The LL.M. Program at the Faculty of Law: Reaching out to Students from around the World

The LL.M. Program at the Faculty of Law: Reaching out to Students from around the World


The Faculty of Law’s English-language master’s degree program (LL.M.) offers law students from various fields an opportunity to study in Jerusalem’s unique atmosphere * The students come from around the world and study in advanced tracks specializing in human rights or international commercial law


The Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University has a firm reputation as the leader in its field in Israel. As Israeli undergraduates work hard to gain their LL.B. degrees, some of them may not even notice that the Faculty also welcomes students from around the world who join its prestigious LL.M. program intended for English-speaking overseas students.


The program focuses on two main tracks – human rights and international law, and international commercial law and intellectual property. Over the course of the year, the students are required to attend several compulsory courses, seminars, and basic and elective courses. They can also submit a thesis. “The wide selection of courses was a key factor in my decision,” says Irena Rozina, a graduate of the program. “The choice was a factor, as was the Hebrew University’s excellent reputation.” Irena, originally from Moscow, was planning to study in Germany when “almost by chance,” as she puts it, she heard about the Faculty’s LL.M. program. “After looking into the matter a bit I decided to change my plans, and I haven’t looked back since,” she explains.


In the classes the students meet many of the Faculty’s most prominent lecturers in the field, including Professors Yuval Shany, David Kretzmer and Robbie Sabel in the human rights track, and Professor Assaf Hamdani, Prof. Yehonatan Givati and Dr. Guy Pessach in the commercial track. The teaching team also includes guest lecturers and professors enabling the students to learn different fields of specialization from some of the leading lecturers in the world. “The lecturers who taught the classes I attended made a real contribution to my career and my knowledge,” Irena notes. “On many occasions they helped me re-examine various aspects and see things from different perspectives.”


What about the students?

“The multinational character of the program is an advantage in its own right, in my opinion. Actually this aspect is no less important than the program itself: you can learn a lot from the lecturers, but also from each other.”


Do you any advice to give students just beginning the program?

“Sure! Make the most of this opportunity. Study – but don’t forget that you are in a truly unique city that is worth studying in, and worth studying in itself.”



From the United States to Israel – via Cambodia

Patrick McKinley, who is due to begin the program this year, explains: “This program has some great components, above all a high-quality faculty in academic terms with practical experience both in the past and the present. Apart from that, you have students from around the world who come with their own understanding, knowledge, education, and sometimes practical experience in the field.” McKinley feels that “these conditions create a melting pot for us students, and a great environment where we can improve our understanding of the field and enjoy opportunities to encounter new issues and approaches.”







Patrick has an unusual background, as do many of the students who come to the Faculty’s LL.M. program. He began his journey through the world of law as a criminal prosecutor in Texas. After nine years in the position, he went to teach law in the capital of Cambodia. “The situation there is still evolving following the genocide that took place in the country, and my main task was to teach basic legal concepts,” he explains. During his teaching work, Patrick was exposed to the subject of human rights and began to study himself. After completing his teaching assignment, he began to work as a country director for International Justice Mission, an American organization that helps save the victims of abuse and human rights violations. “Our office in Cambodia focused mainly on the war against human trafficking, particularly in the context of the sex industry.”





Patrick McKinley





You seem to have a very impressive record. Why did you decide to apply for the LL.M. program?

“My academic background in the United States focused mainly on local and federal criminal law, rather than international law. I was exposed to international human rights law in Cambodia during the course of my work, but I have never studied the subject in a structured way. I realized that there was a gap between my education and my practical work."


 How did you end up at the Faculty of Law in the Hebrew University?

“When my wife applied for a job in an international agency in Jerusalem, I decided to take the opportunity to fill in my academic gaps. When I realized that I could study here in English – learn together with people, sit in lectures, and hear professors with extensive practical experience in the field – I knew straight away that I wanted to be part of it.”


Patrick and his wife have two young daughters. He relates that for the first time in his life he does not plan to work, but to devote more time to the family home. “This is a really big change,” he admits, “and it was even a bit frightening at first. But it turned out to be great.”


Can you combine running the home with your studies?

“The program is very flexible. I don’t have any problem touring Jerusalem and Israel with the girls and still finding time to study. We’re having a great time.”


How are your impressions of Israel itself?

“I think the whole issue of safety in Israel is a myth,” Patrick claims. It might seem hard to believe him, until you remember his background. “I feel much safer in Israel than I did in Cambodia. Sometimes it really frightened me to know that some of the people in the security forces there had access to firearms. I feel safe here and I’m sure that we’ll be protected. If we’d been concerned about the security situation we wouldn’t have come here.”


Will you stay in Israel after the program?

“Some of the students in the program come here, complete their degree, and then go back to their own country. But we plan to stay in Israel for a while, at least for a few years. I hope that the program will introduce me to some of the initiatives in the field of human rights law in Israel and in the region in general. I want to see if I can find my place in that field and identify opportunities to draw on my professional experience. Of course, the academic education I will get here will be an important factor. The LL.M. program is a great stepping stone.”



An Opportunity to Focus on New Subjects

Needless to say, not all the students came via Cambodia and spent time fighting human trafficking before arriving in the LL.M. program. Anna Lackerman, for example, has a more conventional background that is quite similar to that of the average Israeli student who comes to the Faculty of Law. “I come from Germany,” she explains, “and I recently finished my studies at Heidelberg University, where I specialized in international law. Among other experiences, I participated in the Jessup competition in international law and I attended a summer course in the field.”


Why did you decide to join the LL.M. program?

“I’m interested in expanding my knowledge in the field of international law. In particular, it’s important to me to study the subject from a comparative perspective.




Anna Lackerman



With that in mind, it’s a big plus to be in a program where I can meet students from diverse backgrounds, countries, and cultures.


I was particularly attracted by the range of courses on offer. I visited various universities while I was trying to reach a decision, including the Hebrew University and the Faculty of Law here. I met with several faculty members to hear about the program and my impression of the course and the people I met was outstanding.”


Why did you choose to come to the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University?

“I visited Israel several times in the past and had a great time, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself this time, too!”


Do you plan to concentrate on a particular subject during your studies?

“I think the range of courses covers a very broad spectrum of issues in international law. All the areas are interesting and challenging. Until now I have mainly focused on international law in the broad sense, along with international commercial law. But I think I’ll take the opportunity to study the international laws relating to the various conflicts in the Middle East, including those that affect Israel, of course. I’m also very interested to learn more about transitional justice, which I didn’t have a chance to study in Heidelberg.”


I think we can assume that you won’t be ending your academic career with a master’s degree. What are your plans for the future?

“I’m thinking about going on to study for a doctorate in law, although I haven’t decided where. Maybe I’ll go back to Germany, but on the other hand – perhaps I’ll stay here in Israel.”



*Further information about the program is available at