Real Estate Law LLM program at John Marshall celebrates 20 years


From commercial financing of real estate to the impact of climate change and sustainability, issues surrounding real estate law continue to evolve and require specialized knowledge in the legal field. This year, the Real Estate Law program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago celebrates 20 years of leading those discussions. It is one of the few law schools in the country to offer an LLM in Real Estate Law.

In 1995, students enrolled for the first time in a new LLM program in Real Estate Law at John Marshall. Two decades later, more than 200 attorneys and graduates from law schools around the country have earned LLMs in real estate law from John Marshall.

“One of the goals of the program was to educate the next generation of real estate attorneys with a curriculum that took a broad view of what the practice of real estate law encompassed, and that was taught from a transactional perspective,” said Professor Celeste M. Hammond, director of John Marshall’s Center for Real Estate Law.

From the beginning, John Marshall’s LLM curriculum has had a strong focus on offering students a learning environment where documents from practice were used and “real life learning” was an important aspect of every course. At the time, this type of hands-on learning was considered a novel approach to legal education but is now often considered the standard.

The Center for Real Estate Law organizes and hosts the Kratovil Conferences on Real Estate Law & Practice. The conferences were established in 1994 to honor the memory of Robert Kratovil, considered the leader of Chicago’s real estate attorneys. From his position as Chicago Title’s chief underwriter, he played a leading role in the development of real estate law and practice. He became a member of John Marshall’s faculty and helped to make real estate an important part of the curriculum.

The conference has furthered the Center’s mission of research and scholarship in the real estate field. The Kratovil conferences have, according to Hammond, “considered both expected topics such as affordable housing, bankruptcy, common interest communities and takings, and the unexpected topics such as water as a resource and adaptation to climate change. They are unique in that they bring together scholars, students, practitioners and industry professionals to consider cutting-edge issues important to commercial real estate attorneys, their clients and our society.”

To enable its students to stay current with new issues facing the real estate industry, the Real Estate LLM Program continues to add new courses, such as Energy Law and Agricultural Law. Select LLM courses are offered online as well as at night to accommodate the schedules of working attorneys.

Click here for more information about John Marshall’s LLM programs, or please contact Christine Kraly at

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