10 U.S. Summer Law Programs For Incoming LL.M. Students

Studying for an LL.M. degree in the U.S. can be intimidating, especially for foreign attorneys who have had little exposure to the American legal system. Fortunately, there are a number of U.S. law schools that provide immersive summer programs designed to introduce incoming foreign LL.M. students to the U.S. legal system and help them prepare for their American legal studies.

Here are ten U.S. law schools that offer summer programs for incoming international LL.M. students.


1 | Benjamin Cardozo School of Law - Yeshiva University

Designed for foreign lawyers who want an introduction to U.S. Law, the Global Leadership in Law and Business program at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law exposes incoming LL.M. students and lawyers from around the globe to the U.S. judicial system.

Students participating in the program not only receive classroom instruction, but also have opportunities to learn first-hand from judges and practicing lawyers working in general counsel offices, the Securities and Exchange Commission and legislative bodies. 

Law students may also be teamed up traditional U.S. law students, for example, and work through various hypotheticals to learn more about corporate governance, intellectual property and the adversarial judicial system.

The program is located in New York City, but students will travel to Washington, D.C. for two days where they will tour various agencies and the U.S. Supreme Court.


2 | The University of Washington School of Law

The University of Washington School of Law has a two-week program that teaches incoming international LL.M. students about the U.S. legal system. The program, which runs through the end of summer, is designed to help incoming LL.M. students, but a number of international J.D. students occasionally attend as well.

Dr. Dana Raigrodski, director of the Summer Institute in Transational Law and Practice, told LLM Guide that the progam “is designed to offer an overview of some of the fundamental concepts of the American legal system,” but with an emphasis on problem solving, analytical skills and the English language.

“We do spend a lot of time on the basic civics, the fundamental structures of government and constitutional premises, because those are very unique to the American legal system,” she said.


3 | University of California, Davis, School of Law

The University of California, Davis, School of Law hosts an Orientation in USA Law program – one of two summer law programs offered to incoming foreign LL.M. students. The other program is an English for Legal Professionals course.

“Although it is not compulsory, the majority of our LL.M. students attend our Orientation in USA Law program,” Beth Greenwood, Associate Dean for International Programs and Director of the UC Davis School of Law LL.M. program, told LLM Guide. “Students learn the fundamentals of US law, become more proficient in legal English and create a professional and supportive network of friends and colleagues across the globe.” 


4 | University of California, Berkeley, School of Law 

The University of California, Berekely, School of Law offers a Summer English Language Studies that teaches incoming LL.M. students legal writing and legal english with an introduction to the American legal system. The Legal Writing course focuses on writing and reading comprehension, much like a first-year legal writing course in a traditional J.D. program.

“We work through reading comprehension, identifying relevant facts in cases, and we work through synthesizing the elements of the cases we’re working with to come up with a rule that we apply to a given situation,” Professor Catherine Beck, a non-lawyer language specialist, told LLM Guide.

The program, known as SELS, attracts students preparing to study at Berkeley, but students who are also starting other programs around the U.S. also attend.

Last summer, students visited the former prison island Alcatraz, as well as the Supreme Court of California and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, both in San Francisco.


5 | Georgetown Law Center

At Georgetown Law Center, incoming LL.M. students can dive into the U.S. legal system and experience summer in the country’s capital, Washington, D.C. 

There are two summer sessions. The first, Foundations of American Law, introduces foreign attorneys to the U.S. legal system, common law reasoning and contemporary U.S. legal studies.

The second session offers two courses. Students can either take Professional Responsibility Law in the United States, which is a practice-oriented approach to ethical, moral and social issues lawyers encounter, or U.S. Legal Research Analysis and Writing, which introduces students to U.S. legal resources, forms and conventions.


6 | American University Washington College of Law 

The English for Lawyers program at the American University Washington College of Law introduces foreign attorneys and incoming LL.M. students to legal English concepts. Students will practice an array of legal English skills including legal reading and writing, and oral presentations.

The program is three weeks long. Students will learn the basics of the U.S. legal system and how to read U.S. case law in the first week. The second week, students will study U.S. business law, learning to read contracts, draft business letters and email, and how to negotiate with counterparties. In the final week, students will focus on advocacy skills, arguing in a mock arbitration based on a business dispute.

In addition to coursework, students will visit the U.S. Capital, the U.S. Supreme Court and the D.C. Superior Court.


7 | Fordham Law Summer Institute

The Summer Institute at Fordham University School of Law was launched in 2007, and has been introducing foreign lawyers to the U.S. legal system ever since. Located in New York City, the Fordham Law Summer Institute offers classes in Bankruptcy Law, Civil Procedure, litigation, Constitutional Law, Contract Drafting and Corporate Law.

The Summer Institute also offers an optional workshop to help students strengthen their English skills. Sessions include memo drafting, legal research, and litigation documents.

In addition to coursework, students in the past have visited the United Nations, Major League Baseball games, local happy hour events and a closing celebration.


8 | Boston University School of Law

Th six-week pre-LLM Legal English Program at Boston University School of Law was designed to help incoming foreign LL.M. students develop the language skills, legal knowledge and confidence necessary to succeed in an American law school. 

Students focus on English language skills that are critical to effective communication. Classes will also introduce students to the basics of the U.S legal system, looking at the governmental, economic, historical and sociological environment in which it functions. There are also opportunities for students to visit State and Federal Courthouses to observe trials.

The program is open to students that have been accepted to any LL.M. program in the country. 


9 | Georgia State University College of Law 

Georgia State University College of Law also offers a pre-LLM Summer Program. English for Professional Purposes: Law, is a six-week training program that immerses incoming LL.M. students in the English language and legal system. By the end of the course, students will have a fundamental understanding of English legal concepts that will be encountered throughout their LL.M. program.


10 | The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

The American Law and Language Program at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law was designed to provide individuals who have studied the law outside of the U.S. with an exposure to the major concepts in U.S. law and American legal training.

The program is three weeks, and includes instruction on legal English and the U.S. law school culture, the U.S. law and legal system, an overview of U.S. corporate law and practical lawyering skills development.


Here are 5 more U.S. Summer Law Programs For Incoming LL.M. Students


Does your law school offer a summer program for incoming LL.M. students that we missed? If so, send an email to Tyler@Cypressmagazines.com with information about the program.