Joint LLM in International Commercial Law and Dispute Resolution

At the Forefront of China-US Trade and Business Law

China and the United States share the world’s largest economic relationship, with annual trade in the hundreds of billions of dollars, and bilateral investment in the tens of billions of dollars. Lawyers play a vital role in creating and maintaining these economic relations. They structure investment deals, negotiate contracts, and obtain permission from government authorities. And when things go wrong, lawyers resolve disputes between international companies, or between companies and their customers.

The Sino-US Joint Masters Program in International Commercial Law and Dispute Resolution equips the next generation of international lawyers with the legal skills necessary in today’s transnational legal environment. The program is taught at two of the world’s leading academic institutions. Founded in 1826, CWRU is a member of the American Association of Universities—making it one of the country’s and the world’s leading research institutions; its faculty and alumni have earned 16 Nobel Prizes, including the first awarded to an American scientist (1907). SWUPL, founded in 1953, is one of China’s most prestigious schools of law and political science. Its graduates include Supreme Court Chief Justice Zhou Qiang, Supreme Court Vice President Jiang Bixin, Renmin University Professor Zhang Xinbao, and Xia Yong, Deputy Director of the State Council’s Office of Legal Affairs.

The two universities have teamed up to offer the first Sino-American dual degree program to gain approval from China’s Ministry of Education.

In this unique program, students spend their first two years in Chongqing, one of China’s fastest growing cities, where they learn the basics of international law and Chinese commercial law from SWUPL faculty. They also take eight intensive courses—such as Legal Writing, Legal English, International Investment Law, and International Arbitration—from visiting CWRU faculty. They spend their third year in Cleveland, a cultural hub and international port, where they study advanced commercial law, hone their oral advocacy and presentation skills, and make valuable connections in Cleveland’s thriving legal community. After three years, students graduate with both a Masters Degree from SWUPL, and a Masters Degree from CWRU.


LLM students attend Lang Lang’s piano performance for the Cleveland Orchestra’s 100th Anniversary Gala Concert at Severance Hall, located a short walk from CWRU Law School.
headshot of Wang Hui

"My CWRU LLM enabled me to obtain an in-house counsel position at Siemens China, a regional company of a Fortune 500 multinational corporation. The LLM program taught me critical thinking, equipped me with the necessary technical skills in legal research and writing to excel in practice, and prepared me to successfully pass the New York Bar Exam. And the experience of studying in the family-like atmosphere of CWRU and living in Cleveland helped me to understand western culture, which contributes to my success in an inter-cultural working environment."

Wang Hui (LLM 2005) Lead Lawyer for the Division of Energy Management and Building Technology, Siemens China

headshot of Gao Kaiwen

"One of my fondest memories from CWRU was my hands-on legal experience in the Certificates of Qualifications for Employment program, where my classmates and I got to help people with criminal records overcome legal barriers to obtain employment or licensure in certain fields. The work provided me a great opportunity to work with local lawyers, communicate with native speakers with various backgrounds, and use my legal skills to help people in need. Building on that experience, I now make it a habit to participate in volunteer legal activities at least once per month in China."

Gao Kaiwen (LLM 2016) Associate, King Wood & Mallesons

headshot of Lu Yaosong "Will"

"Most large national law firms in China and almost every Chinese local office set up by foreign law firms would prefer to hire candidates with an overseas LLM like the one offered by CWRU. After I received my LLM degree from CWRU and returned to China, I represented a lot of Chinese companies in their M&A transactions with US companies, privatization transactions from the U.S. listing market, and direct outbound investment to the U.S. Without the doors the CWRU LLM opened for me and the knowledge I gained through the CWRU LLM, it would have been impossible for me to have achieved that."

Lu Yaosong “Will” (LLM 2009) Partner, DeHeng Law Offices

Case Western Reserve’s Rankings

  • Top-ranked LLM Program for Academics and Student Experience according to International Jurist Magazine
  • 14th best International Law Program according to U.S. News and World Report
  • Top School for Business Law according to PreLaw Magazine
  • 32nd ranked faculty according to the Sisk Study of Scholarly Impact
  • Dean Michael Scharf is one of the most cited international law scholars in the United States