunities for J.D. Students
Elective Food and Agricultural Law Courses Available
J.D. students in good standing at the University of Arkansas School of Law have the opportunity to enroll in many of the specialized LL.M courses as electives in the J.D. program. Food Law & Policy, Agriculture & the Environment, Selected Issues in Food Law, and Agricultural Bankruptcy have all been popular choices for J.D. enrollment.
The Journal of Food Law & Policy
School of Law students that are interested in food law and/or scholarly writing have an opportunity to apply for positions on the Journal of Food Law and Policy, a student edited professional journal.
The Nine Hour Program
A School of Law student who is within nine hours of completing the total credit hours required to earn a J.D. degree may be admitted conditionally to the graduate law program. This allows students to begin their LL.M. coursework during their final semester of law school. Credits are assigned to either the J.D. program or the LL.M. program but cannot be counted toward both degrees. In order to be admitted to the nine-hour program, a J.D. student must:
- obtain advance approval from the Graduate Legal Studies Committee;
- obtain advance approval from the director of the graduate law program for credits to be applied toward the LL.M. degree; and
- earn a grade of 2.5 or higher in each course to be applied toward the LL.M. degree.
A student who satisfies these requirements and who is subsequently awarded a J.D. degree will be admitted to the graduate program as a degree candidate, unless the Graduate Legal Studies Committee determines that there are substantial grounds for revocation of the conditional admission.
History of the Program
From 1976-1978, under the leadership of Dean Wylie Davis, the Committee on Graduate Programs researched alternatives for the establishment of an LL.M. program at the University of Arkansas School of Law. One alternative that was carefully considered was the establishment of a program focused on a study of agricultural law.
On February 28, 1978, the law faculty voted to approve the creation of the Graduate Program in Agricultural Law. The necessary approvals were obtained, and in 1980, under the leadership of Dean David Epstein, Professor Jake Looney was hired as Director of the new program. Professor Looney spent his first year developing policies for the LL.M. Program, recruiting students and faculty, and meeting the administrative needs of the new program.
In 1981, Professor Neil Hamilton was hired for a graduate program faculty position. The first LL.M. class was enrolled in 1981-1982.
In 1982, Professor Looney became Dean of the Law School, but continued to serve as Director of the Graduate Program and to teach in the Program.
In 1983, Professor Don Pedersen was hired as the new Director of the Graduate Program, a role he held until 1994.
In 1985, Professor Pedersen published AGRICULTURAL LAW: CASES AND MATERIALS along with Professors Keith Meyer (University of Kansas), Norman Thorson (University of Nebraska), and John Davidson, Jr. (South Dakota). In 1995, Professors Pedersen and Meyer published the AGRICULTURAL LAW NUTSHELL.
Professor Lonnie Beard became Director of the LL.M. Program beginning with the 1994-1995 academic year and continued in this capacity until 1999-2000.
Christopher Kelley and Susan Schneider were hired as a joint appointment in 1998, and in 2000, Susan Schneider assumed the role of Director of the LL.M. Program.
In March of 2009, the School of Law faculty approved the name change of the program to the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law. In August of 2009, this name change was approved by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees.
In August 2012 the School of Law welcomed back program founders, Professor Don Pederson, Judge Jake Looney, and Professor Neil Hamilton to celebrate and honor our Alumni and welcome the class of 2013.
Our first two online students began taking classes with us Fall 2013. Also that semester, the
School of Law faculty voted to develop a distance education track to the LL.M. Program, with a target launch of Fall 2014. Final approval is anticipated later this Spring.