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Posted at: Apr 17, 2019, 8:16 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2019, 8:16 AM (IST)LLM COURSES

Specialisations that rock – legally

Gauri Chhabra

One career pathway that runs through all the three organs of the government -— legislature, executive and judiciary — is law. If you're dead serious about law and already have some legal work experience, Master’s of Law (LLM) could be your passport to success.

An LLM degree offers many specialisations. Two emerging options in LLM are in the field of Environment and Natural Resources Law and specialisation in Infrastructure and Business Laws.

Let us examine these in detail: 

Environmental Law

The specialised LLM in Environmental and Energy Law is designed for the lawyers interested in careers in environment, land use, energy law; the individuals who aim to work for governments, international organisations, or NGOs; who aspire to cutting-edge private practice with law firms; or who wants to pursue academic careers, study with leading experts in these areas. Each year, students in the programme form a close community that enjoys the benefits of being a distinct cohort within the larger student body.

Course content

The primary focus of LLM specialising in Environment and Natural Resources Law stream is to understand how the legal framework can reorient economic activity towards sustainability. This reorientation can happen in different ways, such as prohibiting or regulating environment damaging activities, assigning liability for environmental harms, clearly defining property rights and providing adequate incentives for benign environmental activities. The course also addresses the principles of allocation of natural resources according to the concepts of due process of law and equity. This specialisation offers a broad range of introductory and specialised courses.

LLM Environmental Law course covers local and international legal frameworks for environmental protection, climate change protection and vital use of natural resources. During the programme, students are exposed to issues like water law, business and trade, different forms of pollution, land issues and environmental justice.

As a student of LLM Environment Law, one gets to study topics like Environmental Law and Policy, Energy Law, Mining and Mineral Laws, Forest Law & Policy and International Environmental Law and also the Environmental Aspects of Business Activities, Climate change, and law and Hazardous Waste Law.

Getting in

LLM Environmental Law is a 1-2 year postgraduate degree in law with environment as the subject specialisation. The colleges offering LLM Environmental Law conduct the course in full-time mode and distance learning mode as well. The course can be pursued by candidates possessing BA LLB or LLB degree with a minimum of 45 or 50 per cent marks in aggregate. The admission procedure differ for each college but is primarily based on merit or entrance exam conducted by the concerned college.

Online options

Lewis & Clark Law School in the northwest of the United States is now offering an LLM degree in Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law via a distance-learning online option. The online LLM in Environmental, Natural Resources & Energy Law is specifically designed for attorneys who want to practice more effectively, given today's global environmental legal issues, but can't or don't want to relocate. The online LLM draws on the expertise of Lewis & Clark's on-campus Environmental Law Master of Laws that has been helping lawyers enhance their careers for 30 years now.

Infrastructure and Business Law

LLM with specialisation in Infrastructure and Business Law addresses the policies and laws relating to major sectors such as transport (including railways and civil aviation), energy, telecommunications, urban infrastructure, and water. The purpose of this stream is to provide an insight into the fundamental legal concepts relating to business in general and various infrastructure sectors in particular, including the issues involved in the development, financing, and management of projects. The programme will address issues relating to public-private partnership in detail.

Career avenues

For LLM students from premier law schools, there are excellent career opportunities. An LLM degree prepares a candidate to become a teacher, researcher, litigating lawyer or a corporate lawyer. LLM in Environmental Law degree programme prepares attorneys and legal professionals to promote environmentally sustainable legal outcomes in cases dealing with pollution control and remediation, land use and infrastructure, resource conservation and management, and more.

Furthermore, having an LLM degree in Business Law could put you in a good position to pursue a career as a company secretary, provided you go ahead to earn the required professional qualifications. Law and/or business degrees are considered attractive for company secretary positions. If your first degree happens to be in business, economics or management, then your attractiveness as a candidate would be greatly enhanced.


Institute watch

List of colleges across India offering LLM Environmental Law course:

  • UPES, Dehradun, LLM Energy Law
  • Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Tamil Nadu
  • Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur
  • National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam
  • Teri University, New Delhi
Why LLM?

Once upon a time, people pursued LLM just to become familiar with another legal system, generally that of the US or the UK, or as a stepping stone to a career in teaching law. The increasing complexity of modern legal systems has pushed even more lawyers to seek additional training. In most developed countries, for instance, lawyers routinely take continuing legal education courses in a way that would not have been recognisable a decade ago. More and more lawyers are currently pursuing LLM. And it’s not just the lawyers wrestling with the increased complexity of legal practice who now pursue LLM; some are doing it simply to strengthen their core skills, writing, and research, for instance, to become better at traditional lawyering.

Institute in Focus

The TERI School of Advanced Studies (TERI SAS), New Delhi, is a not-for-profit Deemed University sponsored by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) with the objective of building capacity in various themes of sustainable development. Currently, TERI SAS offers Ph.D. & Master's programmes in Legal Studies, Biotechnology, Policy Aspects, Energy and Environment, Business Sustainability, and Natural Resources and various other executive programmes. While offering these programmes, the university adopts an interdisciplinary curriculum, incorporating the most contemporary, research-based evidence. In 2016, the Centre for Post Graduate Legal Studies (CPGLS) was established at TERI SAS as an interdisciplinary Centre of excellence dedicated to legal research and teaching on issues pertaining to sustainable development. Currently, CPGLS offers the following research-based academic programmes:

  • Ph.D. in Legal Studies (with a focus on Law and Sustainability)
  • One-year LLM in Environment and Natural Resources Law
  • One-Year LLM in Infrastructure and Business Law
  • One-year LLM programme with specialisation in Environment and Natural Resources Law and Infrastructure and Business Law . 


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